Nov 10 2020

Piedmont pedestrians raise safety issues when walking for exercise and recreation.

Sidewalk blocked by vehicle parking violation.

 

Walking is a simple healthful exercise especially recommended during the COVID – 19 pandemic.  Not only medically beneficial, but a stress reliever for those reacting to cabin fever.  Regrettably, in Piedmont there are safety challenges to pedestrians.  While the City has prohibited parking vehicles on sidewalks, the police rarely enforce the prohibition.  Seniors, toddlers, baby carriages, wheelchair bound, all are too often forced into competition with vehicular traffic in the streets.  As rainy season approaches, this will be an increasingly dangerous situation for the many health walkers trying to use Piedmont sidewalks on a daily basis.

Attractive crosswalk painted patterns (see illustration below) improve street appearance while providing additional protection to pedestrians crossing busy intersections.

Piedmont women in particular choose walking as their daily exercise under the current constrained conditions since bicycling and swimming do not build bone density, a prime consideration.

Cyclists are prone to weak bones. Read more here.

“A cohort of female Olympic swimmers had lower bone mineral density measurements at all sites when compared with non-aquatic elite athletes, suggesting that weight-bearing or strength activities out of water could be incorporated into training to improve bone health, according to findings published in Bone.”   Healio News July 09, 2019  Read more here   Bone Journal articles here

Piedmont walkers are also keenly aware of hazardous sidewalks with cracks and upliftings.  It has been noted that in certain areas of Piedmont sidewalk corrections have never occurred.  Walkers are often forced into the street to find a level walking surface creating a danger for vehicles and themselves.  Piedmont streets are on a comprehensive pavement management schedule.  No such program is known for Piedmont sidewalks.

It has been suggested that vehicles should be allowed to park on only one side of narrow streets to allow pedestrians, vehicles, and bicycles safe passage.

Photos showing common vehicle violations.

Attractive pedestrian crosswalk pattern more visible to cars.

Nov 9 2020

Meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 12, 2020

Regular Agenda:

1. Presentation of Planning Context Report for Piedmont Safer Streets (PSS) Project

2. Discussion of Community Engagement Workshop Format and Content

3. Discussion of Publicizing the Public Engagement Activities for PSS Project

4. Presentation of Proposed Improvements to the Intersection of Grand Avenue and Lower Grand Avenue and Installation of Other Bicycle Features on Grand Avenue

Prior minutes are not on the agenda.

For instructions on how to participate in this remote teleconferenced meeting, click the link below.

PBAC Agenda 2020-11-12

Documents to be considered:

#1 – PSS_planning context report_admin draft

#4 – Grand Lower Grand Striping Exhibit

Oct 25 2020

Power Shutoff Expected to Affect EBMUD Critical Facilities

Sunday – Tuesday, October 25 – 27

Regardless of whether your house loses power, your use of water affects available water in case of East Bay Hills fire during this PSPS. Residents are advised to store two gallons of water for each member of their household. 

EBMUD has topped off reservoirs and has backup generators in place to provide power to critical facilities in the event of a PG&E power shutoff. EBMUD asks that customers in areas served by affected reservoirs reduce water use indoors and turn off outdoor irrigation to conserve water in our local reservoir tanks to leave as much water in the reservoirs as possible for firefighting.

  • Minimize water use during a PG&E Power event to leave as much water in the reservoirs as possible for firefighting.
  • Shut off irrigation.
  • Reduce indoor water use.

EBMUD will make information available as the situation develops.

For updates follow EBMUD @ebmud on Twitter, Nextdoor, and Facebook

For PG&E PSPS check pge.com/psps

PG&E shutoffs begin Sunday 10am with the majority between 3 and 9pm as conditions are monitored.

