The Importance of Bike Lanes and Accident Reports

After considering everything our group has gone through it gives you the opportunity to see how things will actually be in the field. Requesting information from the public is like pulling teeth and establishing something solid is difficult, especially when other groups are not concerned with your project. It feels as though we have had to change our project several times over.  Nevertheless in our report we developed mitigation measure that would create a safe environment. The map below illustrates the police report that indicates the bicycle collisions that occurred with the last year in the city of ClAccidentsaremont. The accidents occurred from May 2014 to May 2015. Clearly with the graphic representation the proximity to the schools is too hard to deny. Through the use of bike lanes the number of collisions can be reduced or even potentially eliminate the number of accidents. Through the grant that was provide the city of Claremont was able to educate the public about safe methods.

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Image provided by http://bikewalkkc.org/

Currently there is a big shift for cities to redesign their streets in a manner that would promote complete streets. The city of Claremont has been a leader in the use of bike lanes but there is still plenty of opportunities to create more safe routes for bike riders. Currently there are several grants that is provided by the states and the local transportation authority. There are several opportunities around the corner and the time to act is now.

One of the other things we were taking a look at was the idea of creating more cross walks that will provide the students at Claremont the opportunity to use the crosswalks instead of J walking. Also another thing to keep in mind is the idea of using temporary paint to create pilot programs and later evaluate if they pilot program is worth applying. This program would be a cost efficient way of creating the best program.

It would be great to see someone from the community take charge of the Safe Routes to school and create active group focused on setting up workshops with the students and parents. The purpose of our project is to focus on developing mitigation measures that would prevent any injuries. By establishing an infrastructure that would promote the safety of the students; parents might be more inclined to allow their children to take themselves to school. Overall we are in the final stages of our project and are looking forward to hearing feedback from the city of Claremont.

 

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Safe Routes to School

Making streets safe since 2005.

Since the launching in 2005, Safe Routes to School has been a successful program for many cities as well as hundreds of schools all over the United States.  This program encourages students to walk or bike to school making streets safer.  Safe Routes to School begin the program with funding from a few partnerships, now over 700 supporters have pledged to support the National Partnership.  Much of these partnerships include Non-profit as well as state and local organizations. Not only are students safer when walking or bicycling to school, but this program is also contributing towards minimizing the child obesity problem that we face in the U.S. and also increasing physical activity among schools.

Claremont’s Program

Police officer in Claremont teaching students about Bicycle Safety

Police officer in Claremont educating students about Bicycle Safety

Currently the City of Claremont has a small program with the Police Department, were they go to different schools and teach kids the importance of bicycle safety.  The program consists of only two police officers on bicycles for all of their schools in Claremont. There is a need for better programs in Claremont were students could be encourage to participate due to larger staff encouragement that will have a bigger impact in the schools in Claremont. Incorporating a program like Safe Routes to School in Claremont, will encourage more students to bike to school and make use of the bicycle enhancements that already exist in Claremont.

City of Los Angeles 

National Partnership

National Partnership

City of Los Angeles is a perfect example of a successful city that Safe Routes to Schools has brought to their community and their school districts. Since the adoption of the program in spring 2011, the City of LA has been moving forward on addressing safety in streets, making it more enjoyable for students to walk or bike to school in the City of LA.  Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition and the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation have been working together in recent projects developing more safe routes to more than 700 schools in LA.

There are several ways of funding this program and contributing towards safer streets in Claremont.  In 2013, California adopted new funding for active transportation, including Safe Routes to School.  In 2014-16, there will be about $360 million dollars in grants across California for Safe Routes to School, mainly for bicycling and pedestrian projects as well as other related programs.

sources

http://www.saferoutescalifornia.org

http://www.saferoutespartnership.org/national

http://www.ci.claremont.ca.us/ps.departmentservices.cfm?ID=1881

 

Sustainable Preservation

An example of a successful installation of solar panels on a historic home. Even though the house is south facing, the panels were able to be installed on the rear of the property, barely visible from the street.

An example of a successful installation of solar panels on a historic home. Even though the house is south facing, the panels were able to be installed on the rear of the property, barely visible from the street.

By Zulema Elly Antuna

Historic Preservation in and of itself is Sustainable. The phrase “the greenest building is the one that is already built” has some merit and should be considered when designing and implementing sustainability programs. Not only is preservation of historic buildings sustainable, but with some care and consideration, historic buildings can be modified to include the newest sustainable technology without detracting from the historic resources themselves. Continue reading

Goal 7.1 Outreach and Education to Public: Community Awareness, Involvement, and Promotionals

community

Implementing such an extensive plan requires not only the city and its stakeholders to take action, but also engaging both city and community to advance Claremont’s sustainability to its targeted goals. The seventh goal that the plan seeks to accomplish is to educate and integrate the best sustainable practices into everyday action for everyone. In order to achieve this particular goal the sustainable plan recognizes that there must be a constant monitor for progress, updates on practices, and access to relevant, easy to understand reliable data/report cards. Continue reading

Measuring Sustainability: Metrics and Progress Assessment

Metrics                           7.3 Metrics

As previously noted in our blog, all cities need to address climate change through SB 32 and AB 375. Cities must reduce their GHG emissions to1990 levels by 2020. Cities and Counties across California are addressing the issue and have started by taking a Green House Gas inventory to plan for reductions and measure progress. Most cities publish an annual report card while others just choose to update their Sustainability Plans to assess progress and plan ahead.

