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

Friday, May 19, 2023

Potpourri for Friday, May 19, 2023.

"CA-37 at Sears Point."
© 2007 Aztecrosales.
The Thursday edition of the Press Democrat headlined three stories, each focusing on local roadway issues. The first, by Susan Wood, reported that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission had unanimously agreed to impose a toll on California's State Route 37. The toll aims to generate funding for upcoming enhancements to the highway. These include adding a lane and raising the entire route to combat flooding. The widening project, costing $430 million, and a $6 billion flood prevention initiative are due to start in 2025 and will span multiple years until completion. However, it's important to note that no plans have been formulated to manage potential increased traffic on the Napa River Bridge, a possible alternative route for those wishing to avoid the toll.

Madison Smalstig wrote about commencement of a $29 million repair program targeting nearly 50 miles of Sonoma County roads. The project, planned for this summer, involves paving, sealing cracks, and removing vegetation to address the poor conditions of these roads. Despite over $203 million invested in the past, the overall condition of the county's extensive 1,368-mile road network has only marginally improved. To elevate the roads to a "good" to "very good" standard, the county estimates a necessary investment of $954 million over two decades, amounting to about $47.7 million annually. The topic of road financing issues and the subpar condition of Sonoma County's roads has been a recurring theme on this blog.

Lastly, Amelia Parreira describes a new development in Petaluma. The City Council gave a green light to proceed with the proposed Caulfield crosstown connector bridge. Estimated to cost $48.5 million, the project involves the construction of a 300-foot movable bridge over the Petaluma River. Expected to be operational by 2026, the bridge will improve citywide connectivity and reduce traffic congestion. It will not only serve drivers but also provide a more accessible route for pedestrians and cyclists. Given the longstanding bottleneck at D Street and the peculiar layout near the 101/116 interchange in Southern Petaluma, the construction of this bridge, first proposed in 2006, seems like a logical solution. This highlights the prolonged timelines all too often required to implement meaningful transportation projects in Sonoma County.

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 ...