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Monitor Notes: Aclima, Housing, UGBs, Carpools, and Creeks

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


All Over the Map

The Bay Area will soon have a neighborhood-level look at air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the nine-county region. The Air District and technology company Aclima announced a new partnership in which they’ll use low-emission car fleets to measure air data, covering more than 5,000 square miles of publicly accessible roadways. Information gleaned will set a baseline for block-by-block concentrations of pollutants like fine particulates, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. The data program will help uncover health disparities many people face and guide lawmakers’ decision-making to better public health, according to a news release. Read Leslie Stewart’s 2019 article for an air monitoring refresher, which includes an interview with Aclima chief scientist Melissa Lunden on the potential of community street-mapping.


*Sponsored Announcement*

The Oakland Museum Women’s Board invites you to the 2020 White Elephant Preview Sale this Sunday, January 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Click the elephant for more information.



Divine Housing Intervention

When it comes to housing supply solutions, church parking lots are increasingly seen as a blessing. One East Bay church is putting six tiny homes on its four-acre property lot, while Palo Alto city officials agreed to allow churches to designate up to four parking spaces on their lots for car campers. Will more congregations follow? UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation examined how much land could actually be used for housing creation on religious properties when cities relax certain development standards. David Garcia, Terner’s policy director, will share these insights at a 12:30 p.m. SPUR-hosted discussion in San Francisco on Thursday, January 30. Garcia will be joined by other speakers (including Susan Friedland, pictured at right from when she presented about housing at Bay Area League Day 2012). Meanwhile, catch up on other housing headlines, including a Senate Bill 50 revival.


Growth Experience

Urban growth boundaries (UGB), which set geographic limits on a city’s expansion, will be discussed at a joint Sonoma City Council and Planning Commission meeting on January 27. Open space advocates like Greenbelt Alliance are asking the Sonoma City Council to approve putting a measure on the November 2020 General Election ballot so residents may weigh in on renewing the existing UGB for 20 more years. Like Sonoma’s, most UGBs have expiration dates built in. Several Bay Area cities had UGBs up for renewal in the 2016 election, including Milpitas and Cotati, to help protect surrounding open space and farmland. Anyone interested in being part of the public process in Sonoma may click here to check on the meeting time and agenda as the date nears.


*Your Message Here*

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Fare Share?

SFMTA wants you to take its new survey about carpooling and shared rides in the city. It’s hoping to gain a better understanding of what commuters think about these two travel options as it considers potential approaches to increase ride sharing through a pilot program. Some changes could include restriping existing traffic lanes to high-occupancy vehicle carpool lanes and designating drop-off curb locations for carpools and app-based ride hailing services. Read more about the survey and pilot here.


Begin to See Daylight

This last Notes item is floating several pieces that show creek daylighting is becoming a more mainstream idea. The first article comes from The Frisc, exploring how seasonal flows from San Francisco’s Islais Creek are presenting an important community restoration project opportunity. The creek remains largely out of sight — rerouted a while ago to swirl underground in the City’s sewer system — except when bursting its bonds during winter storms. Faced with climate change, city officials are taking a closer look at how this hidden waterway could be upgraded. The prospect is expensive and disruptive, however. But as the Monitor’s Robin Meadows pointed out in a recent article, the Bay Area is a national leader in these types of restoration projects and several will get off the ground soon in the East Bay. Restoration work outside of the Bay Area also is showing positive impact, as explained in “Stream Spirit Rising,” a 2009 film focused on the Arroyo Seco tributary through Los Angeles’ Highland Park. The film, which was recommended to us by a Monitor reader who enjoyed Robin’s article, is viewable in two segments on YouTube; click through for Part 1 and Part 2.


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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