Eco News & Eco Links

NOW ITS EASIER TO VISIT THE NORTH BAY BY RAIL!

Bart's new extension to Warm Springs near San Jose opens up new possibilities for rail excursions from the South Bay Area.  Coupled with the Larkspur Golden Gate Ferry and the soon-to-be-opened SMART train in Marin and Sonoma Counties, soon you won't have to tolerate Highway 101 traffic to visit the North Bay.  Bring your bicycle and visit the our back.  There are many multi-use trails that connect you to forest, ocean and wine tasting. Read more.


DID YOU KNOW?

• The Sonoma Land Trust's restoration of 960 acres of wetlands near Sears Point includes a 2.5-mile addition to the existing 1.5-mile segment of the Bay Trail in the area, making for 8 miles out and back from Port Sonoma. It’s a multi-purpose trail.


• 22 million people were displaced in 2013 due to disasters brought on by natural hazards, nearly three times the number who were forced from their homes due to violence.


•Climate Change Brings More Crime.

First EU EFC Cycling Barometer

Bay Bridge Bike Trail Opens

EcoTourism and Sebastopol

Discovery of young coho salmon in Russian River tributary heralded


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Millennial Generation Desires Multi-Modal Transportation System


Transportation Authority of Marin Recommends $11.4M for SMART's Larkspur Extension

NearBio is a free service that combines a comprehensive list of U.S. biodiesel stations and directions with easy access from your cell phone or computer.

Marin-Sonoma Bike and Pedestrian Facilities Underway


SunTrail Brochure

SunTrail - Providing Electric Charging Stations

from Eureka to Malibu

Read EcoRing's Fast Track to Slower Travel - Inside Sonoma

Life in the Slow Lane!

Earth Day at Jenner 2012

Four ways protected bike lanes benefit businesses


Marin Sonoma Narrows Bike Path Progress


Despite being only 9 miles apart by car, it's a hilly 18 mile ride by bicycle between Petaluma and Novato. The ride is beautiful, but not really practical for someone who needs to commute between these cities. For those in a hurry, there was always an option to ride on the shoulder of Highway 101. It's legal since this section of road is not classified as a freeway, but riding with rush hour traffic on a bike through the Marin Sonoma Narrows is for the truly brave. Or crazy. Commuters are pretty much obligated to travel between Petaluma and Novato by car.

But that's changing!

As part of a project to add a third lane between Petaluma and Novato, Caltrans is will be constructing a new bike route along this part of the Highway 101 corridor. The bike project has been broken into three phases.

Phase 1, which was open to cyclists on November 1, connects San Antonio Road to Novato. To use this new pathway, take I Street out of town and turn left on San Antonio Road. This knocks 8 miles and almost 1,000 feet of climbing off the old route. Even more exciting is that for the first time, it's now possible to ride your bike directly to Olompali Park!

Because this project will convert this part of Highway 101 into a real freeway, private driveways are being cut off and diverted on to new frontage roads constructed to give people access to their property. Portions of the bike path will use these new roads, but the roads will not connect to each other or provide a bypass to Highway 101, so traffic will be very low. To create a continuous route for pedestrians and bicyclists, pathways will connect the roads.

Currently, there are still a few driveways that need to be re-aligned on San Antonio Road. Once that work is done this spring, the access between San Antonio Road and Highway 101 will be closed. Riders should be careful on this section since drivers have discovered that it's a great shortcut around traffic. Once San Antonio is closed, the traffic will disappear.

What's Next?

Phase 2 will construct the bike path from Petaluma Boulevard South to a point about 2 miles south of Kastania Road. This work will start early next spring and should be done by mid-summer. What's interesting about this section is that Caltrans will be moving Highway 101 to the west and converting the existing northbound lanes into an access road and bike path. This will connect to the east side of the new Petaluma Boulevard South interchange.

Phase 3 is the challenging part. The bike paths created by Phase 1 and Phase 2 come very close to each other but no cigar. Phase 1 is on the west side of the highway and Phase 2 is on the east side. There's also the small problem of getting across San Antonio creek. Caltrans need to completely rebuild Highway 101 where it crosses the creek to prevent flooding, so a new highway bridge has to be completed before work can begin on the final phase of the bike path. Once the new bridge is in place, a bike path will be built along the creek that goes under the new bridge and connects the Phase 2 path on the east side to San Antonio Road. Riders can cross the creek on the San Antonio road, connect to the Phase 1 path and ride to Novato.

