South Napa County transportation projects such as long-planned Highway 29/Highway 221 intersection improvements would receive money from a proposed toll hike on Bay Area bridges.
Napa County is to receive $20 million of the toll hike revenues for projects along Highway 29, including the Soscol Junction intersection. It could also compete for money to help build park-and-ride lots and other projects.
“Everybody always wants more, but it’s a pretty substantial line item for Napa,” Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA) Executive Director Kate Miller said.
But first, voters would have to pass Regional Measure 3 on June 5 to hike tolls on the Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Antioch, San Francisco-Oakland Bay, San Mateo-Haywood, Richmond-San Rafael and Dumbarton bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge is not a state-owned bridge, so it is not included.
Regional Measure 3 calls for three rounds of $1 toll increases. For example, the $5 Carquinez Bridge toll in nearby Solano County would rise to $6 in 2019, $7 in 2022 and $8 in 2025.
The proposed toll hikes are to fund $4.45 billion in transportation projects across the Bay Area. Napa County has worked to secure slices of that pie. Here are the local possibilities:
- $20 million allotment for Highway 29 projects in the southern county.
- $100 million for North Bay mass transit projects. Napa County could compete for money.
- $150 million to improve pedestrian and bike access to mass transit hubs and to close San Francisco Bay Trail gaps. Again, Napa County could compete for money.
- $100 million for projects on Highway 37, both near-term to address congestion and long-term to address forecasted sea level rise that could swamp the road. Local officials said traffic congestion on the highway linking Solano and Marin counties can spill onto Napa County roads.
Soscol Junction at the intersection of Highway 29 and Highway 221 would be a signature project. The traffic signal during a bad rush hour backs vehicles up for a mile, leaving frustrated drivers sitting and staring at the nearby Grape Crusher statue.
The NVTA and Caltrans are looking at a $35 million project that would eliminate the signal and allow Highway 29 traffic to move freely on a new overpass. Two roundabouts would regulate traffic entering and leaving the highway and passing underneath it.
Soscol Junction alone could swallow up that $20 million allotment for south Napa County. But the NVTA is also looking at additional funding sources for the junction, so some of the toll allotment money could be available for other Highway 29 projects.
Miller mentioned as a possibility the proposed, $1 million Carneros Junction project at the signalized Highway 29 intersection where Highway 12 heads west to Sonoma. The signal would stay, but new merge lanes and a constant green light for northbound Highway 29 traffic would bring congestion relief.
Napa County could compete for Regional Measure 3 funds to do such things as improve the Imola Avenue park-and-ride lot in Napa. Still other money could help move express bus stops closer to Highway 29 to cut time from bus runs. Express buses go to BART, the Vallejo Ferry and Fairfield-Suisun.
American Canyon Interim City Manager Jason Holley sees possible Highway 29 projects in his city. For example, he mentioned creating additional turn lanes to improve intersections.
“Twice each day, American Canyon bears the brunt of excessive regional traffic on State Highway 29, and these proposed new revenues will help jump start necessary, long-term solutions for congestion relief,” Holley said.
But first, voters would have to pass Regional Measure 3. A survey presented to the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) in December showed that 54 percent of Bay Area voters support the measure. A simple majority vote is needed for passage.
That survey also looked at various counties. In Napa and Solano counties, the measure had 45 percent support. This rose to 50 percent when voters learned of possible projects.
The survey polled Napa and Solano voters on what they think are the most important projects. Respondents listed Highway 37 improvements as number one, with 81 percent saying this is important.
Other projects with high importance ratings are reducing truck traffic and improving air quality at 78 percent, purchasing new BART cars to run more frequent trains at 73 percent and improving bike and pedestrian access to train stations and ferry terminals at 65 percent.
Perhaps because residents in both counties were polled, Soscol Junction and south county Highway 29 improvements ranked lower on the priority list, with 60 percent of respondents deeming these projects important.
EMC Research conducted the telephone-web hybrid survey of 4,151 residents in nine Bay Area counties. The margin of error is 2.6 percent.
People traveling from Napa County to San Francisco using Interstate 80 cross both the Carquinez and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges. Under the state legislation enabling Regional Measure 3, commuters paying tolls electronically would receive a 50 percent discount on toll increases at the second bridge during commute hours.
Whether bridge toll hikes under a voter-passed Regional Measure 3 would end at $3 in 2025 remains to be seen. State legislation enabling the measure allows BATA to raise tolls thereafter to keep pace with inflation. Union City Mayor and BATA Board Member Carol Dutra-Vernaci wants voters to know this.
