Wednesday, December 20, 2017

‘Walk and Roll’ to school today

Banner, attached to metal gate frame, reads, 'Walk and Roll Wednesdays,' Image depicts human figures, an adult-sized walking holding the hands of a figure with skirt and pony-tail who is holding a lunch box. In front of them, a third figure rides a bicycle and wears a backpack. The trio of figures are depicted in a landscape of trees and green hills, against a blue-sky backdrop

Here's a friendly reminder of "Walk and Roll" each Wednesday at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. If you haven't already, perhaps you'd give it a try?

The intention behind "Walk and Roll" is to promote alternatives to students commuting to school by car, which is why, every Wednesday, we close the gates to the school parking lot.

(Our school is located just a couple blocks away from bus stops on Mendocino Avenue -- a main corridor both for Santa Rosa CityBus and Sonoma County Transit. There are also places to park your vehicle just a couple blocks away, if you have a younger child or want to ease into the idea of not simply driving your child to school.)

With fewer cars pulling in and out of the driveway, safety is enhanced for those students (and adults) who want to travel to-and-from using "person-powered" transportation.

We admit after-school programs' vans, and people with disabilities who have DMV placards. But we ask that other motorists park safely and legally on the street.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Crossing guard at-risk from cars in Santa Rosa intersections

Santa Rosa crossing guard Mario D’Olivo says he “could have retired long ago if he had a dollar for every motorist who has zipped through the crosswalk despite the red traffic signal overhead and the stop sign in his hand, or who’s breezed by in clear violation of the no-cellphone-while-driving law.”

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Living in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Our first weekend in our new apartment in Santa Rosa, Calif.! Having secured a home in the same community where I work and where we like to hang out, we really enjoy our recovered ability to walk, ride our bikes, and take public transit.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

‘Walk and Roll,’ school gates close each Wednesday

Banner, attached to metal gate frame, reads, 'Walk and Roll Wednesdays,' Image depicts human figures, an adult-sized walking holding the hands of a figure with skirt and pony-tail who is holding a lunch box. In front of them, a third figure rides a bicycle and wears a backpack. The trio of figures are depicted in a landscape of trees and green hills, against a blue-sky backdrop

School is out this week, in observance of Thanksgiving, but I want to reinforce “Walk and Roll” each Wednesday at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

Vycle, pedal-powered alternative to elevator

Vycle - urban vertical movement from Elena Larriba on Vimeo.

Check out this great space-saving alternative to stairs or elevators that promotes personal health. The Vycle, invented by Royal College of Art graduate Elena Larriba, looks like a bicycle with a vertical rail attached to it. Passengers use pedals to ascend or descend the rail; the speed of pedaling controls the rate of travel.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Bike give-away for fire victims, Saturday, Nov. 11

Event flier, ‘Bikes for Firestorm 2017 Victims’

As a cyclist myself, here’s an especially meaningful benefit for victims of the North Bay fires. Southern Marin Fire District is hosting a bicycle giveaway for the victims of “Firestorm 2017,” 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, in the front parking lot of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, 2796 Ventura Ave. in Santa Rosa. (Giveaways are also planned in Sonoma, Napa and Glen Ellen.) Please bring some proof of the residence address where you lost your house to the fire to receive a free replacement bicycle, complete with helmet. (And if you’d like to help, SMFD is accepting donations of new or slightly-used bicycles at any of its fire stations with the goal of securing 1,000 bicycles).

Saturday, November 4, 2017

‘Walk and Roll to School’ Wednesdays at SRCSA

Wednesdays are “Walk and Roll to School” days at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts! For the first time this week, we closed the yellow gates to the school parking lot on Wednesday; I was out in my bright yellow-green, reflective vest helping to redirect motorists.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sacramento Regional Transit’s ‘Gold Line’

Regional Transit 'Gold Line' light-rail train at Sunset Station

Mid-October found my family in the Sacramento area; we settled here to escape fires in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino counties.

