October 5, 2006 Commission Meeting Minutes
Approved Minutes of October 5, 2006 Commission Meeting
1. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Chair Randolph at the Port of San Francisco Board Room, Ferry Building, San Francisco, California at 1:10 p.m.
2. Roll Call. Present were: Chair Randolph, Vice Chair Halsted, Commissioners Baird (represented by Potter), Bates, Bourgart, Fernekes, Gordon (represented by Alternate Hill), Hicks (represented by Dillabough), Kniss (represented by Alternate Carruthers), Kondylis, Lai-Bitker, Lundstrom, McGlashan, Moy, Nelson, Peskin, Thayer (represented by Alternate Kato) and Waldeck.
Not Present were: Sonoma County (Brown), Speaker of the Assembly (Gibbs), Contra Costa County (Gioia), Governor’s Appointees (Goldzband & Jordan), Department of Finance (Klass), Association of Bay Area Governments (Mossar), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Schwinn), and Napa County (Wagenknecht).
3. Public Comment Period. John Asuncion, President and Founder of the Blue Whale Sailing School, said the school adopted the Alviso Slough in 2000, and has been working with State Lands for the last five and a half years. He has removed 36 tons of garbage at no expense to the taxpayers.
He feels that the Santa Clara representative for the District is not representing all of the public. He has contacted Lieutenant Governor Bustamante about this problem. He has a neighbor that has been polluting San Francisco Bay for over 40 years. Mr. Asuncion’s group has been removing garbage and boats at no cost to the taxpayers.
He is working with State Lands to try and correct this area and he has offered to pay to correct this problem at the South Bay Yacht Club.
Since he is considered a whistleblower, there have been three attempts on his life over this matter.
Commissioner Carruthers said he had been advised by counsel that he should not be speaking to any of Mr. Asuncion’s people relative to cases that may be coming before the Commission. He said he would like it if the Commission’s counsel could advise Mr. Asuncion on what the rules are on how to work through this, and if staff is not providing him with information, he will be happy to talk to them about that.
Mr. Asuncion said he appreciates the comment, but Mr. Boyd is a separate entity from the Foundation. He is a taxpayer and there are many taxpayers who are concerned. He said the issue has fallen on deaf ears, from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, to the City Council in San Jose, and to the Mayor’s office.
Mr. Asuncion said the Commission’s attorney could talk to his attorney. He said this is on BCDC’s watch. It is his hope, that Mr. Travis, as a representative for BCDC, would call his office to set up a meeting.
4. Approval of Minutes of September 7, 2006 Meeting. Chair Randolph entertained a motion to adopt the minutes.
MOTION: Commissioner Lundstrom moved, seconded by Commissioner Halsted to approve the September 7, 2006 minutes. The motion passed with one abstention.
5. Report of the Chair. Chair Randolph provided the following update:
(1) The next BCDC meeting will be held on November 2, 2006. The following matters will be taken up at that meeting:
(2) The Commission will vote on revising some sections of its regulations that implement the California Environmental Quality Act. A public hearing on these revisions will be held today.
(3) The Commission will receive a briefing on the status of planning for the Bay Area’s air transportation system.
(4) The Commission will receive a briefing on the planning that is underway to develop a Bay water trail system.
(5) If the Commission adopts an updated strategic plan today, it will consider a report on the progress being made in carrying out that plan.
(6) Ex-Parte Communications. If any of our commissioners may have inadvertently forgotten to report ex-parte communications whether written or oral, they are invited to report on such communications now.
6. Report of the Executive Director. Mr. Travis said there is an ongoing enforcement case against Mr. Asuncion, and he has advised him and Commissioners in cases like this, to not have ex-parte discussions because this matter may be presented as an enforcement case. Commissioner Carruthers is on the Enforcement Committee. He thanked Commissioner Carruthers for not having ex-parte discussions regarding this matter.
Mr. Travis provided the following report:
a. Personnel. Elsa Gomez was introduced as the newest employee of BCDC.
Max Delaney has been selected to fill one of the two new positions in the dredging unit. In the interest of full disclosure, Max is the youngest son of Richard and Karen Delaney. For some years, Rich served as the Director of the Massachusetts Coastal Management Program and was the Chairman of the Coastal States Organization. Mr. Travis and Mr. Delaney are friends but he did not inform staff of this because he wanted them to be objective in their selection.
