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CA Air Resources Board Releases Draft Plan for Extending Emission Targets

California's greenhouse gas emissions targets will require a steep reduction in emissions from all sectors. Image from ARB 2030 Draft Scoping Plan.

California’s greenhouse gas emissions targets will require a steep reduction in emissions from all sectors. Image from ARB 2030 Draft Scoping Plan.

The California Air Resources Board released a draft plan for getting California to achieve its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets set out by S.B. 32, which passed in September. The 2030 target is to reduce emissions by forty percent below 1990 levels. The draft plan updates and extends previous scoping plans that created the state’s cap-and-trade program as well as other regulatory measures to reduce emissions from a wide spectrum of industries in the state.

Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols stated:

This draft plan builds on California’s decade-long success in transforming the state’s economy. It sets in place a public process to develop the policies that will create continued opportunities for innovation and investment, benefit disadvantaged communities and ensure California continues to lead the fight against the global threat of climate change.

In a press statement, Governor Jerry Brown called the California targets “the most ambitious in North America.” “This plan lays out a road map for California – and the rest of the world – to achieve climate goals that were inconceivable only a decade ago,” he said. “There are steep hills ahead, but we’ll scale them by continuing to take a series of bold actions, including extending California’s cap-and-trade program.”

Cap-and-trade is not directly required by S.B. 32, which does nothing more than set emission reduction targets. But continuing the cap-and-trade program seems to be a mission for the governor. The draft plan includes analyses of two alternative strategies—one that would rely on direct regulation of emissions and one that would apply a carbon tax instead of using cap-and-trade—but the analyses show them coming up short in terms of meeting emissions targets.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Talking Headways Podcast: A Bus Full of People Should Go Ahead of a Tesla

This week’s episode returns to the Shared Use Mobility Summit in Chicago for a great discussion of how the changing technology and information landscape could yield more equitable outcomes. Jackie Grimshaw of the Center for Neighborhood Technology moderated this panel featuring Anita Cozart of Policy Link, Rob Puentes of the Eno Center for Transportation, and Joshua Schank of LA Metro.

The discussion touches on several interesting topics, including the idea that innovation doesn’t have to arise from technology, the fact that not all people are benefitting from transportation investments, the measurement bias in the models we use to make transportation decisions, and much more. I highly recommend a listen.

Streetsblog LA
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L.A. Metro Board Delays Transit Policing Contract For 3 Months

Seated in the front row are LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LA County Sheriff Jim xxx

Seated in the front row at today’s Metro board meeting are LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, and LBPD Chief Robert Luna. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

At the end of today’s nearly 6-hour Metro board of directors meeting, the vote on the staff-recommended $547 million multi-agency transit policing contract was pushed back three months. Metro’s new transit policing arrangement would scale back the L.A. County Sheriffs Department’s current role in favor of a majority of the work being done by LAPD, with a small slice also going to Long Beach PD.

The vote broke down mostly along city-county lines. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, alongside his appointees Jacquelyn Dupont Walker and Mike Bonin, urged for approval today. County Supervisors Don Knabe and Sheila Kuehl led the charge for a delay. They were joined by directors John Fasana, Ara Najarian, Diane DuBois, James Butts, and Garcetti-appointee Paul Krekorian. Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis were not present for the vote.

Outgoing County Supervisor Mike Antonovich voted against the delay. Antonovich also introduced a motion to retain LASD policing of Union Station.

Director James Butts, the current Mayor of Inglewood and the only boardmember with extensive law enforcement experience including as the former chief of Santa Monica’s Police Department, questioned the accountability model in the proposed contracts. Alex Wiggins, Metro’s Executive Officer for System Security and Law Enforcement, tried to reassure that the new contract includes “only paying for services received” and thus is an improvement over Metro’s past LASD contracts. Butts still pushed for stricter contract accountability. Read more…

Streetsblog SF
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S.F. Bike Coalition Strategizes a Safer SoMa

SFBC's South of Market committee strategizing how to make the neighborhood safer. Photo: Streetsblog

