1. Why are we doing this study?
The TriLink study is looking into five key areas that could result from a multi-modal transportation link between Brentwood and Tracy. They are:
- » improved regional connectivity
- » planned job growth realization
- » more efficient goods movement
- » better roadway safety
- » better emergency response
The Draft Study Impetus Statement describes how TriLink could affect the region in more detail.
2. Where would the proposed route run?
The TriLink study is exploring the possibility of creating a high quality transportation link from Brentwood to the I-580/205 corridor near Tracy. The TriLink study is looking at a program of improvements in the corridor, including the following corridor elements:
- » an airport connector between Vasco Road and the Byron Highway;
- » a south link along the Byron Highway from the airport south to I-205 near Tracy;
- » a north link from SR-4 south of Brentwood to the Byron Highway north of the airport;
- » an I-580 link south from SR-4;
- » a transit link connection to existing or planned facilities; and
- » new bicycle facilities within the corridor.
3. Will all corridor elements be constructed?
The TriLink study is looking at a program of improvements in the corridor, including an airport connector between Vasco Road and the Byron Highway; a south link along the Byron Highway from the airport south to I-205 near Tracy; a north link from SR-4 south of Brentwood to the Byron Highway north of the airport; an I-580 link south from SR-4; and an transit link. None of these elements is currently funded or scheduled for construction. The TriLink study is evaluating the feasibility of constructing some or all of these elements over the next thirty years.
4. When will construction occur?
The TriLink study is part of the initial planning phase for a multi-modal transportation link between Brentwood and Tracy that could be constructed over the next thirty years. A key work product to be produced as part of the TriLink study is a report on the feasibility of constructing a program of improvements in the corridor between Brentwood and Tracy. If the TriLink study finds some or all of the improvements feasible, however, there are several additional steps that would need to be completed before construction could take place. These steps include:
- » preparation of a Project Study Report to estimate and program the capital and support costs;
- » environmental review pursuant to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA);
- » detailed design and engineering;
- » project approval and permitting; and
- » identification of funding sources for construction and maintenance of the improvements.
5. How would construction be funded?
Funding for TriLink improvements has not yet been identified. As part of the TriLink study, a feasibility report on the five corridor elements is now in development. The draft feasibility report will be publicly available in Summer 2013 and will identify a range of possible funding sources for design and construction of TriLink corridor improvements. The feasibility report will also identify the major milestones required for route adoption, funding, design, and construction.
6. Are there sensitive resources in the study area and if so how will they be addressed?
The Corridor Considerations and Potential Routes Map shows the range of sensitive natural resources and physical development that exists in the study area, including Prime Agricultural Land, rare soils, vernal pools, and historic structures such as the Byron Hot Springs resort. All of these considerations have been taken into account in the development of the TriLink study alignments. Going forward, sensitive resources that could be affected by construction of TriLink improvements will be the focus of more detailed impact analysis required under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Mitigation measures will be developed as required to address impacts identified.
7. What is the purpose of studying multiple I-580 link alignments?
The Corridor Considerations and Potential Routes Map shows three possible options for connecting Brentwood and I-580 near Tracy. These options have been developed in consideration of the location of existing physical development and sensitive environmental resources in the study area, as well as engineering standards required for safe, efficient transportation facilities. During a later phase, these options will serve as the basis for a more detailed analysis of project alternatives required for environmental review under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and Caltrans approval procedures.
8. Why doesn’t the TriLink study look at improving SR 4 east to Stockton or Vasco Road south to Livermore?
The TriLink study is being funded with federal dollars allocated under the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, known as SAFETEA-LU. The allocation was made with the stipulation that the funds must be used to study a multi-modal transportation link between Brentwood and Tracy. As such, SR 4 east to Stockton and Vasco Road south to Livermore both fall outside the geographical limits which the law sets for the study.
9. Will TriLink induce growth?
TriLink will not allow for any growth beyond that which communities in the study area have already planned and accounted for in their general plans. Additionally, communities in the study area have enacted a variety of growth control policies which set limits on the location and the amount of future development that can occur. Examples of such growth control policies include the voter-approved Urban Limit Line (ULL) in Contra Costa and Measure D and the Gateway Policy in Alameda. Local general plans adopted by communities in the study area reflect these policies, designating certain land for conservation and other land for future development.
10. What is the basis and methodology for the land use projections?
The TriLink study uses regional forecasts adopted in 2009 by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) as the basis for its jobs and housing growth projections. These forecasts represent the best available data for the ten-county region, made up of the nine Bay Area counties and San Joaquin. US Census data from 2010 were used to adjust forecasts to accurately reflect 2010 conditions. Additionally, for comparison with regional forecasts, a trend line was developed to project job and housing levels that could be expected in the future if the 1990 to 2010 trend continues.
11. How will TriLink affect the Byron Airport?
The Byron Airport could become an economic engine for East Contra Costa, but its job-generating potential is currently limited by a relatively low number of businesses in the surrounding area and by a lack of direct connections to the regional road and highway network. The program of improvements being considered as part of the TriLink study would address both these limitations. First, TriLink improvements could foster economic development in the region by making it more attractive for manufacturing, wholesale, and transportation firms to locate in the study area. Development of land planned for these job-generating land uses would generate cargo and passengers for the airport. Additionally, the Airport Connector being considered in the TriLink study would improve connections from the airport north to SR-4, east to Byron Highway, and south to I-580. This would support the Byron Airport’s role as a freight hub.
12. Why are truck volumes so high on Byron Highway?
Truck traffic accounts for 23 percent of trips on Byron Highway today, which is double the volume of truck traffic normally seen on county highways. One reason why Byron Highway sees such a high volume of truck trips is that the Tracy and nearby Lathrop areas are key regional trucking distribution centers for the Bay Area and trucks from these centers bound for East Contra Costa County use the Byron Highway because it is the shortest route. Also, there are significant agricultural resources around the south and southeast of Byron that use the Bryon Highway for distribution access.
13. Will TriLink reduce truck traffic in downtown Byron?
Truck traffic on Byron Highway currently passes through downtown Byron, but TriLink route options under consideration would divert traffic away from the Byron by offering an alternate route that avoids the town and will be quicker and more convenient for truckers.
14. What is the basis and methodology for the traffic forecasts?
TriLink traffic forecasts are based on Bay Area and San Joaquin models. These models project future traffic volumes and travel patterns based on assumptions about land uses and the regional road and rail network in the ten-county area. Network assumptions are taken from the most recently adopted Regional Transportation Plan (T-2035) for the Bay Area. The land use included in the model reflect 2000-2040 incremental growth forecasts based upon ABAG and SJCOG 2009 projections, adjusted to reflect actual 2010 conditions.
15. Will TriLink include transit?
Transit is an important part of the Bay Area’s transportation infrastructure, and the TriLink study is looking at the feasibility of a public transit connection to serve existing communities in the study area. The Corridor Considerations and Potential Routes Map shows three possible routes for a transit connection between Brentwood and Tracy. The transit connection options shown could accommodate heavy rail, light rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), or express buses.
16. Will TriLink include bicycle facilities?
Bicycle pathways like those at the Bethany Reservoir provide recreational opportunities for cyclists in the study area, but access is hampered by an incomplete bicycle network. The Bicycle Connectivity Map shows existing and planned bicycle facilities in the study area. The TriLink study is looking at additional bicycle pathway connections to supplement existing and planned facilities and enhance east-west connections.