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Monitor Notes: Train Troubles, Virtual Creek Tour, Green Jobs, Home Solar

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

 

Surveying Options

SMART is asking riders to take a short survey about potential service changes that would help the nearly three-year-old North Bay operator shave expenses. It’s considering eliminating all weekend service, suspending free onboard Wi-Fi, and reducing weekday train service, on top of service cancellations made in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Other Bay Area operators are wrestling with ways to cope financially, too. Caltrain is facing a possible shutdown, according to the San Mateo Daily Journal. As the pandemic reshapes public transportation, Nelson/Nygaard is urging equitable public engagement practices for all the decision-making ahead, including future transportation funding and planning scenarios. The SF-based transportation planning firm will break this all down in a May 20 noon-time webinar.

 

Watershed Moment

Tag along with three naturalists for a live-stream walk at the mouth of Temescal Creek in Emeryville this Thursday from 2 to 3 p.m. Metamorphosis ecologist Joshua Halpern will be stationed near the Ohlone Shellmound at Bay Street and speak about human and geologic history. Naturalists Constance Taylor and Elizabeth Dougherty (who’s previously shared water conservation perspective with the Monitor and is pictured here from Bay Area League Day 2013), will each be on the bay mudflats. They’ll provide natural history information by looking at flora and fauna and transportation impacts. The event description hints that the speakers may even tell a few stories about the old mudflat art. Before the tour, revisit the Monitor’s recent reporting on creek restoration work occurring in the East Bay.

 

What It Takes to Land Jobs

Access to nature is a relief valve for many of us during shelter-in-place. Jobs that support parks and open space would release more pressure by helping the local economy. There are about 620 environmental projects that could advance in the next 12 to 18 months, creating 10,500 jobs throughout 10 counties, according to estimates from the newly formed coalition TOGETHER Bay Area. But what will bring jobs to fruition? Investment from the state. “Green investments that sustain basic needs for public lands during the COVID-19 crisis, support equity and inclusion, and align with local and state planning to address climate change should be prioritized,” the coalition said as part of its statewide recommendations list. Read more from the Monitor about the call for regional thinking and action within the open space community that contributed to TOGETHER Bay Area’s formation.

 

More Power to You

Marin County’s sustainability team and PG&E are hosting a series of webinars to help residents prepare for power shutoffs with online training that explores solar and battery systems. Sessions are scheduled for Saturday, May 30 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and Tuesday, June 2 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., followed by another in August at a to-be-determined date and time. The class covers the basic information a homeowner would need before investing in solar, including costs, return on investment, technical specifications, and owning vs. lease agreements. Register here. (You will need to create an account).

 

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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