Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Comments on the June 24th Council meeting

4.0 specific items to be removed for separate action.
B. Resolution Approving the Filing of the BAAQMD BFP Grant Application for City Contract Number 433 - U.S. Highway 101 Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge Project for an Amount of $57,500 and for Installing Bicycle Lanes on Alameda de las Pulgas South of Ralston Avenue for an the Amount of $15,000.

I commend the council for considering bicycle lanes on the Alameda.

I ask you to please consider complete systems. Often the facility is incomplete and terminates in the most unfortunate situations. We build astounding levels of redundancy into automotive systems and take overcapacity for autos for granted despite an immense cost to the city. The energy output of the different modal groups are orders of magnitude apart. Its much easier for autos to have to go miles between connections. Instead all streets are auto accessible; but when you get over two lanes, the speed deferential, space allocation, priority, and position puts bicyclists and pedestrians at a life threatening disadvantage. Incomplete bike lanes on Ralston are a prime example of disparities caused by incomplete systems.

We have opportunity to reach out to our neighboring cities to ensure that multi modal access is achievable via the San Carlos Train Station where more baby bullets stop and to Samtrans by extending the bicycle catchment around our local stations. Providing a connected infrastructure for zero co2 modes like walking and biking to transit, can benefit both cities regionally by reducing congestion, pollution, and costs from expensive auto infrastructure.

With regards to Ralston 101 the council should CCAG to adopt a platform of Routine Accommodations so that bicyclists are not penalized today for the promise of future infrastructure.

B. Discussion and Direction Regarding Striping Plan for Alameda de las Pulgas

Please consider multimodality. Narrow sidewalks and wide streets force pedestrians into the street while giving fast traffic a free pass. Fast turn lanes create unique opportunities for automobiles to collide with pedestrians. Wide streets force seniors to try and jog unsuccessfully arriving stranded in the middle while traffic shamefully asserts its right away- for example in front of the library. Bicycles are challenged to take lanes to the left of stopped buses or vehicles parked for free. Belmont in turn responds with expensive enforcement fixes like lighted crosswalks and police officers to nab offensive drivers enabled by poor multimodal designs.

A stripping plan with parking, narrows lanes and clearly marked bicycle lanes can calm traffic and provide pedestrians with a refuge before crossing auto lanes. Seniors drive at a speed that feels cautious and safe which benefits city dwellers. Youth drive at a speeds that feels dangerous. Our infrastructure should enable the former not encourage the latter.

At a minimum, arterials need a complete bike network because they go where people want to go.

C. Discussion and Direction Regarding Traffic Conditions along Ralston Avenue between Notre Dame Avenue and Sixth Avenue
Increased auto capacity only comes at the expense of diminished bike and ped access which affects the quality of city life.
1. Walking and cycling are an integral transport mode and need to be given
our attention.
2. More capacity with lights and lanes is not the answer and cities that have been built around the car have been "destroyed". San Francisco and Berkeley have reponded by pulling down freeways and blocking roads to make the city more accessible to safe clean and quite modes like pedestrians and bicyclists.
3. Rail systems are good but enormously expensive and we already have one. Shuttle loops, taxi scripts and BRT is far more effective in delivering high-capacity public transport in a city, and can offer an alternative to NDNU and Carlmont.
4. Finally it doesn't make sense to be addressing congestion problems with scarce city resources at Carlmont and Norte Dame. These are statistically our worst drivers and socially they should be using transport modes that can get better grades instead of spending all their time trying to earn money to pay for gas and insurance.

D. Discussion and Direction Regarding the Collection Request for Proposals for Solid Waste/Recycling Collection Alternatives

Dual stream recyclers like South City Recycling allow for some level of reuse. Local enterprenuers can access resources. Single streamers like Allied only shift the waste problem to far away landfills; polluting water resources and making it convenient to load barges and carry the problem out of sight. Any innovation from resource reuse must come from where the barges stop. Raw material use continues unabated.

Extended producer responsibility and zero waste programs are really the way for us to conserve air, water, and land resources by shifting costs upstream.

Items in this category are for discussion and direction to staff only. No final policy action will be taken by Council.
A. Consideration of renewal of membership in the Housing Endowment and Regional Trust (HEART) (Lieberman)

Green House Gases are caused by our consumption patterns. The two biggest contributors to green house gases are cars and houses making up more than 80% of the total community and government footprint. How we address these issues are critical to how we solve our environmental. While HEART does not approach housing from the angle of green house gases they do understand the jobs housing balance, transit connection, green housing, and have been able bring resources to address the issues in San Mateo. They are a critical component to making San Mateo County function and cities like Belmont should be members of this group.

B. Consideration of a resolution against light brown apple moth aerial spraying (Feierbach)

- The problem with LBAM comes about because the food is transported by air these days. It used to, and should, come by ship, which is a lot more fuel efficient and the long trip was detrimental to the moth which would metamorphosis and then die at sea. Today's airborne moth, while generating tons of green house gases, gets to arrive, metamorph, find food and raise a family here.

- The fix against this moth used to be "targeted pheromone baited sticky traps" tied to a fruit tree. This works for small farmers with a few acres under cultivation. It doesn't work for corporate farmers who farms hundreds of acres and won't hire the labor to bait all the trees each month. Therefor USDA's spaying essentially supports large farms and is an anti local, one more disincentive, against small local farms.

- I buy from the farmers market which is where small local farmers go to find consumers like me who want fresh tasty food. These farmers are now in competition against an imported airborne moth with more frequent flyer miles than the average consumer arriving on fruit picked early so it can travel well and whose price is artificially low because of global subsidies like the war in Iraq.

- The moth has been in CA for years with no damage. However exporters, large farmers with global connections, again in competition against my farmer market supplier, have to spray outgoing shipments, and it is this "perpetual quarantine" that worries USDA which has no interest in the family farm or the consumer. This business model doesn't add up in an era of climate change.

We should instead-
fight global warming and protect the family farm by not spraying. Instead give a portion of the money allocated to this emergency to family farms earning under $30,000/- per year to pay for targeted pheromone baited sticky traps and let larger corporate farmers pay for their own programs while the destroy the air, soil and streams.

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