While here, we rode the “Gold Line” light-rail, Sacramento Regional Transit District​.

Having previewed passenger-rail in my home community only a few months earlier (aboard Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit​), I was intrigued to make use of a mature passenger-rail system.

My impression of Sacramento Regional Transit is that it is extremely well-coordinated between light-rail and buses; we made connections within minutes between riding a train or bus.

Additionally, I was impressed by very affordable prices: $2.75 for basic adult fare or $7 for a day-long pass aboard Sacramento Regional Transit.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sacramento River pedestrian trail

Jonathan L. Donihue swipes a card through an electronic reader device attached to a metal gate. A sign on the gate reads, 'RIVER ACCESS. Please use your room key. Caution: Uneven steps. Hours: 9 AM to 10 PM'

To escape the fires in Sonoma and Napa counties, we’ve been staying in the Sacramento area. When we checked in to a local hotel, we discovered an unexpected amenity: access by gate to a pedestrian trail along the Sacramento River. Walking along the trail, it took only a few minutes to reach Old Sacramento and the downtown. I could envision us returning, under less-stressful circumstances, and maybe bicycling the length of the trail from one end of Sacramento to the other.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Joe Rodota Trail between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol

Image credit: Sonoma County Regional Parks
Trips by bicycle, on-foot, bus or train will be a daily reality once we’ve moved to Santa Rosa, and Jonathan and I are already exploring the area’s bicycling amenities. We recently rode the Joe Rodota Trail between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bicycle in SRCSA library

My blue Specialized Sirrus Sport bicycle with yellow and multi-striped bicycle helmet clipped to the trunkbag, parked in front of cupboards and counter-tops in an office-type setting

Brought my bicycle to work with me on Wednesday in the library at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Once we’ve fully effected our move, this workplace scene will be a daily reality. I’ll be able to commute every day on foot, via public transportation, or on bicycle.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Calistoga-Santa Rosa bus would relieve road congestion

Viewed from rear: Backed-up cars stopped on Petrified Forest Road, just outside Calistoga city limits, approaching the junction with Highway 128
Petrified Forest Road, approaching Highway 128
Among thousands of motorists who travel each day between Calistoga and Santa Rosa, surely at least some would rather travel by bus than endure stop-and-go, backed-up traffic. I really want to see a bus route developed, either by Sonoma County Transit, by VINE Transit in Napa County or perhaps a joint-powers project.

A bus route between Calistoga and Santa Rosa would make sense for discerning motorists, because how much more enjoyable would it be to relax on a bus, mini-bus or coach? Maybe catch up on reading, enjoy an audio-book or browse news via onboard Wi-Fi. Viewing stalled cars in multiple directions, argues for at least SOME demand.

SMART multi-use pathway: construction and safety concerns

Officials with Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit are advancing proposals to fund construction of multi-use pathway segments in Rohnert Park and Petaluma (as reported by Derek Moore, Press Democrat).

Friday, July 14, 2017

Aboard SMART Train during preview ride

SMART Train No. 105, southbound to San Rafael, paused at outdoor boarding platform
At Santa Rosa North Station
“Easy to use,” was the pronouncement by one cyclist, securing his bicycle during a preview ride aboard SMART Train. As a cyclist I’d wanted to observe these conditions for myself after reading a review by another SMART Train rider. ​

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Nantucket Bike Basket Co., small-animal carrier

Starfire inspects a special carrier from Nantucket Bike Basket Co. When its sides are folded up, the carrier attaches to a bicycle rack. Its removable, washable, fleece pad surrounds the cat with plush comfort.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

‘Bicycling Rules of the Road’

Book cover, 'Bicycling Rules of the Road' by Kelly Pulley. Image depicts boy in helmet on his bicycle, shown from the rear view, paused in a roadway next to a stop sign. The boy's head is turned right, looking down a side street that intersects the road he is on. The road is lined with green landscaping, a single blue house and trees. A dog stands in the road next to the boy, looking ahead.
Devin's mother gives him rules for safely riding his bicycle, but once on his bike, he tries but fails to remember what he should and should not do.

