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POINT SAN PABLO PENINSULA

Point San Pablo
BATA Advances Bay Trail Linkage
with Point Molate and Marin County!
 
On May 12, 2014, the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) authorized HNTB Corp. to proceed with a comprehensive evaluation of a proposed two-way bicycle route across the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge as well as an evaluation of various alternatives for a two-way bicycle/pedestrian route linking the bridge and the Richmond community. These alternatives will include routes both north and south of Interstate 580.
 
The proposed "I-580 Eastbound Shoulder Running Lane and Bi-Directional Bike Lane Project” is slated for award of bids for construction by late 2016 if all goes well.  This project, if ultimately approved and funded, would provide a two-way bicycle lane on the right shoulder of the westbound upper deck of the bridge from the toll plaza in Richmond to the San Quentin off-ramp in San Rafael. The project also would allow motor vehicles to use the right shoulder of bridge’s eastbound lower deck during the afternoon commute period.
 
The BATA study is immensely important, with the potential to expedite closure of critical major gaps in the San Francisco Bay Trail and to spur funding for these gap closures. However, the study’s scope is thus far limited to the use of existing Caltrans right of way along either side of I-580 in Richmond and does not yet incorporate an alignment farther south of 580 using easements offered by Chevron. This alternative, using the Chevron property, was developed by the City of Richmond through a public participation process to provide Bay Trail access to Point Molate. The challenge will be to provide an attractive trail that is wide enough for safe enjoyment in two-way use by bicyclists, joggers and pedestrians, who may have baby strollers and dogs on leash.
 
CLICK HERE to view an eight-page document extracting key elements of the project as it relates to the Bay Trail and HERE to view the entire project task order.

A Bay Trail spur is planned to run from Point Richmond under I-580, through Point Molate and around Point San Pablo to terminate at the Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor. As shown on the property ownership map (Acrobat.PDF), this land is owned by Chevron and the City of Richmond with the exception of Caltrans’ I-580 corridor. Also see the Point San Pablo Peninsula / Point Molate website.

WinehavenA critical problem is the lack of a Bay Trail connection between Point Richmond and the south side of the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge toll plaza area where an existing trail built by Caltrans runs under the bridge to Western Drive. This situation was created in 1956 when the City of Richmond vacated portions of Western Drive and other public streets and gave them to Standard OIl Company, which now is Chevron Corporation.To address this problem, Chevron, the City and ABAG Bay Trail Project funded the July 31, 2001 “Feasibility Study of Bay Trail Routes to the Point San Pablo Peninsula” with participation by BCDC, Caltrans, EBRPD and TRAC. 

It was agreed by consensus in 2001 that a route running from the end of Tewksbury Avenue over Chevron property bordering the I-580 corridor to reach the south side of the Toll Plaza area would meet Chevron's security concerns while providing a workable, although not optimal, Bay Trail connection with the Point San Pablo Peninsula.
Preferred Bay Trail Route - Chevron
  Preferred Bay Trail Route From End of Tewksbury Avenue Above Retraining Wall on South Side of I-580 to Existing Trail Under Bridge.

Point MolateOn July 21, 2009 the City Council voted to award a $1.6 million contract to Questa Engineering to prepare a project study report plus CEQA and construction documents for closing the dangerous gap in the Bay Trail between Castro Street and the existing trail under the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge. The long-awaited initiation of design for this project resulted from Chevron's agreement to join in a cooperative effort involving the City of Richmond, Caltrans and ABAG Bay Trail Project.

Questa's contract is funded from a $3 million Bay Trail account established in 2009 from the settlement for Chevron's underpayment of utility taxes. Chevron has committed to convey the needed trail easement once the trail alignment has been pinned down. 

By year end 2010, Questa had evaluated alternatives after conducting field reconnaissance along the trail corridor, holding scoping meetings with stakeholders and sub-consultants, and gathering information regarding existing opportunities, constraints and design criteria. The information gathered was reviewed during a public workshop on Jan. 25, 2011 where community advice on priorities was sought and obtained. 

