Posts Tagged ‘Carquinez’

The World’s Largest Sugar Refinery, C&H, is in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sort Of

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

The California and Hawaii Sugar Refinery in Crockett, CA is used to be the largest in the world [see comments], so we all ought to tip our hats when speeding over the Carquinez Strait to enter and leave the San Francisco Bay Area.

Respect The Cane, baby, or otherwise we’ll end up with only yucky beet sugar (perhaps the MythBusters could do a test?) instead of the Seven Varieties we enjoy today.

As seen with the Carquinez Bridge (the 2003 Alfred Zampa suspension span plus the 1958 “23+0015R” cantilever span) inbetwixt. When all the lights are working, you can see “C and H PURE CANE SUGAR.”

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Do you remember the C&H song?* That ditty went a little something like this:

C and H, pure cane sugar, from Hawaii, grown in the Sun
When you cook, when you bake, for goodness sake, C and H
C and H pure cane sugar, that’s the one

(If you ever espy the Moku Pahu bulk freighter carrying all that semi-processed cane from the 808 state, be sure to hum the tune.)

The C&H refinery used to employ hundreds, keeping 46(!) bars humming in the tiny town of Crockett. But these days the place runs at half-speed.

Oh well.

*The authentic, Burl Ives version of the famous C and H jingle: 

Pearly shells from the ocean
Shining in the sun
Covering the shore
When I see them
My heart tells me that I love you
More than all the little pearly shells

For ev’ry grain of sand upon the beach
I’ve got a kiss for you
And I’ve got more left over
For each star that twinkles in the blue

Pearly shells
Shining in the sun
Covering the shore
When I see them
My heart tells me that I love you
More than all the little pearly shells

Pupu a o Ewa
I ka nuku
E lawe mai
Ahe aina
Mai no
Ala hula puuloa he ala hele no kaahupahau

I apau huna one i ka kahakai
Ua honi nau
Ho’i koe lawa na
Pakahi hoku ‘i ka lani
Puhau
Ala hula puuloahe ala hele no kaahupahau

BATA Meeting – Say Hello to Higher Tolls to Cross the Bay Bridge Starting July 1, 2010

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Well the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) came to Market Street last night to ask the public the best way to raise tolls on Bay Area bridges (except the Golden Gate Bridge, an entity unto itself).

Who was at the meeting early and ready to go? None other than BATA Oversight Committee Vice-Chair and San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly avec charming daughter Grace:

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This was the open house part of the meeting early on. Not a huge turnout:

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To see why, let’s look at the numbers on the numerous display boards:

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BATA isn’t asking people if there should be an increase, but rather, which increase plan is the best:

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The seismic safety upgrading for the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges – that’s the primary issues, a billion-dollar issue. How is BATA going to pay for that?

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Well pick your poison. How would you balance charges for carpoolers vs. trucks (with all them axles) and would you be into congestion pricing? (Proposal 2 is called the Homer Simpson Option, due to his practice of charging $10 per axle when he lets people park on his lawn.)

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Speaking of axles, you big rig truck drivers have gotten a free ride over the years, some people think:

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Here are the anticipated impacts of each option:

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How do these proposed tolls campare to what the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority charges people to drive across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, you know, the one with the highest toll in America? Quite nicely, thanks for asking!

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So now, what do YOU think is the best way to raise revenue?

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You can tell your commissioners about your choice:

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Let’s grab a holiday cookie and mull things over:

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It looks like staff is going to make a recomendation tomorrow…

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…and your toll will go up at least a dollar as of July 1, 2010.

Now You Have Another Chance to Ask for a Bay Area Bridge Toll Increase: Dec. 7th, 2009

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Ah, the Powers That Be. They don’t just raise rates on you all of a sudden, oh no. They have meetings first, to tell you how “needed” and “necessary” their proposed “adjustments” are. Then, when the rates go up, they’ll tell you all about the meetings on that very topic that you neglected to attend.

As here, where the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) will send its youngest and cutest staffers straight into San Francisco to hand out papers and pencils for you, the Public, to scribble your appreciation. Or criticism, whatever.

Maybe “Bay Bridge Mike” will be at the meeting on Pearl Harbor Day, 2009. We Can Only Hope:Our broken bridge, more broked than ever, but let’s have fun with it, cause, you know, we’re super-competent at our jobs.

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Oh well.

Paying more to cross our mismanaged bridges – well that’s not a burden, it’s an “OPPORTUNITY.” (Paging George Lakoff…)

“OPPORTUNITIES

Bridge Toll Hike Proposed for Earthquake Safety

Attend a hearing regarding a possible toll increase on the seven state-owned Bay Area toll bridges on November 17, December 3, or December 7, 2009. Can’t attend? Take our online survey!

