AC Transit holding board meeting in El Cerrito tonight

AC Transit buses drive along 20th St. in downtown Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

AC Transit buses drive along 20th St. in downtown Oakland, Calif., on June 1, 2016. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

AC Transit is holding this week’s board meeting in the council chamber at El Cerrito City Hall at 5 p.m. tonight, July 13.

Here is the announcement from the transit agency, including highlights of what is on the agenda.

The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) Board of Directors wishes to remind Alameda and Contra Costa County residents that the third in a series of traveling summer Board meetings will take place in El Cerrito tonight.

When: Wednesday, July 13

Time: 5:00 p.m.

Where: El Cerrito City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, CA

Wednesday’s Board meeting will include a presentation by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on the Core Capacity Transit Study, a multi-agency effort focused on increasing transit capacity to the San Francisco core. Other agenda items under consideration by the Board include:

· An agreement with the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) to administer the Affordable Student Transit Pass Pilot Program

· A report on transit supportive elements for city-sponsored ACTC Comprehensive Investments Plan Projects

· An update on Richmond’s Division 3 Rehabilitation Project

The board agenda is online at http://www.actransit.org/about-us/board-of-directors/board-memos/


Overnight closure of I-80 in Richmond and San Pablo set for June 18

Interstate 80 will be closed in both directions between Barrett Avenue in Richmond and San Pablo Dam Road in San Pablo from 11 p.m. June 18 to 7 a.m. June 19, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority is warning.
The closure allows work on the major project to upgrade the congested San Pablo Dam Road/I-80 interchange.
“These closures will enable crews to grade (properly adjust and align) falsework recently constructed for a new pedestrian overcrossing at Riverside Avenue, which will replace the current overcrossing.When complete, the new overcrossing will extend across Amador Street, enhancing safety for Riverside Elementary School students and the community.”
A map of local detour routes around the closed portion is below.


For more details call the project hotline at 510-277-0444 or visit http://ccta.net/SanPabloDamRoad. Construction updates will also be posted to Twitter at @i80spdr.


Happy birthday to the original Carquinez Bridge

The Carquinez Bridge opened on May 21, 1927. Here are some vintage images from the era and a 2011 Nilda Rego column on the origin of the bridge.

carquinez opening 1927 californiahighway

carquinez bridge opening may 1927

How the Carquinez Bridge came to be
By Nilda Rego
Nov. 13, 2011

Aven J. Hanford may have been in his early 20s, but he already owned three rather successful grocery stores, one in Vallejo, one in Oakland and the third in Alameda.
However, there was a problem. Hanford trucked his own merchandise, buying from a farmer or a jobber and delivering the products to his stores. It would take him a full day to get from the Vallejo store to the other two. Not only was his time consumed, but the long, arduous trip was wearing out his truck.

It was 1917. There were no bridges. Hanford bought a barge and would go across the Carquinez Strait in his truck, taking along a few passengers to help defray the costs.

Also traveling the same route day after day was Oscar H. Klatt, a young salesman for a San Francisco wholesale grocery company. The two met and determined to find a better way to get from Vallejo to other East Bay cities.

They came up with the idea of a ferry and started the Rodeo-Vallejo Ferry Company, which was a good idea, except for the fact there was a war going on. All the shipyards were way too busy to build a ferry. So if the two couldn’t get a new boat, what about a used one? Hanford heard of a little steamer called the Issaquah that ferried people around Lake Washington near Seattle.

Hanford went up to Seattle, bought the Issaquah and had it refurbished. Then he hired a crew, and even though he had no seafaring experience, he took command of the ferry. It was a harrowing trip. Hanford sailed the Issaquah through a fierce storm with a crew that was close to mutiny. But he made it.

It was a very popular ferry. Hanford gave up the grocery business. The company bought more boats. But there were always long lines of cars waiting to board. Sometimes, people had to wait for three hours, and the lines kept getting longer.

Hanford and Klatt realized a bridge was the answer. Then they heard that someone else was seeking a franchise to build a bridge across the Carquinez Strait. Hanford went looking for a lawyer and found A.F. Bray, of Martinez, who later became the presiding justice of the District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

Bray suggested that Hanford ask the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors for a franchise because, according to the law, the governing county was the one situated on the “left bank descending the stream or arm of the Bay.” Hanford and Klatt got the franchise and organized the American Bridge Company. Hanford became the president of the company. The stock sold rapidly. However, both Hanford and Klatt had to mortgage their homes and all their personal property to add to the earnings of the ferry company for the construction fund.

Construction on the Carquinez Bridge started in February 1923 and was completed in May 1927. Hanford never got to see the completion of his project. He died at the age of 40 at his home in Berkeley.