He agrees to give his friend Betsy a ride on his handlebars — with immediate loss of visibility and bicycle maneuverability.

Things go from bad to worse as, one by one, Devin acts counter to another bicycling safety rule and soon an entire basketball team, their goat mascot and a rescued cat are all precariously balanced with him and Betsy on his bicycle.

Kelly Pulley relates an entertaining story that carries a serious message in Bicycling Rules of the Road (Schiffer Publishing, November 2017). Brightly colored illustrations, rhyming text and humorous storyline make this book ideal when reinforcing for children, the importance of safely riding a bicycle.

The rules can all be found in a note to Devin from his mother, making them easy to reference and reinforce with children when reading the story aloud. Nothing is ambiguous; each choice by Devin has a consequence and the text makes cause-and-effect clear.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, July 3, 2017

Preview rides aboard SMART Train

Bright green SMART Train parked at outdoor station that is decorated by row of lampposts
Source of image: Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit on Facebook
If it works out with our schedules, I hope that Jonathan and I can take a preview ride during coming weeks aboard Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit. Current emphasis for the holiday is bringing people down to attend the Marin County Fair, then returning them after the fireworks — but I simply look forward to straightforward round-trips that let us preview this new passenger rail system in California’s North Bay.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017

SMART works out train scheduling

From November 2016: SMART test-run in Santa Rosa, Calif.
My email in-box is filled with regular updates as the date draws nearer when Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit will be open to public ridership.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Napa VINE proposes dropping Route 25 to Sonoma

Source of image: Vine Transit on Facebook
Talk about bad to worse: With public transportation non-existent between Calistoga and Santa Rosa, the Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA) is looking at ending its intercity bus service to Sonoma.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Calistoga and Santa Rosa: We need bus connection

Sonoma County Transit bus parked curbside
Source of image: County of Sonoma
As a public-transportation advocate, newly returned to the area after living out-of-state, I want to advocate for commuter public-transit between Santa Rosa and Calistoga. This afternoon, I wrote to trustees for the Sonoma County and Napa Valley Transportation Authorities (SCTA and NVTA).

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts

Every Wednesday is “Walk and Roll to School Day,” at the Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts in Sonoma County, Calif. I’ve accepted an offer of employment there, and look forward to starting work in May.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rogue Commute Challenge: Will Ashland schools win again?

Photo-montage clipart of people traveling. Left to right, two women standing in front of a car, a helmeted woman pedaling a bicycle, a woman walking while carrying a shoulder bag and a man with shoulder bag standing at the entrance to a bus
Image credit: Rogue Commute Challenge

In Ashland School District (ASD), the Health Promotions Committee is getting ready for the Rogue Commute Challenge, a competition among teams to log the most miles by bicycling, walking, carpooling, etc. -- any trip taken by not driving a car alone.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Schools recognized as Bicycle Friendly Businesses

Among the League of American Bicyclists’ latest round of “Bicycle Friendly Business” awardees, two elementary schools are the first to successfully apply. They are Ashlawn Elementary School in Arlington, Va (a new Silver BFB) and Oceano Elementary School in Oceano, Calif. (a new Gold). As someone who hopes to model bicycle-commuting to the children I come in contact with, I share pride for these schools’ accomplishments. I hope that many more schools (and businesses) follow their example.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Carbon-emission premium offsets impact of driving

In the majority of instances, we travel on-foot, by bus or bicycle to get where we need to go — but from time to time, there are occasions when, yes, we decide we need a car.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thin Bins, collapsible food containers that fit in a pocket

Compact storage is important when you a) travel by bicycle or on-foot and b) want to bring your own take-out containers to combat wasteful restaurant practices of too-large, disposable boxes.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Multi-modal emphasis for road-performance rules

Black-and-white photo of woman and man, helmeted and on bicycles, wave to viewer as they pass in side-view through a city street. Superimposed are the words, 'I Vote' rendered in stylized blue letters out of bicycle chain length and head-on bicycle hande-bars and frame.' In lower right corner, superimposed in blue letters, '#IBIKEIVOTE'
Photo credit: League of American Bicyclists Action Center
For an inspiring example of positive change through people’s actions productively directed: In mid-January, the U.S. Department of Transportation released system-performance rules for major U.S. roads. The rules set “multi-modal” performance measures for for air quality and ease of congestion, and require states to establish targets to increase bicycling, walking and public transit.

