Showing posts with label #Infrastructure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Infrastructure. Show all posts

Monday, May 8, 2023

The Overlooked Impact of Highway 37 Improvements on the Napa River Bridge.

Susan Wood's article last Friday in The North Bay Business Journal describes how Highway 37, on the northern edge of San Francisco (San Pablo) Bay, is planned for improvements to address traffic congestion and flooding issues. A proposed $7 toll aims to fund the $430 million project for widening the 21-mile road between Marin and Solano counties. However, the added toll has sparked some complaints from commuters.

Introducing a toll on Highway 37 will potentially lead to increased use of Highway 12 to Highway 29, particularly the untolled Napa River Bridge (George F. Butler Memorial Bridge). While imposing a toll on Highway 37 would help address congestion issues and generate revenue for road maintenance, what will prevent traffic from shifting to the alternate route, creating new challenges, as discussed previously?

If the use of the Napa River Bridge rises significantly due to the Highway 37 toll, the straightforward answer would be to consider implementing a similar toll system on the untolled alternative. Yet, local traffic in Napa Valley is far less likely to accept pricing for the Napa River Bridge compared to Highway 37 commuters crossing a 10-mile causeway. There seems to be a lack of recognition of how these routes together affect North Bay transportation planning in general.

The initial Highway 37 project is scheduled from 2025 to 2027, so work could begin in as little as 18 months. This phase will include adding an electronic toll station, a bus service, and a low-income discount program. However, it is important to note that the proposed traffic mitigation, bus transport, does not address issues in either Sonoma Valley or Napa Valley for traffic between the two regions. If the project is to prove successful, it is likely that at a minimum, installation of toll infrastructure at the Napa River Bridge should be included, even if it is not activated at the same time as tolls on Highway 37 -- and which leads, via an oblique angle, to the general issue of congestion pricing in the North Bay ...