The words "pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure" probably cannot motivate the masses the same way an unguarded 8-year-old in a faded crosswalk can. That's understandable. According to the Centers for Disease Control, two-thirds of drivers nationwide exceed speed limits around schools. The result is that one child ages 5-15 per 200,000 are killed as pedestrians each year.
In two years the world's biggest event on water will take place in San Francisco. But, like many other mega-sporting events, the 34th America's Cup is expected to have no small impact on land.
With an expected draw of hundreds of thousands of spectators, San Francisco is already contemplating plans to capitalize on the crowds and prestige of the America's Cup. While it's no Olympics or World Cup in terms of scope, the event does present the city with an opportunity to bring about long-term changes. San Francisco was named as the host of the event on December 31, and its plans – both short- and long-term – are already unfolding.
With the advent of AB 32 and SB 375, California has adopted some of the world's leading anti-greenhouse gas laws. And yet, even according to conservative projections, certain very low-lying coastal areas may not survive.
Some of the state's most vulnerable land rings the San Francisco Bay, which is becoming a battleground in the latest round of climate change policy debates.
Of all the ways that California is attempting to reduce its carbon footprint, perhaps none will have a more dramatic, or immediate, impact than that of solar power.
Up to 200 solar energy projects, are seeking, or have received, approval to be developed in California. Most notable of these are nine large-scale projects in the state's own Empty Quarter ï¿½ the Mojave and Colorado -- where state and federal officials are on the verge of inking approvals on more than 4,100 megawatts worth of solar thermal farms. Collectively, they represent nearly ten times the amount of solar capacity installed in 2009, and enough energy to power roughly 2 million homes.
Though the economic prosperity and real estate boom of the past decade may seem like a distant memory, it wasn't more than two or three years ago that planning departments around the state were buried in paperwork. From sprawling subdivisions to loft renovations, developers sent them all the work they could handle. Some planning agencies even complained that attention to case processing prevented them from actually planning.
Today, planning departments are as overburdened as ever, but for completely different reasons.
Covered by chaparral and dry brush, the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties are at a perennial risk of wildfire. And when the seasonal Santa Ana winds sweep through, they bring Apocalyptic storms of fire and ash that rain down on, and sometimes consume, the communities that press up against these slopes.