Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Scrutiny for county transit proposal

(Originally appeared in the 9/13/15 edition)

   A presentation by Solano Transportation Authority’s planning director updating Solano’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan prompted much discussion and drew plenty of concerns during a Planning Commission meeting Thursday.
   According to a report by Principal Planner Amy Million, the current CTP was adopted in 2005 to plan and prioritize the transportation needs of Solano County through the year 2030. Examples of completed projects in Benicia include the Rose Drive overdressing of Interstate 780, a bike path on the Benicia-Martinez bridge and pedestrian improvements to Industrial Park.
   STA Planning Director Bob McCauley delivered a Power Point presentation to the Planning Commission on the updated plan- called CTP 2040- that will be driven largely by the input of Benicia residents. 
   “What we do is really what you do,” McCauley said. “It’s very grassroots driven, as well as some state and federal regulations we have to deal with.”
   Among the projects that are included in CTP 2040 are the installation of traffic signals at the I-680 and Lake Herman Road intersection, widening Columbus Parkway from two to four lanes from I-780 to Vallejo’s city limits and constructing continuous bicycle and sidewalk facilities from the Benicia-Martinez Bridge to the Arsenal, according to the report.
   The project prompted a lot of questions from the planning commission board. Commissioner George Oakes asked about the scope of the I-680/Lake Herman Road interchange issue.
   “That interchange is reaching a traffic volume that’s so high that we need to have more signalization there to up the flow,” Public Works Director Graham Wadsworth said.
   Commissioner Elizabeth Radtke shared two concerns with the bike and walkway paths that connect to the Carquinez Bridge. One was with the route from the Benicia city limits to the north end of the bridge, and the other was with the section from downtown Martinez to the south end of the bridge.
   “You’re having to share the road with gas trucks and large vehicles, and at the end of the day you want to go home,” she said. 
   Radtke also mentioned the Benicia Bridge route to Fairfield from I-680, citing the lack of shoulder on that road. McCauley said it was not a priority, but it was important to bring up.
   Commissioner Donald Dean asked about the order of the projects on the list.
   “Is this a priority list or is this the entire list, and it’s not organized in any particular fashion?” he asked.
   “It’s not a prioritized list, but I think that city staff has identified two or three things on the list they say should be priorities,” McCauley said.
   He also noted that Benicia priorities would be articulated by the mayor.
   In keeping with the theme of citizen input, residents can visit solano2040.org to share their views fill out a survey listing their priorities.
   In other business, the commission voted unanimously to adopt new rules and procedures for public meetings. 


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