“I think transparency is important in this situation,” Dutra-Vernaci said during a January BATA meeting.
Metropolitan Transportation Commission Executive Director Steve Heminger responded that the matter is hypothetical at this point, given voters have yet to pass the toll increase. If they do, BATA would have the discretion to impose cost-of-living adjustments after 2025.
The cost-of-living adjustment possibility will be disclosed in the voter handbook, Heminger said. People opposed to this idea will probably also make sure voters know about it, he added with a smile.
Napa County was excluded from voting on the 1988 Regional Measure 1 toll hike and 2004 Regional Measure 2 toll hike, in part because the county has no toll bridge. But local voters will have a voice on Regional Measure 3.
“We have users of the toll bridges,” Miller said. “There are revenues we generate. It seems fair we should have a vote in that.”
MTC data shows that Napa County residents are responsible for 2 percent of the toll revenue at the Bay Area’s state-owned bridges. The leaders are Alameda County at 31 percent, Contra Costa County at 18 percent and Solano County at 14 percent.
Napa County also has 2 percent of the Bay Area voters who will be asked to decide the toll increase.
Magalli Yoho doesn’t mess around when it comes to flipping a house, even a historic downtown home that’s 126 years old.
Yoho, who has previously lived in Napa, is a real estate investor and renovator.
Back in October this house hunter bought the Ingalls house at 2133 First St., near the entrance to downtown Napa.
The home was originally built in 1892 for one of Napa’s earliest business owners, Wilfred Ingalls. For the past 27 years it had been home to then-city council member Juliana Inman and her family.
Yoho bought the home from Inman for $802,000. Today, after just 10 weeks of work, it’s listed for sale for $1.24 million.
“I love everything about the house,” said Yoho. “It’s got a good floor plan, lots of great lighting. I love the high ceilings.”
Yoho said the Queen Anne Tower House caught her eye when it was first listed for sale in 2017.
Yoho said she wasn’t sure if she could take it on. “The house needed a little more than a bit of love and tender care,” she said. But, “I saw the beauty of it and everything else could be fixed.”
And fix she did.
In less than three months, Yoho had the Ingalls house completely rehabbed, from top to bottom.
For example, the entire house was re-plastered and repainted, inside and out. A former attic space was finished to become a legal fourth bedroom. The basement also received a makeover, with new electrical and a permitted space for office, laundry, bonus room and storage space.
Central heat and air was installed. One bathroom was remodeled.
The kitchen got a cosmetic makeover. The floors in the home were refinished, and all lighting fixtures were updated. A French drain system was installed outside. The front and back yards were re-landscaped.
Two crews worked on the house each day, she noted. The second crew would work inside the house until 11 p.m., each night, she said.
Yoho temporarily moved back to Napa to be on site, working 19-hour days. “It was intense.”
The plan was to turn the home into a vacation rental, but when Yoho realized she couldn’t immediately get the proper vacation rental permit, she decided to resell, or flip, the home.
“I can’t afford to keep it just so I can be there on the weekends. I’m a single mom with four kids,” she added.
Yoho declined to say how much she spent on the renovations, only that it was “a significant amount.” The new listing price covers those costs, plus some profit.
So far, the house has gotten very good reaction, said Yoho. More than 75 people visited the property at an open house on Super Bowl Sunday. As of Tuesday night, Yoho said she had two potential buyers who seemed particularly interested.
The 2,336-square-foot house, with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, is co-listed by Cheri Stanley and Jennifer Parr of Sotheby’s International Realty.
When Yoho purchased the Ingalls home it was a “diamond in the rough,” said Stanley.
Stanley said that other potential buyers may have been intimidated by the cosmetic and other upgrades that the home required. But “property rehab is her passion,” Stanley said of Yoho.
Her client “transformed” the home. “Boy does it look different now.”
Stanley said the only downside to the house is that it is located on a busy stretch of the one-way section of First Street. But, “It is what it is.”
This is the eighth house that Yoho has bought and rehabbed in the Bay Area, but it is her first true “flip,” Yoho said. She’s held onto the majority of the other properties she’s worked on.
In 2010, a project that Yoho hoped to work on in Woodside made the news.
At the time, Yoho and her then-husband Jason tried to convince Steve Jobs of Apple Computer to let them deconstruct a historic but decrepit property he owned in Woodside called the Jackling house. The Yohos wanted to save the Jackling house and rebuild it at a property about two miles away.
