FAIRFIELD — Both Suisun City and rural Solano County have had a busy transportation year.
Suisun City has worked on its almost-completed Grizzly Island bicycle and pedestrian trail along Highway 12 between Grizzly Island Road and Marina Boulevard, improved Main Street and renovated Pintail Drive.
The county is building a 5.2-mile portion of a bike lane linking Dixon and Vacaville, has had its Public Health Department work on the Safe Routes to School program and worked to reduce conflicts between farmers and cyclists.
City and county ended up in a tie of mobility improvement excellence. The Solano Transportation Authority chose them both as Agency of the Year for its annual 15th transportation awards.
The transportation awards don’t have a fancy name such as the Oscars or Emmys. But they are the local version for those who plan and build streets, improve mass transit and in general help people get around. The awards were presented Wednesday in Dixon.
“Our theme this year was, ‘STA – working for you,’ ” Dixon Mayor and Solano Transportation Authority Board Chairman Jack Batchelor Jr. said in a press release.
The year of 2012 was a year when the two biggest, most eye-catching projects – relocating the eastbound Interstate 80 truck scales and widening Highway 12 in Jameson Canyon – got their respective starts, but the finish lines are still months away. That apparently left the field clear for some smaller, less-visible projects to take top honors.
Vacaville won the Project of the Year award for its transit ambassador program. Volunteers meet with groups or individuals to help them understand the bus system, whether it be finding a bus route or figuring out the various fare programs.
State Compensation Insurance Fund in Vacaville is the Business of the Year. The agency worked with Solano Napa Commuter Information to form 17 van pools, with more expected, a Solano Transportation Authority press release said.
Vallejo won the Project Delivery of the Year award for building the first phase of its Vallejo Station parking garage near its waterfront. Vallejo has billed Vallejo Station as the city’s principal transportation hub, providing parking for riders of both buses and ferries.
SolTrans got named Partner of the Year. The agency was formed by consolidating The Benicia Breeze and Vallejo Transit bus systems to serve southern Solano County. Benicia and Vallejo won special awards for forming SolTrans.
Studies that could help determine the future look of Highway 12 from Interstate 80 through Rio Vista through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to Interstate 5 won the Planning/Transportation for Livable Communities award. Sharing the honor is the state Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the San Joaquin Council of Governments.
Benicia’s Park Road sidewalk near the Benicia Bridge won as Safety Project of the Year. The project eliminated a major gap in the regional pedestrian network and helped link the Solano County network with the one in Contra Costa County, the press release said.
Vicki Jacobs of Dixon Readi-Ride is the Transit Employee of the Year. The Readi-Ride system had an 11 percent increase in ridership even as it lost two of its six drivers. The press release said that “multitasking and working in a high-stress environment is the norm for Vicki’s workday” as she works as a dispatcher in the mornings and driver in the afternoons.
Jim Antone is the Advisory Committee Member of the Year. He represents the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District on the Solano Transportation Authority’s Safe Routes to School committee.
Rio Vista Mayor Jan Vick won a special award for her work on the Solano Transportation Authority Board of Directors since January 2009, including serving as chairwoman for the committee overseeing the Highway 12 study. Vick did not run for re-election on the Rio Vista City Council in the Nov. 6 election and is leaving the Solano Transportation Authority Board.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.