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Measure J Reauthorization Process to Begin

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: March 19, 2015

An 18-month process to reauthorize and augment Measure J in Contra Costa County begins in April 2015. The Contra Costa Transportation Authority voted unanimously on March 18 to move forward on going to the voters in 2016 with an expanded Measure J expenditure plan. Bike East Bay is supportive of this process because of the tremendous need for walking and bicycling improvements in Contra Costa.

Randy Iwasaki, Executive Director of the CCTA, has already reached out to Bike East Bay for our support, and we plan to be part of a Community Advisory Committee to develop the expenditure plan for Measure J, like we did for Measure BB in Alameda County. Our goal is 15% for bikes & peds, or approximately $345 million, which would be more than a quadrupaling of funding, yet still well short of what is needed to complete bikeway networks throughout the county. We’ll need you for a robust get-out-the-vote campaign to convince voters to invest in a better transportation system than the car-focused system that currently exists in Contra Costa County. However, step one is securing a Measure J expenditure plan we can support.

Bike East Bay is meeting with many like-minded organizations to shape a robust expenditure plan for Measure J that supports walkable, bikeable cities but also makes a serious investment in high-quality transit improvements, including BART service and feeder bus service from Hercules, Martinez, San Ramon and other more suburban parts of the county. Polling done in 2013 and 2014 shows good support for augmenting Measure J, with emphasis on improved transit, better traffic flow on existing roadways, maintenance of streets and roads, and improved pedestrian and bicycle paths. This polling is not only good news, but is consistent with regional trends of people wanting to drive less and live and work in walkable, bikeable neighborhoods served by good transit.

Next Steps:

  1. A full timeline for the Measure J reauthorization process will be presented at the April 15 meeting of the CCTA Board
  2. Get Bike East Bay on the Community Advisory Committee
  3. Finalize bike/ped polling questions for upcoming public opinion polling that will determine which types of projects are popular enough to gain 2/3’s voter support in 2016
  4. Meet with key transportation decision-makers to get their support for more bike-ped monies, and for the priorities of our allied organizations
  5. Build a campaign team for the election

What you can do:

  1. Sign up on our Measure J mailing list to keep informed
  2. Get trained as a Measure J outreach volunteer
  3. Come to meetings of the Expenditure Plan Development Committee and show support for more bike projects in Measure J

 

Our Project List for the Countywide Transportation Plan

More information on CCTA website about Countywide Transportation Plan

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Bike East Bay Letter to Contra Costa Transportation Authority

March 11, 2014

Dear CCTA Board and Staff:

Bike East Bay provides these comments on the 2015 Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP) and SEIR. We previously submitted a comment letter specifically on the CTP in September, 2014, and incorporate that letter by reference herein. While we appreciate your acknowledgement of our letter and the many other letters received, your responses to these letters miss the mark on several points and create a serious challenge going forward toward a discussion of augmenting funding to invest in a better transportation system in the County.

We appreciate that the CTP includes many needed bike projects and the start of a list of much-needed transit projects, both of which are essential and should be prioritized as the next wave of transportation upgrades in Contra Costa County. People throughout the county are showing stronger support than ever for better transit service and a desire to walk and bike instead of drive. You recognize this reality by noting in the CTP that building more freeways is not an option and that the younger generation is driving less than their parents, way less. Yet today most Contra Costa residents have few practical options to hoping in their cars and driving. Let’s change that.

To upgrade what we have while significantly expanding transit, walking and bicycling options, the CTP needs to address many shortcomings in this Plan:

  1. The CTP  lacks a comprehensive regional bikeway network for people of all ages and abilities to get around. We submitted a list of projects and programs, and many are included, but absolute gaps still exist in the network. Plus, this CTP should propose a completion of the bikeway network identified in the 2009 Countywide Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan.

  2. The CTP lacks high-quality transit, and even lacks a goal for high-quality transit service, to many parts of the County, including West Richmond, North Richmond to Hercules, Pleasant Hill to Martinez, and Walnut Creek to San Ramon. As proposed, the CTP attempts to achieve transit service with 15 minute headways in peak hours, and 20 minute headways off peak. Headways like these are not going to encourage people to leave the car at home. Faced with the prospect of waiting 20 minutes for the next bus or train, who’s going to walk or bike to transit, or drive to BART?

  3. The CTP includes way too many capacity increasing projects for single-occupancy private cars. We support all of the efficiency projects included, to make better use of existing roadway capacity–these are good improvements and should be expanded. But billions still exist in this plan to widen roadways, expand interchanges, and add a new freeway, all of which only serve to encourage more single occupancy cars. Contra Costa is never going to change course and achieve its adopted goal of reducing air pollution by 90%.

We obviously prefer Alternative 3 in the DEIR, but would much rather support an combination alternative that captures funding from capacity increasing projects and redirects it to efficiency projects, high-quality transit projects, and projects that significantly increase numbers of people walking and bicycling. Seriously, you should be able to present such an option to the public for consideration.

We are prepared to join a robust and exhaustive effort to augment Measure J funding in the next two years, and want to get behind a Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP) that gives people transportation choices and recognizes that driving levels are not going up, but down, and that people want to live and work in communities that are walkable and bikeable. We don’t see how a realistic TEP can be pulled from such a roadway focused CTP.

We have gathered our breadth from the passage of Measure BB in Alameda County last year, where we asked our members in Contra Costa County to help with that effort in return for the promise that in 2015 and 2016, all eyes will be on Contra Costa and our efforts here to invest in a better transportation system. We are ready to be part of these efforts in a huge way both in developing the TEP and out on the campaign trail with hundreds of volunteers weekly calling likely voters and knocking on their doors. But we are only ready to back a plan that gives people choices and practical options to driving alone.

This CTP and Contra Costa County’s commitment to building a modern bikeway network and providing high-quality transit throughout the county needs to be substantially increased. We trust you will rise to the challenge.

Cordially yours,

Dave Campbell
Advocacy Director
Bike East Bay

cc:    Greenbelt Alliance
Sierra Club
Transform
AC Transit
BART representatives
Transdef
Save Mount Diablo
Central Labor Council
;Urban Habitat
Public Advocates
East Bay Housing Organizations
Nonprofit Housing
Bike Walnut Creek
Bike Concord
Rich City Rides
Bike Lafayette
Delta Pedalers

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