SFBC’s South of Market committee strategizing how to make the neighborhood safer. That’s Remi Ray, Charles Deffarges, Katie Brenzo, and Moses Nakamura. Photo: Streetsblog

Yesterday evening, the South of Market Committee of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) met at their Market Street office to discuss advocacy tactics for making sure SFMTA follows through on Mayor Edwin Lee’s Executive Directive on safety in their neighborhood. “They’re hoping to get this in the ground by May of 2017,” said Charles Deffarges, community organizer with the Bicycle Coalition. He pointed to SFMTA designs, projected on a screen for the group, of 7th and 8th streets, with physically protected bike lanes. “This design is not all the way there, but it is a first phase,” he said.

Streetsblog readers will recall that on the evening of June 22, Kate Slattery and Heather Miller were killed in separate incidents in San Francisco. Slattery died at the intersection of 7th and Howard streets. A month later, under intense pressure from the Bicycle Coalition, the mayor issued an “executive directive on safety.” Part of the directive was specific to the area where Slattery was killed, instructing “SFMTA to deliver near­-term safety improvements on 7th and 8th Streets in the next nine months.”

That process is now under way. Streetsblog covered an open house back in September, where SFMTA got feedback on designs for 7th and 8th. Now the Bicycle Coalition is focusing on longer-term planning for Folsom and Howard Streets. They want to keep up the pressure and make sure safety measures are put through before any more cyclists are hurt or killed. SFMTA is holding open houses on the designs on Thursday, December 8, and Saturday, December 10.

“My hope is we can figure out exactly what we want to achieve through this open house,” said Deffarges. “Our overarching goal for Folsom and Howard is to have the best streets possible–how do we use these upcoming open houses to leverage that goal?” Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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The ‘Peanutabout’ Concept Could Be a Breakthrough for Diagonal Streets

A proposed design in Cambridge. Image: Kittelson and Associates via Boston Cyclists Union.

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.

Wickedly good biking ideas continue to pop up in Massachusetts.

Last year, it unveiled the country’s best state-level bikeway design guide and Cambridge opened the country’s best new bike lane on Western Avenue.

On Tuesday, the Boston Cyclists Union shared the inspiring back story behind a new concept for the long, complex seven-way intersection created by the acute crossing of Cambridge and Hampshire streets. Like a lot of good ideas in modern American bicycling history, it involves Anne Lusk, a Harvard public health professor who’s been a major brain behind the spread of protected bike lanes in the United States. Last summer she connected BCU with engineering firm Kittelson and Associates, and dominoes started falling:

In mid-September, Bike Union executive director Becca Wolfson and representatives of Kittelson met with City of Cambridge staff to present our findings regarding the feasibility of the peanut design and the conceptual rendering for it. The City had considered and rejected as infeasible a roundabout solution for Inman, but had not considered a peanut-style mini-roundabout. The staff were favorably impressed and have since indicated an interest in including this roundabout approach alongside the “Bends” solutions as the pubic process moves forward.

In his post, BCU writer Steven Bercu lists the various advantages of this design for people walking, biking and driving. Here are the benefits for bicycle travel:

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

More California headlines at Streetsblog LA and Streetsblog SF

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One New California Bicycle Friendly University: S.F. State

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Nolen Brown, fixing bike at right, sets up an outreach table for Power to the Pedal on the S.F. State campus. Photo by Nick Kordesch.

Nolen Brown, fixing bike at right, sets up an outreach table for Power to the Pedal on the S.F. State campus. Photo by Nick Kordesch.

Among the 51 new and renewing League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Universities nationwide, there is only one in California: San Francisco State University, which was just awarded Bronze Level status.

This is the first time S.F. State got the award, and Nolen Brown, who worked on the application, said, “We would have been very disappointed if we’d gotten anything better than bronze.”

That’s because the bikeability of S.F. State kind of sucks, despite the campus being located in a city with a strong bike culture.

“S.F. State is kind of an island to commute to,” said Brown. “You have to swim across some treacherous channels” from whichever direction you arrive. Almost all the surrounding streets are wide, multi-lane roads with heavy, fast traffic. Plenty of it is generated by the campus, which is largely a commuter school. But there are also students living on campus, and they need to cross those same wide streets to get to, for example, the market.