As promised, the deets – BATA bing, BATA boom!:

Bay Area Toll Authority Schedules San Francisco Hearing on Proposed Toll Hike

Web Survey Also Available for Online Comments

The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) has added a fourth public hearing to receive public testimony on options for a proposed toll increase on the seven state-owned Bay Area toll bridges.

The newly scheduled public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7, in San Franciscoat the downtown campus of San Francisco State University, 835 Market Street, Room 609. Additional public hearings are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, in the City Council Chambers of San Mateo City Hall, 330 West 20th Avenue, San Mateo, and at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, in the Wisteria Room of the Concord Senior Center (located in John F. Baldwin Park), 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord. All three public hearings will feature a short open house (from 6:30 to 7 p.m.) and a staff presentation (beginning at 7 p.m.) prior to taking public testimony. The first public hearing took place on Nov. 4 in Oakland.

Bay Area residents who are unable to attend one of the public hearings can make their views known via an online survey at: www.mtc.ca.gov/get_involved. The survey will be available through Dec. 21.

The toll increase, if approved, likely would take effect July 1, 2010. It is needed to raise an additional $160 million in annual revenues, chiefly to finance the estimated $750 million cost of necessaryseismic retrofit projects on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges. Other factors include a slow but steady decline in toll-paying traffic on the state-owned bridges during each of the past five years, increasing operational expenses, and rising debt (due in part to the upheaval in the municipal bonds markets over the past two years). The proposed toll increase would be in effect on the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael, San Mateo-Hayward and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges. (The toll proposal does not affect the Golden Gate Bridge, which is owned and operated by an independent authority.)

The toll options under consideration would all raise the needed $160 million annually. Ideas on the table, detailed below, include raising the base toll on automobiles and motorcycles by $1 (to $5), and in so doing raise the first $100 million of new annual revenues. The remaining funds would be generated by a combination of increasing the per-axle toll for trucks and/or introducing a toll for carpools, which would be collected electronically via FasTrak® toll tags. Also under consideration is the introduction of peak-hour congestion pricing on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Preliminary analysis shows that such pricing could reduce morning peak delay on the Bay Bridge by 15 to 30 percent.

 –  $5 toll for two-axle vehicles (autos and motorcycles); $3 for carpools
     during peak periods (Monday through Friday); and $6 per each
     additional axle for trucks. Carpools would be charged for the seismic
     retrofit portion of toll charges and would be required to obtain a
     FasTrak® toll tag to qualify for the reduced rate; FasTrak® equipment
     would be required in all carpool lanes.
 –  $5 toll for two-axle vehicles (autos and motorcycles) and $10 per each
     additional axle. There would be no charge for carpools during peak
     periods (Monday through Friday).
 –  Congestion pricing would be introduced on the Bay Bridge; charges
     would be $6 for two-axle vehicles during peak periods (Monday through
     Friday) and $4 for autos and motorcycles during off-peak hours (Monday
     through Friday), with a $5 charge for two-axle vehicles on weekends. A
     $6 charge for each additional axle, at all times and on all days,
     would be in effect with this option, along with a $3 charge for
     carpools during peak periods (Monday through Friday).

Written comments on the proposed toll increase will be accepted until 4 p.m., Dec. 21, 2009; they may be submitted to the BATA Public Information office at 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, CA, 94607-4700, faxed to BATA at 510.817.5848, or sent via e-mail to tolls@mtc.ca.gov. After receipt and review of public comments, the BATA Oversight Committee will consider the adoption of a revised toll schedule in early 2010.

BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), administers tolls on the region’s seven state-owned bridges. State legislation in 1997 authorized BATA to administer the base $1 toll on the Bay Area state-owned toll bridges.

BATA’s responsibilities were expanded by August 2005 legislation to include administration of all toll revenue and joint oversight of the toll bridge construction program with Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

See you there!*

*Maybe not.

The Bay Area Resting Place of the World Famous Battleship U.S.S. Iowa, BB-61

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Here it is, in the East Bay, the famous battleship USS Iowa. She went under the Golden Gate Bridge for the last time back in 2001 and now just sits around at a cost of a quarter mil a year. There was talk of the Iowa (and also her sister ship, the USS Missouri) getting berthed in San Francisco as a floating museum, but don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.

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via kqedquest

And here it is from above:

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Of course Telstar Logistics has been there already, as you can see here.

Any takers?

A Brand New Path for Cyclists and Pedestrians on the Benicia-Martinez Bridge

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Yesterday saw the debut of a brand-new 12-foot-wide path for pedestrians and bike riders on one of the spans of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge a way out there in the extreme East Bay. That means that you can now easily travel from the former home-town of the Zodiac Killer to the beaver-ridden shores of Martinez, CA without using your car.

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Take a look at the circuit you can now make on your bike way out in the 925. Just use the Carquinez Bridge (cost overrun = $47,000,000 in 2003) one way and the B-M Bridge (cost overrun = $1,000,000,000 in 2007 mas o menos, due, in part, to the alleged suicidal tendencies of bay area fish, srsly) the other and you’re looping, baby.

