No County Money for Sidewalks in Castro Valley

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.

What’s Next?

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 bikewalkcv@gmail.com)

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!

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11 thoughts on “No County Money for Sidewalks in Castro Valley

  1. I don’t think self governance (incorporation) is any guarantee that these projects will move forward. Communities like Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore look to massive commercial and residential development to increase their coffers to sustain themselves and they still don’t complete these lower priority (as they see it) projects. Some like Moraga have declared bankruptcy over the years because they don’t have the increases development monies. Don’t be fooled into thinking incorporation is the answer to all our funding issues.

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  2. The entire article is a totally false representation of what has taken place in Castro Valley. These self aggrandizing individuals have motivations that are more selfish, yet try to pretend as if they care for the community–they don’t!. There have been many sidewalk, bike and street rehabilitation projects that have been implemented in Castro Valley, and in fact there are several currently under construction.

    Please stop the Lie!! Fake News!!!

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    • Have you heard differently from Public Works regarding sidewalk projects in Castro Valley in the 2019-2020 fiscal year? Have you found the line items in the County budget for work in Castro Valley in the 2019-2020 fiscal year? If you can, please let me know, and I will update this blog post. Otherwise, I stand by the years of work and advocacy that I have personally put into sidewalk funding for Castro Valley.

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  3. public works presented their annual report to castro valley mac about three weeks ago. They showed the work done over the years, especially last year, and showed future work planned. There were several sidewalk and other types of projects listed in castro valley. I recall, the MAC was very happy and appreciative of the presentation. Before you bad mouth public works or the county and misinform your readers, get informed!!!

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  4. Lisa, we used to get very detailed updates at the Castro Valley Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meetings. Unfortunately, Public Works has not convened this since May 2018. I have also been trying to talk to humans in Public Works, to no avail. A staff member in Supervisor Miley’s office is currently (as of 6/11/19) working to connect me.

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  5. The Alameda County Public Works Agency is committed to providing bike/ped improvements within the unincorporated areas of Alameda County including Castro Valley. Over the past decades, the Alameda County Public Works Agency has constructed approximately $126M in in bike/ped and other safety improvements in the unincorporated area with approximately $23M currently under construction, and another $63M under design. Sidewalk projects completed in Castro Valley includie Orange Avenue, Marshall Street, Omega Avenue, Christensen Lane, San Miguel Avenue, Castro Valley Boulevard, the first phase of Center Street and more. The Santa Maria Avenue sidewalk project is currently under construction and the second phase of the Center Street sidewalk project has been awarded to a contractor and construction is scheduled to start this spring. Castro Valley sidewalk projects under design/scoping include Stanton Avenue, Anita Avenue, and Somerset Avenue. The Public Works Agency has been successful in securing approximately $7.6M in Active Transportation Program (ATP) funding, which will be leveraged to deliver approximately $44M in ATPs and services. Prior to the ATP program, Alameda County was successful in securing several Safe Routes to School (SR2S) grants (the predecessor to ATP) resulting in the construction of numerous school area safety projects including sidewalks and a traffic signal at Creekside Middle School and sidewalk and flashing beacon at Stanton Elementary School and so on.

    For more information, call (510) 670-6578 or email info@acpwa.org.

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    • Halimah,

      Thank you for the comment. I will be following up to get more details on the sidewalk projects upcoming in Castro Valley, and then I will update this post accordingly.

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  6. Thanks for this sobering assessment. All cities in Alameda County had set-asides for local projects in Measure BB (an extension of the sales tax for transportation versus a parcel tax as stated), whereas CV got only improvements to Crow Canyon Road — not really even part of CV and almost as much to benefit to San Ramon and Contra Costa County as it does us. The focus there was on getting longer haul drivers from point A to B versus making Castro Valley safer and more bike and pedestrian friendly. The fact that Alameda County Public Works has in the past lacked the know-how and wherewithal to successfully compete for state grants means we all suffer. The county is really not set up to serve the public well in things like planning or infrastructure; they specialize in county health and jails. Bike-Walk CV has done much of the heavy lifting to get us funding for badly needed sidewalks near schools. It’s so discouraging to see the lack of prioritization for our town of so much potential. To the person skeptical that cities can be effective, citing LaFayette, I’m not sure that is correct all all. They have far fewer residents but have all kinds of vibrant community facilities, public art and amenities. And look what the neighboring city of Orinda was able to do with a local sales tax for infrastructure.

    http://cityoforinda.org/191/Roads-Infrastructure

    Orinda — a city of 19,000 versus CV with a population of some 63,000 — is making things happen for its residents while we are guided by often-unresponsive county staff who don’t even live here.

    We should perhaps consider a letter-writing campaign to Supervisor Miley as well as to Sen. Wieckowski and Assemblymember Quirk asking for their assistance in applying some political muscle on behalf of CV. Had Supervisor Miley been looking out for our interests he would have worked to include sidewalk funding for CV in the Measure BB expenditure plan as did city councils up and down the county work to earmark local projects in their communities. He sits in the Alameda County Transportation Commission and had the ability to make things like that happen for us but did not do so.

    Incorporating, alas, can no longer happen without difficult-to-pass state legislation. At this point I do not see it happening much as I wish it could. I bet our residents would approve it today given a chance. Instead we need to mobilize local residents exactly the way Bike-walk CV is trying to do. Thank you!

    Let me know if I can help by writing a letter in the Forum, by writing to our detached county officials and to our state lawmakers. A sample letter with addresses might be helpful, or perhaps a Change.org petition, or both? We should aim for 500 letters or emails and thousands of online signatures.

    Again, thanks for all your “concrete” work to improve CV infrastructure.

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