Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sierra Madre Green Committee Take Heart - Sierra Madre Is Now Rated "Very Walkable" By WalkScore.com!

You do know that cars are a bad thing, right? Or at least they are in the opinion of some folks. They pollute, they contribute lots of greenhouse gas, and they run over bicyclists. Which is also a bad thing.

These are some of the reasons why those of the Green persuasion have been pushing this "walkability" meme in such a big way. Because if you are walking you aren't burning anything carbon based beyond some of the composite materials in your sneakers. Thus saving us all from the end of the world. Or at least our continued existence in it. The world, of course, would go on without us. Probably quite well.

Sierra Madre's Green Committee came up with a lot of goals for us to ponder a few months back. These goals, which they quite solemnly called "The Environmental Accords," are of United Nations origin of all things, so they didn't actually make them up themselves. Rather they adopted much of the language from some the UN's "Accords," which were previously designed for all the world to include in their development planning regimens.

And as kind of a summary of that dream, the Green Committee supplied the City Council, along with the General Plan Steering Committee, the following inspirational language designed to push us towards what they perceive as being greener goals. This from their "Environmental Accords."

Adopt urban planning principles and practices that advance higher density, mixed use, walkable, bikeable, and disabled-accessible neighborhoods, which coordinate land use and transportation with open space systems for recreation and economic restoration. This goal is dependent on the General Plan Update process. The City would need to adopt principles and practices within their Planning efforts towards these goals. Staff believes this to be a pivotal consideration in the General Plan Update. It is also subject to AB32 and SB375 considerations.

Unfortunately for the Green Committee, when translated into terms that most people use in their daily discourse, these "Accords" would be about as popular in Sierra Madre as head lice at a preschool ice cream social. What they are calling for here is a radical realignment of our downtown area and replacing it with something strikingly similar to what was proposed in the Downtown Specific Plan. The notion being that if you stack and pack low and moderate income housing up to the sky, and squeeze convenience stores onto the first floor, plus throw in a few bus stops, people will give up their automobiles and walk. Thus somehow saving the world from global warming.

Which to my way of thinking is really quite a stretch. After all, if you look at a few thousand years of human history you can plainly see that one of humanity's greatest goals is to avoid walking as much as possible. It is the slowest way to travel, at times painful, and it can make you sweat more than most like. Especially in the summer. And isn't it a bit presumptuous to claim that condos can save the world? I think so.

Plus, this being Southern California and all, if you make lower cost housing available to people, what is the most obvious thing they will want do with the money they've saved? Buy a car, of course. A cheap place to live and a cool car being important parts of the dream most here embrace. After all, this isn't New Jersey.

But despite all of the above, I have some uplifting news for today. We apparently do not have to change a thing. There is a very useful website out there in the digital ether called WalkScore.com. And what they do is rate almost every town in the United States for its "walkability." That is, accessibility to housing, shopping, and entertainment, with as little reliance upon the automobile as possible. And the fabulous news here is that they have rated Sierra Madre as being "Very Walkable!"

If you click here you will be taken to the WalkScore.com webpage for Sierra Madre. There you will see that out of a possible maximum score of 100, we have an 86 rating. Which, using math that I am not quite certain I understand completely, puts us into their Top 10%. The average score being 49.

What this indicates to me is that our predominantly low density and tree filled suburban paradise of a town has already achieved many of the more important goals set aside for us by the Green Committee's Environmental Accords. With the good news being we don't have to change a thing since we are already there.

Hopefully this will attract the attention of the General Plan Update Steering Committee and be included in their deliberations and recommendations. It really is some very good news.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

63 comments:

  1. Pasadena scores even higher.

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    Replies
    1. Hardly an excuse to imitate them.

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  2. I hope we don't hire "consultants" to assist the Green Committee.

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  3. Now we need another consultant study from the Green Committee that says we also have a one person homeless issue that City Hall could help in suppling or supplementing his rent. If he even wants or would except that. That way, we are not forced to have a houseless shelter. The shelter that our City Manager want to force us to provide. Since she knows she is on her way out the door, this would be her present to Sierra Madre. That way she can say she actually accomplished something useful at her time here. Something to put on her resume, other than rusty pipes, I mean bonds, or an increased city staff and budget ten fold, or an increase in consultant studies, or legal costs which we never hear about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. City Hall now has the choice between keeping employees or hiring consultants. They either do the job themselves or see their salaries spent on outside help. We can no longer afford to pay people to do their jobs for them. And if City Staff doesn't have the time? Then we need them to drop some things. Like maybe the Green Committee.