 

If you want to get really excited, imagine the possibilities once the Petaluma to Sebastopol trail is built along a section of the abandoned Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad right-of-way. This will connect the West County Trail to Petaluma and create the potential for a bike trail extending from the Russian River to Marin County!



Obama Admin Proposes Funding for SMART

Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) has announced that based on recommendation from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, the President's FY 2016 budget recommends $20 million to complete construction of SMART's rail extension to Larkspur.  If approved by the Congress, the funding will come to the region as part of the highly competitive nationwide Federal Transit Administration Small Starts grant program. Visit SMART


SMART on Solid Financial Foundation ... read more


SMART Approves Agreement on Enhanced Bridge Design at Novato Creek

(download release - pdf)


Land Acquired for Sonoma Valley Park Expansion Sonoma County Regional Parks on Oct. 30 took ownership of 29 acres known as the “Curreri property,” which sits in the “pinchpoint” of the imperiled Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor. The land was purchased by the Sonoma Land Trust, which immediately transferred the property to Regional Parks to be added to the 162-acre Sonoma Valley Regional Park. Along with its value for wildlife, the Curreri property offers panoramic views of the Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Mountain, the Mayacamas Range, and San Pablo and San Francisco Bays.
Regional Parks’ staff will begin planning for public access this winter. Meanwhile, interim use of the site's existing trails will begin next spring and trail improvements could begin as early as next fall, once the park's master plan is amended to include the Curreri addition. "We are thrilled to be able to add such a crucial piece of land to Sonoma Valley Regional Park, with its importance to wildlife movement, the viewshed and its significant beauty," said Regional Parks Director Caryl Hart.
See release for more details


Officials Dedicate Newest Segment of Bodega Bay Trail
(a portion of the California Coastal Trail)

Parks officials and community members gathered December 2 in Bodega Bay to open the newest segment of a larger pedestrian and bicycle route planned for the coastal village. The path dedicated by Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo and others is a .47-mile connection between the Bodega Dunes campground and the Bodega Bay Community Center and Children’s Bell Tower.
Referred to as the Coastal Prairie segment, the path features an aggregate surface, 320 feet of boardwalk over sensitive wetlands, and improved accessibility to the Community Center and Bell Tower. The segment is part of the long-term Bodega Bay Bike & Pedestrian Trail project, which will give residents and tourists a safe and scenic alternative for traveling Highway 1 between Salmon Creek to Doran Beach. The larger project will include 3.4 miles of bike and pedestrian path - including a boardwalk with access to shops and restaurants along Bodega Harbor - and 4 miles of bike lanes along Highway 1. Secondary bike and pedestrian routes will connect to nearby parks and marinas.
The recently completed trail segment cost approximately $425,000 to build and was funded by Regional Parks, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Future segments of the Bodega Bay Trail project will be constructed as funding becomes available. Funding is currently being sought to extend the Coastal Prairie Trail .63-miles north from the Bodega Dunes driveway to Keefe Avenue, improving access to the Salmon Creek neighborhood and South Salmon Creek Beach. (The first trail section to be completed was the Cheney Creek crossing, which linked Doran Beach to the Birdwalk Coastal Access Trail in 2008.)
 The entire Bodega Bay Trail project is part of the California Coastal Trail, a network of public trails along the 1,200-mile California coastline that is more than half complete.


Keeping Leased ZEVs on the Road Longer

Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) announced that he has introduced AB 2042 to allow motorists the option of purchasing their leased zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) when the lease runs out. Currently under California clean car requirements established and enforced by the California Air Resources Board, less than 1% of new vehicles sold in the California market place must be ZEVs. Manufacturers lease out ZEVs and take credit for compliance with state law by putting the leased cars on the road. However some manufacturers are then skirting the law by requiring the motorists to return the ZEV to the manufacturer at the end of the lease

Conclusion of rail accident on the Amtrak Metro North

Human error rather than equipment malfunction may be the conclusion as to the cause of the December 1 Amtrak Metro North accident. The accident killed four passengers.

PTC technology prevents train-to-train collisions and prevents trains from going too fast, including around curves. A federal law enacted in October 2008 requires widespread installation of PTC including on passenger train lines by December 31, 2015. If the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ultimately confirms operator error as the cause of the tragedy, that will give even more impetus to the effort to get PTC installed as early as possible.

The fact is that passenger trains are still one of the safest ways to travel. One accident does not change this simple truth.  According to an analysis done by the Association of American Railroads, more people will die in two days on the nation’s highways than have died in all the passenger rail accidents between 1980 to the present.





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