Doing Business at the Pittsburg Courthouse
The Arnason Justice Center is easy to get to, easy to park and easy to use. Coming from Central County, get off on Railroad Avenue, and turn left. The Court is the first left after you cross over the freeway. The access to and amount of parking is above average. Early birds get the court parking and later arrivals will find plenty of street parking or at the adjacent City of Pittsburg Civic Center. Court is from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, but clerk windows close at 3:00 pm (4:00 pm for traffic division). All visitors must pass through security. If you don’t have a Restricted Access Court Security Card, skip the line with your bar card and drivers’ license.
Contra Costa’s newest courthouse serves a fast growing East County with a total of seven judicial departments. The clerk windows and jury assembly room are on the middle floor where you enter. One large courtroom on the bottom floor provides security for in-custody arraignments. Upstairs are four departments which hear mostly criminal cases, restraining orders, and small claims disputes. The upstairs cafeteria area is pleasant and has adequate seating with tables and vending machines.
Ron Rives (my father), was the bar association liaison to the court design committee, tasked with making the courthouse lawyer friendly. They succeeded. There are plenty of private meeting rooms (two per court room), Wi-Fi, and courtrooms equipped with audio/video inputs and projection screens for trial presentation. The courthouse also has a resource center with computers and access to legal research.
The courthouse architecture is deliberately modern in design and features a beautiful stone and glass exterior. The City of Pittsburg plans offices and restaurants next door. There is even a new BART station across the street to provide easy access.
For tired and hungry lawyers, there are also many fine restaurants minutes away.
If you turn left from the courthouse and drive into Pittsburg’s Old Town – bordered by the Pittsburg Marina – downtown Pittsburg is an undiscovered jewel with free parking. Do you like Mexican food? Try the New Mecca Cafe – a Pittsburg staple since the 1960’s. Fine Italian? La Veranda offers atmosphere, white tablecloths and great food. There is CreAsian Bistro for Asian food (try the Shaking Beef Cubes with garlic noodles!). E.J. Phair has great flat bread pizza and beers on tap. In a hurry? Grab a tasty burger at Lumpy’s Diner or a deli sandwich at Nick’s.
If you turn right from the courthouse, heading south over the freeway, then, our favorite Mexican Restaurant is La Piñata located on Bliss Avenue which is the first left turn once you cross back over the freeway. If you continue on Railroad Avenue, you will hit the fast food restaurants. Panda Express and Togo’s get me every time. Drive a little further on Railroad and you will find Wah Sing – a more formal, ‘sit down’ Chinese restaurant with an excellent lunch menu.
If all this sounds like a sales pitch for Pittsburg, this is what you get from a Pittsburg lawyer who just so happens to be a former Pittsburg Chamber president and whose father was also a former mayor and Chamber president… three times. The Arnason Justice Center is a great place to work located in a town that is a pleasant surprise.