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  4. The Green Committee is Buchanan's gift to the town he has imperiled.

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    Replies
    1. City Hall needs to be tented in order to fumigate all of John Buchanan's contributions.

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    2. John Buchanan is yet another failed politician puppet of Bart Doyle.
      Pray that Bart Doyle is finally finished in this town.
      Everything the man touches, he destroys.
      The man is bad luck to a good hunting dog.

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  5. I have no problem with other people walking. Just as long as they stay out of the street when I am driving by.

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    Replies
    1. It is also very parkable.

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  6. Sierra Madre needs a higher score in Walkability . . . Walkability Out . . . we need to encourage Doyle, Buchanan, Walsh, and Moran to follow Joe Mosca out of the city and out of the country . . . for a greener Sierra Madre.

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  7. I don't understand.....,

    If we are already a walkable community, what would adding high density apartments to the downtown do to help?
    How would it lower our Carbon Footprint
    How would increasing population by increasing water demands so we would have to ration it, creating more traffic, till we have to put in parking garages, traffic lights, and have parking meters help us to be "green"?

    Please advise.

    These guys need to lay off the happy green weed they are smoking.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Confused,
      First we need to create the problem, so the Green Committee can solve the problem down the road for us...

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    2. Since the Green Committee is a Buchanan creation, the solution will always be development.

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  8. Lots of people walk in SM but it is not really what is meant by walkability--doing life's errands without your car. We walk our dogs and to stay fit, but when was the last time you walked out the door to go get groceries and get a prescription filled, pick up your cleaning?

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    Replies
    1. Help me out here. Why would I want to do that?

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    2. Adding 500 to 600 apartment units downtown will not encourage me to walk downtown to shop, lug my laundry, shop for groceries, or pick up my drugs in town and walk them home.
      It will do just the opposite.

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    3. It's already walkable here. I can get bombed at the Buc, and stagger home already !

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    4. I live over a mile from the downtown. Walking is the way I get to Beantown and Taylors.

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  9. Is there anyway music can be piped into the downtown area? I think that would help give Sierra Madre some skippability. Seeing people skipping around downtown would be so heartening. Is this something the Chamber of Commerce can help accomplish?

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    Replies
    1. I get it, then Sierra Madre could be like a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie

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    2. You are confusing skippability with danceability.

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    3. Somebody needs to talk to Nancy Walsh about ChaCha-ability.

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    4. 9:18 - I am howling! That is one of the funniest comments I have ever seen here on the Tattler.

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  10. Skippability rocks.

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    Replies
    1. Just remember, April is Zero Tolerance for Intoxicated Skipping Month.

      The SMPD is coming down hard on that.

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  11. At the final City Council meeting, we all have to give MaryAnn a huge send off and a terrific standing ovation in appreciation for the tireless and outstanding contribution she has made for us.
    As far as I am concerned, I will just sit in silence as Buchanan's measure of my appreciation for his so called service to the community.

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    Replies
    1. I won't be encouraging this dude by applauding him at the meeting.
      He needs to know to stay out of politics to do less damage to this town, than he already has done.

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    2. Sit and maybe politely clap but be mindful of a couple a characters who may be there to attack MaryAnn as their last piece of disgraceful nastiness. If the mayor allows this it must be called out as a point of order.

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    3. Absolutely!
      No one attacked Joe Mosca when he left office...No one!

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    4. I'm not sure anyone noticed when Joe Mosca left town.

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    5. Joe's fan base was not in the chambers his last night. Don't know why.

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    6. Joe's fan base was very uncivil and rude at the 2010 reorganization. When they don't show up it is a good day for civilization.

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    7. City Council Chambers should have those little sanitizing dispensers like the markets. I definitely think I'd like to swab down the arm rests before I take my seat. In the interest of civility.

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    8. After that crowd left they needed to call HazMat.

