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Monitor Notes: Volunteering, Carbon Sequestration, Bike Safety, SR 37, and Public Spaces

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

 

Volunteers Needed

National Volunteer Week begins April 18, recognizing people for community service and inspiring others to get involved. Are you ready? The League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley and the Contra Costa County Library will host an online presentation about volunteerism on April 22 at 4 p.m. During the pandemic, volunteers have helped distribute food and provided essential services. Their support is critical to rebuild communities and support neighbors in a post-COVID world. A panel of professionals representing groups such as 350 Bay Area, Volunteer Match, and Project Second Chance will discuss volunteer opportunities and organizations that connect people with groups needing helping hands.

 

Groundwork

Ahead of Earth Day, the Food, Soils, and Agriculture team at LWV California are cultivating information about agriculture’s carbon sequestration potential. The group encourages people to watch the movie Kiss the Ground (free on Netflix or $1 on Vimeo) and then participate in an April 21 noontime discussion about the movement to bring back healthy soil. A panel of experts from UC Berkeley, Environmental Entrepreneurs, and the California Climate and Agricultural Network will discuss how different practices cut water use, improve soil health and crop yields, and sequester carbon. They’ll also speak about California’s four Climate Smart Agriculture programs that help farmers lower greenhouse gas emissions and store carbon in soils and trees. What Earth-friendly habits will you adopt?

 

Have a Safe Journey

Go along for the ride with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition on April 15 to learn how you can advocate for safer streets in your community. During the 5 p.m. online forum, Alan Kalin, president of Mount Diablo Cyclists and chairman of Bike Danville, will speak about his long, uphill advocacy climb that’s helped reduce Mount Diablo State Park road collisions. There was only one collision in the past three years, compared to an average of 23 per year between 2010 and 2014. Kalin also will share details about funding safety improvements and working with local agencies.

 

En Route to Solutions

Register for an April 15 online town hall about the future of State Route 37 with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Caltrans, and transportation agencies for Marin, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties. The agencies ask for comments about their three coordinated planning efforts to improve the 21-mile highway connector with a history of frequent flooding. A recent Monitor article explained the extent to which climate change impacts — including sea-level rise and extreme weather — will contribute to more frequent and severe coastal flooding that affects commuters. State Senators Mike McGuire and Bill Dodd will host the 90-minute event, which begins at 6 p.m.

 

At the MOMENT

A new report looks at the role public spaces play in cities’ pandemic recovery efforts and community development. The nonprofit Knight Foundation and Gehl, an urban research and design consulting firm, studied seven public spaces in four cities, including San Jose. Researchers found that features such as community-led design and inclusive processes helped areas develop sustainable operating models and adapt to changing conditions. They highlighted San Jose’s MOMENT, a retail center in San Pedro Square built on former parking garage spaces. MOMENT provides affordable retail space to local makers, helps diversify downtown amenities, and adds to public life, the report said. The center received a $139,000 Knight Cities Challenge grant in 2015 that helped the project get off the ground.

 

 

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.

Banner photo courtesy MOMENT.

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