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Sustainable Development Update
December 15, 2017

Sustainable Development Focus

‘Microtransit’ helps cities expand transportation services

Governing - Dec 11 For several years, private companies have tried to fill the last-mile gap in public transit systems by offering on-demand, shared rides. Many of these "microtransit" services, something between ride sharing and traditional transit, have floundered. Now, several public transit agencies have started to explore whether they could offer microtransit options themselves. The clearest example comes from Los Angeles County, where LA Metro, one of the nation’s largest transportation agencies, announced in October that it would take bids from companies on how to deliver microtransit. The microtransit vehicles won’t be like standard buses going down fixed routes. Instead, smaller vehicles will travel routes and destinations that change depending on road conditions and passenger requests. The trips would last about 20 minutes and be constrained to certain areas.

Microgrids keep these cities running when the power goes out

Inside Climate News - Dec 4 Borrego Springs, California, is a quaint town of about 3,400 people set against the Anza-Borrego Desert about 90 miles east of San Diego. Summers are hot—often north of 100 degrees—and because it lies at the far end of a San Diego Gas & Electric transmission line, the town has suffered frequent power outages. High winds, lightning strikes, forest fires, and flash floods can bust up that line and kill the electricity. But today, Borrego Springs has a failsafe against power outages: a microgrid. Resiliency is one of the main reasons the market in microgrids is booming, with installed capacity in the United States projected to more than double between 2017 and 2022, according to a new report on microgrids from GTM Research. Another is that microgrids can ease the entry of intermittent renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, into the modern grid. Utilities are also interested in microgrids because of the money they can save by deferring the need to build new transmission lines.

From brownfields to a new transit-oriented downtown

Urban Land - Dec 11 A San Francisco Bay area suburban city of 72,000 people incorporated in 1959, Union City, has begun to build a new urban-scaled downtown on former steelyards and pipe yards through a series of complicated transactions and partnerships. The city has invested over $150 million in public funds to acquire, remediate, and build infrastructure for a 105-acre mixed-use transit-oriented community around an expanded intermodal Bay Area Rapid Transit station. With the assistance of a federal court that took control of the abandoned properties of the former Pacific States Steel Corporation (PSSC), and Gruen Gruen + Associates, the San Francisco–based economic development firm the court had appointed to coordinate rehabilitation efforts, the city was able to acquire and remediate the project’s first 90 acres. Then, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) remediated its 30-acre former pipe yard and sold it at remediation cost to the city. PG&E’s former pipe yard is now the heart of Union City’s new downtown. On portions of the PSSC properties to the southeast, 545 single-family houses and 216 townhouses have been developed to date.

Microsoft building new sustainable campus in Silicon Valley

Proud Green Building - Dec 7 Microsoft has started construction on its new campus in Silicon Valley, designed to achieve net-zero, non-potable water certification as a response to California’s water shortage. The new 643,000-square-foot campus in Mountain View will have an integrated water management system that will operate on the guiding principle of putting non-potable water into service more than once. The ultimate goal is to not waste any drinkable water resources in the operations of the offices, such as plumbing, sewage systems, and irrigation. Freshwater from the municipality will only be used for drinking fountains and sinks The buildings will also be designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification, a global standard for measuring the sustainability of buildings. The new campus will be powered by solar panels. It will have a four-acre living roof and will use sustainably sourced timber – one of the most environmentally friendly and efficient construction materials.

$1.5B Metro Gold Line extension project breaks ground

NBC 7 San Diego - Dec 2 Officials broke ground in early December on a $1.5 billion, six-station Foothill Gold Line extension from Glendora to Montclair in a ceremony at Citrus College. The 12.3-mile extension, which is expected to take nine years to complete, will add new stations to the Metro Gold Line system in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair, and also marks the first Measure M-funded rail project to move forward to construction. A Beacon Economics report released earlier this month predicted the extension's construction would bring a string of economic benefits to the region, including nearly 17,000 jobs, more than $2.6 billion in economic output, more than $1 billion in labor income, and nearly $40 million in tax revenues for Los Angeles County.

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Perry Patrick A Patrick A. Perry
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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