Friday, May 30, 2008

Greater than the Sum of its Parts

As the City enters into a public space planning process for the Baylands Specific Plan, taking a holistic view of public space is of great importance. Based on city policy and community input, it is clear that the public space component will be a critical design element. How this component will be integrated into the project is where a comprehensive understanding of the principles and issues involved in designing, operating, and managing successful public space becomes essential. This is also where input from the community is most needed. Therefore, at the next City Council meeting taking place this Monday, 6/2, City Council will be advising staff on the scheduling of additional workshops with the community in regards to public space at the Baylands. Three topics that will be presented for City Council to consider in light of these workshops:
  1. What are the community's desires and goals pertaining to the public space component of the Baylands?
  2. What considerations (technical, financial, operational, other) go into designing, implementing, and managing successful public space?
  3. When and how should a public space master plan be developed for the Baylands?

The ultimate goal of this process is to develop a public space master plan for the Baylands Specific Plan which allows for the realistic implementation of the community's public space goals. So, come on out and learn more about the holistic undertaking for this community-based process!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

City Website Restored

This past weekend, the City's website was hacked, causing information to not be readily available for online viewing. With both City Hall and the Library closed Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday, we wanted to remind the community that hard copies of all agendas, staff reports, and other related resources will always be available during working hours. If, however, there should be a similar occurence in the future with the closure of both facilities, you may send an e-mail to to have any inquirires of information sent to you via e-mail. We will strive to do everything we can in making sure our citizens are properly informed.

And by the way, we're blogging at an hour when City Hall's still open! A friendly reminder that City Hall is open until 8:00 pm every Wednesday for the sole purpose being to afford individuals the opportunity to come in "after hours" to have any needs, inquiries, and requests fulfilled. With that, we hope to see you soon!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Improvements Being Made in Brisbane, and in the Air We Breathe

Last Thursday 5/16 marked the 14th annual Bike to Work Day, with tens of thousands of people choosing to 'spare the air' and pedal their way into work. Below are pictures taken at the Energizer Station on Lagoon Rd. @ Tunnel Ave., manned once again between 6:15 - 9:30am by Mayor Barnes.

A heads up from your Brisbane Public Works Dept.! Starting this Tuesday, May 27th, construction crews from the San Francisco PUC will be working at the entrance to Old Quarry Road in Brisbane making necessary improvements to the valving at one of the nearby water turnouts supplying Hetch Hetchy water to Brisbane. The construction will partially limit access to Old Quarry Road, however, SFPUC will make every effort to maintain a safe pedestrian access route around the site at all times. The construction is scheduled to last approximately 2 - 4 weeks. Please contact the Brisbane Public Works Department at 508-2130 if you have any questions. Thank you in advance for your patience!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Busy Weekend for Brisbane Firefighters

A little past noon this past Sunday, Brisbane firefighters were part of the 12-company team that responded to a structure fire on Joy Avenue. The fire was contained to the garage of the 2-story complex, with minimal damage to the second story unit. The fire was controlled in approximately 20 minutes, with no reported injuries. The picture above, taken by Mayor Barnes, shows the extent of the aid present to fight this fire, which allowed the fire to be contained in the short amount of time it was. The affected complex is in the background.

This morning, at around 6:15 am, 7 fire companies responded to a vegetation fire at the end of Thomas St. The fire was on the hillside in a steep canyon area when the first fire company arrived within 4 minutes. Firefighters using hoselines and hand tolls confined the fire to approximately 1 acre of grass and brush with no damage to structures or any other property. This fire was also able to be contained quickly (within 30 minutes), with complete extinguishing and overhaul finished in approximately 3 hours. Kudos to Brisbane Station 81 on all your fine, fire-fighting efforts this past weekend!

With the regular fire season not yet upon us, let's make sure we're doing all we can now to protect our families, homes, and community - and be prepared.


Another one??

On Tuesday around noon, dozens of firefighters (there were a total of 19 fire companies) along with a helicopter, 2 air tankers, and an air attack, responded to a 3-alarm grass fire on Bayshore Blvd. The fire burned approximately 7 acres of grassland but due to the aggressive efforts of the firefighters, the one house that was threatened by the blaze saw no damages whatsoever. Also fortunate was that it was not a fast-moving fire, working against the wind. Still, let's hope that our firefighters won't be hearing any alarms sounding anytime soon!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Final EIR for Sierra Point Approved

This past Monday, City Council unanimously approved a 5-building research-and-development site after developer HCP (Health Care Property Investors) agreed to commit $1.8 million toward renewable energy generation in the City. $1.5 million will go towards generating either wind or solar power on-site at the R&D campus (with a portion to be spent towards studying wind generation at Sierra Point, much like how the 197-ft. tall wind tower was installed on the Baylands last month). The remainder of the committed amount, $300,000, was negotiated by staff to be a one-time cash contribution, and will be directed for usage off-site (it most likely will be used towards the City Hall solar project, and represent roughly half of the City's cost after a 50% rebate from PG&E is applied).

HCP's development of a 23-acre biotech campus at Shoreline Court and Sierra Point Parkway is the first to abide by the City's Green Building Ordinance, passed in December of last year. Although on-site energy generation is not a requirement made by the ordinance, HCP has acquiesced to the City's environmentally-progressive outlook regarding any new development in town and will be studying whether renewable energy generation through either wind or the sun will be most opportune for the City.

Because discussions to date have centered on a solar installation on top of the proposed parking garage at Sierra Point, as well as on the roof at City Hall, it may be worthwhile to consider what the actual benefits of doing could possibly look like. (Hopefully by this time next year, data from the Baylands wind tower and that which will soon be gathered at Sierra Point will clarify whether or not wind would be an economically feasible source of renewable energy).

