In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, there is no funding for sidewalks in Castro Valley in the Alameda County Public Works Agency (PWA) budget. While we continue to pay SB 1 taxes at the gas pump, and Measure BB taxes on our property taxes, those funds are going to projects elsewhere in the county and in the state. Despite our advocacy, Alameda County has chosen to not tap into these funds for sidewalk projects in any part of unincorporated Alameda County.
Previous Funding from the Active Transportation Program
For the past several years, the vast majority of sidewalk funding in Castro Valley has come via the state Active Transportation Program (ATP). In the years that the Castro Valley Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) worked on the grant proposals, this has been a successful approach. In the other years (2014 and 2018), the Alameda County Public Works Agency (PWA)’s grant proposals did not yield sidewalk funding.
ATP funds are not a reliable or sustainable source of funding for sidewalks in Castro Valley. PWA has not convened the Castro Valley BPAC since Paul Keener passed away in July 2018. And the PWA has never had a successful grant ATP grant proposal for infrastructure without BPAC input. However, PWA has chosen to rely only on ATP grants for future sidewalk funding . . . with no BPAC to provide critical support on the proposal-writing.
Local and State Funding Sources
After ATP money was used for design work for sidewalks on Stanton Avenue, PWA allocated state transportation funds from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) for construction work on those sidewalks, and PWA expects to have bids for this work in Summer 2019.
We have been cautiously optimistic about this success, and had hoped that PWA would again tap into Measure BB or SB 1 funds for the construction work on projects that have design funding (Anita Avenue, Somerset Avenue). Nope. PWA will not use these funds for Castro Valley, or any part of unincorporated Alameda County. While other communities use our taxpayer money to invest in infrastructure, Castro Valley’s built environment will continue to lag behind its neighbors.
In the long term, only local self-governance for Castro Valley will allow us to invest in our community’s priorities for safety and walkability. In the short term, we are actively brainstorming a new advocacy approach. Please share your comments and ideas with us! (Leave a comment on the blog, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
And by the way . . . we’ve only gotten what we have so far because of the sheer number of people who’ve emailed Supervisor Miley or Castro Valley MAC members, shown up at MAC meetings and town halls, and provided letters of support to grant applications. Thank you, all of you, so much for your time and energy. We hope that you continue to speak up for sidewalks whenever we have an opportunity to do so!