ECOS Earth Day 2004 UPDATE

Clover Valley in Rocklin

Clover Valley in Rocklin

Saving Clover Valley
Clover Valley’s 622 acres in Rocklin epitomizes the reasons we celebrate Earth Day. This narrow, steep-sloped, two-mile long, one-mile wide valley is a microcosm of many beautiful aspects of earth that we appreciate and value—rich wetlands, oak and riparian woodlands, diverse wildlife habitat, scenic ridges, perennial creek, meadows, historic and prehistoric cultural resources, and to top it off, a sense of place. A sense of place is hard to describe, but Yosemite has it. It’s a feeling that you have arrived in a well-defined, unique and precious spot on the planet.

Many people are opposed to the currently planned development of 933 units for the obvious reasons—air quality deterioration, water pollution potential, traffic nightmares, infrastructure costs, etc.—all for a development that is not necessary. But beyond the obvious, opposition to destroying this valley centers around a deep ethical and moral knowing that once it’s destroyed, it’s gone forever. There are natural and pristine places on earth that should not be considered a commodity, for sale to the highest bidder. Clover Valley is one such place. Its destiny must be in the form of a preserve, not roads and rooftops. To help, go to

By Marilyn Jasper

Shaping our Growth
Instead of simply opposing development, local environmentalists stand instead for well-designed growth that pays its own way. If our region would build pedestrian- and transit- friendly, mixed-use neighborhoods, instead of the suburban sprawl it subsidizes now by rewarding land speculation, we can expect a better quality of life.

However, if we continue to subsidize sprawl, we can expect increasing traffic congestion, worse air quality, and a plethora of chronic health problems – not to mention a war for petroleum roughly once a decade.

Some believe governments permit only what is popular, but the market already pays premiums for such “Smart Growth” development—ranging from 40% in Orenco Station (OR), Celebration (Fl), and Kentlands (MD), to as much as 500% in Seaside (FL).

The real excuse for our current condition is inertia—an attribute of inanimate objects. Rather than take a chance, no matter how small, builders and ruling bodies avoid the risk of change, even if it’s profitable change.

The consequence: a gradual diminution of our quality of life. The great shame is that a relatively narrow set of economic interests can hold us all hostage to this inertia when even those economic interests could profit from a change.

By Mark Dempsey

ECOS Envisions the Future of Transportation
The Environmental Council of Sacramento has created a transportation vision for the Sacramento region. With a transit, bike, and pedestrian-only bridge at Arden Way and Truxel, underground rapid transit access to downtown officies, shopping and the multi-modal Amtrak station, transit guideways on major corridors throughout the region and a network of neighborhood shuttles, ECOS sees a future for Sacramento with lower levels of air pollution and congestion.

ECOS’s focus is on a future for the Sacramento Region with cleaner air, a sustainable energy policy, safer streets, more livable communities, a healthier lifestyle and less need to drive. This future means getting to jobs, homes, shopping, recreation and health facilities in a timely fashion by alternative modes. It will provide transit for you and your neighbors, the disabled and the growing aging population from homes to destinations.

The ECOS vision is brought to life through modeling by researchers at the University of California at Davis, Department of Environmental Science and Policy. Preliminary modeling results show that the ECOS vision produces lower vehicle miles traveled, increased transit ridership, lower air pollutant emissions, lower travel costs for low - and moderate-income households, and lower land consumption than current plans.

By Kit Snyder and Amanda Schramm

A Renewable Transportation Measure
Sacramento County residents currently pay a 1/2% sales tax to support local transportation Systems. Renewal of this tax, known as Measure A, is in preparation for the November 2004 ballot. Representatives from community interest groups are working alongside the Sacramento Transportation Authority and local agencies to ensure equitable distribution of the revenue from Measure A, which would be in effect until the year 2030.

Looking 30 years into the future, we cannot continue to rely on roadway expansions and new highways to meet our transportation needs. Sacramento’s increasing traffic congestion and deteriorating air quality are clear indicators that this is not the answer. What’s more, by the year 2030, a large amount of the Sacramento population will be composed of seniors, who rely more on public transit, paratransit, and non-auto modes of travel. Public opinion polling conducted for Measure A showed strong support for transit, pedestrian, and bicycle infrastructure.

Prioritization of alternative transportation modes in the Measure A expenditure plan poses an excellent opportunity to promote both improvement of transit and control of sprawl. Polling results showed strong public support for including growth controls in Measure A. Including a land use component in Measure A would underscore the close relationships among land use, transportation, and air quality policies.

See the ECOS website this week for more articles on local environmental issues that affect our quality of life!

If one of these articles has moved you, take action! Contact your local representatives, or call ECOS to find out how you can become involved.

For more information on ECOS, or to join, contact us at:

909 12th Street, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 492-5657

By Amanda Schramm and David Mogavero