Purpose

To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The U.K. Is Testing Roads That Recharge Your Electric Car As You Drive

The high-tech highways just might change the game for EV road trips.

 http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/08/the-uk-is-testing-roads-that-recharge-your-electric-car-as-you-drive/401276/

By Julian Spector, August 13, 2015



Image Highways England
When the Roman poet Catullus wrote about devouring the road, he meant it as a metaphor for journeying. The prospect of physically extracting energy from the roadway may just become a reality, though, if the U.K. government pulls off the test run of a promising new tool.

Off-road trials of “dynamic wireless power transfer” technology are expected to start later this year and run for 18 months, Highways England and Transport Minister Andrew Jones announced this week. The government will install the devices under test roads and in vehicles, and determine if the charging could work on Britain’s busiest roadways. Mobile charging would solve one of the biggest hurdles to electric vehicle usestaying charged on long drives.

The U.K. has already tested a bunch of different approaches to this technology and identified versions that work and are ready to manufacture. In basic terms, the system has power lines connected to coils under the surface of a road, which then transmit the electricity through the air to a receiver coil in a car. Simply driving down the stretch of road in a properly-equipped electric or hybrid-electric vehicle will power up the batteries.

The power transfer could potentially work for all types of vehicles, the report notes, and since it goes under the road, it won’t require building any contraptions above ground that could increase risks of collision or electric shock. The wireless transfer is less cluttered and invasive than the overhead cables used for city trains, trolleys, and a prototype zero-emission highway in L.A.

If this works for the highways of Britain, it just might change the game for long-distance EV travel. A full charge of BMW’s i3, for instance, lasts 81 miles; it’s 84 miles for the Nissan Leaf and 38 miles gas free for the Chevy Volt. Those ranges are enough to cover most daily commutes, but insufficient for long road trips. Stopping for hours to charge up on the side of a highway isn’t going to make you feel much better about saving the earth. Picking up a charge without stopping, though, is one of the cooler things you could ask for from automotive refueling practices.

Charging roads could pair well with another developing technology: street surfaces that generate their own power with solar panels. The Dutch SolaRoad bike path does that for a few hundred feet; in the U.S., Solar Roadways technology is planning for tests in sidewalks and parking lots in Idaho. Perhaps the smart roads of the future will not just make their own energy from the sun but transmit it wirelessly to a zippy fleet of EVs.

California leaders try to fix freight system, once again

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article30736077.html

By Jock O'Connell, August 11, 2015


 Last month, just as he departed for a Vatican conference on climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order calling on state agencies to devise by next July an integrated action plan “to improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies, and increase competitiveness of California’s freight system.”

On a parallel track, the state Legislature plans to convene a special session this month to address the condition of a transportation infrastructure that, in many respects, has been allowed to deteriorate to third-world standards.

 So with the appearance at least of a broad political consensus coupled with what seems to be a genuine sense of urgency, can we finally expect state officials to take decisive, concrete steps to improve the means by which goods get to where they’re supposed to go?

The fact that state government periodically but unsatisfyingly revisits this particular challenge warrants a skeptical eye.

In 1998, Gov. Pete Wilson issued a Statewide Goods Movement Strategy filled with detailed analysis and specific recommendations. Four years later, Gov. Gray Davis put out a proposal-rich Global Gateways Plan of 2002, which was in turn replaced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s two-part Goods Movement Action Plan of 2005 and 2007.

As state leaders go once more into the breach, is there any reason to expect more tangible results this time? Not unless the fundamental tension inherent in the governor’s executive order between environmental goals and economic realities can be successfully massaged.

In short, can policymakers come up with an action plan that yields cleaner air, especially on an accelerated timetable, but that does not saddle seaports, airports, trucking lines, steamship companies and railroads with costs that undermine their competitiveness and deny them the profits to invest in expensive new technologies and equipment needed to make their operations more environmentally benign?

As Brown’s order says, the state’s freight system is responsible for one-third of California’s economy and jobs, accounting for more than $700 billion in revenue and 5 million jobs in 2013.

Much of the attention over the next year will be focused on trade corridors that link California’s seaports, airports and border crossings with markets throughout the state and nation. Last year, these gateways handled $702 billion in trade. Even with congestion and labor disputes, the three major ports – Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland – handled 43 percent of all containerized imports entering U.S. ports.

All that international trade creates tens of thousands of jobs in California along supply chains that reach out through the Inland Empire counties of San Bernardino and Riverside and into the Central Valley. The gateways also serve the state’s manufacturers and farmers, who last year shipped more than $170 billion in merchandise abroad. And crucially in a state with ever-widening income disparities and that ranks 48th in the percentage of adults with no more than a high school education, the freight industry almost uniquely continues to offer large numbers of unskilled blue-collar workers a chance to earn middle-class wages.

But California’s ports are under siege. Substantial volumes of trade are being diverted to ports elsewhere, a trend likely to worsen once the new locks at the Panama Canal open for business next April.

Given the ardor with which Brown has embraced the issue of climate change, no one should be surprised if his appointees are uncompromising in their zeal to minimize the environmental impact of freight movement. That much was foreshadowed at a July 28 meeting of the California Freight Advisory Council during which a state Air Resources Board official said it was unrealistic to understand how proposed air-quality regulations might affect the economics of the freight industry.

