Tags >> transportation
Jun 25
2009

Sonoma County Economic Forecast

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , tourism , speaker , Sonoma , planning , jobs , housing , government , employment , economy , construction , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

 Has the recession bottomed out in Sonoma County yet? Economist Steve Cochrane says the answer is....almost.

 

Housing prices have fallen by as much as 30%, a bursting bubble that has had repercussions throughout the economy. But Steve Cochrane of Moody's Economy.com points out that not all of them are negative.

 

While the California Legislature continues to wrangle over its response to the state's budget deficit, Steve Cochrane (right, in an old picture) says the federal stimulus programs are helping soften the situation a little. But he warns that help will only go so far.

 

 China and its trading partners are the brightest spot in the global economy, says Cochrane, and California's location on the opposite side of the Pacific Rim should eventually benefit from that.

Read Cochrane's full report here.

Jun 14
2009

Grow Smart Bay Area

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , resources , recreation , policy , planning , parks , open space , nonprofit orgs , jobs , housing , government , environment , economy , design , construction , carbon , business , alternative energy , air quality , agriculture , activism

Bruce Robinson

 

With another 2 million people expected in the Bay Area by 2035, Greenbelt Alliance is urging local governments to plan now where they are going to live. And they've got some ideas to suggest, too.

Greenbelt Alliance Executive Director Jeremy Madsen (left) points to the east bay town of Hercules as one community that has proactively embraced a smart growth development plan for their city.

 How might that work in the North Bay? Greenbelt Alliance has already prepared a case study of Novato as an example.

There is mounting demand for smaller homes in attractive urban neighborhoods, says Madsen, and he predicts that builders and developers will need little encouragement to move toward meeting that demand.

If we change how the Bay Area grows, says Greenbelt Alliance, we can make our region more climate-friendly, affordable, and economically competitive, while protecting our farms, forests, and watersheds. Read more about the Grow Smart challenge here, or click here to see a regional map of projected residential growth sites.


May 28
2009

Clean Energy Bills

Posted by Bruce Robinson in West County , water , transportation , technology , speaker , solar , Sebastopol , resources , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , jobs , government , environment , employment , economy , Congress , carbon , business , alternative energy , air quality , activism

Bruce Robinson

From Capitol Hill to downtown Sebastopol, people are finally talking seriously about climate change and clean energy legislation.

 Peter Oliver (left)  is the co-owner of Make Mine Electric one of the five businesses currently incubating at the new Blue Sky Center in Sebatopol (shown below). In this audio clip, he explains the two-pronged business model he and partner Brain Hall are rolling out there.

 

As a demonstration of his company's electric vehicle conversion capabilities,  Oliver drives the red replica Porsche 356 seen below, which is now powered by batteries and an electric motor rather than gasoline.

 

Even as progressives debate the policy details embedded in the federal energy bills under consideration in Congress, Barry Vesser (right) remains hopeful that some members of the minority party there will also be able to find reasons to support the new measures.

 

 

 

 For a more thorough explanation of the relative benefits and drawback of "Cap and Trade" versus "Cap and Dividend" legislation, click on the artwork to link to a downloadable booklet.

Apr 19
2009

Sun Train

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , technology , Science , Santa Rosa , policy , planning , news , Marin , jobs , Ideas , government , environment , economy , design , construction , climate change , carbon , business , author , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

 The North Bay is finally on its way to getting passenger rail service rolling again. But what if it used solar and hydrogen fuel cell technology to be non-polluting and carbon-free?

 

This artist's conception of a future Sun Train was drawn by David Vasquez, who used it as the cover illustration for his book, Mr. Swan's Big Idea, which details and sets out a case for this forward-looking  update of passeger rail travel. He notes that building a new rail system is an expensive undertaking, but Vasquez urges putting the costs into perspective by comparing them highway construction.

America has a proud history of rail service reaching back more than a century, notes David Vasquez (right), but much of that has been forgotten as other modes of transportation took precedence.

 

Mr. Swan's Big Idea  is built on the concepts developed by architect and rail advocate Christopher Swann (left) , whose on recent book, Electric Water, concentrates on his vision of a future hydrogen-based economy.

   David Vasquez will present a multi-media slideshow about the Sun Train concept at Aqus Cafe in Petaluma , on Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 - 8:30 pm.

 

 

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