California’s crusade against planet-warming emissions seems at times disconnected from the reality of its gridlocked freeways. But that hasn’t stopped a push for change. State officials want new cars to burn less gasoline for each mile they travel, and to use cleaner fuel. They are making electric cars easier to buy and adding bike lanes along major thoroughfares. Cities and counties have ripped apart streets to build new rail lines and bus corridors. But California will have to do far more if it wants to meet a crucial 2030 climate change goal. Then, state greenhouse gases must fall roughly 40% from what they are now. It’s a steep, unprecedented drop — and whether California can transform transportation will determine whether it can meet those goals. The challenge is huge. Even as power plants and other sectors have cleaned up, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in California have actually grown in recent years, a sign that cleaner and more … [Read more...] about To fight climate change, car-loving California must overhaul transportation. Can it?
An extra lane of traffic and a new bike path are a vote, and about three years, away from coming to an increasingly congested bay crossing — the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. A committee of the Bay Area Toll Authority approved $4.65 million in funding Wednesday to complete the design of a new eastbound lane and a bike and pedestrian lane in both directions. The full board is expected to approve the plan when it meets Feb. 25. The plan calls for the traffic lane to occupy the lower deck of the 5.5-mile bridge with the bike lane on the upper deck. The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, which opened in 1956, has a wide shoulder on each deck. Plans call for a four-year experiment to convert those shoulders to traffic and bike lanes, ideas that are championed by North Bay transportation officials and Bay Area bicycling advocates. With Bay Area population growth and business development in Marin County, traffic across the span has soared in recent years, particularly during the evening commute … [Read more...] about Richmond-San Rafael Bridge closer to getting new lane, bike path
California just got major reinforcements in its fight against the Trump administration’s attempt to revoke the state’s ability to set stricter auto-emissions standards. Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit Friday morning, joined by the attorneys general in 22 other states and the District of Columbia, arguing the administration’s stance that it can preempt state emissions standards is unlawful. “Two courts have already upheld California’s emissions standards, rejecting the argument the Trump Administration resurrects to justify its misguided Preemption Rule,” Becerra, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday. “Yet, the Administration insists on attacking the authority of California and other states to tackle air pollution and protect public health.” The lawsuit is the latest twist in a battle over the Trump administration’s attempt to curtail California’s nearly 50-year-old waiver under the Clean Air Act which allows … [Read more...] about California and 22 states file lawsuit over Trump’s stance on emissions standards
Beyond the Altamont Wind Farm, on former grazing fields that slope down to the flat floor of the San Joaquin Valley, builders are framing houses for the first wave of Tracy Hills. The community pool will open later this month. Billboards indicate the future locations of the fire station and elementary school. Rolls of turf dot the terrain, ready to be unfurled into playing fields. Potted trees, soon to be planted, line the subdivision’s winding bike and walking trails. Even in the midst of a climate crisis, the Bay Area’s skyrocketing housing costs are pushing families into far-flung suburbs like Tracy. And the American dream of a single-family home coupled with cities’ restrictions on building multifamily rentals and condos means “exurbs” continue to thrive despite state and local officials’ recognition that they exacerbate climate change. The majority of buyers at Tracy Hills are families who work in the East Bay or Silicon Valley, but are priced … [Read more...] about Despite climate crisis, California continues to embrace exurban sprawl
If ever there was a glaring example of the havoc and heartache climate change can cause to a farming family, the assortment of chain restaurants, stores and 300 apartments on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale is the one. The 16-acre development in the heart of Silicon Valley is where Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson’s family had a cherry orchard and fruit stand, called C.J. Olson Cherries, that was a landmark for about a century in the agricultural region once known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight. The orchard, at the corner of El Camino and Mathilda Avenue, was bulldozed in 1999, one of the last farms in Sunnyvale to be plowed under. But Jacobson said it wasn’t high-tech urbanization that compelled the family to develop the land after more than a century of farming it. “For five years, from about 1991 to 1996, we didn’t get any cherries,” said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, who blamed a sudden, … [Read more...] about California farms, ranches strive to adapt as climate warms — it’s a matter of survival