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Monitor Notes: Bridge & Tunnel, Fire Aftermath, Classroom Air, Water Brief

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


Cross That Bridge

Head to a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Saturday at 10 a.m. marking the opening of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge’s bike and pedestrian path. The $20 million project is significant because it links the San Francisco Bay Trail between Contra Costa and Marin counties for the first time. It’s separated from traffic by a movable barrier, similar to what was installed on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2015. The path’s opening was stalled by a few months when falling concrete from the upper deck resulted in the need for repairs. But there are high hopes the path will be a popular travel route and help reduce the need to drive. But it is being implemented on a pilot basis and monitored for four years, upon which Caltrans will decide whether the path will stick. This link spans ribbon-cutting event information.


Tunnel Vision

When you’re traveling near the Golden Gate Bridge, take note of recently begun construction to create 14 acres of the new “Tunnel Tops” parkland in the Presidio. The project, expected to be completed in two years, is turning derelict highways and rail lines into public green spaces and parkland, according to a news release. It will include gardens with native vegetation, connective pathways, scenic overlooks, a campfire circle, picnic areas, and a youth campus with a three-acre interactive play area to help connect kids with nature. The parkland site is next to the Presidio Visitor Center (newly opened in 2017) and a planned transit center.


Fireside Chats

Two upcoming events will explore the aftermath of wildfire when it comes to rebuilding housing. The UC Berkeley Science Policy Group is hosting a moderated discussion with a panel of experts (including professor Louise Comfort, pictured) on November 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the scientific ethics of issues like building homes in wildfire-prone areas and rebuilding cities that have borne the brunt of recent firestorms. About a week later on December 4, the group will gather between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. for a roundtable to begin planning and writing policy memos and white papers. They’ll be joined by experienced policy writers who’ll explain how to write effective housing papers. Bring your ideas and computers.


Out of Thin Air

Many California K-12 schools lack enough ventilation to get rid of indoor air pollutants. That’s according to a study from UC Davis and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. They visited 104 classrooms in 11 schools throughout California and found that 85 percent of recently installed heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems weren’t making the grade. Classrooms with one or more HVAC problems — hardware, controls, and filter maintenance — tended to have lower ventilation rates and higher carbon dioxide levels. Those circumstances can negatively impact student health and learning, researchers cautioned. Read about the study here, as well as ideas researchers offer to freshen classrooms.



Bay Area residents know first-hand about volatile local weather patterns, stamped in recent years by heavy rain, heat waves, and significant wildfires that have threatened water systems and supplies. Researchers at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center address all of this in a new brief that summarizes five ways they think the state can improve water management and prepare water systems and the natural environment for a changing climate. Modernizing the water grid is a key element, they said. Click here to read about other critical steps and then revisit the Monitor’s coverage on climate resilience for added water views.


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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