The Road To California's Solar Highway?
California is a big state, and I’ve traveled most of it. I started my career at the extreme north, lived for a while near the south end and ended up in the middle. My sister is in the Bay area and my daughter attends University of Oregon, so I’m on Interstate 5 and Highway 101 quite a bit.
Those ribbons of roadway provide a wonderful service, transporting people and commerce. But I’ve often wondered: isn’t there more we can do with them? Could they perform some sort of double duty?
Maybe they can. A proposed pilot project involving the state Department of Transportation would use solar panels along freeway interchanges to generate power. The sites are between Gilroy and San Jose on Highway 101.
Read more about them here, here and here.
The idea of solar roads isn’t new. In fact, Oregon completed the nation’s first one in 2008 at Interstates 5 and 205 and The Netherlands is paving bike paths with solar panels. Learn more here and here.
California seems like an ideal place to test the concept of solar roads. It has more sunny days than Oregon, and a mandate of 33 percent renewables. Gov. Brown, in his green jobs plan, endorsed the creation of a solar highway.
The pilot project would be in the Bay area, but I would love to see a test in the San Joaquin Valley, where temperatures can reach triple digits in the summer and highways shoot through large stretches of undeveloped countryside.
The Valley has rich solar potential. Dozens of projects are on the drawing boards, and more farmers are using solar arrays to help run their dairies and packinghouses. We are hearing more about solar panels on rooftops and on parking garages. Solar panels are already over our vehicles; maybe soon they’ll be under them as well.
Bullshit - Oakland
So some DIY skatespot in Oakland is being taken down by “the man.” The company wasn’t using the space for anything, but have decided it would be better to demolish the skatepark and replaced it with a billboard instead.
The Caltrans rep says the following:
“number one it sets a precedent, number two there are liabilities issues and the other uh crime issues, homelessness issues, uhm… all sorts of issues arise.”
Which translates to, he wants to teach skateboarders a lesson because a free transformation of an empty lot into a public space for people to exercise in should be frowned upon. Apparently with skateboarders come crime and homelessness. I know whenever I go to my local skateparks they are all crawling with criminals and the homeless! This guy is so ignorant to the “issue” he’s fighting against I want to vomit. I would venture to say most criminals and homeless would rather hang out in empty lots instead of skateparks. Something tells me they have other things to worry about than perfecting their backside 5-0’s all day…
This also demonstrates the lack of corporate creativity in America, and a huge misunderstanding of how positive skateboarding can be. If these people were smart they would have hired those kids to create more of those parks in the unused spaces underneath their bridges and monetized the skateparks or figured out ways to get tax write offs for providing public parks.
OR why not keep the skatepark, and throw a billboard up there anyway and use a portion of that extra income to get the proper insurance for the park! The billboard doesn’t care what’s below it!
Imagine if every highway overpass going through a community came with a skatepark underneath! It could do wonders for the youth of each area, and i’m sure it could easily be built with scrap material not used when constructing the overpasses in the first place. Why not throw up some basketball hoops and a couple park benches and bring even MORE people by? I’m sure Caltrans experiences difficulties getting approval from certain communities when it attempts to build an overpass, and if they gave a little something back those issues may smooth over.
Some people are just too fucking thick to think of anything other than their business and miss that a bigger picture might exist. Making money doesn’t have to conflict with doing right to your community.
Props to ABC7 news for not piling on the skateboarders and actually doing a fair job of representing their story.
check Thrasher for more coverage.
Caltrans to increase safety efforts at south county intersection
Caltrans has announced that, in addition to flashing beacons to warn drivers of cross traffic, it will install three-way stop signs at the Hartmann Road and Highway 29 intersection near Middletown, Calif. Officials said the intersection, the scene of a fatal crash last month and one in May 2010, has had an uptick in collisions since March of 2010.