The Canal Road Sidewalk and Bike Lane Project is a Safe Route to School Project that closed a critical sidewalk gap and provided dedicated bicycle facilities adjacent to Bel Air Elementary School in Bay Point. This project installed 3,650 feet of sidewalk, widened the roadway to provide a Class II bike lane on both sides of the road, and installed 13 inlets and 800 feet of storm drain. This Project addressed a critical safety concern. The community of Bay Point has experienced the most pedestrian and bicycle related collisions in the County. During the past 12 years, 16 pedestrian or bicycle collisions have occurred, three of which resulted in pedestrian fatalities. One fatality occurred within this Project segment in 2014. The Project had a number of engineering challenges with the constrained right-of-way, multiple utility conflicts (both anticipated and unexpected), and working around sensitive creek and wetland areas. In spite of challenges the Project was delivered on time and within budget. However, the biggest accomplishment of this Project is in providing a tremendous benefit to the community, pedestrians and bicycle users in the form of a safe corridor to get to and from Bel Air Elementary School, as well as improving access to the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station. In addition to the installation of infrastructure, this Project included a non-infrastructure element. Following completion of construction, a Walk to School event and assembly, including a ribbon cutting, was held at Bel Air Elementary School to celebrate the new improvements. Students engaged in class activities and assemblies regarding healthy choices and safety training for walking and biking to school. During these education efforts, the mother of the victim in the fatal collision spearheaded a campaign called “Because of Love.” Her efforts explained to students that “Because of Love,” students must be aware while they walk or bike to school and must travel with their “head up and phones down.” She extended this same message to drivers who must do their part to stay attentive while driving. Representatives from the County’s Health Services Department, the Public Works Department, Bike East Bay, Contra Costa County Sherriff Department, Bel Air Parent Teacher Association, the Contra Costa Food Bank, Supervisor Federal Glover, representing Contra Costa County District 5, and several parent volunteers assisted in the outreach and education efforts. This Project is extraordinary because it fulfills a fundamental need for safety in a community that needs assistance. The Project provided a direct measure to counter the pedestrian fatalities experienced. The community was included in the planning and design of the Project and the Project also included assurances that the new infrastructure will be beneficial through reaching out to the student community with important safety messages and encouragement to choose active transportation for their health and for the environment.
Canal Road, Bay Point
City or County Responsible for Project:
Contra Costa County
Narrative Description Of Your Entry:
Associate Civil Engineer
Contra Costa County Public Works Department
255 Glacier Drive, Martinez, CA 94553