Jeff Blanchfield has decided to retire at the end of the calendar year. Jeff has been with BCDC for 35 years, and for over the past two decades, he has been the Chief of Planning. Over the past ten years, he has set up and run a very ambitious program to bring the Bay Plan up-to-date based on the latest scientific information about the Bay, and to expand the Plan so it addresses the most pressing public policy issues of our time. Over the next few months the process will be started to look for a replacement for Jeff.
7. Commission Consideration of Administrative Matters. Mr. McAdam was available to answer any questions on the administrative listing that was provided to the Commissioners. There were no questions.
8. Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to Commission Regulation Sections 10214, 10381, 10500, 10620, 11002, 11003, and 11005. Chair Randolph introduced Jonathan Smith, Chief Counsel, to present changes to Commission Regulation Sections.
Mr. Smith said that on July 7, 2006, the staff mailed a notice, text, and initial statement of reasons for minor changes to seven sections of the Commission’s regulations.
The changes would require the staff to consult with all agencies that have jurisdiction by law when BCDC acts on a permit application, or a permit amendment, or when processing either the adoption of, or an amendment to, a BCDC Plan.
Secondly, they would require the staff to summarize and respond to all significant environmental points raised when BCDC acts on a permit application, and when BCDC adopts or amends one of its plans. BCDC staff already does this, but the regulations are not explicit on these points.
These changes are proposed to respond to the Resources Agency’s request that BCDC review the programs for Consistency with the California Environmental Quality Act’s requirements for certified regulatory programs. No comments have been received on the proposed changes. Written comments will be accepted through October 10, 2006 at 5:00 p.m.
There were no questions or comments from the public.
MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Halsted to close the public hearing.
9. Public Hearing and Vote on Strategic Plan. Chair Randolph explained that this is a public hearing and vote to adopt the updated strategic plan the Commission developed, by consensus, at the Strategic Planning Workshop on September 21, 2006.
Mr. Travis said that on September 21, 2006, members of the Commission, and staff, agreed by consensus on the updated strategic plan. The staff recommends that the Commission: (1) hold a public hearing on the updated plan; (2) at the close of the public hearing, approve the plan with any revisions deemed necessary; (3) direct the executive director to assign a staff member who will have the lead responsibility for carrying out each objective in the plan; and (4) direct the staff to report to the Commission monthly on the progress in achieving the plan’s objectives. Also, the staff has identified the objectives from the past Strategic Plan that have not yet been completed and recommends that these objectives should be incorporated into the updated Strategic Plan.
The public hearing was opened and there were no comments from the public.
MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Lai-Bitker to close the public hearing. Motion carried unanimously.
MOTION: Commissioner McGlashan moved, seconded by Vice Chair Halsted for approval of the strategic plan. Motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Travis pointed out that the strategic plan calls on the Commission to work with other regional agencies on global climate change issues. Commissioner Kondylis attended an ABAG meeting and she noticed that BCDC was not part of their global climate change plan. ABAG contacted BCDC and they will be recognizing BCDC as a full partner. He thanked Commissioner Kondylis for her part in this.
Commissioner Lundstrom suggested that past work should be included at future workshops in order to tie it in with the updated strategic plan.
10. Public Hearing and Vote on State Ballot Propositions 1B, 1C, 1E, 84 and 90. Chair Randolph explained that this is a public hearing and vote on whether to take positions on a number of propositions that are on the California November 7th ballot.
Steve Goldbeck, Assistant Executive Director for Regulation, Legislation and Dredging, provided the staff analysis and recommendations.
The staff recommends that the Commission support the following state bond propositions:
(1) Proposition 1B, Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality and Port Security Bond Act, which would provide $19.93 Billion for state transportation projects. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission estimates that $2 to $4 billion will go to Bay Area projects;
(2) Proposition 1C, Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act would provide $2.85 billion for clean and safe housing for children, low-income senior citizens, the disabled, military veterans and working families. Funds would be used for, among other things, for transit oriented development and infill projects, and for housing for low income people that would reduce pressure for siting residential uses in and over the Bay;
(3) Proposition 1E, Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act would provide $4.09 billion to rebuild and repair state flood control levees, fund local flood control projects and foster flood protection corridors and bypasses. While some of these funds could be used for Bay flood control projects directly, most of it would be spent along the Sacramento and San Joaquin River. If these levees failed there could be adverse impacts to the Bay;
(4) Proposition 84, the Water Quality, Safety and Supply, Flood Control, Natural Resource Protection, Park Improvements Bonds would provide $5.39 billion for various water quality, flood control, natural resources, park and conservation projects in the state. Funds from Proposition 84 provide for a variety of projects to restore, enhance and protect San Francisco Bay, including $138 million for integrated water management plans to address safe drinking water, and protection of water quality and the environment, and $108 million for the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy program.