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Hurray!

Pedestrian/Bicycle Path Debuts on Benicia-Martinez Bridge

New Path Closes Gap in Bay Area Trail System 

Festivities were held today to mark the official opening of a new pedestrian/bicycle path on the George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge leading from Benicia to Martinez. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and Caltrans hosted opening events at both ends of the bridge, with a ribbon-cutting in Martinez at the foot of the bridge kicking off the festivities. Attendees then joined in the official first walk/ride across the bridge, where an opening ceremony followed at Vista Point in Benicia. A bicycle rodeo geared to youths at the nearby Amports lot was offered by the City of Benicia.

“The opening of the pedestrian/bicycle path is an exciting milestone that signifies completion of the final improvements to both spans of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge,” explained Bijan Sartipi, Director of Caltrans District 4 and an MTC/BATA Commissioner. “We are thrilled that we now have safe and efficient travel across the Carquinez Strait for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.”

The Benicia-Martinez Bridge connects Contra Costa and Solano counties across the Carquinez Strait. It is comprised of two separate spans, named for father and son (the late Senator George Miller, Jr. and current Congressman George Miller III), making the bridge a unique landmark. The 2007 addition, the Congressman George Miller III Memorial Bridge, carries five lanes of northbound Interstate 680 traffic from Martinez to Benicia and includes the Bay Area’s debut of open-road tolling technology. The original George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge, built in 1962 to carry traffic in both directions, now carries four lanes of southbound Interstate 680 traffic with full shoulders and the new pedestrian/bicycle path.

“This is a milestone project that has been in the works a long time and we are all very excited to see its completion,” said Laura Thompson, Bay Trails project manager for the Association of Bay Area Governments. “We are happy that we are making strides to close both the Bay and Ridge Trail gaps.”

Funded primarily through the Regional Measure 1 toll program approved by voters in 1988 and administered by BATA, the $50 million Benicia-Martinez Bridge project encompassed reconfiguring the bridge and adding the new path. The completion of the construction on the pedestrian/bicycle path indicates the final phase of construction on both bridges.

Caltrans owns, operates and maintains the state highway system, including seven of the eight Bay Area toll bridges. BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as MTC, administers toll revenues from the region’s state-owned toll bridges. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

                                                                   FACT SHEET

                 GEORGE MILLER, JR. BRIDGE PEDESTRIAN/BICYCLE LANE

    Significance        The new Benicia-Martinez pedestrian/bicycle lane on
                        the Senator George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge will
                        close a gap in the San Francisco Bay and Ridge Trails.
                        This lane also serves as a link in the Carquinez
                        Strait Scenic Loop Trail, which is a 50-mile trail
                        that crosses both the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and Al
                        Zampa Bridge spans over the Carquinez Strait.
                        Bicyclists and pedestrians using this new path will be
                        treated to stunning views of the Suisun Bay, as well
                        as the Carquinez Bridge and the Mothball Fleet.

    Official Name       George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge

    Original Structure
     Opened             September 16, 1962

    Location            Carquinez Strait linking Contra Costa and Solano
                        counties

    Roadway             Southbound Interstate 680 from Benicia to Martinez

    Configuration       Originally, three northbound lanes and three
                        southbound lanes; now four southbound lanes and one
                        pedestrian/bicycle lane

    Length of
     Pedestrian/Bicycle
     Path               11,800 feet or 2.2. miles

    Width of
     Pedestrian/Bicycle
     Path               12 feet; bi-directional travel

    Vertical Clearance
     of the Bridge      138 feet

    Type of
     Construction       Deck truss

    Project Cost        $50 million to seismically retrofit the bridge and add
                        the pedestrian/bicycle path

    Construction
     Funding            Regional Measure 1 funds:  77%

    Federal funds:      21%

    State funds:        2%

    Seismic Safety      A “Lifeline” structure designed to remain in service
                        following a maximum credible earthquake. The
                        Interstate 680 corridor has been designated as a
                        primary route for transporting emergency supplies into
                        the Bay Area after a major earthquake.

The Marine Corps War Memorial in Contra Costa County

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

This is what our small version of the the Marine Corps War Memorial looks like from Interstate 80 in Tormey, Contra Costa County.

Vince Ramos of Crockett guesses he has captured the essence of what someone gazing at Mount Suribachi on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945, would have seen. The tall hill in Tormey, west of Interstate 80 and just north of the Cummings Skyway, is home to Ramos’ replica of the celebrated flag-raising. The statue is a tribute to his late brother, Fernando, a U.S. Marine who served on Iwo Jima, the site of one of World War II’s bloodiest battles.”

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You might notice it if you look up from the freeway near the Carquinez Bridge.