So those who move goods for a living have every right to doubt that the more stringent environmental regulations already in the pipeline will be offset by public money for anything more than a pilot transportation project here and a university research grant there.

So while we continue to pray for rain, let’s also put in a word for sensible, sustainable freight transportation strategy.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article30736077.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article30736077.html#storylink=cpySo with the appearance at least of a broad political consensus coupled with what seems to be a genuine sense of urgency, can we finally expect state officials to take decisive, concrete steps to improve the means by which goods get to where they’re supposed to go?
The fact that state government periodically but unsatisfyingly revisits this particular challenge warrants a skeptical eye.
In 1998, Gov. Pete Wilson issued a Statewide Goods Movement Strategy filled with detailed analysis and specific recommendations. Four years later, Gov. Gray Davis put out a proposal-rich Global Gateways Plan of 2002, which was in turn replaced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s two-part Goods Movement Action Plan of 2005 and 2007.
As state leaders go once more into the breach, is there any reason to expect more tangible results this time? Not unless the fundamental tension inherent in the governor’s executive order between environmental goals and economic realities can be successfully massaged.
In short, can policymakers come up with an action plan that yields cleaner air, especially on an accelerated timetable, but that does not saddle seaports, airports, trucking lines, steamship companies and railroads with costs that undermine their competitiveness and deny them the profits to invest in expensive new technologies and equipment needed to make their operations more environmentally benign?
As Brown’s order says, the state’s freight system is responsible for one-third of California’s economy and jobs, accounting for more than $700 billion in revenue and 5 million jobs in 2013.
Much of the attention over the next year will be focused on trade corridors that link California’s seaports, airports and border crossings with markets throughout the state and nation. Last year, these gateways handled $702 billion in trade. Even with congestion and labor disputes, the three major ports – Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland – handled 43 percent of all containerized imports entering U.S. ports.
All that international trade creates tens of thousands of jobs in California along supply chains that reach out through the Inland Empire counties of San Bernardino and Riverside and into the Central Valley. The gateways also serve the state’s manufacturers and farmers, who last year shipped more than $170 billion in merchandise abroad. And crucially in a state with ever-widening income disparities and that ranks 48th in the percentage of adults with no more than a high school education, the freight industry almost uniquely continues to offer large numbers of unskilled blue-collar workers a chance to earn middle-class wages.
But California’s ports are under siege. Substantial volumes of trade are being diverted to ports elsewhere, a trend likely to worsen once the new locks at the Panama Canal open for business next April.
Given the ardor with which Brown has embraced the issue of climate change, no one should be surprised if his appointees are uncompromising in their zeal to minimize the environmental impact of freight movement. That much was foreshadowed at a July 28 meeting of the California Freight Advisory Council during which a state Air Resources Board official said it was unrealistic to understand how proposed air-quality regulations might affect the economics of the freight industry.
So those who move goods for a living have every right to doubt that the more stringent environmental regulations already in the pipeline will be offset by public money for anything more than a pilot transportation project here and a university research grant there.
So while we continue to pray for rain, let’s also put in a word for sensible, sustainable freight transportation strategy.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article30736077.html#storylink=cpy

Digging In

Freeway feud heats up as West Pasadena association head blasts state and regional traffic planners

http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/digging_in/14833/

By Andre Coleman, August 13, 2015


The president of the West Pasadena Residents’ Association (WPRA) blasted state and local transit officials for “improperly conducting” an environmental study to justify building a 4.5-mile tunnel connecting the Long Beach (710) Freeway in Alhambra with the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena over the objections of area residents.

Meanwhile, nearby La Cañada Flintridge and South Pasadena, which both oppose the tunnel idea, could leave the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG) due to that group’s 17-6 vote in June to publicly support plans for the tunnel.

According to a recent report in the La Cañada Valley Sun, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council voted 4-1 to remain with the group, but is exploring a proposal to create a separate council that would include Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank, all of which have opposed the tunnel.

South Pasadena is scheduled to vote Wednesday on withdrawing from SGVCOG. The council of governments is made up of 31 cities and six districts which work together on regional transportation issues. Many of the cities from the South San Gabriel Valley, such as Alhambra, San Gabriel and Monterey Park, support the tunnel concept because those officials believe it will relieve congestion and help reduce air and noise pollution in those areas where cars are forced onto city streets due to the incomplete freeway. 

That disunity among council members was followed by a scathing letter to Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority (Metro) from the WPRA. In that letter, WPRS President Geoff Baum, a former member of the Pasadena City College Board of Trustees, said the project’s environmental impact report (EIR) failed to take key issues into account. Baum, who is managing director of the Annenberg Center of Communications at USC, called on Caltrans to restart the process.

“[The EIR] fails to consider changing public, state and national priorities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the letter states. “It completely ignores the California state law SB743, which calls for the ‘reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the development of multi-mode transportation networks, and a diversity of land use.’ Finally, the environmental process has failed to adequately address the project need for safety. For the tunnel alternative, safety has been grossly compromised in order to achieve the desired performance and cost objectives,” Baum wrote.

“It would be a disaster for the city and the community for a tunnel to be built,” Baum told the Pasadena Weekly. “Air quality, traffic, endless construction would have a devastating impact on the residential communities while the tunnel was being built. There are so many unknowns. We cannot afford to have that happen in our community.”