Staff further recommends that the Commission oppose Proposition 90, Government Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property. Proposition 90 would, among other things, require state and local governments to pay property owners if the government entities pass certain new laws or rules that result in substantial economic losses to the property owner. This would extend beyond real estate to cover any private property, such as boats and automobiles.
Present laws would be exempt as would new laws for public health and safety. However, any future actions by the Commission to amend its laws, policies or regulations that significantly broaden their scope would be subject to the new provisions.
What does that mean? It likely would open the Commission to law suits alleging that applicants had been subject to substantial losses as a result of Commission regulation. For example, if the Commission has adopted the LTMS dredging program after the initiative passed, you could face lawsuits if dredgers felt that imposing dredging windows to protect endangered species had resulted in substantial losses to their businesses. The full impact of Prop 90 is open to interpretation, and there likely would be extensive delays and confusion while the courts interpreted the various definitions and provisions of the initiative.
Prop 90 would also significantly limit government authority to use Eminent Domain take ownership of private property. While the Commission does not use Eminent Domain, other agencies that take actions to protect and improve the Bay do. One example is the construction of water quality treatment facilities.
Prop 90, if passed, likely would hamper the ability of the Commission and other state and local agencies to protect and restore the Bay.
Commissioner Waldeck asked what staff’s position is on Proposition 87. Mr. Goldbeck said that staff did not find a clear analysis showing the benefit to the Bay that drove them to believe that the Commission should take a position.
Commissioner Nelson said the potential benefits of the transportation bond are clear, but in a couple of areas there is the potential for action in the Commission’s jurisdiction, and asked if staff has taken a look at these issues. Mr. Goldbeck said the bond is not specific as to the exact projects that will be constructed, and therefore staff cannot look at each project that will accrue under this bond. The general categories look like the kind of things the Commission could consider, and nothing in the proposition would require the Commission to approve something that it otherwise could not under its law and policies.
Commissioner Lundstrom said she was surprised that staff took a position on 1C because she feels this is a tenuous nexus to the Bay. She would rather see the Commission focus on very direct analysis to the Bay. Mr. Travis said staff has been spending a great deal of time over the past few years ensuring that BCDC is working in partnership with the other regional agencies. The main component of this proposition is sustainable communities in the Bay Area. Work force housing is absolutely critical to the long-term viability of the Bay Region.
Commissioner Lundstrom suggested that this should have been part of the staff recommendation because BCDC has been on record for smart growth and this would provide a stronger nexus.
Commissioner McGlashan said that the intent on Proposition 87 is to engage in a tax that would result in cleaner energies and fuels. He said the Bay is downstream from all run-offs and he wondered if there is a nexus with the Bay in supporting this proposition. Mr. Goldbeck said in looking through the analysis of the bill, staff could not find anything that showed there would actually be reductions in pollutant loadings to San Francisco Bay. Commissioner McGlashan said Marin County is considering endorsing this initiative and the Commission may also want to consider endorsing it.
Commissioner Carruthers said if someone wanted to make a motion to include Proposition 87 he would support it. Mr. Travis said the Commission cannot take a position on this today because it was not noticed for action.
Commissioner Kondylis said Proposition 90 is of great concern to her and she recommended that the Commission somehow inform people of Prop 90.
Commissioner Bates said he believes the Commission has been specifically requested, by the California League of Cities, not to join in opposition of Prop 90 because it could be more damaging.
Mr. Travis said the strategy of the opponents is that they don’t want to draw attention to it, but the advertising in favor of Prop 90 has drawn a lot of attention. He believes it is appropriate for BCDC to add its voice in officially opposing Prop 90.
Commissioner Nelson said that Prop 90 is a broad sweeping, poorly defined measure and it is very difficult for the Commission’s attorneys to really understand what the implications would be. His concern is that this proposition raises the risk of putting agencies in an absolute no win situation and will paralyze regulatory agencies.
Chair Randolph commented on Prop 87 and said he feels there is probably a nexus with the Bay in terms of pollution. The debate is more about the proposal contained in Prop 87 being a desirable way of addressing this issue. He asked staff if there is a nexus with the Bay that is a favorable one, but also is the policy mechanism that is being proposed one that the Commission would want to adopt?
Commissioner Kondylis asked if press releases will be issued on the Commission’s actions. Mr. Travis said he will do all that he can to ensure that the Commission’s position is known.
There were no comments from the public.