The city of Claremont has chosen to publish an annual report card as a metric to measure their progress in sustainability. The report card is a product of “City of Claremont’s Sustainable City Plan” under the Summary of Actions for Goal Area 7 which addresses Public Outreach and Implementation as well as metrics. Continue reading

Programs and Efforts in Promoting Energy Efficiency

CHERP (Community Home Energy Retrofit Program) and HERO (Home Energy Retrofit Opportunity) are ongoing programs that are working with cities to improve energy efficiencies in buildings.  Both programs share many similarities but still have many distinct differences in their approach. CHERP unlike many programs stem from the efforts of the community, without the willingness of volunteers and community groups CHERP would lose the main component of its operation.

HERO similar to CHERP also works closely with cities but it differs in that it does not include the community, instead it works with municipalities to finance projects for homeowners.

Rebates and Financing

CHERP does not offer direct rebates or financing for retrofit projects. It does however act as a resource to connect homeowners to rebates and financing offered from sources such as utility agencies, state and federal organization. In California the main organization that issues out rebates and financing is Energy Upgrade California.

Unlike CHERP, HERO’s main quality is its financing program. In order for HER) to come to a city the local government must first approve and sponsor the program. Homeowners then finance their home project through Property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing. This means of financing allows homeowners to pay for upfront cost by paying for it through their property tax.  Through this method homeowners can increase their property value and gain the benefits of reduced energy bills once the project is completed. Meaning that even with the increase in property tax home owners can still have a net gain.

Engagement

The wonderful thing about the CHERP program is in its community engagement. A major barrier currently is the poor flow of information from agencies to homeowners. Most people are simply unware of the many rebates and programs that the utility and governmental agencies offer.  The General public is also very wary of making changes to their homes. CHERP acknowledges this barrier and in doing so their model is based off of engagement and education.  It is very evident from their website that their efforts build trust within the community. Their website offers many testimonies and their plans are all very transparent and straight forward.

   Rebates and Financing Engagement Website Measurement Awards
CHERP Energy Upgrade California Volunteer based. Works with city and community Lack of data Base Has a goal for particular cities to retrofit certain amount of homes Top Energy Champion
HERO Financing through mortgage and property tax adjustment Works with municipalities Contractor data base and product data base more extensive Does not have specific indicators for cities Cool Planet Award

Expanding and Improving Constructed Open Space

Maintaining and expanding the natural environment is a critical aspect in preserving natural resources that are threatened by increased development and encroachment to open lands. This idea has carried over into wilderness systems but also the constructed open space.The constructed open space has never been so important until recent times when heightened awareness of removing ourselves from the idea of the “concrete jungle”, into a more environmentally conscious society.
According to the APA: “Open space design, also known as conservation development or cluster development, is a better site design technique that concentrates dwelling units in compact area in one portion of the development site in exchange for providing open space and natural areas elsewhere on the site.” With many traditional land use approaches becoming a thing of the past, sustainable principles have become a critical aspect for future developments to come.

Claremont has taken the initiative to expand on the open space system into the constructed open space of the city, by providing passive and active recreation; offering a fair distribution of parks, treed pathways and public gathering places throughout the community; increase the aesthetic quality of the community and provide urban agriculture as mention in the goals description. Moreover, handed over to Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens (RSBG) and Community Services to follow through with mentioned goals, each is responsible for the following:

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5.2.2: RSBG has partnered up with Graduate and Doctorate students from the Claremont colleges to create a list of environmentally friendly plants. However, no further goals have been addressed to expand on this idea that could be so promising. The 2013 sustainable Claremont report card stated that one of its goals is to reduce water consumption 30% by 2017, but they have fallen short of any promising plans.

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Some precedents of cities moving forward with water preservation is the City of Chino hills which helps residents switch their green lawns for artificial turf or drought friendly plants. The city can work with landscape architects to help residents make this switch and ultimately come close to that 30% reduction.

5.2.3: The city wants to create incentives for developers to build for more open space, but the incentives aren’t many and programs are not publicized. A way the city could potentially catalyze an effect for development that attracts to more greenery is to allow for tradeoffs in development proposals. Many cities are resilient on sticking by code requirements and zoning, if a design technique is created to concentrate development in one portion of the site in exchange for proving open space and natural areas many benefits could arise from this. For example, setbacks in between residential zones are relaxed in order to create open space, and removing those zoning ordinances that disallow open space development could be a proxy for green open space that is aesthetically pleasing and healthy for society. Developments do not have to be limited to only setbacks, also narrower residential streets, eliminating curbs and gutters and alternative turnarounds.

Precedents:

Massachusetts, allowed for cluster development and were found to appreciate 12 percent faster than conventional subdivisions over a 20-year period

In Atlanta, Georgia, the presence of trees and natural areas measurably increased the residential property tax base.

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the reduced impervious cover and increased tree canopy associated with open space development reduce the size and cost of downstream stormwater treatment facilities. The resulting cost savings can be considerable, as the cost to treat the quality and quantity of stormwater from a single impervious acre can range from $2,000 to a staggering $50,000. The increased open space within a cluster development also provides a greater range of locations for more cost-effective stormwater practices. Clearly, open space developments are valuable from an economic as well as an environmental standpoint. According to APA Open Space design.

Plans to increase open space and making a list of draught friendly plants do not have to be the only plans for the city. Creating sustainable open spaces can contribute a great amount to the overall environment of a city. This can easily carry over into civic zones, industrial zones, agriculture and land zones. To a  more extreme extent the city can even creating wildlife corridors that has not been mentioned in any plans by the city. Claremont has a tremendous opportunity to develop a sustainable city and a plan that can be used all across the nation due to its civic involvement, geographic location and institutional framework.