Recently, while visiting my daughter in Oakland, I noticed something quite remarkable: a brand new, well-marked bicycle and pedestrian lane, fully separated from car traffic, running right down Telegraph Avenue, one of the city’s major thoroughfares.
All over the Bay Area, new bicycle and pedestrian-friendly trails, lanes, bridge crossings and infrastructure are sprouting up, crisscrossing cities and counties and making alternative transportation without an internal combustion engine more inviting than ever before.
Napa’s Vine Trail, which will ultimately span 47 miles connecting Calistoga to the Vallejo Ferry, is a case in point. Thanks to the efforts of the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, and support from landowners and the community-at-large, significant progress is being made, allowing Napans and tourists to commute, recreate and enjoy the county’s stunning landscape without getting in a car. It’s good for our health, good for reducing traffic, good for reducing air pollution and good for the climate.
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During the first two weekends of June, residents of Napa County will join with other Bay Area residents to celebrate these “active transportation” options by participating in "The Road to a Livable Climate." This first-of-its-kind event, sponsored by 350 Bay Area, Napa Climate NOW!, and affiliated groups, will span six counties with fun-filled rides and walks, featuring climate points of interest and speakers around the Bay, highlighting daunting challenges and inspiring solutions.
“There are eight bicycling and walking events in all,” said Mary Ann Furda, event co-chair. “Each of these events will showcase different ways in which the Bay Area is rising to the occasion to make our region more climate resilient and to set precedents for others to follow.”
Napa resident Bayard Fox, a wine industry professional and a member of Napa Climate NOW!, is helping to plan the Napa-focused bike ride and walking events on Sunday June 5, World Environment Day.
“Our events will feature a smorgasbord of positive developments in Napa County,” he said. “Beyond the growing network of bicycle and walking trails and lanes, we’ll see and hear about some of the latest thinking in green building, evolving transportation infrastructure, and ongoing efforts to protect our open spaces, river and wetlands, to phase-out natural gas, reduce waste and increase composting to reduce dangerous methane emissions, and to improve soil carbon storage. We’ll hear from elected officials about their commitments to take firm action through passage of climate emergency resolutions.”
Cities and counties around the Bay Area are also considering ways to take advantage of new funding options available in California through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed late last year by Congress. The Act contains unprecedented levels of funding to support public and active transportation. In April, Representative Mike Thompson announced that California will receive more than $500 million to improve transportation options, ease congestion in local communities and reduce carbon pollution across the state.
“This funding is going to reduce commute times, lower costs for families, combat carbon pollution, and create good-paying jobs here in the United States. I was proud to vote for this essential legislation,” Thompsonsaid.
The Napa Sierra Club, the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, and Napa County Bicycle Coalition are also partners in this event, and a representative from Mike Thompson’s office will be there.
Actions you can take
-- Register to ride or walk during the Road to a Livable Climate, June 4-5 and 11-12. Get to know Napa and other counties in the Bay Area by bike or foot. You can also sponsor others or become an event partner, 350bayarea.org/livableclimate/
-- Participate in this month’s Napa Valley Vine Trail Month of Movement Challenge, charity.pledgeit.org/VineTrail
-- Pledge to ride a bike during May with the Napa County Bicycle Coalition, napabike.org/bike-month/
Read more about the Mike Thompson’s comments on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act here: https://mikethompson.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/thompson-announces-555-million-in-new-investments-for-transportation-and
Linda Brown is a founding member of Napa Climate NOW!
Napa Climate NOW! is a local non-profit citizens’ group advocating for smart climate solutions based on the latest climate science, part of 350 Bay Area. Like, comment, and share their daily Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts @napaclimatenow or visit napa.350bayarea.org.