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    9. What I got most from Joe Mosca's fans who appeared at the 2010 swearing in was an absolute deluge of self satisfaction for righting a falsely perceived wrong, a moral victory of self righteousness, and a shoring up of the rescue of poor Joe that he played so very skillfully. The guy is a complete jerk, but he is a past master at playing victim.

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  12. Making downtown more dense would unimproved our walkability...why go there if it is not the unique place it once was?

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  13. Lets encourage a stable and horse in everyones back yard, a hitching rail in front of all comercial establishments and offer free hitching for the first 30 minutes. This will also create jobs for the City, the "road apple round up".
    Oh there will be unlimited hitching at the "Buckaneer". It will cost though to tie up at Happy's Wine Tasting Emporium. Is not this green progress?

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    Replies
    1. The Bottleshop's Wine Tasting Emporium... let's keep our myriad imbibing opportunities straight!

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    2. That would create too much methane gas, 09:43. Great idea, though! I love horses!

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  14. It is always lovely to see MaryAnn walk around our town. Yes, a huge send off for the best and most intelligent of them all:Mayor MacGillivary. Signs and Banners also.

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  15. This walkabiity.com site isbased on some faulty information for our town. The grocery cart icon comes up with the following information that you would know better as you live in Sierra Madre:

    Savor the Flavor (groceries??)
    Happy's Wines Spirits & Market (market???)

    and

    at 481 Mariposa Ave you find "Sierra Food Development" so what is this?

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    Replies
    1. Oh there you go, criticizing people who care about the planet. Shame on you!

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    2. Tattler researcherApril 14, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      From the net, here is the scoop on Savor the Flavor's pride and joy:

      Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Madre California foothills lies the delicious and award winning specialty food products of Sierra Madre Grocery Company. In keeping with family traditions to make every product as fresh as possible, we create our fine selections by cooking in small batches and using only the best ingredients. Our unique and distinctive offerings are packed with flavor and quality.

      Apparently a very professional, very successful addition to Sierra Madre but definite not a walkable source of food for your family.

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    3. I like this! It's a home grown business. A little rich for my everyday pocketbook but definitely needs to be supported. I'll put it in the file with Waldo Ward's and the Sierra Madre Candy Company for holiday gift giving for my friends and family who have moved away from the area. Isn't it what residents and Council have been talking about? Bringing in more business? Thank you Sierra Madre Grocery Company. And I won't forget Mother Moo's even thought she doesn't lend herself to shipping. I can still taste the vanilla fig ice cream she served at the State of the City earlier this year. Yum!

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    4. Seniors are still talking about how John Buchanan tried to trick them into voting for the UUT by threatening to take away the Paramedics and the one and only ambulance.

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    5. I absolutely love their salsa.

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  16. Sierra Madre is walkable in the sense that one can park their car downtown once and walk to any shop or restaurant they need during the course of that trip. But - - - to really do any shopping or going to work, one needs a car to go to neighboring cities. So what good will dense, packed residences do here? We would still need tons of parking to take care of the increased populations in condos and apartments the Green Committee apparently thinks we need. The UN Accords are based on the fact that there are slums to tear down or open spaces to build and transportation to carry citizens from one part of the city to the next. What part of Sierra Madre are we going to tear down to build apartments? Montecito? Where is the open space? The residents will still have to have a car to shop and go to work. Do you think the people who build on Carter One and Stonehouse will forgo their cars?

    Dream On Green Committee. I bet the General Plan Update Committee is on to you. Maybe that's why Dance'n Nancy is so upset at the GPUC. She's one of Buchanan's puppets.

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    1. Nancy Walsh will be badly exposed without John Buchanan to protect her. Josh will be barely able to hold his own, and nobody else will care about anything but her vote.

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    2. Sierra Madre is walkable in that one can walk from one end to another. Looking for staples? Toilet Paper? Dishwashing detergent? Need new underwear for a plus size matriarch? What about new electronics for your 12-year old nephew's birthday? Sorry, Green Committee, walkable or not those items are not available in Sierra Madre - densely packed condos or not. Sunday stroll to Mother Moo's after church? Leave your car at St. Rita's and walk downhill and back. That's walkability Sierra Madre style.

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    3. Dear, dear gawd! Let's hope she keeps her backside covered...