On December 1, 2011, the City of Richmond’s Engineering Services Department hosted a meeting to inform community members about the planned San Francisco Bay Trail Connection from Castro Street to Point Molate, and to gather public input on trail alternatives.  The meeting was attended by approximately 45 people, including City Councilmember Tom Butt, District Representative Nathan Rapp from the Office of State Senator Loni Hancock, and representatives from the Association of Bay Area Governments’ (ABAG) Bay Trail, Richmond Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (RBPAC), Trails for Richmond Action Committee (TRAC), and Chevron.  A presentation on the selection process for the recommended trail alternative was given by Questa Engineering Corporation of Richmond.  The recommended trail alternative received broad support from members of the community, in addition to representatives from ABAG, RBPAC, and TRAC, with many in attendance posing excellent questions and commentary.  The presentation slides can be found online at http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=8055.

Osprey at Point Molate by Ellen Gailing

On July 10, 2012, the City Council voted to approve the local consensus alignment for the one-mile Bay Trail section between the bus stop at Castro St. & Tewksbury Ave. and the existing trail under the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge and authorized the City Manager to execute the required Cooperative Agreement for Caltrans participation in design and permitting studies. CLICK HERE to view the staff report. In 2013, a co-operative agreement was signed between the City and Caltrans that, among other things, funds Caltrans’ staff time to review preliminary engineering plans and construction cost estimates, as well as an environmental assessment. City of Richmond consultants have made progress toward closing this trail gap, by developing 35% engineering designs for the Locally Preferred Alternative following a re-aligned shoulder area of the Castro Street off-ramp before climbing to the top of Chevron’s Office Hill and then touching down near the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge toll plaza via a 1,100 foot long elevated pedestrian bridge. The focus in 2014 will be on reaching consensus on trail alignment, basic design features, and project alternatives. These will be evaluated in an environmental document to be prepared after Caltrans approves a “Project Study Report/Project Development Support” report. Engineering and construction funding plans will advance following approval and certification of an environmental document.

The planned trail connection will provide safe, convenient, and inviting access for bicyclists and pedestrians to the Point San Pablo Peninsula and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge by closing a gap in the Bay Trail from Castro Street in Point Richmond to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Toll Plaza.  The project would correct an access deficiency in the state transportation system, and facilitate zero-emissions commuting to and from the Point San Pablo Peninsula, and eventually across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.  The project would also enhance water-oriented recreational opportunities for residents and visitors by providing bicycle and pedestrian access to the bay shoreline along the Point San Pablo Peninsula.  The project would complement land use development throughout the Point San Pablo Peninsula by providing low-cost commute alternatives, and by connecting the peninsula with City of Richmond greenways, parks, and shoreline developments.

East Bay Regional Park District's (EBRPD's) Master Plan calls for completion of the Bay Trail on the Peninsula north of I-580.  Referring to the above Bay Trail Easement map, the planned route runs through a patchwork of lands owned by Chevron and the City of Richmond.  On November 2, 2009, Chevron agreed to convey to EBRPD 1.6 miles of trail easements shown as dark green dashed lines, and EBRPD's Board of Directors appropriated $100,000 for trail alignment engineering, surveying and title costs. On April 16, 2014, EBRPD and Chevron announced execution of the easement over  Chevron lands between I-580 and Pt. Molate Beach. The alignment of the easement between the City’s Point Molate and Point San Pablo properties is more complicated and is still being worked out. 

The intervening 1.4 miles of  Bay Trail along the shoreline of the City of Richmond's former Point Molate Naval Fuel Depot will be built as part of an unknown future development project on that property. Similarly, plans remain to be developed for construction of the Bay Trail on the City's derelict former Terminal 4 property at Point San Pablo when another easement will be needed over Chevron land to reach the Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor.

More infomation on the Point San Pablo Peninsula & Point Molate >>

Point San Pablo