Green is better, and red is worse. As you can see, Mountain View scores in the green, as do similar cities in the area. However, the city's score is actually only 58 out of 100. Plenty of room for improvement here!
From WalkScore: "Some errands can be accomplished on foot."
From the Silicon Valley Business Journal: "The Minkoff Group, which developed the 68,500-square-foot building, commissioned a living roof that would serve several functions: Boost its building's green street cred, meet toughening stormwater regulations and attract tenants in the competitive downtown Mountain View marketplace."
For more details, see http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2013/12/23/on-top-of-the-green-roof-revolution.html
We have heard from Roberta Chisam at St. Francis High School, and she is interested in seeing MVCSP participate in their upcoming Environmental Faire. We have done this in the past, so it would be great to continue this year. For any interested MVCSP members, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am contacting you about participating in our bi-annual Environmental Faire at St. Francis High School. It will take place on January 22, 2014 from 10:30-1 PM in our gymnasium. There will be a 45 minute break between the lunch periods in which we will offer you lunch. I was hoping that you would be interested in participating again this January.
I am looking for information for the students to empower themselves in making long lasting decisions that will be help them become better citizens of the Earth. I want to educate them about the importance of conservation of all our resources and how we are getting to that breaking point soon. They will be voters as well as consumers and I want them to be able to make informed decisions. If you would like to participate in our faire again, please let me know. Thank you for your time.
Environmental Club Moderator
St. Francis High School
Could Sparkling Glow-in-the-Dark Pavement Replace Street Lights?
Keeping parks well lit at night can be a costly means to ensure pedestrian and cyclist safety. But a British-based company has come up with a way to turn park paths into glow-in-the-dark thoroughfares that double as energy-efficient works of art.
Created by Pro-Teq, Starpath is a sprayable coating of light-absorbing particles that harvests ultra-violet rays from the sun during the day and dramatically lights up like a starry sky at night. The veneer is non-reflective, anti-slip and waterproof, and can be applied to cement, wood, tarmac or other solid surfaces.
Earlier this month, Starpath was tested on all 1,600 square-feet of the paths at Christ’s Pieces Park, in the university town of Cambridge. The park is well trafficked late into the evening by cyclist and pedestrians alike.
"Our surface works best over tarmac or concrete, predominantly tarmac, which is the main bulk of the U.K. path network," says Pro-Teq’s Neil Blackmore, in a sales video. "When it's coming to the end of its useful life, we can rejuvenate it with our system, creating not only a practical, but a decorative finish."
Seeing that local city councils were increasingly shutting off park lights at night to save money, Pro-Teq developed Starpath to maintain public safety without the financial and environmental costs of overhead lighting. It's a common problem; in the U.S. for instance, cities generally count streetlights as their first or second biggest energy drains.
But the glow-in-the-dark spray also comes with additional benefits: Its non-reflective surface doesn't seem to contribute to light pollution, which not only inhibits views of the nighttime sky, but can have dire consequences for local wildlife due to the constant illumination.
Overhead street lighting does provide one important benefit to urban parks, however, and that's the deterrence of crime. It's not yet known if Starpath would provide enough light to do the same.
Pro-Teq's Neil Blackmore says that for larger urban parks where the possibility of crime is higher, his technology could be used in conjunction with overhead lighting, if not replacing street lights completely, then cutting down on the number of them necessary to illuminate darkened areas.
Glow-in-the-Dark Roads Become a Reality
"I was in London today looking at a large park for Starpath," he says. "And there's lights down by the river, but in the back of the park, there's no lighting at all. So having our product there, in the complete darkness, would only benefit the user."
Pro-Teq’s demonstration project in Cambridge is tiny, though, compared to a glow-in-the-dark technology being rolled out across the English Channel.
The Netherlands began its "smart highway" redesign this year with the promise of using super-charged glow-in-the-dark paint to illuminate highways during the country's long, dark winters. Not only will the paint light up to define the road and its lanes, but when the temperature drops below freezing, a bright snowflake design appears on the asphalt, warning drivers about the possibility of black ice.
