Connolly’s Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Traffic Reduction Bill Passes Unanimously

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Damon Connolly hailed the bipartisan passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 1464, which seeks to address the severe traffic congestion on the Richmond San-Rafael Bridge. The bill directs the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to consider reopening the third westbound lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to passenger vehicles in a manner that accounts for expanding multimodal transportation, preserving pathways for bicyclists, and reducing localized greenhouse gas emissions. AB 1464 passed with unanimous, bipartisan support out of the Assembly Transportation Committee with 15 votes.

“Anyone who lives in the Bay Area, particularly in the East and North Bay, knows how bad the traffic has gotten on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly. “This traffic jam doesn’t just slow commutes, it backs up local streets and roads in the City of Richmond, impacting many local families residing in traditionally disadvantaged communities. I am pleased that my colleagues support AB 1464, which will reduce congestion and bring relief to Bay Area residents, particularly in the City of Richmond.”

Each workday, approximately 18,000 Bay Area residents cross the Richmond San-Rafael Bridge. During peak hours, commuters face approximately 16 minutes of gridlocked, stop-and-go traffic, which is predicted to grow to 24 minutes in the next three years, according to a study conducted by the Transportation Authority of Marin. This congestion disproportionately affects traditionally disadvantaged communities located in the City of Richmond. According to air monitors, the morning freeway backup has become the largest source of non-wildfire air pollution in the City of Richmond, even greater than the emissions from the local oil refinery.

While the commuters on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge are generally lower-income and reside in historically underserved and systemically marginalized communities, according to the US Census Bureau, there have been no near-term projects to reduce the congestion and pollution that disproportionately affects these communities.

“Richmond residents in low income neighborhoods, primarily people of color, should not have to bear the burden of air pollution from a jammed freeway, especially when the side of Marin County has already received infrastructural relief,” said Joe Fisher, President of the Coronado Neighborhood Council. “A lot of these people stuck in traffic are trying to get to jobs in Marin. Opening the third lane will help my community, and Assemblymember Connolly has proposed a great way to get that done, so we all can share the bridge and get rid of the traffic.”

“Assemblymember Connolly has proposed a common sense and innovative solution to help solve the epic Richmond Bridge back up,” said John Grubb, Chief Operating Officer of the Bay Area Council. “By adding a second movable-barrier bike lane on the lower deck, it allows the bridge to suddenly be actively managed, with the third lane to be open to carpools, cars and transit, while maintaining a continuous, protected bike lane.  Everyone wins. It gets past political battles, and gets towards a practical way to solve the problem.”

AB 1464 now awaits a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.