Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Walking woes in Inland Empire, delay for Malibu Lagoon restoration, a Google boost for Cali wind farm

Study finds Inland Empire region among most dangerous for pedestrians. Reports KPCC: “The researchers reviewed the years between 2000 and 2009. During that time, vehicles killed more than 900 people as they crossed the street or strolled too close to traffic in the Riverside-San Bernardino metro area.” LA Now also reports on the news.

New maps track pedestrian and cycling injuries and deaths in California. According to Metro’s The Source, the maps “were produced by UC Berkeley’s Transportation Injury Mapping System and show pedestrian and cycling injuries and deaths in relation to their proximity to schools between the years of 2006 and 2008.”


L.A.’s third CicLAvia expected to expand to South Los Angeles and Boyle Heights. According to CicLAvia’s blog, the occasional event when miles of major L.A. streets close to car traffic to make way for cyclists and pedestrians will likely expand for the October event. The formerly-planned July CicLAvia has been canceled.

Malibu Lagoon restoration delayed. Writes Heal the Bay’s President Mark Gold at Spouting Off: “The project was supposed to begin June 1, but the court order suspended the project until an October hearing on the Coastal Commission project approval. As a result of the court’s stay, the restoration efforts will be delayed until at least the summer of 2012.”

Google invests $55 million in Kern County wind farm. Reports LA Times’ Technology: “When complete, the project in the Tehachapi Mountains will generate 1.5 gigawatts, enough to power 450,000 homes through Southern California Edison. The installation will help boost wind jobs in the state by 20% while also feeding more than $1.2 billion into the local Kern County economy, according to developers.” Climate Watchand Greenspace also report on the news.

Will high-speed rail happen in California? KPCC’s AirTalk debated the issue yesterday: “The Legislative Analysts Office just released a report on the project questioning the plan to start laying track in the central valley instead of in a more populace area…. Another report from an independent peer review panel of transportation experts says the authority is understaffed and their planning is inadequate.”

In national news: Federal government unveils new fuel economy labels for cars and trucks. Reports Greenspace: “A joint effort between the EPA and DOT, the new labels will, for the first time, allow consumers to compare energy use and cost for new-technology cars, such as plug-in electrics, versus traditional gas-powered vehicles. They will include estimates on the amount of money consumers will save or spend on fuel for the next five years compared with an average new vehicle.”

Relatedly, U.S. government buys its first electric vehicles. Greenspace reports: “The 116 cars — a mixture of Chevrolet Volts, Nissan Leafs and Think Cities — are the first electric vehicles to be purchased by the U.S. government for the federal fleet.”

Photo: Cyclists at the second CicLAvia event in April 2011 (Siel Ju)