His obituary in the Oakland Tribune reported “His death was caused by a brain hemorrhage due to overwork.” Klatt took over Hanford’s job as president to complete the bridge.

carquinez bridge opening logo


Carquinez Bridge 1946


Crockett: Lane reductions and ramp closures scheduled on Carquinez, Zampa bridges

Caltrans has issued the following announcement about Interstate 80 resurfacing work that will mean Lane reductions and ramp closures on the Carquinez, Zampa bridges tonight through May 26:

Nighttime Lane/Ramp Closures Scheduled for Interstate 80 (I-80) Carquinez Bridge –
May 19 through May 26

Crockett/Vallejo, Calif. – Caltrans is conducting work for a project to resurface Interstate 80 (I-80) across the Carquinez and Zampa Bridges between Crockett in Contra Costa County and Vallejo in Solano County.

The following closures will impact I-80 eastbound and westbound across the Carquinez and Zampa Bridges nightly:

• I-80 EB and WB will have lane reductions from Thursday May 19 at 8:00 PM until Friday May 20 at 5:00 AM.

• I-80 EB and WB will have lane reductions from Friday May 20 at 11:00 PM until Saturday May 21 at 10:00 AM.

• I-80 EB and WB will have lane reductions from Monday May 23 through Thursday May 26 from 8:00 PM until 5:00 AM the following day.

• The on ramp to I-80 eastbound at Pomona Street in Crockett may be closed intermittently for the same time periods. Motorists will detour to Cummings Skyway.

More information is available at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/carquinezzampabridgesmaint/

Motorists should drive with caution through the work zone. Get real-time traffic on Caltrans Quickmaps: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ Or follow Caltrans on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CaltransD4. Caltrans appreciates your patience as we work to maintain California’s highways. Please #BeWorkZoneAlert.


San Pablo Dam Road/I-80 interchange work described in video

The long-awaited work on the interchange at Interstate 80 and San Pablo Dam Road is described in a video from the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, which says:

The Interstate 80/San Pablo Dam Road interchange will offer improved access between residential areas north and east of the interchange and Bay Area employment centers. Improvements will address current major delays and limited room for pedestrians and bicyclists, and the project will improve access for everyone. Phase 1 will be completed by in Spring 2017.

Learn more: http://www.ccta.net/sanpablodamroad

The first phase of work is expected to be completed by spring 2017, according to CCTA.


Interstate 80 lane closures in West County planned today for Caltrans road repair

Via Bay City News Service:<img src="http://www.ibabuzz.com/westcounty/files/2016/03/interstate-80-300×197.jpg" alt="Traffic moves along Interstate 80 in Richmond. Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)
There will be rolling lane closures today on Interstate Highway 80 in Contra Costa County due to repair work, according to the California Department of Transportation.
The rolling lane closures will occur from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. between El Cerrito and Crockett.
The work is to repair potholes on the highway in both the eastbound and westbound lanes.
Crews anticipate working on the highway between the Carquinez Bridge and the Alameda and Contra Costa county line near Central Avenue in El Cerrito, according to Caltrans.
Multiple lanes of traffic may be closed at a time, and Caltrans plans closures to be in the non-commute direction outside of commuting hours.


Crockett: C&H will douse the lights on its famous sign for an hour

Crockette American Sugar

C&H Sugar will turn off the large sign at its refinery in Crockett for an hour on March 19 in the name of promoting sustainability during the World Wildlife Fund’s annual Earth Hour.
The company, which installed lower wattage LED bulbs in the sign last year, issued this announcement:


C&H Sugar refinery joins thousands of landmarks around
the globe commemorating 10th annual Earth Hour

Crockett, CA (March 18, 2016) – On Saturday, the C&H Sugar refinery in Crockett will take part in the 10th annual Earth Hour by turning off its iconic “C and H Pure Cane Sugar” sign for one hour starting at 8:30 pm.

Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement in which people and businesses turn off lights to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and to inspire positive environmental action in their communities. An initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour has grown since its inception in 2007 to engage residents, businesses and governments in more than 7,000 cities and 172 countries across the globe.

“Earth Hour’s commitment to a more sustainable planet is consistent with our values and efforts here at the refinery, especially when it comes to conserving energy, waste and water,” said C&H Sugar Refinery Manager Derwood Brady. “We hope that our participation will encourage others across the Bay Area to join us in continuing to make sustainability a priority, not just during Earth Hour but throughout the year.”

Last spring, the C&H Sugar refinery, owned by ASR Group, replaced 900 40-watt incandescent bulbs in the sign’s 22-foot tall “C” and “H” letters with eco-friendly LED light bulbs that require 80 percent less energy, resulting in an annual reduction of 90,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

The C&H sign celebrates its 60th anniversary as a Bay Area landmark in April. The refinery in Crockett has been in operation for 110 years. It employs 455 people and produces 14 percent of the nation’s cane sugar.


West County can give transportation priority input at call-in event tonight

West County are being asked to help shape transportation priorities in the county by taking part in a Telephone Town Hall call-in event from 6-7 p.m. today, Nov. 12.
To join the discussion and learn planning efforts now taking place, call toll-free to 877-229-8493 and enter access code 112664 when prompted.

