Treat Blvd Plan Still Needs Improvements

Monday, December 7, 2015 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

What: Transportation Water & Infrastructure Committee of Contra Costa Public Works considers a revised Treat Blvd Bike Ped Plan
Where: 651 Pine Street, Room 101, Martinez

Contra Costa County is prepared to revise its short-sighted Treat Blvd Bike Ped Plan to at least include an eastbound bike lane. This is good news as many Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek residents living west of I-680 already bicycle to the BART station with more bicycle parking than any–Pleasant Hill BART. These bike commuters will enjoy doing so more on the brand new bike lanes on Geary Blvd, funded by Measure J. And more residents will be encouraged to bicycle to BART if a complete, comfortable bikeway is built the entire way. The Iron Horse Trail proved that if you build a good bikeway to BART, commuters will use it. 

Staff Report on revisions to Treat Blvd Bike Ped Plan

Bike East Bay’s Letter on the original Treat Blvd Bike Ped Plan

However, staff believe an additional study of future traffic is needed to determine the feasibility of eliminating the auxilliary east bound vehicle lane between 680 and Oak Rd in order to make room for an east bound bike lane. The problem here is the idea of breaking out crystal balls and guessing at traffic conditions in the year 2040, with “predicted future traffic volumes in mind.” State law AB 2245 eliminates any requirement for crystal balls and future traffic forecasts when striping bike lanes. It only requires a look at current traffic conditions, a sensible approach.

The good news is the Treat Blvd Bike Ped Plan already looked at current traffic conditions and the potential for removing the auxilliary east bound vehicle lane. The report states this design concept “results in little impact under current traffic conditions.” What more do we need? Furthermore, the Plan reached the same conclusion for this “Concept 1B” design with complete bike lanes for the entire project, east bound and west bound. It’s what we want.

What we want on Treat Blvd

What you can do

Remember what Caltrans advises

“Caltrans and local entities are encouraged to work proactively with their communities to provide convenient, safe, and context-sensitive facilities that promote increased use by bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, and utilize universal design characteristics as appropriate.”

Caltrans Design Flexibility in Multimodal Design

Walkable, Bikeable Neighborhoods

The Pleasant Hill BART area is a priority development area, i.e. transit-oriented development, and already has started building infill housing and retail commercial at the BART Station. More is planned to focus new housing around transit, and more jobs. Bike East Bay supports this.

But you can’t rebuild a neighborhood around traffic sewers. 48,000 cars/day use Treat Blvd. At some locations, the arterial is nine traffic lanes wide. It takes over two minutes to walk across the street in spots, a delay that would be considered intolerable and traffic engineering malpractice if drivers were forced to wait this amount of time to get past a traffic light. 

Yet even with the amount of traffic it carries, Treat Blvd will function just fine with 2-3 traffic lanes in each direction, as the traffic study already shows under existing conditions. And a better street for all users is good for the economic development of this area and of Contra Costa County. Walkable, bikeable neighborhoods are more and more desirable and generate more local sales tax revenue, which supports community priorities in other areas, such as better schools, parks, libraries, etc. People Mean Businees documents this economic benefit of walkable, bikeable neighborhoods.

Measure J Reauthorization Could Fund a Great Treat Blvd

Bike East Bay is working with our local leaders in Richmond, Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Concord and Pittsburg to build support for ‘complete streets’ in Contra Costa County, and fund improvements to make streets work for everyone, via a new Measure J transportation sales tax. Treat Blvd is a poster child project for a new Measure J, a half-mile stretch of busy street that should function much better for connector bus services and shuttles to BART, and encourage many more people to replace shorter car trips with walking and bicycling. We are asking the Contra Costa Transportation Authority to include Treat Blvd as a complete street project in a new Measure J, but only if it includes Concept 1B.

Learn more about our Measure J Campaign