California Highway Headlines for December 2016

Another year has come to an end. 2016 has been a tumultuous year, with seemingly a larger share of significant deaths (although perhaps it wasn’t 2016’s fault), a transformative election (from California’s point of view, not transformative in a good way), and significantly decreased funding for highway repairs and improvement (although there were some bright notes at the end of the year). Here are the headlines from the last month of the year:

  • New freeway connectors help reduce border congestion. Construction crews just wrapped up a year-long project that will help reduce congestion at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Three freeway connectors that link SR 905 and SR 11 to the northbound South Bay Expressway opened to traffic today.
  • Richmond-San Rafael bridge corridor work to be topic of open houses. A pair of open houses on access improvement work planned for the portion of Interstate 580 along the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge corridor will be held next week in Richmond and San Rafael. The Richmond open house is 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 8 in the council chamber at City Hall, 450 Civic Center Plaza. The San Rafael meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 9 at San Rafael City Hall, 1400 Fifth Ave.
  • Caltrans outlines Riverside, San Bernardino District 8 freeway projects in next 5 years. A list and a map showing 20 Southwest Riverside County Caltrans District 8 freeway projects either underway or planned for the next five years now available from the district offices in San Bernardino were handed out at a Riverside County District 3 Municipal Advisory Council meeting in Anza Nov. 9. The information is available on request from residents in Riverside and San Bernardino County. Caltrans District 8 is a part of the state transportation agency’s efforts to be more transparent with their projects. The district offices are located at 464 W. 4th Street in San Bernardino or and can be reached by calling (909) 383-4646.

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California Highway Headlines for November 2016

userpic=rough-roadIt’s been a rough month, with a crazy election, loads of talk about infrastructure possibilities, the passage of Measure M here in Southern California. But I’ve still been accumulating headlines, so enjoy. I hope to do a page update during my “shutdown break” between the Jolly Fat Guy holiday and the Jolly Drunk Guys holiday.

  • Highway 99 lane expansion in Stockton. Caltrans may be celebrating a 4-mile expansion on Highway 99 in Stockton, but drivers will be the ones celebrating with less traffic and a faster travel time. “It’s been a difficult project, but great to have it done,” said Caltrans Director Malcom Dougherty. “(Hwy. 99 will) make it less congested and safer for people traveling in and out of Stockton.” The expansion goes from the Crosstown Freeway near Hwy. 4 to Arch Road in Stockton.
  • In-depth: Are I-580 express lanes easing traffic?. It is the topic that everyone in the Bay Area talks about (actually complains about)–traffic. Drivers spend hours on the road, just trying to get from one place to another, even when the destination is not that far away. Caltrans launched several new projects this year to try and get things moving. On Interstate 580, officials said you can get there faster if you pay the price.
  • Crumbling roads in SF, Oakland ranked worst in nation. To experience America’s crumbling infrastructure firsthand, look no farther than San Francisco and Oakland — ranked this week by a transportation research group as being home to the worst roads of any large urban region in the country. The Bay Area cities and their surrounding neighborhoods topped the list for having poor roadways for the second consecutive year, according to a study conducted by the Washington, D.C., group Trip.

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California Highway Headlines for October 2016

userpic=roadgeekingOctober. The start of the last quarter of the calendar year. By now, you’re sick of the election coverage, so let’s turn instead to something more interesting in the news — highway headlines!

  • How toll-lane network could cover five counties. As the 91 widening nears completion, Riverside County transportation officials are gearing up for their next major freeway expansion – adding toll lanes on Interstate 15. The Riverside County Transportation Commission recently marked two big milestones with the long-planned project to add two toll lanes in each direction on a 14.6-mile stretch of the 15 from Cajalco Road in Corona to Highway 60 at the San Bernardino County line.
  • Audio: California gives LA control over freeway-facing billboards: What’s next?. A state ban on billboards near freeways was recently lifted for a busy section of the 110 Freeway downtown, placing authority over roadside visual clutter in the hands of the Los Angeles City Council. Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1373 into law on Friday. The bill, by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, removes Caltrans authority over new standard and digital billboards for the east side of the 110 Freeway from Interstate 10 north to 8th Street.
  • Roadshow: Montague Expressway carpool lane gap to be filled. Q There’s a stretch on Montague Expressway in Milpitas without a carpool lane. When will that be fixed?

