Happy Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot DayJust as “tax “day” arrives later each year, the opposite is true with Earth Overshoot Day.  According to the people that calculate and track this stuff, “in 8 Months, Humanity Exhausted Earth’s Budget for the Year”.  Not only that but over time, the Overshoot Day has been arriving  earlier according to the Global Footprint Network (GFN).

Before giving them too much credit or benefit of the doubt, I looked through their roster of advisers and found a SoCal connection in the form of Eric Garcetti. Doing a little checking we found that yes indeed this is the same Eric Garcetti who was one of the sponsors for a bike rack design contest in the City of Angels back in 2009, so we have a cycling connection too! (LA was recently voted as  #32 out of 50 cycle friendly cities).

According to the GFN, Earth Overshoot Day is the annual marker of when we begin living beyond our means in a given year.  In a nutshell, overshoot means turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources.

That’s something to think about when the County is changing the General Plan relating to Santiago and Silverado Canyon (proposed development of +4000 homes), and the State is considering changing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Business interests are calling to exempt from CEQA projects that comply with a city general plan or other planning document for which an environmental review already has been done. This makes sense on the surface, as it cuts the expense of environmental review  by half, and also reduces the “time to market”. Is it coincidence that all this comes about as +20,000 anticipated new homes are built in the last open space areas in the county? Will these new communities be net neutral in their demand upon local and County resources, or will they accelerate an earlier arrival of Overshoot Day?

For 2012 the GFN provides this illustration:Number_of_Planets_2012_final

Where we learn that (apparently) if we all would only live as people in India do, the planet would be better off, whereas if the world lived as people in the USA do, we would need an additional 3.16 planet’s worth of resources per year.

According to the GFN Overshoot Day was Oct 21 in 1992.  In 2002, the date moved forward to Oct. 3, and now in 2012 the date is Aug. 22. Shall we guess for next year’s date at Aug. 4th?

At this point I’d like to remind the GFN that it is the USA who is on the moon and Mars,
and will soon be offering flights into space on private “rokjet” flights so people will have a greater appreciation for the “Blue Marble” we call home. Knowledge gained from these efforts are directly translatable into new discoveries and inventions to improve the quality of life for everyone.

We’re all for sustainable development and look forward to developers models showcasing the latest in carbon footprint reduction methods, in house water recycling, grey water treatments, wind and solar power to power the communities, and separated bike lanes connecting all the communities to transportation hubs, employment areas, schools, and centers of commerce.

Fun With Maps

Maps are fun, and I’ve always liked to look at and play with them.

Orange County looks like a rectangle standing on one corner doesn’t it?  
If we take a map of the county, apply a grid like this:
(note: grid not to scale – for illustration only)
then apply an overlay of installed bike paths / lanes,
( locations are approximate)Please note the dark areas indicating a lack of bike paths / lanes
then rotate the map counter-clockwise  like so:  

We can now transform the map and reduce it to identify the class 1 bikeways and the corresponding population centers. What we have left looks like this:

OC Bikebone

OC Bikebone

There just seems to be something wrong with this picture, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it…

New Developments in South OC

While coming down Antonio towards Ortega the following scenes took my breath away. Welcome to progress! Those “little trucks” in the distance all lined up are actually huge earth-movers, and they are moving a lot of it!

 Movin' Mountains
 Bridge  Add a Lane

What you are looking at is phase1 of  The Ranch Plan being built on land owned by the Rancho Mission Viejo Company, and the start of construction of what will be 14,000 additional homes in the area. This particular area will be known as Sendero*, a mix of 940 homes, 200 apartments, and a 10-acre retail plaza that’s all scheduled to open next summer (2013).

Welcome Home

Will a bike lane go through it?

Please note there is a new traffic light right at the “sweet spot” on the downhill that will serve as an entrance to this new community.

The Ranch Plan will consist of:

  • Nine separate areas of development, called “villages,” stretching from the border of Camp Pendleton Marine Base to the 241 Toll Road.
  • 23,000 acres of land, 17,000 acres undeveloped and dedicated to species protection, cattle-grazing and citrus farming.
  • 14,000 homes meant for a variety of residents, including senior communities.

