In the April 5 issue of the Weekly, a reader expressed concern about the new Avenidas senior center building. As a 30-year environmental health and safety manager, I can respond to the health concerns that she expressed.
Modern glues used by flooring installers are no longer toxic as they were in the old days. Modern glues may have an odor, but typically that odor is not harmful to our health. I expect that Avenidas will research this concern and explain what they learn.
The warning sign out front of the new building is required by California law if there is any chance that a chemical on the state's list of potential cancer agents might be present. On that list are 900 substances, including coffee, medications, sunglasses (because of plastic frames) and the vinyl in most linoleum. That warning sign is standard in all new buildings.
Carpets installed in public buildings are normally chosen for ease of cleaning and for good wear characteristics. There is no evidence that carpeting itself is bad for asthma; it is not. Carpeting in homes that are seldom cleaned could very well be.
In conclusion, I have found that Avenidas is a well-managed provider of services to seniors. I believe that all of us can expect that they will do a good job of keeping the new Palo Alto senior-enrichment center running smoothly.
Avenidas is a trusted nonprofit with an excellent track record. I look forward to using the new Palo Alto facility in good health going forward.
Menalto Avenue, Menlo Park
Sea-level rise and Palo Alto
Many of us are becoming increasingly concerned about climate change's possible impacts.
Our organization, Save Palo Alto's Groundwater, is especially concerned with one infrequently discussed impact: As the sea level rises, so does the groundwater level. Studies in other communities (see bit.ly/2G4yPPv and bit.ly/2I9hOr8) have indicated groundwater rise could double the area flooded by sea-level rise alone, with impacts felt up to 2.5 to 3 miles inland. Levees and sea walls are not effective against groundwater rise.
As our cities plan for and adapt to sea-level rise, future zoning and development will likely be affected. If underground construction is impossible in some areas because of flooding, will taller and larger buildings result? What if all building is prohibited in some areas — would densification in other areas occur? Are currently discussed designs — including Cubberley Community Center's underground garage or the desired trench/tunnel for rail grade separation — going to be able to withstand groundwater-level rise?
A free presentation on climate change and sea-level rise featuring Dr. K. Hill is set for April 24 at the Mitchell Park Community Center, El Palo Alto Room, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. More information is available at savepaloaltosgroundwater.org.
Channing Avenue, Palo Alto
SB 50 would harm environment
SB 50 is focused on a serious problem that all of California faces: the need for affordable housing. However, SB 50's solution is an urban solution that is a windfall to developers who would apply its mandate in the suburban environment. SB 50 enables developers to build four-story, multi-family apartments within a half mile of a train station, and it would override local zoning to allow these buildings to have zero parking. If parking is not required in these multi-story apartments, tenants will park on the streets. But the other consequence of this gift to developers is that it will seriously damage California's attempt to get people to reduce greenhouse-gas generation by converting to electric vehicles.
The legislature has worked very hard to drive California to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions. Our electricity is increasingly clean, and there are significant advances in this area. The largest source of pollution in the state is transportation.
Peninsula Clean Energy, of which I am the vice-chairman, has launched a program to deploy 3,600 charging stations in San Mateo County to encourage and enable more people to purchase electric vehicles; however, an enormous impediment to electric vehicle purchase is that 50% of San Mateo County residents live in multi-family buildings and there isn't an inexpensive way to enable electric vehicle charging in multi-unit buildings.
If SB 50 mandates multi-family development without parking, then it guarantees that those residents are much less likely to purchase electric vehicles. SB 50's no-required-parking mandate is in opposition to California's efforts to encourage people to purchase electric vehicles.
Clay Drive, Atherton
This story contains 743 words.
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