Archive for December, 2006

Climate Change or Global Warming?

December 15, 2006

As the Bard once remarked, “What’s in a name? The earth is getting warmer by the year”.

An earlier post described the potential catastrophic impact of climate change on Alameda. The prognosis for many other locations in the bay area isn’t exactly cheery! 😦 Yup, the situation looks rather bleak (understatement of the year?) unless we make a collective effort to change our ways.

Oakland appears to be the first off the blocks (take that Berkeley!). The city has set itself a goal of being “oil free” by 2020.

… the East Bay’s largest city is getting ready to convene a task force that will try to make Oakland independent of oil by 2020. The goal of the 11-member oil-independence task force is to look at ways to significantly decrease the city’s reliance on fossil fuels — especially oil and coal — and find alternative fuel options. The plan will lay out strategies to reduce oil consumption citywide.

Some ideas include conservation retrofits for buildings, deploying alternative-fuel buses, purchasing hybrid cars and increasing the city’s usage of solar and wind power.

A climate protection task force was recently established in Alameda and we eagerly await its recommendations.


Traffic-calming art

December 14, 2006


The Sunday NYT Magazine was the Annual Year in Ideas issue. Among the many interesting articles was the rather utilitarian goal behind a public art project in Cambridge, MA: to reduce traffic speeds at a busy intersection!

Soon the city was taking proposals for a circular mural, 20 feet in diameter, to be painted on the asphalt in the center of the intersection — a kind of artwork rotary. The objective, to reduce average speeds from 30 miles per hour to 25, seems relatively modest, but Rasmussen, citing statistics, says it’s significant: “The chance that a pedestrian would survive an accident is vastly greater at that speed.”

At a relatively modest cost of $10k (compared to what more conventional traffic calming methods would cost), the idea appears to be working.

Perhaps we might want to give this a whirl here as we embark on the many new developments?

Update: added traffic-calming image, courtesy Cambridge Bike Tours.