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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Eco Watch

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

Third lane is necessary, traffic back up is horrendous, as somebody who has lived in Marin for over 30 years, and now commutes daily from the East Bay to Marin, I've seen first hand the magnification of commuters from the East Bay to the North Bay over the past decade alone. There are NO bicycle commuters from Richmond to Marin, the proposed bike lane would function as a weekend amenity for those wanting to take in the view..that's about it.

Posted by eelmi on 09/12/2018 at 8:47 PM

Re: “The Fight to Clean Up Another Richmond Brownfield

The area has multiple train tracks. Why not remove the hazardous waste by railcar?
Comments need to be sent to the DTSC before 9/10. Send them to lynn.Nakashima@dtsc.ca.gov. Best to get them in a couple of days early.

Posted by electricista on 09/01/2018 at 4:46 PM

Re: “The Fight to Clean Up Another Richmond Brownfield

The area is criss-crossed with train tracks. Why not transport it by train?

Posted by electricista on 09/01/2018 at 4:46 PM

Re: “The Fight to Clean Up Another Richmond Brownfield

Comment 1
When asked about Zenecas cleanup sites, Richmond residents response is unanimous: the sites need to be thoroughly cleaned up, with all hazardous materials entirely removed. Richmond residents want assurance that they, along with their families and friends, will live their lives in a safe, toxic-free environment, without having to worry about any types of post-cleanup risks or contingencies. And really, who would not?

I find it extremely worrisome that DTSCs toxicologists rely primarily (if not exclusively) on data provided by Zeneca. Zeneca is not an independent third-party and consequently, its data cannot be the main source of reliable numerical figures when choosing an option for a cleanup operation, the outcome of which greatly affects peoples health, now and in the far future.

Barbara A. Lee, Director of DTSC, assures people that she works passionately to ensure the principles of environmental justice. Why, then, is DTSC relying on a polluters data set? It makes no sense to me. In fact, I find it unethical. It is DTSCs duty and responsibility to, first and foremost, protect and defend Richmond residents rights.

Comment 2
The middle-ground cleanup, Alternative 3a, is not an acceptable choice when it comes to thoroughly and permanently resolve the issue of hazardous waste at the Zeneca sites in Richmond. Alternative 3a is certainly more cost effective for Zeneca and DTSC than Alternative 6. Also, 3a is quicker (that's one of the reasons why it's cheaper) and easier to plan, manage and execute than Alternative 6. But the people of Richmond and everybody who came to the Public Hearing I attended unanimously voiced their opinion: we all want a thorough and complete removal of all hazardous waste.

In other words, people want Alternative 6.

DTSC and Zeneca say that this option not be green enough, because it will pollute the atmosphere. According to them, thousands of trucks will be transporting contaminated soil to a TSD facility for treatment, storage and disposal of the hazardous waste. DTSC gives an estimate: 29,000 trucks trips with 15,500,000 miles traveled. Sure thing: that's a lot of carbon dioxide in the air!

However, I would like to point out two important facts:
1. Alternative 6 cleanup will not last forever. With Alternative 3a, cleanup will stick with us like glue. Forever.
2. Reading the document ZENECA_FSRAP-26Mar18-Text_tables-Figs_Intro.pdf, one can easily see that Alternative 6 relies on one mode of transport: land. And also, one type of vehicle: trucks. Many studies show that transporting hazardous waste by trucks is neither the only possibility nor the best way to proceed. In the document, ZENECA_FSRAP-26Mar18-Text_tables-Figs_Intro.pdf, I cannot find a sound explanation for relying exclusively on land transport and on trucks to remove all contaminated soil from the toxic site.

Posted by Oh on 09/01/2018 at 1:44 PM

Re: “With Global Climate Action Summit, Paris Comes to San Francisco

A full calendar of alternative, grassroots events is at PeoplesClimateCalendar.org. Groups may submit their events there to be listed. There is also a Housing page, if anyone would like to offer visiting activists a sofa or bed for a night or two.

Posted by rand wrobel on 08/31/2018 at 10:02 AM

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

Movable barriers on both decks of the bridge. Bikes and pedestrians use the lower level lane in the morning, buses and carpools in the evening. Bikes and pedestrians use the upper level lane in the evening, buses and carpools in the morning. Yes, it will require probably one extra pedestrian/bike ramp at each end of the bridge, but isn't that more balanced than simply choking it with more cars and gridlocking the 101/580 junction in the morning?

Posted by Daniel11 on 08/24/2018 at 11:06 AM

Re: “East Bay Community Energy Wants to Power the Community

No Steve, the rates are set by the PUC and the legislature, not the utility.

when you see a rate increase, it's requested by the utility and then approved by regulators. the utility doesn't like the buy rates they have to pay for solar energy, but it's high to encourage installations.

