All hands on deck – Fill the CCTA meeting again to support strong complete streets requirements in major road projects

Please turn out to the next meeting of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority on Wednesday next week, March 9, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.  The meeting room is 2999 Oak Rd #110 (CCTA office, across from Pleasant Hill BART and next to Embassy Suites).

This meeting is important because it’s the first time the Authority Board will consider an actual draft of the Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP).  The TEP is a plan for how the money will be spent from the half-cent sales tax for transportation which CCTA is planning to put on the November ballot.

Background

There have been months of meetings and discussions about what should be in the TEP.  They have involved the Authority Board, its staff and consultants, and a committee called the Expenditure Plan Advisory Committee (EPAC).  The EPAC is a committee of representatives of groups with an interest in the outcome of the TEP.  CCTA convened them to help shape the TEP, with the hope of securing their political support to pass the measure in November.

One of those interest groups is people who care about active transportation such as bicycling and walking.  Bike East Bay, Bike Concord’s partner at the county level, represents this interest on the EPAC.  Bike Concord has been supporting Bike East Bay in getting a significant amount of money planned for serious bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, by working with BEB’s Advocacy Director Dave Campbell to write proposed edits to the measure language, and by sending one of our advocacy organizers to participate in meetings with CCTA staff and consultants and to sit as an alternate for Dave on the EPAC when needed.

Ten Bike Concord members (maybe including you) turned out along with Bike Walnut Creek and Greenbelt Alliance at the Oct 21 meeting of the CCTA board (a.k.a. the “Authority Board”) to support Bike East Bay’s call for 15% of the revenue to go to complete streets projects. CCTA Board and staff have not honored this request.

However, thanks to good collaboration with staff and consultants (and probably in some part thanks to our demonstration of support on Oct 21), we have managed to get decent standards for complete streets infrastructure into the funding category for major roads.  In the current draft this category totals 8.6% of the measure for an estimated yield of $200 million.  This is for major road projects which merely include elements for non-motor users; a large part of this money will still go for motor traffic infrastructure.  For projects aimed exclusively to serve non-motor traffic, there is a separate category called “Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Trail Facilities” with 2.6% of the measure for an estimated yield of $60 million.  Project needs which we are already aware of, without considering future needs, alone justify doubling this amount.

There is still considerable room for improvement in the standards for complete streets, as well as the funding amount for non-motor projects, and Bike East Bay and Bike Concord are working with staff and consultants to make those improvements.

Please turn out on March 9

At this upcoming meeting on March 9, the Authority Board will make its first comments and directions to staff on the draft TEP.  We will urge the Board members to support strong complete streets standards in the Major Roads funding category, and to support a doubling of the Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Trail Facilities category.

Please attend this meeting and submit a comment card expressing support for Bike East Bay’s proposals.  Blank comment cards will be available on the table to your right as you enter the room.  It’s the glass door on the right immediately when you enter the building. Please write your name, put Bike Concord as your organization (if you wish to identify as one of our members) and in the comment space, write “I support Bike East Bay’s proposals for strong complete streets standards and funding in the TEP.”  Submit your comment card to the clerk, and take a seat.

Your comment card will also allow you to indicate whether you want to get up and speak during the appropriate comment period.  It is not necessary to speak, but you may wish to do so if you have a personal perspective to add. In any case, you may be asked by Dave Campbell of Bike East Bay or Kenji Yamada of Bike Concord, while they are making their comments, to raise your hand to show your presence.

Please share this blog post, or our Facebook event for the meeting, with anyone you know who cares about a healthier, safer transportation future for Contra Costa.

Advertisements

John Muir Health will sponsor Bike Tent 2016

We are delighted to be able to announce that John Muir Health has officially decided to renew their sponsorship of Bike Concord’s Bike Tent for 2016!  This will allow us to bring the services of a professional mechanic, maintain our supplies and equipment, and even – thanks to JMH’s generous increase of the sponsorship amount – expand our services beyond the Todos Santos Farmers’ Market to reach more residents who need help keeping their bicycles in good working order.

Big thanks to Cynthia Armour of our partner and fiscal sponsor Bike East Bay for arranging this sponsorship for us.

The Farmers’ Market starts on April 21 this year.  We look forward to seeing you at Todos Santos!

Operacion Luz Lights up the Night

On Monday, November 30 2015, a day on which the sun set at 4:49pm, a handful of volunteers from local community groups were distributing free sets of bike lights to riders. Monument Impact and Bike East Bay joined forces with Bike Concord, helping to buy and distribute bike lights to riders without any.

Bicycling at night can be dangerous – especially without good lights. In Concord, where bike shops are few and far between, many people ride without a light. The event, called Operación Luz, was the first of its kind in Concord and specifically aimed to help low-income community members who ride out of necessity.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Monument Impact, Bike East Bay and Bike Concord are all part of the HEAL zone initiative (Healthy Eating, Active Living) designed to help people in under-served communities make healthy choices.

Two dozen bicyclists and curious community members stopped by to talk to us. In addition to giving lights to those who needed them, we also spread the word about the brand new bike lanes coming to Detroit Ave this winter. Construction on the city of Concord’s first ever green bike lanes are set to be completed early 2016.

As we wrapped up at 7pm, we still had a couple dozen more lights. We will be distributing them come 2016 at future education and community events!

Great turnout at the CCTA meeting

The main agenda item at tonight’s meeting of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority board concerned the Transportation Expenditure Plan for the upcoming Measure J reauthorization, an additional half-cent sales tax for transportation that will probably go before voters next year.  The TEP is a plan for how to allocate that money.

Bike Concord turned out ten people tonight to stand up with our allies from Bike Walnut Creek, Bike East Bay, and Greenbelt Alliance, and call on CCTA Board for at least 15% of Measure J reauthorization revenue to go for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. Several board members expressed surprise at our numbers.  There are often no members of the public commenting at CCTA meetings, so we made a considerable impression.

Here is an audio recording of public comments by BC members and our allies at the meeting, excerpted from CCTA’s official recording.  To hear CCTA board members’ responses to our comments, skip to 52:48 in the full meeting recording.

It remains to be seen whether the draft TEP will contain an apportionment for active transportation infrastructure commensurate with its importance in our transportation system.  Bike Concord, in support of Bike East Bay, is attending meetings of the Expenditure Plan Advisory Committee (EPAC) which is drawing up that draft.  We will follow the process closely.