Too much box for these left-overs

Cynthia Parkhill holds open pizza box tilted toward viewer. Inside, occupying less than half of surface space, are three small slices of pizza
Among wasteful and ridiculous practices associated with dining out: was it really necessary for three tiny slices of pizza to be packed in such an enormous box? This is why we’ve placed an order for reusable, collapsible, easy-to-carry containers. No more depending-in-vain upon restaurant wait-staff to responsibly select our containers (which are still, ultimately, disposable).

Also posted to The Autistic Gourmand

Monday, January 23, 2017

Political protest? Start thinking ‘eight moves ahead’!

by guest author Jonathan L. Donihue

O.K. folks, let’s get serious now. So far all the “fighting” that’s been done has been on the level of protests. For all intents and purposes, this is about as effective as throwing a tantrum.

There are many other ways to apply pressure. Here are a few.

Monday, January 16, 2017

What’s my ‘wave’? A double-decker bicycle rack

Double-decker bike racks at Southern Oregon University
Each month, my church uses “Soul Matters” study guides that promote small-group reflection. Each study guide poses questions for reflection, centered around one theme. For the theme of “Prophecy,” one of the questions asked, “What’s your wave?”

The study guide cites Rev. Dr. Rebecca Ann Parker stating, “It is a mistake to see [the prophet] as an isolated, heroic individual. It is better to see him/her as the crest of a wave.”

In answer, my “wave” is a double-decker bicycle rack, filled to capacity, in an empty auto-parking lot. The future I work toward, through advocacy and own-life choices, is one in which people only drive when it is absolutely necessary, when no other alternatives are available, or when driving forms an essential component of that person’s occupation.

In every other instance, people would take buses or trains, or engage in “active” or “people-powered” transportation: walking, rolling, pushing, cycling, etc.

To offer response to another question posed by the study guide: Getting people out of their cars is the issue I risk “being driven into the desert” for — by pointing out drivers’ culpability in issues like “Standing Rock” or global-warming rates.

Activists like those at Standing Rock must put their safety on the line because our oil use demands it. With our purchases at the pump, we make projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline viable — if not at Standing Rock, then somewhere else because our addiction to oil demands it. And we create nearly 1 pound of CO2 emissions for every mile we drive.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rogue Valley Transit cancels Thursday bus service

White-against-red-background: Exclamation point inside triangle, with letters above it, reading 'Weather Warning'

Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) has cancelled bus services for Thursday, Jan. 5. In a weather-warning bulletin, RVTD cited a forecast of icy roads and below-freezing temperatures continuing throughout the day.

Service aboard RVTD buses shut down early Wednesday afternoon.

RVTD apologized for the inconvenience, stating it hopes to resume regular service on Friday, Jan. 6. RVTD recommends riders check its website, Facebook and Twitter accounts or call 541-779-2877 for up-to-date service information.

Snowfall delays Rogue Valley Transit routes

Riders disembark from Rogue Valley Transit’s Route 10 between Ashland and Medford, Oregon as snow begins accumulating Dec. 6, 2013. Animated gif superimposes snowfall effect.
Photo from personal collection (December 2013). Animation by Google Auto-Awesome

Bus riders, be aware that heavy snowfall has caused delays in services. As of 7:36 a.m. today (Jan. 4, 2017), all Rogue Valley Transportation District routes were operating but many were running late. RVTD recommends that riders with smartphones download the One Bus Away app for real-time bus arrival information.