Brown, who works part time as the Bicycle Outreach Student Assistant, took on the Bicycle Friendly University application as a summer project under the guidance of Nick Kordesch, a staff member in the Office of Sustainability in the campus Planning and Design department.

“We thought it would be a good way to inventory the school’s bicycle resources,” said Brown. Going through the application process not only helped identify and articulate what bike facilities the campus already has, but also showed them “where we need to go next, and where we need to improve.”

Kordesch said the process provided them with “a really handy checklist.” Read more…

Streetsblog LA
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L.A. City Council Approves $1.4 Billion Sidewalk Repair Program

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L.A. city sidewalk repairs will soon get underway as part of the new legally mandated Safe Sidewalks L.A. program. photo: Flickr/Waltarr

Today, the Los Angeles City Council approved the final touches to get its $1.4 billion sidewalk repair program going. This unprecedented L.A. city investment in sidewalk repair is due to the class action lawsuit Willits v. City of Los Angeles, concerning making the public right-of-way accessible to people with disabilities. The $1.4 billion will be spent over ten years beginning this current fiscal year.

The city program is essentially the fix-and-release model, outlined in 2015 and approved by joint committees last March. Under fix-and-release, the city will do extensive repair of broken sidewalks, then turn over sidewalk maintenance responsibility to property owners. L.A.’s fix-and-release program has drawbacks—including concerns over equity and street tree health—but today’s approval nonetheless gets needed sidewalk repair construction underway.

Today’s council action included approving several interlocked items (more detailed summaries are available on the meeting agenda):

  • Adopt ordinance to return sidewalk repair to property owners, and related programs (council file 14-0163-S10)
  • Set up Sidewalk Repair Incentive and Cost-Sharing Rebate Program (council file 14-0163-S3)
  • Designate specific departments to be responsible for various aspects of sidewalk repair (council file 14-0163-S11)
  • Direct Bureau of Street Services Urban Forestry Division to report on tree removal and replacement (council file 15-0467-S6)
  • Direct Bureau of Street Services to report on hiring additional tree pruning crews (council file 15-0467-S3)

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Federal Regulators Will Let U.S. Railroads Run Faster, More Efficient Trains

European-designed traincars are on their way to the U.S. Photo: Paris' high-speed TGV via Wikipedia

American passenger railroads will be able to save hundreds of millions of dollars annually by using trains designed to standard European specifications. Photo of France’s TGV, via Wikipedia

Why are American trains so expensive and yet so slow? One factor that rail advocates often point to is the Federal Railroad Administration and its rail safety regulations — rules that are finally on the verge of changing.

Antiquated regulations that date all the way back to the late 1800s (they were updated in the 1930s) compel American passenger rail operators to use trains designed like “high-velocity bank vaults,” as former Amtrak CEO David Gunn once put it. While European and Asian railcars became lighter and sleeker in recent decades without compromising safety records, FRA rules continued to insist on heavy, slow, outdated, and expensive equipment.

That finally appears set to change with the FRA’s release of new draft safety rules for traincars.

The FRA expects the new rules will enable railroads to use trains that are safer, more energy efficient, and cheaper to operate. The rules will allow American passenger train operators to purchase rolling stock designed to European safety standards (but not Japanese standards), without going through an expensive waiver process.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Work begins on massive San Diego corridor project (San Diego Union Tribune)
  • Downtown Oakland project could bring many new jobs (East Bay Times)
  • Anti-BART crusader gets state agency to investigate claim that Draymond Green ad lauding BART was illegal (East Bay Time)
  • Consumer group: California oil companies are gouging consumers (LA Times)
  • Why America’s roads are more dangerous than Europe’s (Vox)
  • In Copenhagen, bikes now outnumber cars (The Guardian)
  • What trees do to urban pollution (Directions)
  • Mapping four billion U.S. commutes shows U.S. “megaregions” (National Geographic)

More California headlines at Streetsblog LA and Streetsblog SF