The event is hosted by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee.

High-capacity transit provides substantially higher passenger capacity than local transit. It is the type of transit that people often use for their daily commute to work. This 15-month study will evaluate public transportation options and identify funding opportunities to improve the quality and effectiveness of transit in West County and expand alternatives to driving on congested streets and highways.

During the Telephone Town Hall Call-In Event, you’ll learn more about the Study and concurrent planning efforts. Experts will be on hand to answer questions. You’ll also be asked to respond to a few quick polling questions through the touch of a button on your phone.

The Telephone Town Hall Call-In Event will be the first of several opportunities to provide your input. The first round of public meetings will be held in February, with a second round anticipated in Spring 2016.
To stay involved with the project, sign up to get future emails about upcoming ways to participate, visit www.WestCountyTransitStudy.com.


When Berkeley liked Ike: Presidential candidate made East Bay stops this week in 1952

D. D. Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower is met by a crowd of people, including many UC Berkeley students, at the Berkeley railroad station. (Oakland Tribune Photo)

D. D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower, the Republican nominee challenging Adlai Stevenson, made some brief remarks in his Berkeley whistlestop appearance. (Oakland Tribune Photo)

Republican presidential nominee Dwight Eisenhower was given a welcome befitting a war hero by Berkeley residents this week in 1952. The Oct. 8 appearance was part of a whistlestop swing by train through the East Bay on the way to a speech at the Cow Palace by the acclaimed World War II general. Other stops included Vallejo, Crockett and Richmond, along with a rally at City Hall Plaza in Oakland before he went via motorcade across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco and a scheduled speech at the Cow Palace. The appearances were partly a response to a similar trip through the area by Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson.
Accompanying Eisenhower on his trip through the area were California Gov. Earl Warren and U.S. Sen. William F. Knowland, whose family owned the Oakland Tribune.

eisenhower signs
Signs displayed during Eisenhower’s Berkeley visit included “UC likes Ike” and “Let it rain, let it pour, Ike will lead us safely now, he always has before.”

tribune ike 1952 a


San Pablo: Why Doctor’s Medical Center hasn’t closed yet — a commentary by Dr. Sharon Drager

Why DMC Hasn’t Closed Yet

By Dr. Sharon Drager

If money were the only consideration, DMC would have closed years ago. Its financial challenges are no different than they have been. Hospitals close all the time; however, except for rural hospitals, there are usually other hospitals in the community to pick up the slack. So when Los Medanos closed, Sutter Delta was just down the road; the community still had a hospital and most of the medical staff was intact. The situation in West County is different, and everyone knows it. That’s why there’s a reluctance to see it close. DMC is not just the only public hospital in West County, it’s the ONLY hospital except for a Kaiser facility that has to take anyone who shows up in the emergency room, but is not open to the public for anything else.

Hospitals are ecosystems, not just inpatient facilities. In West County a medical community rich in specialists has grown up around DMC and cares for a community that has a high burden of chronic illness. So, when the hospital closes, so does the Cancer Center (radiation and chemotherapy), a busy Wound Care Center, advanced heart attack care, advanced comprehensive care for dialysis patients and comprehensive care for surrounding nursing homes, among other services.

Physicians won’t practice for long in offices surrounding a dead hospital. Many surgical specialists cluster around hospitals, which are their work places. They will disappear form West County and won’t be replaced.

The Hospital Council’s assertions that an Urgent Care Center will fulfill the needs of the community are disingenuous. Yes, many patients visiting any ER can be treated as outpatients, but many require advanced imaging, consultations and fairly aggressive treatment to allow them to go home. Urgent Care centers associated with hospital systems do can work like this but not small stand-alone units attached only to primary care clinics.

West County is in a relatively isolated position for an urban community as far as heart attack care is concerned. Without DMC, heart attack patients whether they’re Kaiser members or non-Kaiser members and whether they live in Richmond or Kensington have to be transported to Concord or Oakland. A 10-minute trip becomes an eternity.

The new hospital model for West County residents will be strictly 20th century, not up to date. Patients who require inpatient care will be treated episodically at whatever institution has room for them, often with a new set of specialists every admission. Kaiser has a vaunted coordinated care system, which applies only to its members. The default mode for non-members at Kaiser hospitals is “treat and street.” Pat Frost can argue that no one has yet died in an ambulance, but I know complicated patients who died because they were shipped to unfamiliar hospitals.

Finally, while I hope the community will consider a parcel tax, it is grossly unfair to tell West County residents that they don’t merit a hospital because they didn’t support another parcel tax. No one, including the editorial board of the Contra Costa Times, has ever suggested that residents of Walnut Creek or San Ramon or Antioch don’t deserve a hospital because they don’t pay a property tax. I guess those people are just luckier.

Dr. Sharon Drager is a vascular surgery doctor in San Pablo.