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Rainwater Barrels, Electric Scooters, Coyote Valley, and Pollution Studies

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.


Reap the Rain Harvest

Roll out the rainwater barrel and collect gallons of runoff from rooftops. You can store it for later landscape irrigation, helping the environment and water bills. To learn about barrel types and how to use them, head to Flows to Bay’s free workshop Saturday, October 13 in San Mateo. Now’s a good time to drop in. California voters just approved the June primary election’s Prop 72, which encourages rain harvesting by ensuring homeowners who install capture systems won’t face a property tax reassessment. Come, rain or shine.


Hop on?

Motorized electric scooters descended on San Francisco in March, only to fold by June. Even with the promise of a cheap, easy way to get around, scooters opened a box of tricky city and public space matters, according to a Vox article. Who’s entitled to use sidewalks and curbs? Who should pay for upkeep? The SFMTA, close to completing its permit review process, may soon shed light on some answers. In the meantime, Vox explains how scooters work and why they’re different from bike shares, the rise of which we tracked a few years ago. Go for a ride.


A Tale of Three Valleys

Increased sprawl makes it important to protect the Coyote Valley’s remaining open space, 7,400 acres of greenbelt lands between San Jose and Morgan Hill. That’s the message from groups (including the League of Women Voters of San Jose/Santa Clara) hosting a Coyote Valley bus tour September 11 as part of the Global Climate Action Summit, which the Monitor’s Leslie Stewart recently previewed. The tour begins in San Francisco and includes a San Jose hub stop to highlight how transit, jobs, and housing co-exist to counteract climate change in high-growth areas locally and overseas. Lunch and Silicon Valley “landmark views” to follow. Attendees are requested to register by today, but limited seats may still be available after that through LWV SJ/SC’s Karen Warner Nelson.


Airing Pollution Studies

On alert about poor air quality? New research points to cause-and-effect issues to consider. One study discussed in a New York Times article found air pollution can shave an American’s life expectancy. Another written up by NPR shows harmful links between pollution exposure and cognitive function, based on an investigation in China. Take a look at each article to understand risk factors studied, the likes of which raise some different health impacts than those explored in our recent coverage of building breathable neighborhoods on infill sites. Catch your breath.


Monitor Notes is produced by Cecily O’Connor. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.

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