CAISO will NOT do business with individual system owners but only with systems aggregators ( solarcity et al ), again by state law and PUC regulation. Yes, the utility finagled that too.

A homeowner operated system will generate in the vicinity of 2Kw/hr during peak generation times... Maybe 3Kw/hr. Small "peaker" generation facilities around 1Mw/hr. See why they don't want to deal with homeowners? True, a Business system has the potential to generate more, but only maybe 20 to 50 Kw... Still not enough to match small generation facilities until aggregated.

The installers do in fact handle the power sales/accounting to CAISO... Usually through a subsidiary business unit; Yes, it's via the distribution network, but they have done all of the negotiations with the grid operator.

And no, the system owners don't have a seat at the table having been told in effect "don't you worry your pretty little fuzzy head about all this complicated stuff, we'll do it for you. Just trust us." And they/we do!

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 08/08/2018 at 7:32 PM

Re: “East Bay Community Energy Wants to Power the Community

While Bruce's comment holds much truth, there are some parts that could be fleshed out and/or may be mistakes.

Among them is the notion that homeowners cannot participate in Net Metering.

Both business and homeowners often own their solar generations systems (and/or batteries) outright. They purchase electricity at the rate set by their generator (PG&E, or in some areas a Community Aggregator like EBCE or Marin Clean Energy). They also opt in to sell power to their generation company at a rate set by the company in question. PG&E pays almost as much for power as they charge, MCE pays a little more for solar production than they charge. The solar owner doesn't get much say in the matter - small producers agree to accept the rate dictated by the large provider.

Depending on the cost of the solar installation, and one's cost of capital - this arrangement may or may not be economically viable (it usually is better than just buying from PG&E).

Most solar installers don't sell power. There are 3rd party finance providers who offer loans, PPAs, or leases... that allow roof owners to add solar with minimal upfront investment. The power all flows into the main electrical panel of the roof owner.

These are really just details - the thrust of Bruce's argument is fair: roof owners aren't at the bargaining table, and the complexity of the system makes it challenging for consumers to understand the details and differences of various pricing plans.

Posted by SteveB on 08/08/2018 at 4:18 PM

Re: “Protecting the East Bay's Water

Thank gawd one of California's treasures will be a around, at least until the state has 50 million transplants...then, it will go the way of the once mighty, San Joaquin, dust.

Posted by Leon Foonman on 07/22/2018 at 8:17 PM

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

bike lane, bike lane, bike lane. how can I commute during rush hour if there are cars in my bike lane? cars have enough lanes. bikes need a lane.

Posted by redvultr on 07/20/2018 at 10:53 PM

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

Make it a bike lane. Install electric bike share docks conveniently around both ends along with connections to other forms of public transit (I'm talking to you, Marin, sorry you don't get to exclude people by blocking transit). Even folks who don't ride regularly can use an e-bike to cross the bridge. Time to consider letting technology help with the problem instead of adding more cars.

Posted by Lin B on 07/14/2018 at 8:52 AM

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

This Bike vs Vehicle dynamic is just depressing to this former Bay Area resident, and really is a case of arguing over what tune show the Titanic band show play as the ship sinks.
For an urban area built round a body or water, you are never going to solve inherent transit issues by adding extra lanes to a bridge, be they used for bikes or vehicles. The obvious answer it to use the very object which causes the bottle neck in first place.
A solution which was used before any bridges whereever build.

Have an extensive network of regular, quick ferries services which criss cross the bay which are tied into excellent terra firma public transport links. If Sydney, Auckland, and Brisbane (cities where lifestyle, culture and modern car transport are similar and they less urban density) can manage it why can't Bay area.

The ferries remove the biggest bug bear of transport planning, 2 trip daily commuters, use many times less carbon, create lots of long term great jobs for the crews and support staff and gives an amazing experience twice daily to people who are simply going to work. The reduction in stress alone will add to people lives.

Posted by David O'Sullivan on 07/13/2018 at 4:05 PM

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

C'mon. Won't someone cut through the BS and indict the real cause of traffic congestion--jobs and housing? Employers, realtors and builders have overbuilt the Bay Area, with the willing cooperation of the political establishment. Build, build, build until there are so many people travelling to their jobs and recreation that the roads simply can't contain them.

I've lived here for 35 years. I've watched as the shoreline towns in Contra Costa were built out as suburbs, filling the freeway north of Berkeley with the new suburbanites' cars. It wasn't the cars' fault or the new suburbanites'. It was the realtors' and builders'. I've watched as Marin and Sonoma suffered the same changes, and eastern Alameda and the South Bay.