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  17. I think people should lay off Nancy Walsh.
    She's obviously not up to the challenge, has been floundering badly, even with her mentor right there on the dais with her.
    Somebody needs to call a TKO.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe she should take herself out.

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    2. Then she needs to retire from Council. And if she won't go, and it's too late to recall her, then she needs to be hounded from office. She is like some dark substance oozing all over the governance of 11,000 residents. No quarter given, no prisoners taken.

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  18. I know one person on the green committee that worked very hard against the #1 Cater mess and to strengthen the hillside ordinance and to conserve open space in our foothills. The green committee member is not a mouthpiece for John Buchanan. I known less well one other member who is a strong advocate for tree preservation in his former community. I think this
    Green committee was sabotaged by the state mandates and Buchanan's farcical approach to almost everything. Be annoyed at the process not the committee members that you probably don' know very well. Some of this blogs favorite people were members of the UUT committee who were likewise sabotaged by the directions given to them by the city staff.

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    1. The Green Committee has to be judged by its Environmental Accords. That is to date the work they have put out. There are lots of good green activities that go on in this town. This report is not one of them. I would never have out my name to such a bad piece of work.

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    2. The Green Committee is hampered by the definition of "Green". Some of us are laboring under an understanding of "Green" as composting, using less gasoline, "walkability", and xeriscape gardening. However if one is to read the accords, the new "Green" is a far, far cry from our understanding. I would also add that the GPSU is nearing the end of its work - this is a curious time to be delivering mandates to be incorporated into its product. Too political for me.

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    3. The term "Green" has been co-opted by the developers. As you can see from the so-called accords, the main thrust is building high density development. That is what this is all about.

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    4. Perhaps, 1:30 pm.
      However, one member of the "green committee" is a vicious woman who slandered our friend, MaryAnn MacGillivray.
      Sent her a horrible email, full of damn lies!
      This woman, who drives a little pink moter scooter is a very bad person.

      Delete
  19. The Green Committee's report would have been fine had they adopted the suggestions needed to confirm the Sacramento mandates and what fits Sierra Madre. They went way overboard in adopting the whole
    United Nations Accord, which is not even close to being appropriate to Sierra Madre. The result appears to be an over ambitious, not well thought-out version of what a tree hugger might write.

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  20. Would that we could return to the time when a small town "could provide all the necessities" but that is a thing of the past. Still, even then, some teamster was driving stuff from downtown to this town so you could have coffee, tea, vanilla, shoe laces, buggy whips. We didn't have any hay fields so the mule feed had a dung footprint instead of a carbon footprint. I just realized that actually there is carbon in dung: carbondungfootprint.blogspot.org

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  21. From the UN FAQS page (dated 2005):

    2. What is the goal of the Urban Environmental Accords?

    The Urban Environmental Accords are a series of implementable goals that can be adopted at the city level to achieve urban sustainability, promote healthy economies, advance social equity and protect the world’s ecosystem. By achieving success at the city level, the multilateral city commitments of the Urban Environmental Accords can inspire and mobilize expanded commitment at the national level. The Urban Environmental Accords build on and continue the legacy of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the 1996 Istanbul Conference on Human Settlements, the 2000 Millennium Development Goals and the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development

    and

    4. Some of the goals appear too high, unrealistic or may not necessarily apply to every city. How do cities handle
    the implementation process?

    The 21 Action Steps of the Urban Environmental Accords are a series of action-oriented steps that cities can use as reference points for setting achievable goals and standards that can be tailored to fit the specific structures of their communities. The ability of cities to enact local environmental laws and policies differ from cities to cities. However, the success of the Accords will ultimately be judged on the basis of actions taken collectively. Accordingly, the Accords can be implemented through programs, services or activities even where cities may lack the requisite legislative authority to mandate laws.

    My guess is that the Green Committee had directives and guildings from the mayor that they had to follow that were flawed to say the least.

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  22. The key word in the above quote is SOCIAL EQUITY. That is the goal of every liberal and greenie. Don't let this happen to Sierra Madre. This is a socialist movement. And I agree with 4:13 who has outed that viscious woman who has spread poison throughout Sierra Madre with her lies and inuendos about MaryAnn.

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