July saw a settlement into a new normal: wearing masks, working from home, scanning headlines, and so forth. There was still news about the highways, but it seemed to be lighter and more in the maintenance area. Of course, the biggest news came in the middle of the month, when I announced that the site redesign was completed for my website, California Highways. Some of the highlights of this redesign includes:
- A new non-icon navigation bar on each page, with improved section and internal page navigation.
- A floating menu available wherever you are on a page.
- Restructuring of the individual highway pages to be one highway per webpage. Old links still work.
- Reworking of the individual highway pages to provide internal page navigation to specific sections or sub-sections.
- Reworking of the naming index to go directly to the definition of the name.
- Reworking of image callouts so that they should resize on smaller windows
- Review of every page on the site.
For mobile devices, the site still looks better in landscape mode. I still need to figure out how to make portrait mode work better.
But, besides that, what other headlines were there in July? Funny you should ask:
[💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; NVR/Napa Valley Register; DB/Daily Breeze, DR/Solano Daily Republic; SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; BJ/Bizjournals]
- SoCal to Las Vegas train project gets approval to build along 15 Freeway. A plan to build a high-speed train between Southern California and Las Vegas got a boost Tuesday after the rail company in charge of the project received permission to build along Interstate 15. XpressWest entered into a lease agreement with the California Department of Transportation to construct the rail line on I-15’s median, Caltrans announced in a news release. Approximately 135 miles of the 170-mile rail system will be in California. The project will be privately financed and will cost about $7 billion, according to 2018 estimates.
- 💰/SJMN Golden Gate Bridge officials probe ‘singing’ noise on span. The Golden Gate Bridge district began plans this week to study a new noise emanating from the bridge that can be heard for miles on gusty days. The sound is the result of fast northwesterly winds passing through new railings and wind fairings on the western side between the two towers as part of on ongoing wind retrofit project. It has been described by the district as “singing,” but some local residents during Friday’s bridge board meeting had other choice words, calling it screeching that sounded like torture and saying it caused such physiological distress that it was impossible to ignore.
- Legal ruling could unleash delayed funding for Bay Area transit, road projects. A state appeals court has upheld a lower court’s ruling allowing a 2018 voter-approved toll hike on state-owned bridges in the Bay Area to stand, a move that could finally unleash up to $4.5 billion to pay for regional road and transit upgrades, including projects tied to Highway 101, SMART and Highway 37 in the North Bay. A three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco issued its decision on Monday, siding with the Bay Area Toll Authority following oral arguments in late May. A planned appeal to the state Supreme Court, however, could further stall the funding and delay dozens of projects that depend on it.
- 💰/SFC Golden Gate Bridge’s new hum louder than expected; officials explore options to fix handrails. Golden Gate Bridge engineers knew the span might sing once its new handrails were installed, but they never expected the bridge to wail as loudly and off-key as it does on profoundly windy days. With the graceful bridge becoming known for its discordant tune, as well as its famously good looks, bridge officials told the district’s Board of Directors last week that they’re trying to tone down the noise a bit.
- Marin transit agencies in line for $77M more in aid. Marin County transit providers are being recommended for nearly $77 million in additional federal relief funds, but officials say this will only forestall service cuts unless more aid becomes available. A panel created by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission made a recommendation this week on how to disburse the remaining $508 million in relief funding among 27 Bay Area transit agencies. The money is coming from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.
- Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration – Route 20. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposes to improve a curve, replace guardrail, and widen shoulders on State Route 20 at post miles 19.1 through 19.6 between Fort Bragg and Willits in Mendocino County. The replaced guardrail and curve realignment would bring this section of highway up to current standards and the shoulders will be widened to create bicycle lanes. The Initial Study is available electronically by visiting the Caltrans website at: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-3/d3-programs/d3-environmental/d3-environmental-docs/d3-mendocino-county.