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September Headlines about California Highways

userpic=roadgeekingNow that the September updates are past, it is time to start collecting headlines again. Here are the headlines about California Highways for September:

  • Work to Widen SR-91 Moves Into Full Gear, New Bridges Part of Project. Work is ongoing on a $1.4 billion project to widen State Route 91 from the Riverside County line in Corona to Pierce Street just past Interstate 15 interchange in Riverside. The stretch of freeway from Anaheim to Riverside ranks as among the nation’s worst commutes because of heavy traffic. Also, SR-91 is approaching 50 years old and the traffic demands now placed on it far exceed its original design from the early 1960s.
  • Cajon Pass Commuter: No plans to reconnect SR 39 to SR 2. As I mentioned last week, a reader prompted me to contact Caltrans about whether or not Highway 39 in the San Gabriel Mountains might be a future possible alternate route for Cajon Pass commuters in the event of the closure of Interstate 15.
  • Metering lights may help untangle 101 snarls. There’s a tired sports cliché that goes something like, “You can’t stop him; you can only hope to contain him.” That’s pretty much the situation when it comes to gridlock on Highway 101 in Marin County. It’s not improving anytime soon — those cars aren’t going anywhere — so the only thing left to do is try to manage it and make it somewhat less miserable.
  • Dignitaries celebrate $16.7 million in Highway 29 improvements in St. Helena. Local dignitaries and Caltrans representatives gathered in St. Helena Thursday morning for a ceremonial ribbon cutting celebrating improvements to Highway 29. The project included a new center turn lane to make left turns safer, wider shoulders, new railroad crossings, new underground utility lines to replace unsightly power poles, a long-planned traffic signal at Grayson Avenue, and safety improvements for cyclists.

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Changes to the California Highways Web Site – July / August 2016

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Labor Day weekend. A traditional time for me to do computer updates, be it writing code while on vacation in Hawaii listening to the Jerry Lewis Telethon when I was in college, or doing updates in the early morning while on vacation (while looking at I-15 in front of me, near one of the most spectacular bridges on that route). Hopefully, these will take less time than the last batch. [Update: They didn’t, which is why I’m finishing things post-vacation at my desk, listening to the music I picked up on vacation.]

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers (which are posted to the roadgeeking category at the “Observations Along The Road” and to the California Highways Facebook group) as well as any backed up email changes. I also reviewed the the AAroads forum. This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(1), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail) from Mike Ballard(2), Coatimundi @ AAroads(3), Concrete Bob @ AAroads(4), DTComposer @ AARoads(5), Jonathan Ledbetter(6), Sparker @ AARoads(7), Scott Presnel (ACSAMapCollector) @ AARoads(8), Quillz @ AARoads(9), Max Rockatansky at AAroads(10), Joe Rouse at AAroads(11), and Joel Windmiller(12): Route 1(7,8,5), Route 2(1,8), Route 4(1), I-5(1,7,11), I-8(6), I-10(1), Route 11(1), Route 14(2,11), I-15(1,7), Route 17(1), Route 29(1), Route 37(1), LRN 43(7), Route 45(7), Route 49(1,11), US 50(11), Route 58(7,11), Route 59(7), Route 65(7,4), Former US 66(1,7), Route 76(1), I-80(1,12), Route 85(1), US 97(6), Former US 99 and current Route 99(1,7), US 101(1,7,9), Route 102(7,11), Route 107(7), Route 116(1), Route 120(1,7), Route 140(7), LRN 161(7), Route 167(7), Route 172(7), Route 180(7), LRN 190(7), I-210(7), Route 262(7), Route 263(1), Route 271(7), Route 276(3), US 299/Route 299(1,10), Route 371(1), US 395(1,2), I-405(1,8), I-580(1), I-710(1), Riverside County Route R2(7,10). I’ll note there were some particular good background information posts on AAroads — I’ve hopefully been able to capture that information so it isn’t lost into the void (with attribution, of course).