Power should be restored Monday night through Tuesday night.

~~~~~~~

East Bay Regional Parks closed all Sunday and Monday: Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve, Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area, Lake Chabot Regional Park, Leona Canyon Open Space Regional Preserve, Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, Roberts Regional Recreation Area, Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Tilden Regional Park and Wildcat Canyon Regional Park.

Oct 14 2020

Rick Schiller is right to raise the tax burden of Measure UU, not because of its structure but because of its substantive increase in taxes on recent and new families coming to Piedmont who already pay an inordinately higher share thanks to Prop 13.

Simply put, the longer you’ve lived in Piedmont, the less you’ll contribute to the pool. Second (my kids) and third generation Piedmonters moving back home will pay bond assessments based on assessed property values well less than $1M, while recent and new families are assessed at $2.5M and above. This is no way to fund a community pool.

The pool will triple GHG emissions and that’s with energy efficient elements.  Instead of the proposed design that uses natural gas, the pool should be all electric, using the latest technology to generate on-site power needs. Mountainview is building an all electric pool and aquatic complex at the cost of approximately $20M. Downsizing the current Piedmont design could achieve this and maybe make room for a Pickleball court in the comprehensive Civic Center.

The operational analysis for the pool is predicated on a 5% fee increase so the day use fee will likely increase.

The city considered including the pool and public safety buildings in an essential services bond measure that could be funded with a parcel tax.  Pools may not be essential services but a parcel tax would be a much more equitable way to pay for the pool. If an ad valorem assessment is the only way, then I’d support an exclusion for first generation owners with the proviso that once the property transferred within a family it would be assessed at the average Piedmont home value.

Piedmont can build a new pool without passing the tax and GHG burdens on to future generations.

Reject UU and have the city come back with a sustainable design and equitable tax structure. 

Garrett Keating, Former City Council Member

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 10 2020

2020 Design Awards Zoom Ceremony on October 12, 2020

planning_current_agenda (1)1020

Each year, the City of Piedmont Planning Commission hosts a Design Awards program to recognize design projects completed in the past year.

Typically, awards are presented at a ceremony in March to celebrate projects that exemplify outstanding design excellence. Due to public health and safety concerns, the 2020 Design Awards Gala was unfortunately cancelled. However, the Piedmont Department of Planning & Building is pleased to announce a Design Awards presentation to celebrate these outstanding projects at the upcoming Planning Commission meeting.

Design awards will be presented for the following categories:

Excellent Landscape & Outdoor Living Area Design – 17 Sotelo Avenue

Excellent Rear Deck & Outdoor Living Area Design – 65 Crocker Avenue

Excellent Upper Level Addition – 69 Oakmont Avenue

Excellent Comprehensive Stylistic Transformation – 74 Sea View Avenue

Outstanding Design for Ageing in Place – 147 Requa Road

Excellent Garage w/ Upper Level Accessory Dwelling Unit Design – 67 Sylvan Way

Outstanding Design for an Accessory Dwelling Unit within the Existing Building Envelope – 1056 Park Lane

The City of Piedmont will host a Design Awards Presentation on Monday, October 12, 2020 beginning at 5:30 p.m. prior to the Planning Commission Zoom meeting.

Anyone interested in celebrating excellence in architectural design is welcome to join. For more information about the Design Awards, please contact Assistant Planner Steven Lizzarago at 510-420-3094 or at slizzarago@piedmont.ca.gov.

The Zoom login information for viewing and participation is available on the October 12, 2020 Planning Commission Agenda > planning_current_agenda (1)1020

Design Awards 2020 Design Awards Planning Commission Press Release

Oct 10 2020

First PBAC meeting Agenda and Participation > PBAC Agenda 2020-10-13

During the COVID – 19 requirements, Piedmonters have flocked to sidewalks and streets on foot and bicycles to get exercise. The need for improvements for walkers, joggers, and bikers has been noted by all.

On September 30, 2020, the Piedmont City Council appointed nine residents of the City to serve on the new Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC). 

Chosen from among 36 applicants, the appointees are: Sofia Barandiaran, Siddharth Bhatia,  Eugene Brown, Jr., Katie DeWitt, Audrey Edel, Brett Hondorp, Hugh Louch, Thomas Reicher and Kristin Robrock. 

The PBAC will help guide the development and implementation of the Piedmont Safer Streets project. That project will update the City’s original Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (completed in 2014), with an additional focus on broader traffic safety.

The initial meeting of the PBAC will take place Tuesday, October 13, starting at 5:30 pm. For more information about the PBAC and about the meeting, click here and here.

For questions about the Piedmont Safer Streets project, contact Gopika Nair (City of Piedmont), at SaferStreets@Piedmont.ca.gov or at (510) 420-3054.

>PBAC Agenda 2020-10-13

You can view the documents to be discussed on the agenda in the drop box link below:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11807apq78jiau8/AAD-OA4y41IOfwOnFd-OIj3ta?dl=0

Sep 13 2020

– Taste and Productivity of Local Garden Produce Suffers in Our Wildfire Smoke –

“Once the air clears of smoke, spray the leaves and fruit gently with water and apply fertilizer to promote healthy roots and foliage.”

Commentary from Oregon:

“Similar to humans, plants are affected by fine particles in smoke that consist of ash, partially consumed fuel, water droplets and hundreds of chemical compounds, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and small amounts of nitrogen oxide. These particles can clog the plant’s stomata, tiny pores that enable the plant to absorb carbon dioxide and other gases from the atmosphere and release oxygen. Prolonged blockage can suffocate the plant.