MOTION: Commissioner Peskin moved, seconded by Commissioner Hill to close the public hearing. Motion carried unanimously.
MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Vice chair Halsted to approve the staff’s recommendation to support State Bond Propositions 1C, 1E and Proposition 84 and that the Commission opposes Proposition 90. Motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Carruthers asked that his vote note the connection between 1C, and specifically, the concept of smart growth as was generalized in the staff recommendation.
MOTION: Vice Chair Halsted moved, seconded by Commissioner Hill to approve the staff recommendation for support of State Bond Proposition 1B. Motion carried with five abstentions and one nay vote.
Commissioner Bourgart mentioned that his agency’s counsel cautioned him, as a state employee, to refrain from the advocacy on state ballot propositions. He noted that Propositions 1B, 1C and 1E are consistent with the Governor’s strategic growth plan.
Commissioner Kondylis stated that ABAG has an official definition of smart growth which are on laminated cards should anyone be interested.
Commissioners Potter, Dillabough, Nelson and Kato said they were given the same counsel which leads them to abstain on the motion as well.
Commissioner Bates said it is important to focus on the implications for this Commission on the impact of Proposition 90, which basically means when the Commission tries to enforce its laws and regulations it will have to pay polluters to stop polluting.
MOTION: Commissioner Waldeck moved, seconded by Commissioner Peskin to have staff analyze Proposition 87 for the next meeting. Motion carried unanimously.
MOTION: Commissioner Moy moved, seconded by Commissioner Lai-Bitker to consider Proposition 1A for analysis by the staff. Motion carried unanimously.
11. Briefing on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Pedestrian/Bicycle Access Study. Chair Randolph explained that this is a briefing on the findings of a study undertaken to determine whether it is feasible to provide access for pedestrians and bicyclists on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Mr. McAdam will provide background on this matter and introduce representatives from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission who will be providing the briefing.
Mr. McAdam introduced Doug Johnson of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Mr. Johnson will brief the Commissioners on the desirability to put public access across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
Mr. Johnson said this study is the third in a series of studies that has been addressing this issue for the last ten years. He provided a brief history on the previous studies. The bridge has had a 20% increase in traffic over the last 10 years. The bridge has recently gone through major seismic work by BATA.
Studies have gone on since 1998, and at that time, CalTrans undertook a public access feasibility study relating to the BCDC permit issued for the seismic project.
CalTrans and CHP did not support the 1998 study’s stakeholder committee recommendation for a non-barrier separation alternative.
Another study was done in 2001 to examine the issue of the safety of using the shoulder for a bike and pedestrian access. The results from this study were not found to be conclusive and CalTrans and CHP continued to oppose any alternative that would have safety issues related to a non-barrier separated, on-deck access.
Therefore, the current study has begun. Study partners include: CalTrans, CHP, MCBC, East Bay Bicycle Coalition, CCTA, BCDC, TAM, Bay Trail, and East Bay Regional Parks. To date a good amount of work has been completed, including a description of the existing conditions, completion of the Travel Forecasting and Analysis report, as well as a description of potential improvements.
As a result of the Task 3 Traffic Analysis Report two requirements would need to be met: (1) based on the previous years of study there would have to be a positive barrier between bicycles and pedestrians and auto traffic; and (2) withhold capacity in the peak direction at the peak hour so as not to take away the entire shoulder on both decks for this effort.
The off-deck path, which was studied in 1998, showed to be very expensive. With the idea of the moveable barrier, a three lane peak direction capacity could be maintained. Other alternatives were looked at, such as, a separate barrier lane on the decks and by rotating traffic between the two decks there would always be one barrier-separated bike path and the one lane of traffic behind the barriers. Unfortunately, this type of a long-narrow travel lane all the way across the bridge is not considered to be a safe and desirable alignment. Alternatives which are more financially feasible seem to have serious design and safety concerns.
The preliminary capital costs for the moveable barrier is $50 million, the 5-foot pathways are $160 million and the off-deck path is $415 million. It was noted that these are preliminary figures.
The project schedule is as follows: (1) Alternatives Screening & Evaluation Report (November); (2) Summary Evaluation Report (December); and Final Project Initiation Document (January 2007).
The hope is to give BCDC a final report in January 2007. CalTrans began the six lane bridge/toll plaza expansion feasibility and cost assessment in September 2006 and MTC/BATA is completing work on the paving project on the Bridge and should be completed soon.