Energy from the sun varies from place to place and is very dependent on weather conditions. So, how much would, say, 3 hrs. of sunlight on 1 sq. meter of solar panel actually translate to? If we're talking electricity, and we say that electricity is worth $0.10 per KwH, then 3 hrs. is worth $0.30 KwH. However, the radiant energy conversion rate of PV panels is about 20% or less, so 3 hrs. of sunlight on 1 sq. meter of a solar panel is equal to about $0.06.

How about heat? Well, 1 KwH = 3,400 BTU*, so 3 KwH = 10,200 BTU. Since one gallon of fuel contains approximately 150,000 BTU, then 10,200 BTUs are the equivalent of .07 of fuel oil. Like the radiant energy conversion rate for solar, there is a heat transfer efficiency rate of a solar hot water system. That efficiency rate is about the same as oil burner transfer efficiency - both are between 50%-70%. Now if fuel is selling for $4.00/gal., then the value of 10,200 BTUs is about $0.28 (.07 x 4.00).

Hopefully this sheds some light on the possible benefit that solar panels can have...but in the meanwhile, you can be assured that careful evaluation will be taking place to determine which renewable energy source is the most suitable for Sierra Point!

* Fuel use is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) rather than gallons or therms. You may be interested to know that 1 BTU (British Thermal Unit) is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit (approximately the heat energy released by striking a match).

Friday, May 09, 2008

Events that M-a-y Strike Your Fancy

What else is in store for the month of May, you may ask?  Well, here are just a few things!

National Public Works Week (NPWW) is a celebration of the tens of thousands of men and women in North America who provide and maintain the infrastructure and services collectively known as public works.

Instituted as a public as a public education campaign by the American Public Works Association (APWA) in 1960, NPWW calls attention to the importance of public works in community life. The Week seeks to enhance the prestige of the often-unsung heroes of our society-the professionals who serve the public good every day with quiet dedication. Check out the video below put out by the APWA to get a sense of how your Brisbane Public Works guys (and gal!) are serving the Brisbane community on a regular basis.

Alright, perhaps the “remove the snow and ice” part not so much....but you get the point!

Last Monday, Council also approved the positions of Habitat Restoration Lead Worker and Habitat Restoration Aide, in preparation for a new program. Brisbane resident Peter Stieler was able to secure grant funding for the City to initiate a youth summer job program focused on engaging local youth in managing vegetation and restoring habitat in city-owned parks and open space, as well as provide an educational opportunity discovering the native plant species in Brisbane. While preparations are still being made to start the recruitment process for this exciting new program, the detailed job descriptions can be found by clicking here. If you are interested in applying for these positions, you will be able to soon on the Brisbane page of Call Human Resources at 508-2115 if you would like more information.

And finally, we wanted to make you aware of the the forum on Livable Communities for Successful Aging taking place in San Mateo at the Expo Center/Fairgrounds, May 30th. Between now and the year 2030, San Mateo County's health department estimates that the population of those 65+ will more than double to about 150,000 persons. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors would like to hear from you on how best to create more livable communities during the coming decades, especially in regards to: accessible housing, ease of physical access to the broader community, and services that will continue to make living in communities along the Peninsula highly attractive to all ages. You may register for this event online, or by calling 650-363-4526.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Putting it All Into Practice

They say we "learn by doing"...that there really is no substitution for rolling up one's sleeves and making a conscious effort to learn and apply oneself to an endeavor...that is where one gains the most. Therefore, the ends don't, and should not, justify the means - it's about the process - how decisions come to be made, that will count in the long-run.

Community involvement and public participation has been an invariable cornerstone in the Brisbane community's planning process. In fact, "To encourage community involvement and participation" has been a long-standing goal of the Brisbane City Council...and one which is held to the highest esteem when considering the next critical step in the planning process for the Baylands: community review of the draft alternatives. The proposed work program proposed below is intended to maximize public outreach and provide the widest range of opportunities for public input and comment:
  1. May 19, 2008 - presentation of draft alternatives to the City Council
  2. June 2, 2008 - City Council workshop on Baylands public space planning
  3. June edition of Brisbane CITY NEWS will include - an insert describing the alternatives, a brief discussion of the process, an invitation to the community open house, and a comment card that can be filled out, as well as an invitation for community members to send comments to the City Council via e-mail
  4. June 7, 2008 1-3 PM and June 9, 2008 7-9 PM, Community Center - community open houses, where residents can drop in to review the alternatives and ask questions of the consultants and of staff. No formal presentation or formal public comment period would be held at this time.
  5. Weeks of June 9 and June 16, 2008 (dates, times and locations TBA) - 4 smaller group meetings to present the alternatives, with a discussion and feedback time with participants to follow.

The 4 proposed group meetings are:

  • Residents, Central Brisbane
  • Residents, the Ridge
  • Joint meeting of City advisory bodies (1. Planning, 2. Parks, Beaches, and Recreation, and 3. Open Space and Ecology commissions)
  • Chamber of Commerce

Ultimately, the alternatives and additional community input will be provided to the City Council for its consideration, which they will be reviewing in July 2008. Following this process, a decision will be made as to which alternative will be more fully explored in the forthcoming EIR for the Baylands.

The Alternatives Review Process starts Monday, 5/5, with the above program and schedule being recommended by staff to the City Council. Come on out to the Community Center at 7:30, or tune in via Ch. 27.


A warm welcome to our two newest Commission members, Carolyn Parker and Michaelo De La Torre, who are putting into practice a desire to serve the Brisbane community. Carolyn will be joining the Planning Commission and Michaelo the Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission. We applaud their efforts for taking the step to "roll up their sleeves" as they, along with each of their fellow commissioners, work alongside community members and other various stakeholders, in the hopes that the best possible solutions are continually afforded to Brisbane!