On the other side of Ortega, a 10 acre development proposal by Shea Homes is being wrangled through the system. With the requested doubling of homes at the Great Park, the proposed development in Santiago Canyon, Rancho Capistrano, the new developments in Lake Forest and San Clemente, enjoy the “back county” rides while you can.

Even though the Ortega highway has been “widened” (except for bikes), one wonders if it’s enough to support the anticipated traffic load, and if not, how soon will the toll road happily take all these paying customers to the beach? Since the toll road is creeping south to end (for now) at Cow Camp Road at Ortega, pressure to complete and connect the toll road to the 5 will build as new residents make their voices heard. La Pata will also get attention (and probably pavement) to fill the open space gap between San Clemente and San Juan.

We suggest improving and extending the San Juan Creek Bike Trail to La Pata to provide a means for all the new residents to ride their bikes to the beach, and when La Pata is completed (with buffered bike lanes?), a direct means to travel to and from San Clemente. With these last build outs, and knowing that 40% of urban travel is 2 miles or less, and  90% of those trips are by car, it just makes sense to incorporate cycling facilities and infrastructure as these new communities are literally built out “from the ground up”.

*sendero: 1) a trodden path, (2) evidence pointing to a possible solution

Old Highway 101 Bike Path Closures Scheduled August 6-8; 14-16

The bike path along Old Highway 101 will be closed from Las Pulgas Road to the fence line at the southern boundary of San Onofre State Beach during daylight hours this Monday (6th) through Wednesday(the 8th) and again Tuesday, Aug. 14 through Thursday, Aug. 16.

The campground will be ride-able to the fence line. Riders heading further south should detour at Basilone.

The detour will require traveling on the shoulder of Interstate 5 from Basilone Road to Harbor Drive.

Be aware of rumble strips carefully hidden in the pavement. If there is an obstruction such as a vehicle on the shoulder, try and pass it on the right if possible. Passing on the left is dangerous and you could loose control crossing the rumble strips twice. Worst case, you may have to walk you bike off of the shoulder around the vehicle on the right. Oh, and there are snakes also! As scary as this may sound, it is actually a pleasant ride (except for the noise). The shoulders are wide and given that you will be riding the off and on ramps, you won’t really be on the freeway proper for too many miles. Don’t be surprised if you receive encouragement from motorists as they pass by. In fact, if traffic is backed up, you will be going faster them them!

Caltrans will open the shoulders along I-5 from Las Pulgas Road to Basilone Road to bicycles in order to provide an alternate route for bicyclists during the closures.  Caltrans will place detour signs and signs advising bicyclists that they must exit at all off-ramps, weigh stations and vista points along the route to avoid the possibility of conflict with vehicle traffic.  Once the bike path has reopened, the signs allowing bicycles along this stretch of freeway will be removed.

Here’s our helpful maps:

Cyclists Northbound:

Continue on 5-N from Harbor in Oceanside and use every off ramp through the rest area, Las Pulgas, and the inspection station (another rest area if you need it) to exit at Basilone to continue on the Pacific Route North into San Clemente.

Enter 5-N from Oceanside

Approx distance and Elev

Basilone Road

Exiting at Basilone, turn LEFT and cross over the freeway. The road will bend to the left and you will see a chain link fence with the bike path behind it on your right. Enter through the break in the fence, and continue north on the bike path which will “T” into Cristianitos road.

Cyclists Southbound:

Enter 5-S at Basilone and use every off ramp, at the weigh station, at the viewing area, at Las Pulgas, and at the rest area until you exit on Harbor Drive into Oceanside.

Basilone Road

Approx miles and Elev

Harbor Drive Exit

Beware of a “tire-catcher” storm grate which lies just to the right of the fog line on the off-ramp on Harbor Dr. There is room to safely pass it on the right if there’s not too much debris.

At the traffic light, a right turn will take you into the harbor, while going straight will put you onto the Pacific Coast Highway southward.

Have a safe and uneventful ride, and tailwinds on your journey.