Proposed California 93 - Richmond Parkway
California 93 is an unconstructed state highway legislatively defined to include three distinct sections. The first section of proposed California 93, as defined in the state Streets and Highways Code, would link a point in Moraga (at unconstructed California 77) with California 24 in Orinda, and the second segment would link California 24 and Interstate 80 via an alignment approximately parallel to San Pablo Dam Road. These two segments are unlikely to be built anytime soon, if at all.
The third segment, which has a nearly-suitable arterial/expressway along the approximate path, exists as the Richmond Parkway. This route is not a state highway at this time, even though call boxes along the route imply that the Richmond Parkway is already California 93 by using the route number 93 in its call box codes, consistent with the standard seen on Bay Area state highways. No shields for California 93 are in place, as would be expected for a route not yet adopted by the state.
Richmond Parkway is maintained by the city of Richmond and Contra Costa County, based on whether the parkway is within the urban limits of Richmond or not. As of 2008, Richmond Parkway consists of 9.5 miles, 18 traffic signal systems, a 2,200-foot long viaduct near Giant Highway, 400 drainage structures, 500 street lights, two pump stations, four grade separations, and 12 acres of landscaping.
Some of the key dates in the development of the Richmond Parkway are highlighted below:1, 2, 3, 4
- 1958 - The legislative definition of California 93, which includes what is now Richmond Parkway, was approved by the California state legislature and added to the state Streets and Highways Code in 1958 and modified in 1963 to reflect the consolidation of legislative and state signed numerical designations.
- 1986 - The Route 93 Committee (a Joint Exercise of Powers Agency between the County, local cities, and redevelopment agencies) formed to sponsor construction of the Richmond Parkway portion.
- 1988 - Funding for the parkway started to become identified, including bridge tolls (SB 45) funds due to the parkway's role in bringing traffic to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and the passage of Measure C, a one-half cent sales tax dedicated to transportation.
- 1990 - A project study report for the parkway was completed, and construction followed soon thereafter.
- 1992 - Caltrans and the city of Richmond entered a cooperative agreement that would leave Richmond Parkway under local jurisdiction but also would leave the door open for future consideration of state takeover of the route should improvements bring the parkway to state standards.
- 1996 - Completion of the Richmond Parkway (including Castro Street, which is considered to be part of the parkway as part of the primary route to Interstate 580 west) in six segments at a cost of $193 million. The parkway is largely constructed at urban arterial standards with a 45-mile-per-hour speed limit.
- 1998 - Caltrans issues a letter on April 30, 1998, stating that it would not assume responsibility for the Richmond Parkway as part of California 93 unless the Richmond Parkway is brought up to expressway standards due to the fact that the state Streets and Highways Code defines California 93 as part of the state's freeway and expressway system.
- 2008 - Study completed suggesting that the conversion of Richmond Parkway to state expressway standards would cost $262 million and the conversion to urban arterial standards would cost $94 million. The study advised that the expressway conversion would be cost prohibitive and that unless Caltrans allowed takeover of the Richmond Parkway as an urban arterial rather than an expressway, it would likely remain an asset of the city of Richmond and Contra Costa County.
- 2011 - Project to upgrade Richmond Parkway to urban arterial standards in order to transfer route to Caltrans is abandoned due to lack of funding. The project could be resurrected if additional funding for the upgrade is identified (aside from a very small amount added to the project from the 2011 Measure J transportation sales tax).
According to the February 2008 Richmond Parkway Upgrade Project Final Summary Report, the city of Richmond would prefer to transfer Richmond Parkway to the state given its role in linking Interstate 80 and Interstate 580. However, the state has not accepted maintenance of the already constructed Richmond Parkway facility because it does not meet state expressway standards, and the cost to bring the parkway to expressway is $262 million (seen as cost prohibitive). However, other improvements related to bringing the parkway to urban arterial standards as identified in the 2008 report and incorporated into the 2011 Measure J sales tax may be completed as funding is identified.