Ultimately, the Yohos were not successful in their request. The house was demolished in 2011.
Inman, who also used to own the house next to the Ingalls house, said she bought the First Street home 27 years ago for about $187,000. Even back then, it was a significant price to pay for a house that “was a complete mess,” she said.
Inman and her family spent some 10 years renovating the home, including foundation, exterior, interior, wiring and plumbing repairs, earthquake retrofitting and more.
“It was a real bootstrap operation,” she said.
Naturally, by 2017, some parts of the home needed updating yet again, Inman said.
However, “I was at a point where I was not willing or able to go in and do another round” of such work, she said.
To make matters worse, around this same time, Inman ruptured her Achilles tendon. By then, “I was so done,” she said.
The family sold the house to Yoho and moved as planned to Salem, Oregon.
Inman said she had an idea that Yoho might flip the home, so she wasn’t completely surprised to hear it was for sale again.
“If you want to flip something you want to move quickly,” said Inman.
As for the $446,000 increase in the asking price — just months after she sold the home — Inman said the Napa real estate market will determine the price it will ultimately sell for.
“I just don’t know if the market is going to support that much of an increase,” said Inman. “But I think she’ll get her money back and probably make money and everyone will be happy.”
After viewing photos of the home as listed today, Inman noted it has been staged in a different aesthetic than when she owned the house, but that doesn’t bother her. It’s what real estate agents do.
Inman said her wish for the next owner is that a family “will enjoy living in there as much as my family did,” said Inman. “My children were raised there. It was a great place for them to grow up.”
Even though Yoho will have owned it for just a brief period of time in its 126-year lifespan, she seemed proud to help preserve a piece of Napa history.
“If I didn’t buy this house and didn’t have the imagination to see it fixed, maybe it would not have lasted another 20 years,” she said.
“For me, that house is like a piece of art,” said Yoho. “It’s so beautiful. It’s ready for somebody else that appreciates the beautiful architecture to enjoy it.
The developer of Napa Logistics Park is moving forward with its next huge building, while its first tenant — IKEA — is preparing to hold a job fair to hire dozens of employees.
Orchard Partners received approval from the American Canyon Planning Commission last month for a design permit to construct a 702,000-square-foot building that can be used for warehousing, distribution or E-commerce.
The building, covering 16 acres, would be the second for Napa Logistics Park, following the completed 646,000-square-foot multi-use commercial structure that IKEA agreed last year to lease for a new distribution center.
If fully built out, Napa Logistics Park would provide a total of 2.9 million square feet of space for warehousing, distribution, E-commerce or office use situated in five buildings located on 173 acres in northern American Canyon.
Ernie Knodel with Orchard Partners said it’s too early to say who might lease the second building. But he told the Planning Commission, “We’re really excited about IKEA coming in” and operating a distribution center to fulfill online sales orders.
IKEA has hired 18 people for leadership positions, according to Knodel, and is working with the American Canyon Chamber of Commerce to host a job fair on Feb. 20 to fill the remaining posts.
The job fair will take place from 12-5 p.m. in the American Canyon Welcome Center, located just off Highway 29 at 3860 Broadway St., Suite 103.
IKEA is looking to fill 30 to 40 warehouse positions, according to Mandy Le, president and CEO of the Chamber.
“The positions are full-time starting at $16.50 per hour plus benefits,” said Le. “Those who are interested in applying should attend the event interview ready with a copy of the resume.”
She added that IKEA prefers applicants to apply online in advance of the job fair by going to seeacareerwithus.com. But doing so is not required, and walk-ins are welcome, she said.
“This is the first job fair the Chamber is hosting,” said Le, “and we would love to do more in the future.”
Once the IKEA distribution center is up and running, the company is expected to employ a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program to ease the impact of traffic from the business park on local roads and Highway 29.
IKEA will operate two shifts, with the first one starting at 5 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. The second one would follow right after the first shift.
This way employees coming and going from Napa Logistics Park won’t be part of the peak commute hours, which are 7-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.
Orchard Partners agreed to use a TDM program after a traffic study authorized by the city showed the project, if fully completed, could potentially generate 9,263 vehicle trips per day without any mitigation efforts.
Up to 1,044 trips would occur during the morning peak period and 1,310 trips in the afternoon peak period without a TDM.
With a TDM in place, Napa Logistics Park is expected to produce 780 trips in the morning peak period and 704 trips in the afternoon peak period.
If the vehicle trips exceed these thresholds, Orchard Partners could be subject to financial penalties levied by the city.