In addition, studies have shown that even short-term exposure to smoke destroys chlorophyll in plants and, thus, reduces their ability to carry out photosynthesis by as much as 50 percent. The result is oxygen-deprived plants that are stressed, weakened, and may look wilted and washed out. Once the plant has switched to survival mode, fruiting and ripening slows down, which may be why my friend said her corn crop yield was “puny” two years ago when smoke hung in the valley for several weeks. Prolonged exposure to smoke may also affect the taste of garden produce.”  The Mail Tribune, Oregon, Aug 9, 2015

Science News December 21, 2018 reported:

A pioneering new study by Professor Nadine Unger of the University of Exeter and Professor Xu Yue of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Beijing, has revealed that pollutants released by the devastating wildfires can affect crop and vegetation growth hundreds of kilometres from the fire impact zone.

The study examined how ozone and aerosols — two by-product pollutants of wildfires — influences healthy plant growth in areas that are seemingly unaffected by the destructive natural disasters.

It found that there was a significant reduction in plant productivity in areas far away from the fire’s borders. The study suggests that fire pollution could pose an increasing threat to regional, and even global, productivity in the warming future world.

Sep 13 2020

Racial Segregation and Housing in Piedmont:

How Did We Get Here? What Can We Do About It?

A panel discussion organized by the Piedmont Racial Equity Campaign, Co-sponsored by Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee and the League of Women Voters of Piedmont.

Thursday, September 24, 2020, 7-8:30 pm on Zoom

Register here

As part of the ongoing struggle to achieve racial equity and justice, integrating and diversifying our neighborhoods are essential tasks. A recent UC Berkeley report on Racial Segregation in the SF Bay Area demonstrates that residential segregation is alive and well in the Bay Area. How did we get here? What can we do about it? Join us for a Zoom panel addressing the history of racial segregation and housing in Piedmont, and steps that our city can take to achieve a more equitable future.

Featuring:

Gloria Bruce

Executive Director, East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO). EBHO is the leading advocacy coalition promoting affordable housing in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

Irene Cheng

Associate Professor, California College of the Arts, and co-editor, Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present

Carol Galante

I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy, UC Berkeley, and Director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation. Former Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama.

Moderated by Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor, SPUR (the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association)

For more information: email piedmontracialequity@gmail.com.

Sep 13 2020

A 2013 study by the Water Research Foundation on the effects of Wildfires on water covered many aspects including smoke.  Read the report here.

Some Piedmonters capture rainwater in winter to use for watering their garden in summer.  For most this water was already used and their rain barrels are empty.   The Health Department of Western Australia offered the following advice during their wildfires:

Water in rainwater tanks on your property can be contaminated during or after a bushfire, either indirectly by ash, smoke, debris or directly by fire and fire fighting activities.

If there is any risk of contamination, do not use water from your rainwater tank for the following activities:

  • drinking
  • preparing foods
  • making ice
  • washing and bathing
  • cleaning teeth
  • watering animals.

Read more here.

Sep 9 2020

City Council Seeks Volunteers for New Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee

Deadline: Friday, September 25, 2020

Have ideas for pedestrian or bicycle safety, sidewalks, access, streets, parked vehicles, stop signs, etc.?

The City Council of Piedmont is looking for a few talented volunteers to serve on the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee which will assist in the preparation of the City’s updated Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (PBMP). This process is expected to begin in October 2020 and go through May 2021.

The efforts of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee will focus on assisting staff and City consultants with the development of the PBMP Update, specifically in reviewing and providing feedback on the following materials:

1. Community needs assessment.

2. Draft action plan of recommendations.

3. Opportunities for public participation and input regarding the draft action plan of recommendations.

4. Public draft of the PBMP Update document.

5. Opportunities for public participation and input regarding the public draft of the PBMP Update document.

In establishing this committee, the City Council called out two specific groups it is looking to see represented on the Committee, in addition to residents:

• Piedmont High School and Millennium High School Students Residing in Piedmont

• Current or Former Members of the Planning Commission, Public Safety Committee, and/or CIP Review Committee

Interested residents may view the City Council resolution establishing the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, download the Application for Appointive Vacancy, and/or apply online on the City’s web site at https://piedmont.ca.gov Applications are due to City Hall on or before the deadline of Friday, September 25th at 5:00 p.m.  See links below.

Interviews with the City Council for these positions will be scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, September 30, 2020. No appointments will be made without a Council interview.

Residents with questions are invited to contact the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040.

Notice of Appointive Vacancies 2020 – PBAC

Commission Application 2020 PBAC

2020-09-04 PBAC Recruitment