Saturday, September 27th, 9:30AM-noon: City of Mountain View Complete Streets Walking Tour, Mountain View Senior Center, 266 Escuela Avenue, Mountain View
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."
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.
Council wrestles with 100 Moffett Blvd. redevelopment proposal's implications for traffic and mobility
Council was asked to decide, on June 18, whether the southern terminus of
Stierlin Road should continue to feed into an onramp to Central
Expressway, or whether the onramp should be closed. Closure would enable
a really nice cycletrack and pedestrian path between Central and Stierlin
to be built, heading through the new apartment development that Prometheus hopes to have approved in the fall. Council decided to close the onramp, citing the need to take advantage of this unparalleled opportunity to
build the first segment of a safe, convenient "active transportation" link
from downtown to points north, including North Bayshore.
Many residents in the blocks northwest of Central and Moffett opposed the
onramp closure, citing its convenience given the current backup on
southbound Moffett during peak times. Others objected to drivers'
speeding down narrow neighborhood streets to get to the onramp, sometimes making it impossible for residents to get out of their driveways.
To expedite access to westbound Central if the onramp were closed, a proposal had landed on the table, and gained Staff's approval, to add a dedicated right-turn lane to southbound Moffett as it approaches Central Expressway, lessening the number of cars backed up there. However, most members of the public (and then Council) supported this option even if the onramp were left open. There was no study of the possibility of not widening Moffett but simply turning the current westmost lane into a dedicated right-turn lane, an alternative that members of MVCSP thought would also accomplish traffic-taming goals.
Concerns about long-standing issues of pedestrian and bicycle safety at
that intersection, magnified by the planned addition of a dedicated
right-turn lane, convinced a majority of Councilmembers that the details
of intersection design should be examined by B/PAC as soon as possible.
At the BPAC meeting on April 8th (see Calendar for details), updates and revisions to the Pedestrian Master Plan will be taken up. Any CSP members with an interest in improvments to the pedestrian experience and pedestrian safety should consider attending and commenting.