Commissioner Kondylis asked how the barriers would be moved. Mr. Johnson said there would be two machines, one for each deck. Ms. Kondylis complemented CalTrans on their shifting of attitude toward bicycle and pedestrian access on this bridge.
Chair Randolph asked about the time factor and process involved on the moveable barrier. Mr. Johnson said the exact impacts are still being determined, but he believes it is an hour for each deck. Chair Randolph noted that this would be a significant disruption to traffic flow.
Commissioner Bourgart asked if there are any origin destination studies or surveys being performed as part of this study, in order to determine how many actual users there would be on the bicycle paths. Mr. Johnson said there isn’t a sense of reliability about the use of studies in terms of estimating demand.
Commissioner Carruthers asked if substantial physical changes in the Bridge would be necessary to expand the Bridge to six lanes. Mr. Johnson said CalTrans District for Planning is doing the six lane analysis study. His understanding is that shifting to six lane operations on the Bridge would not require a great deal of physical improvement to the Bridge.
Commissioner Carruthers said he is trying to understand the relationship between the alternative concepts and the six lane Bridge. He said if there are three lanes going westbound in the morning, would that leave three lanes going eastbound. Mr. Johnson said there wouldn’t need to be the use of all three lanes eastbound and this is where the moveable alternative barrier would come into play. This is related to the six lane configuration, rather than the four lane bridge configuration.
Chair Randolph said on the utilization factor it would be useful to have some sort of matrix for utilization.
Nicole Portocarrero, Executive Director of the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition, said in 1997 BCDC issued the permit for the seismic retrofit of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and as part of the permit, the Commission found that a bike path across the bridge would maximize the project’s public access benefits. She said part of the permit language published in the 1998 Public Access Feasibility Study says that if another project were proposed for the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge with a cost over $305 million, the Commission would likely request the Committee to provide a Class 1 top across the bridge which would link with the Bay Trail and East side of the Bay as part of the project.
The bike advocates in the Bay Area are dissatisfied with the current Richmond-San Rafael Bridge public access study, as it has proven ineffective in identifying safety improvement for bikes and pedestrians and she highly encourages that the PID study be redirected towards focusing on bike-ped access and safety.
Robert Raburn, with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition said ten years ago he stood before this Commission and held up a copy of the 1956 issue of the California Highways and Public Works Magazine that showed an image of the bridge under construction. It also included the last time that the public had access on the bay in this span and that was aboard the ferry.
In the 1998 study BCDC made comments that called for improvements to the curb lane to make it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
In the ensuing 10 years there have been over 7,000 bicyclists die on California streets and roads. This points to the greater need for the simple and inexpensive access and safety recommendations that were originally recommended in the 1998 study. BCDC’s comments called for new signs alerting drivers to the presence of bicyclists and pedestrians.
Unfortunately the public agencies in the Bay Area have been too busy saying “no” to access, rather than seriously considering them. The current study has proven useless in the identification of safety improvements that could prevent fatal collisions. The study is focused on how to increase the capacity of the Bridge for vehicles.
The proposal to increase the capacity of the Bridge compromises motorists’ safety by removing a breakdown lane that could also be used for maintenance and enforcement. He asked for BCDC’s support for the short-term installation of way finding signs and the freeway bikes use shoulder only signs. He also asked for support for path access through the Chevron property. He asked that BCDC direct the current study to focus on bicycle and pedestrian access and safety.
Deb Hubsmith, Advocacy Director for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition thanked BCDC for recommending the studies in the first place. The issue for public access for the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge has been ongoing since the Bridge was created. In 1974 public access was going to be provided to the Bridge, but then the drought came, and there was a need to put the water pipeline there which prevented the access.
Until the seismic retrofit project started in the late nineties, there was a 12 foot shoulder that was there. She is very concerned about the study that is going on right now. This is the third study that has taken place since 1977 and we still do not have anything conclusive that is coming forward.
What she is seeing is tremendous delays, and CalTrans is now utilizing this public access study, as a need to do studies that have now caused them to say that they need the third lane for cars. It is time to focus back on public access.
She is also concerned that the two previous studies have been sitting on a shelf and have not been used in the current study. There is something wrong when the costs go up over 400 percent and she asked for BCDC’s help to reign this study back in.
She asked BCDC to ask CalTrans to prioritize low cost improvements that will improve access to the bridge, including the way finding signage, the bikes use only signage, and the path through Chevron. It is her hope that BCDC will direct CalTrans to identify a wide range of low cost improvements and get the numbers right, and to look at the past studies so that we are not just continuing to use public money to create studies that we never utilize in order to move forward with something that will serve the public.
