Contra Costa Air Quality

What a blast from the past! Did you know Californian’s were already biking across the state as early as 1896? As we discuss in our History of Transportation – Bicycles, more efficient and precise manufacturing technologies allowed bicycles to be made cheaply, more safely, and they proliferated! Bicycling was so common, it made people realize the impracticality of corsets. In 1896, Susan B. Anthony said that “the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.” See the full sized version here.... Read the rest
The only thing more fun than a bike ride is a safe bike ride. Follow these rules from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to make sure you get home safely. Bicyclists: Must obey all traffic signals and stop signs. Are lawfully permitted to ride on certain sections of roadway in rural areas where there is no alternate route. Must ride in the same direction as other traffic, not against it.... Read the rest
If you’ve been following BART, you might have heard about a Facebook effort to keep trains running later on weekends. A Facebook group named Make BART Trains run 24 Hours has over 24,700 members, and urged BART to study the possibility of later trains on Friday and Saturday nights. BART studied the impact of keeping the trains running an hour later on Friday and Saturday nights. Unfortunately, BART has a single set of tracks (unlike New York City’s metro, and others), so trains have to be shut down for maintenance every night, so keeping the trains running one hour later would require an equal delay the next morning.... Read the rest
Crosswalks are those stretches of pavement (and sometimes paint) that make our cities walkable. Did you know: Any time a sidewalk ends, whether it is at an intersection or in the middle of a block, the extension of that sidewalk into the street is a legal crosswalk? Many legal crosswalks are unmarked, especially in residential neighborhoods? A vehicle is required to stop whenever a person is in a crosswalk, marked or unmarked?... Read the rest
During this time of year, we all hear about Spare the Air Days. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District puts out the call, and everyone is encouraged to leave their cars at home and take less polluting modes of transportation. How does BAAQMD decide we’re going to have a Spare the Air Day? Two things make summer Spare the Air Days special: Hot temperatures, and Low wind. When the weather is warmer, our pollutants “bake” into ground-level ozone.... Read the rest
The Caldecott Tunnel fourth bore is moving along, and grabbing some great media attention along the way! The New York Times interviewed miners working hard on the tunnel, and used the tunnel as an example of a successful stimulus project, in their piece: Caldecott Tunnel Edges Forward, Tribute to Stimulus Bill. The San Francisco Chronicle takes a deeper look at the machinery and methods behind the project: “This is an awesome job right here,” said Bill Monahan, 70, a construction manager for Tutor-Saliba who’s been working on tunnels since 1965.... Read the rest
Have you ever looked down a street and imagine what the space could be used for other than parking?  Residents in Walnut Creek must have ponder the idea this summer, because Walnut Creek hosted a beautiful “parklet” on PARK(ing) Day last month. What’s a parklet? A parklet is a tiny park in a parking space. In downtown business districts with high auto and pedestrian traffic outdoor gathering spaces are sometimes scare and desired by some.  ... Read the rest
Idling, or letting the engine run while the car is parked, is a  point of argument. How long is too long? At what point does the engine use more gas than if you just turned off the engine and restarted? Families, couples, and friends go back and forth on this, with everyone quoting different statistics and numbers. Here’s the straight truth – idling uses more fuel than you think. The general rule of thought is that if you are are waiting more than 10 seconds it’s more cost effective and cleaner to turn off your engine and restart.... Read the rest
It may not look like much, but that two-wheeled contraption in your garage is a lean, green, health, economic and safety machine. We rounded up some facts and stats from the Bikes Belong Coalition. Consider these talking points when you ask your employer to install a free bike locker. 1. Bicycling is for everyone Bicycling is the second most popular outdoor activity in the United States. (Outdoor Foundation, 2010) 47% of Americans say they would like more bike facilities in their communities.... Read the rest
511CC has been assisting adults with information on ways to minimize the use of the car for errands and commutes for 20 years.  However lasting behavior change starts at a young age and with Safe Routes to Schools, walking, bicycling, and alternative transportation education is being implemented in the primary schools. Safe Routes to Schools programs across the country educate school-aged children and their parents on ways to bike and walk to school safely with practical hands-on training.... Read the rest