Added a link in the FAQ to California’s Postmile Service, an interesting site to map postmiles to geographic locations. Hat tip to Jonathan Ledbetter for the link.

Noted a post by Quillz on AAroads on 7/16/2016 that provided the sign specifications for the 1934 “bear” shield signage. This was put on the pre-Interstate numbering page.

Added some observations on the chronology of LRNs from Sparker at AAroads.

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California Highway Headlines for August 2016

userpic=roadgeekingAugust. The beginning of brush fire season in Southern California. So far this month, we’ve seen numerous highways closed due to brush fires, from Route 14 and I-15, to Route 1, to the routes up in Lake County. We need the other LA to send us some rain. So while you’re staying safe (hopefully) on the roads, here are some headlines from the month:

  • Calaveras State Route 49 Rumble Strip Safety Project Complete. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has recently completed an $823,000 rumble strip safety project on State Route 49 (SR-49) at various locations throughout Calaveras County. This project installed rumble strips which are ground into the pavement and designed to alert drivers when their vehicles leave their traffic lane. As tires pass over the rumble strips, drivers can hear the noise and feel the vibration produced by these rumble strips…
  • Highway 99 rest area off-ramp to close for roadway repairs. The California Department of Transportation sent out two commuter alerts for Tulare County motorists. First, the southbound Highway 99 off-ramp to Dodge Avenue will be closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The exit also serves the CH Warlow rest area, just north of Traver.
  • Motorists flocking to newly opened I-580 express lanes in Alameda County. Motorists took nearly 1.9 million trips on Interstate 580’s new express lanes in Alameda County in the first four months the lanes opened to vehicle traffic earlier this year, according to a recent report. The $345 million project opened on the notoriously congested Tri-Valley corridor in mid-February to solo drivers, who pay an extra toll to use the lane, and to carpoolers, who can drive for free.
  • The Future of Neighborhoods: Removing Urban Freeways Gains Fresh Traction. Growing up on the north side of Charlotte, North Carolina, Anthony Foxx remembers the geography of his childhood being defined by a quiet neighborhood of ranch-style houses, well-kept lawns—and an imposing brick wall at the end of the block. On the other side of the wall, there ran a high-speed on-ramp that connected the eastbound lanes of Interstate 85 with the southbound lanes of Interstate 77, two highways that cradled the northeast corner of the neighborhood. For Foxx, the wall, the highways, and the hum of traffic blended into the background. He knew nothing different. Over time, he came to understand they weren’t part of the neighborhood at all but more like interloping house guests.

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California Highway Headlines for July 2016

userpic=roadgeekingJuly. The hot summer. While you are hopefully staying cool, here are some headlines related to California Highways that I noticed:

  • Getting the roundabout from the state. Sometime next year or a little bit later, the intersection of Valley Center Road & Hwy 76 will get be converted into a roundabout. The total cost of the project will be $17.5 million, which includes approximately $9 million in construction capital and $3.5 million in right-of-way capital. According to the Cal Trans website the goal of the project is “Reduce the number and severity of accidents at SR-76 and Valley Center Road and realign the curves just east of the intersection.” Design of the preferred alternative is tentatively scheduled for completion in 2016, with construction to be done in 2017.
  • VTA scales back toll lane plans. A controversial plan to construct toll lanes in the Highway 85 median could be abandoned, after city leaders made clear that the undeveloped strip of land dividing the congested highway ought to be reserved for transit rather than solo drivers in the increasingly crowded Santa Clara Valley. In June, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) board of directors agreed to put a half-cent sales tax measure on the November ballot. If passed, the tax would generate $6.5 billion over 30 years, and would help to pay for myriad transportation projects throughout the region.
  • Supervisors approve land exchange with Caltrans for 76 widening . The widening of State Route 76 from two lanes to four between South Mission Road and Interstate 15 requires the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to acquire land from the County of San Diego, but the county was willing to sell land and grant easements to Caltrans in exchange for cash and Caltrans remnant parcels. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 June 22, with Greg Cox in Sacramento, to approve the sale of 6.94 acres of county-owned land and the granting of 2.98 acres of easements in exchange for $143,599 in cash and three Caltrans remnant parcels valued at $155,800. The Caltrans remnant parcels total 112,415 square feet, or 2.58 acres.