Maureen Gaffney, with ABAG Bay Trail, said the Bay Trail has as one of its major goals, bike and pedestrian access across all seven toll bridges. Access is currently provided on three bridges. The Bay Trail staff is on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge project. Access to this Bridge is extremely important to the mission of providing non-vehicular access around and across the Bay.
It is her sincere hope that an implemental solution will be forthcoming and the Bay Trail looks forward to continuing to work with the Technical Advisory Committee to achieve this goal.
Commissioner McGlashan said it is essential for the County of Marin to avail itself of every possible non-car option. The county is choking in gridlock and car traffic, and it is killing the efforts to do good infill and affordable housing projects. The auto dependent lifestyle hampers the ability to do the ethical thing as a county and to shrink its ecological footprint. Rails, shuttles, bike paths, and pedestrian ways are critical for the long-term health and quality of life. He echoed the voices from the people who spoke earlier. He hopes that BCDC does not back down from its vision of public access in deference to investments for three lane automobile support.
The stakes are extraordinarily high in Marin in trying to find competitive ways to offer options that are not automobile dependent. The bike trail could contribute to lower traffic in the future, or at least enough to moderate some of the claims by CalTrans that it desperately needs the third lane.
Commissioner Carruthers said he noticed in the charts that were presented, that the amount of backup going in either direction, morning and evening, is about the same. So, it is not clear to him what substantive benefits are looked for from these changes that are being considered, and how it would impact on the opportunity to have pedestrian bicycle access across the bridge. He would like to have more clarification of this.
Two areas of concern are (1) the nature of the study itself; and (2) prior commitments regarding signage on the use of the bridge now. He would like to have a report from staff on what the condition is relative to the signage and does BCDC have a role to play in this.
Commissioner Waldeck said the moveable barrier seems to make the most sense and he hopes that this project is moved forward in such a way to come up with a solution that can be done because it is too easy to come up with reasons not to do it.
Commissioner Lundstrom said a number of studies show that there will still be congestion in 20 years no matter what is done. CalTrans is looking at reconfiguring the toll plaza to become more efficient to relieve the backup. The latest study conducted, brings out the statement of recommending a positive barrier and this is very important. The present study is important because it shows that there must be a safety barrier in place.
Commissioner Bates asked if there would be sufficient room to have bicyclists going in both directions. Mr. Johnson said the CalTrans design standard for the minimum width for a two way path is 8 feet, and the traffic lane as it is currently striped is 12 feet wide, so there would be more than adequate room to have at least a minimum standard path, if not wider.
Commissioner Lai-Bitker asked if the study includes the signage issue that was raised earlier by Mr. Raburn. Mr. Johnson said he will speak to Mr. Raburn after the meeting because he is not sure what signage he is referring to. Commissioner Lai-Bitker said the Commission needs to look at its role and how BCDC can help in addressing the safety and bicyclists in terms of signage.
Vice Chair Halsted said she thinks the Commission should know how it can best address the signage and the concerns that have been raised. It is important to look at the small practical issues, as well as the large hardware issues.
Commissioner Bates said the Bridge is currently two lanes in both directions and he doesn’t know that getting another lane will make a difference. Mr. Johnson said there is the argument that you may release one bottleneck. CalTrans, in their study, will be looking at this more closely.
Commissioner McGlashan said he would like to see the BCDC Commission step forward and speak aggressively in support of the public access in the short term and take the shoulders now. And then as the studies continue, decide whether we can back-up the $50 million moveable barrier option with the lane shift in the future.
Chair Randolph said if there is no matrix now for what the actual utilization would be, perhaps that can be looked at.
Commissioner Nelson noted that if at some point in the future the bridge may or may not go to three lane usage, this would not prevent the short-term experiment of focusing on what the utilization of bikes and pedestrians are, and near term solutions would have real value.
Vice Chair Halsted said perhaps it would be helpful if Commissioner Bates and McGlashan would like to join her in meeting with some of the MTC staff to discuss this issue.
Commissioner Bourgart said with respect to the matrix on usage, he wondered if there might be some bridges elsewhere in the United States that are in some way comparable where statistics can be reviewed. It might also be useful to do some study about travel times. Vehicle hours of delay are an abstract concept for most people, but they can relate to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc.
12. New Business. There was no new business.
13. Old Business. There was no old business.
14. Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner Kondylis, seconded by Commissioner Bourgart the meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.
Approved, with no corrections, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of November 2, 2006
R. SEAN RANDOLPH, Chair