|An overhead sign in the other direction of Richmond Parkway advises of the pending interchange with Interstate 80. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Eastbound Richmond Parkway meets Sierra Ridge Road at this signalized intersection. This style of traffic signal mast arm is typical of those found along Richmond Parkway. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|This wayfinding sign is posted in the median between Sierra Ridge Road and Lakeside Drive. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Eastbound Richmond Parkway meets Lakeside Drive. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|A trailblazer sign points the way to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, which is part of East Bay Regional Park District. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Nearing the top of a hill, eastbound Richmond Parkway meets San Pablo Avenue, which is the historic route of U.S. 40, which predates Interstate 80 and the Eastshore Freeway. U.S. 40 travels north-south through here, traveling north toward Hercules and Rodeo or south toward downtown Richmond and eventually Berkeley and Emeryville. Note the trailblazer sign that points the way to Interstate 580. The freeway junction is still several miles southwest of here. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|The parkway curves southwest after the San Pablo Avenue intersection. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Turn right at the next intersection (with Atlas Road) to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Westbound Richmond Parkway meets Atlas Road at this signalized intersection. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|The next signalized intersection along westbound Richmond Parkway is with Hilltop Drive. Continue straight ahead for Giant Highway and Interstate 580. Note the blue call box located after this intersection; this is the only picture we have that shows the "93" designation on the call box. We'll have to return later for a better view of this. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|A trumpet interchange connects Richmond Parkway with Giant Highway. The interchange links to a short access road that connects directly with Giant Highway, which is a north-south arterial that links various parts of Richmond together. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|The offramp links to the access road connecting to Giant Highway. A small, white regulatory sign treats this section of Richmond Parkway like a freeway due to its trumpet interchange here; these regulatory signs are commonly seen at the on-ramps onto a typical stretch of freeway. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Richmond Parkway resumes as an expressway after the long viaduct. The parkway's landscaping does not hide the fact that we are entering into a much more industrial area as compared to the more residential/commercial areas seen closer to the Hilltop District. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|The brief freeway configuration of Richmond Parkway ends as we approach the Goodrick Avenue signalized intersection. The parkway curves west again prior to meeting Goodrick Avenue. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Westbound Richmond Parkway meets Goodrick Avenue at this traffic signal. An overhead sign reaffirms that Richmond Parkway continues southwest toward its rendezvous with Interstate 580. Another call box featuring the proposed route number of 93 is posted shortly thereafter. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Richmond Parkway again turns southwest after the Goodrick Avenue intersection. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Continuing southwest, traffic along Richmond Parkway tends to have more commercial, industrial, and through traffic as compared areas closer to the northeastern end of the route. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Westbound Richmond Parkway meets Parr Boulevard at this signalized intersection. Turn right here for the landfill. At this point, Richmond Parkway turns due south for the first time. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Now fully into the industrialized end of Richmond, the next signalized intersection along westbound (southbound) Richmond Parkway is with Pittsburg Avenue, which provides access to various nearby industrial sites. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|This view is afforded along westbound/southbound Richmond Parkway after the intersection with Pittsburg Avenue. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Westbound (southbound) Richmond Parkway next meets Gertrude Avenue at this traffic signal. Immediately after this traffic signal is another grade separation, this time the split between Richmond Parkway and Castro Street. Richmond Parkway briefly turns southeast but will resume traveling southwest shortly after splitting with Castro Street. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|After the intersection with Gertrude Avenue, Richmond Parkway will split. The left two lanes continue after the intersection with Pittsburg Avenue, while the right two lanes depart onto Castro Street. While either Richmond Parkway or Castro Street will connect motorists with Interstate 580, the preferred approach for trucks and through traffic is via Castro Street, as there are fewer traffic signals along the route. Both Richmond Parkway and Castro Street are considered to be part of the overall Richmond Parkway; it is debatable whether a signed route would take Castro Street or Richmond Parkway for the final distance to Interstate 580. Since this sign advises traffic to Interstate 580 to take Castro Street, that's what we drove. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Westbound Richmond Parkway splits at Castro Street. Through traffic to Interstate 580 west is advised to follow Castro Street for the remaining distance to the freeway. Castro Street and Richmond Parkway both travel southwest from this point to Interstate 580, with Castro Street staying northwest of a nearby railroad, and Richmond Parkway staying a bit southeast of the railroad. Prior to the Richmond Parkway construction project from the early 1990s, the remaining portion of Richmond Parkway was originally named as Garrard Boulevard.2 Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Here is a view of the gore point at the split between Richmond Parkway and Castro Street. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Richmond Parkway - Castro Street Segment (Future California 93) west|
|A signalized intersection and railroad crossing greet motorists who opt to take the Castro Street offramp. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Design features of Castro Street are a bit different than the rest of Richmond Parkway, even though Castro Street was improved to this condition as part of the 1990s project to construct the Richmond Parkway. In fact, Castro Street is considered to be Segment 1 of the Richmond Parkway project.2 Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|The next traffic signal (Richmond Lane) is an entrance to one of the nearby chemical plants. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Castro Street intersects a railroad line spur into the chemical plant at this at-grade crossing. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Several tracks of railroad, which also connect to various industrial facilities, pass under Castro Street below this bridge. The grade separation here allows for minimal interference between car and train traffic. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|The next signalized intersection along Castro Street west is with Mills Street. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Soon thereafter, westbound Castro Street approaches its junction with Interstate 580. The first left connects to Interstate 580 west to San Rafael. Continue ahead for the link to Interstate 580 southeast to Oakland. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
|Turn left from Castro Street onto Interstate 580 west. Continue ahead on Castro Street to Interstate 580 east and to Point Richmond. Beyond the freeway interchange, development changes from industrial to residential. Point Richmond, which juts out into San Francisco Bay, is located here. To see more of this area, follow Interstate 580 east to Garrard Boulevard, then turn south. The Ferry Point Tunnel (built in 1899), which follows Garrard Boulevard (and Dornan Drive) south of Interstate 580 through Point Richmond, connects to the Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline, a unit of East Bay Parks. Photo taken 07/02/13.|
- 2011 Strategic Plan Fact Sheet - Richmond Parkway by Contra Costa Transportation Authority dated December 2011. relevant quote: "The Richmond Parkway Project is a four to six-lane, limited access arterial approximately 7.3 miles in length, linking I-80 near Hilltop Drive to Interstate 580 at two interchanges (Castro Street and Canal Boulevard) near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The project has a landscaped center median and controlled access at 16 signalized intersections and six interchanges." (Note that some of these statistics differ from the 2008 report listed next.)
- Richmond Parkway Upgrade Project Final Summary Report by Contra Costa Transportation Authority dated February 2008. A map in Figure 1 shows the segments of construction of the Richmond Parkway and provides some of the older roadway names that existed prior to the parkway's construction. The traffic analysis embedded within the report also noted that both Garrard Boulevard and Castro Street are considered part of the parkway as they each take different types of traffic through the industrial area of Richmond.
- Section 3.5: Richmond Parkway Action Plan. Relevant quote: "Richmond Parkway Key Objectives [include]: A - Identify and apply for funding for bike routes on or near the Richmond Parkway; B - Designate Richmond Parkway as a State Route; C - North Richmond truck study adjacent to Richmond Parkway; D - Richmond Parkway Bay Trail crossing at Wildcat Creek; E - Provide a safe and effective transit solution on Richmond Parkway removing requirement to cross roadway for round trip; and F - Study potential of overnight truck stop on Richmond Parkway."
- Measure J Strategic Plan - July 2011 | Project Fact Sheet: Richmond Parkway Upgrade to Caltrans Standards by Contra Costa Transportation Authority. Relevant quote: "Project Scope: Upgrade existing roadway to Caltrans Urban Arterial Standards; and/or provide funds to maintain roadway. Funding Sources ($ in million): Total $94.0M with Measure J Transportation Sales Tax $0.6M and Other (TBD) $93.4M. ... Need/Purpose: The Richmond Parkway (SR 93) provides a direct connection between Interstate 580 and Interstate 80 through the city of Richmond. It is built mostly to urban arterial standards; however, improvements are needed to facilitate the transfer of its ownership to Caltrans. Possible Segmentation: Construction phasing is being considered because of the size of the project. Issues: Project has significant funding shortfall. Cost reflects upgrade to urban arterial standards. Current Status: Abandoned."
Page Updated July 21, 2013.