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Changes to the California Highways Website: January – June 2016

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Yes, I know updates are starting late. Between all my theatre (you do read my theatre reviews, don’t you), the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and other volunteer activities, I haven’t had time to do much on the site. But it is May (and now it is June … and now it is July 4th weekend), and I really should get something done. So let’s at least catch up…

But first, if you take a look at the bottom of this page, you’ll see that this site has existed, in some form, for 30 years. It started as posting of a highway list to the various highway related USENET groups. It then became a site of its own on Pacificnet (which, surprisingly, is still around, but I have no idea who still uses it). During the days at Pacificnet, the cahighways.org domain was created. When Pacificnet got rid of shell accounts in 2004, I moved the site to Westhost, where it has been since. But 30 years. Wow.

I have debated making some changes to the look and feel, possibly going to a content management system. I’m not sure if I could juggle two WordPress installations (as my blog is a WordPress installation on the site). I’ve also though about possibly moving the main information to a wiki. There’s a possibility those would make it easier to edit. However, editing isn’t the time sink — it is going through all the headlines, all the legislative actions, and all the CTC minutes. That simply takes time, whatever the content management approach. I am aware that the look and feel is dated (and not at all well-suited to mobile). I’m open to your comments on this. Please leave your comments on potentially changing the look and feel on this change post on the blog, or mail them to me at faigin -at cahighways.org.

One change that I will likely explore is moving the site to https://. Part of me objects to that change: encryption is really only needed if you have something to protect, and this site is public information. But search engines are starting to insist on it, so when I find time, I’ll check with Westhost and see what is involved. It may mean moving to a newer virtual machine, and will mean upgrading the blog and possibly all the other sites hosted here (mljewish.org, scjfaq.org, casaeclectica.com). But the key words are: when I find time. For now, let’s look at the last four-five months of updates:

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers (which are posted to the roadgeeking category at the “Observations Along The Road” and to the California Highways Facebook group) as well as any backed up email changes. I also reviewed the the AAroads forum. Both of the before are through the end of May 2016. I’ve given up on misc.transport.road. This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(1), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail) from John Culbert(2), djsekani@AAroads(17), Andy Field(3), Ralph Herman(4), Inyomono395@AAroads(5), Jeffe@AAroads(6), Jonathan Ledbetter(7), JustDrive@AAroads(8), Laurence Maller(9), OccidentalTourist@AAroads(10), Joe Rouse(11), Rschen7754@AAroads(12), Arturo Salazar(13), Chris Sampang(14), Larry Scholnick(15), sparker@AARoads(18), Jeffrey Stone(17), and Joel Windmiller(16): Route 1(1,14,8), Route 3(1), Route 4(1), I-5(1,7,3), I-8(3), I-10(1), Route 11(12), Route 12(1,3), Route 14(13), I-15(1), Route 17(1), Route 20(1), Route 23(1), Route 25(1), Route 24(17), Route 29(1,3), Route 37(1,3), Route 39(1), US 50(1,3), Route 41(3), Route 43(3), Route 52(1), Route 57(1), Route 60(1), Route 65(1), Route 66(1,3), Route 69(18), Route 71(1), Route 74(1), Route 75(1,3), Route 76(3), I-80(1,16), Route 89(1), Route 90(1), Route 91(1), Route 92(1), Route 99(1), Route 100(14), US 101(1,3,6), Route 103(10,3), I-105(1), Route 110(1,13), Route 111(17), Route 118(1), Route 119(1), Route 120(1), Route 121(1), Route 126(3), Route 132(1), Route 134(1), Route 138(1), Route 140(1), Route 148(9), Route 154(1), Route 160(1), Route 162(3), Route 180(1), Route 198(3), I-210(4), I-215(1), Route 221(1), Route 245(18), Route 246(1), I-280(1), US 395(1,5,16), I-405(1), I-580(1,11), I-605(1), I-680(1), I-710(1), I-805(1), I-880(1), Santa Clara County Route G4(1), Sacramento County Route J10(2). Los Angeles County Route N4(15), Los Angeles County Route N6(15), Los Angeles County Route N7(15).

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