It's always the same. Build until the transportation system is choked, then blame the victims. Cars. And what's the solution? Bicycles.

Sure. That'll work.

Posted by MikeE on 07/13/2018 at 10:24 AM

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

I don't believe that this bridge crossing should be the priority. The money would generate considerably more bang for the buck improving bike access elsewhere or increasing the frequency of buses, WITH BIKE RACKS, crossing the bridge.

The toll plaza on the other hand really needs work. The renovations to the Richmond approach in the last couple of years have actually made it worse, especially in commute hours. Reduce the number of toll lanes, especially the cash lanes, to make the already short merge less of a total mess.

Posted by mjduigou on 07/11/2018 at 5:23 PM

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

maybe a compromise could be to make it a bus-only lane during rush hour

Posted by Samir Halteh on 07/11/2018 at 10:50 AM

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

Almost nobody is going to commute across the Richmond Bridge by bicycle. Advocates are so immersed in their own echo chambers that they do not understand what is happening in this corridor at all. The people of Richmond drive work trucks or take the bus across the bridge. Bikes are impractical; all the path does is connect the Chevron refinery to San Quentin prison.

The amount of time it takes the Golden Gate Transit bus to cross the bridge has exploded over the past 5 years. The trip that used to leave Del Norte BART at 7:17 and arrive in San Rafael at 7:55 now leaves El Cerrito at 7:00. That is a 45% increase in travel time! No amount of bike lanes is going to make that better for the 99% of people who would never even consider biking across the bridge.

Also, if we are going to take the social justice angle on this, let me be clear: The overwhelming majority of people who would cross this bridge on a bike are MAMILs. It won't be residents of the Iron Triangle. So we're spending millions of dollars for rich middle-aged white men to ride centuries while the poor and working classes continue to sit on slow-moving buses, taking who knows how long to get to work.

Posted by Dave D on 07/11/2018 at 10:25 AM

Re: “While Oakland Is Worried About Getting Coal, Richmond Is Covered in It

Figures Richard Mitchell did not return your calls and emails. He never returns them. He is just as guilty about the hazards of this as are the trains and Levine Terminal. I absolutely do not trust Me. Mitchell.

Posted by Jeannette Kortz 1 on 07/08/2018 at 8:22 AM

Re: “East Bay Community Energy Wants to Power the Community

It seems every PG&E statement comes packed with notices of rate increase hearings. The 2018 average CA rate per KWA is 16.8 cents (up 14% from 2017). In Louisiana that 2018 average rate is 9.8 cents (40% lower). In spite of all this "community" gobbledygook, which - in spite of this valiant reporter's attempt to explain the EBCE Plan - Californians are paying some of the highest rates in the nation (only 14 states pay higher). It's time to fix that.

Posted by William H. Thompson on 07/05/2018 at 2:49 PM

Re: “East Bay Community Energy Wants to Power the Community

Thanks to Bruce Ferrell. When I read "community something" I reach for my wallet to see how many dollars are disappearing in the name of "The Community."

Posted by Ernest Montague on 07/05/2018 at 10:14 AM

Re: “East Bay Community Energy Wants to Power the Community

OK here's the scam alert.

1. ) PG&E doen't own the grid. That's the the California Independent System Operator aka CAISO.

2.) I just looked into the cost of a Solar installation with a battery; Approx $47,000 (after the federal tax credit). While I pay that off (about 8 years) I still make a payment equal to my current bill.

3.) Opting to the community aggregation source entail a surcharge of you bill that brings it right back to about what it was before shifting providers.

And while we're on the topic, what does "Community Aggregation" mean?

Here's how the grid works. CAISO buys and sells energy... From/to PG&E and other power plant operators (there are only a few because power plants are big expensive beasts) and power aggregators, like sunrun, solar city, and petersen dean.

Did you notice that mom & pop homeowner aren't on that list? That's because CAISO doesn't do business with you. and I... Too small. The do business with the solar installers and THEY sell you power and they sell to CAISO, dealing with the accounting and metering. That why it's what it's called net-metering. And there are contracts associated with this that may or may not be transferable when the homeowner sells their house. Oops!

what the Community Aggregator does is to become yet another middle man, buying from the solar installers, selling to the community and taking a cut (and a profit) hence the additional fees (costs to the consumer)... to the both the aggregator and to the grid operator.

Yes, it's clean-er... But not that much because the "community aggregator" can buy where they need to to meet their demand... And the demand is much higher than the installed clean base.

The scam relies on the complexity and confusion of the system. Just like a quick change artist relies on complexity and confusion.

sigh

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 07/04/2018 at 6:37 PM

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