As innovative and environmentally-friendly as the Netherlands' design is, though, Pro-Teq's Starpath may have bested it in terms of pure aesthetics. The starry spray is dramatic and not only lights up to a brilliant blue (as seen in the video above), but is also available in other sparkling colors, like red, gold and green.
Whether its application could extend to some roadways remains to be seen, but at least for now, Starpath looks like an energy-efficient way to light up parks while simultaneously turning them into eye-catching art displays.
Dear Mayor Inks and City Council members:
The Mountain View Coalition for Sustainable Planning, a group of Mountain View residents that is not affiliated with any other organization, would like to comment on Question 4, one of the issues that Staff is asking Council's opinion on.
This concerns a letter that Michael Grehl of Merlone Geier Partners wrote to Peter Gilli on October 23, suggesting that Staff might want to consider processing the requested entitlements for Phase II as a P District rather than as an amendment to the San Antonio Center Precise Plan.
The staff report for this item, pages 26‐27, states that
"The primary difference between the two approaches is the potential scope of the P(9) Precise Plan Amendment could include discussion of land in the shopping center outside of MGP's control. Staff has expected the P(9) Precise Plan Amendment would only consider the MGP Phase II property, but the P District approach makes this more formal and clear."
We have been wondering about the motivation for Mr. Grehl's letter, since requests like this are not usually for the sole purpose of accommodating Staff. Before Council comments on Question 4, we hope that they will verify that in a P District scenario, the following would still occur:
1. Application of mandates for this development related to the in‐progress new San Antonio Precise Plan (SAPP), covering the entire San Antonio Change Area. Staff and Council have previously indicated that the new SAPP standards will be required.
2. Resolution of any problems that the proposed project will cause for people living, working, doing business, or travelling in the entire area, not just on the land that MGP controls; and especially those problems related to contiguous properties. Staff has said that this geographic "scope" issue is the most significant difference between the two types of zoning. What are the likely specific impacts on life in Mountain View if a P District process is selected?
We would also like to commend Staff highly for the excellent suggestions in this report for improving design of the project. We hope to see, among other things, additional mobility improvements (including full mode separation for everyone walking, biking, or driving within the project), and other design changes that will make it a more pleasant place to be in.
The Mountain View Coalition for Sustainable Planning (MVCSP) would like to express support for an initiative established by the Mountain View High School Environmental Club, under the direction of club president Ray Uyeda, to establish new bicycle lanes adjacent to the school on Truman and Bryant Streets. Truman and Bryant are the primary streets for accessing the school, but there are no bike lanes. And, currently, one bike lane exists on Bryant between Grant Road and Truman. We believe that the appropriate review process should include the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), the Council Transportation Committee (CTC), and the City Council. We also encourage councilmembers and staff to assist the students and the school as they explore options for adding the lanes requested through the initiative (for example, regarding funding through the Transportation Development ACT (TDA), Capital Improvement Program (CIP), Safe Routes to School, or with assistance from local businesses, such as Google.
We believe that this is an important initiative not only because it increases the number of bicycle lanes in the city, but also because the lanes will improve safety for students bicycling to and from school. It should be noted that, while bicycling numbers are on the rise among MVHS students, participation during the recent Carbon Free Commute Day (CFCC) could indicate dissatisfaction with the biking experience around campus as student enter their later years of high school.
Further, because improving bicycle and pedestrian mobility in Mountain View is one of three top priorities for City Council this fiscal year, the time is right to move the initiative forward.
Finally, we believe that supporting projects undertaken by students encourages youth participation in civic activities; essential, given that the youth represent the future of our community.
In the words of Ray's MVHS group: "People under 20 are more likely to use alternative transportation - Let's help them to find a better way to travel short distances."
December 2012: The San Antonio Area Visioning Survey is now closed. You can have a look at the results here.