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Sustainability

Come Meet Peninsula Clean Energy

Peninsula Clean Energy LogoPeninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is San Mateo’s new energy provider and you may have some questions. On Wednesday, March 8th the city of San Mateo invites you to attend an informational workshop with representatives from Peninsula Clean Energy. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at the San Mateo Main Library and provides an opportunity to learn and ask questions about San Mateo County’s official electricity provider. If you have questions, want to know more about PCE and how it differs from PG&E, then reserve your space for the upcoming event using Eventbrite. In the meantime, keep reading for a bit more background about San Mateo County’s new energy provider.

What is PCE?

Peninsula Clean Energy was created in February 2016 when all 20 cities in San Mateo County, plus the county of San Mateo, voted unanimously to form a Joint Powers Authority to administer the program. This action created a new public, locally controlled electricity provider that gives all PG&E customers in San Mateo County the choice of having 50% to 100% of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources at competitive rates.

PCE’s role is to provide electric generation, which is the source of your power, while PG&E continues to provide electric delivery and billing services. PG&E still owns and reads your electric meter, sends your monthly bill and provides the same maintenance and other repair services they always have.

Why am I automatically enrolled in PCE?

The State, through Assembly Bill 117 passed in 2002, mandates that anytime a new community choice aggregation is created, it will become the default product for customers served by that provider. As such, PCE, with its ability to provide cleaner electricity at lower costs, becomes the default service for San Mateo County. PCE will automatically enroll residents and businesses in Peninsula Clean Energy as the roll-out continues this year. Three choices are available to PCE customers:

  • Peninsula Clean Energy’s default offering, ECOplus, which is 50% renewable energy, 75% greenhouse gas free energy, and less expensive than PG&E.
  • PG&E’s standard offering, which is 30% renewable energy, 60% greenhouse gas free energy, and more expensive than ECOplus
  • Peninsula Clean Energy’s 100% renewable energy product, ECO100, which is slightly more expensive than PG&E.

If you don’t like or want to be enrolled in PCE, you can easily opt-out by going online or calling 1(866)966-0110.

Higher rates are due to PG&E increases that took effect in January. PCE customers will begin to see reductions in mid-March.

Rates were supposed to be lower. They’re not.

On January 1, 2017, PG&E increased their electric generation rates by about 1.5 to 3%. Also on January 1, 2017, PG&E increased the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) by 26%. PCIA is a fee paid to PG&E by Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) customers. When PCE set their rates in 2016, they were set to be 5% lower than PG&E’s electric rates, even with the PCIA charge.

In response to PG&E’s rate increase earlier this year, Peninsula Clean Energy voted in January to reduce rates to maintain their original 5% discount below PG&E’s electric generation rates. The PCE rate reduction will go into effect on March 15, 2017. At that time customers will again see rates that are 5% below PG&E’s generation rate, including the additional PCIA charge. For details about how to compare Peninsula Clean Energy rates to PG&E’s rates, please look at this sample bill.

Why should I stick with Peninsula Clean Energy?

Peninsula Clean Energy is good for San Mateo County, good for the environment, and will, in the long-term, save customers money on their electric bill. Providing customers throughout San Mateo County with the option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at competitive rates makes sense. It’s a new program, and the roll-out of PCE is happening incrementally.

PCE has just started to launch the second phase of the roll-out to new customers. Throughout February and March, 210,000 new customers will receive notifications about being enrolled in PCE during the month of April. At that time, new customers, and those that enrolled in late 2016 will see the lower rates, approved in January, go into effect.   The rate change will maintain PCE’s 5% discount below PG&E’s electric generation rates and provide greener electricity with 50% renewable content.

Reserve your space and plan to attend the March 8th information workshop in San Mateo. It’s a great way to meet PCE representatives and ask questions about San Mateo County’s new community choice energy provider. Sign-up today! Or visit Peninsula Clean Energy online.

 

Sustainability, Traffic

Ease Your Commute With Scoop!

San Mateo Launches Carpooling App – Offers Benefit and Convenience of Automated Carpooling to Employees and Residents

San Mateo and its neighbor, Foster City announced a groundbreaking partnership with Scoop Technologies. The first-of-its-kind program aims to decrease the number of cars on the road and lessen the traffic burdens of commuters going to and from the region.

Anyone with a home or work address in either city will benefit from the program. The cities will utilize the Scoop carpooling app which enables commuters to share their commutes with coworkers and neighbors. The initiative launches October 10 and offers participants rides to work for $2, or the ability to drive and be reimbursed 50-100% of their commute costs. Foster City and San Mateo are contributing $60,000 and $30,000 towards the program, respectively.

“Foster City sits at the entrance to the San Mateo Bridge and is impacted by Bay Area commute time traffic. We want to lessen that impact, not just for commuters but also for our residents. Our partnership with Scoop not only creates temporary incentives to encourage carpooling, but, we hope, will help change the way people think about commuting,” said Foster City Vice Mayor Charlie Bronitsky.

Download Scoop App for a flexible, easier commute

Daily Commute

Share your commute with Scoop! Download the app and team up with others traveling the same direction.

Commuters can begin scheduling carpools on October 1, with trips starting on Monday, October 10. By partnering with Scoop and sponsoring the program, the two cities will help commuters change their behavior through discounted trip prices. Participation in the program is easy once a commuter downloads the app at takescoop.com or from the iOS or Android app stores.

This program comes at a time when the San Francisco Bay Area is ranked as having the second-worst traffic in the nation. Getting commuters to carpool has historically been difficult, but Scoop makes the process easy, efficient, and flexible through their application. Since launching in 2015, Scoop has become the nationwide leader in carpooling.

To date, commuters have taken more than 225,000 Scoop trips, offsetting 1,750,000 commute miles and lowering carbon emissions by 1,300,000 million pounds. Scoop is currently available to commuters who work in eight Bay Area cities, with Foster City and San Mateo becoming the ninth and tenth. They are the first cities to sponsor Scoop trips for both residents and employees.

“Relieving traffic congestion is one of the San Mateo City Council’s highest priorities,” said San Mateo Mayor Joe Goethals. “We believe that an integrated approach of offering a diverse set of transportation options, including Scoop and other innovative options, can make a significant difference.”

Benefits of public/private partnerships

“Scoop is honored to partner with Foster City and San Mateo to offer a solution to the challenges residents face in their commutes,” said Rob Sadow, CEO of Scoop. “These cities are leaders in providing better lives for their residents while lowering emissions to improve the environment. Through this program, they are setting an example for other cities to follow as congestion remains a top concern for both the public and private sector.”

Employer relationships are integral to Scoop’s business model. In Foster City, Scoop will partner with Visa, Gilead, and Metro Center to bring carpooling to each company’s employees. Scoop partners with major employers, office parks, and local governments through the Bay Area to offer employees an affordable and effective transportation solution. Other partners include Commute.org, Cisco, Workday, Tesla, and Sandisk, representing more than 200,000 San Francisco Bay Area commuters. Scoop also partners with public organizations such as Bay Area MTC and 511. For more information, visit www.takescoop.com.

Peninsula Clean Energy
Community Development, Sustainability

San Mateo County rolls out Peninsula Clean Energy

This year San Mateo County residents will have a choice between energy providers for the first time. Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is now San Mateo County’s official energy provider and all residents are automatically signed up for this new program as their neighborhoods are phased in. Residents will have the choice to opt-out of this program once their neighborhood is registered, or they may choose to stay with PCE and receive clean, renewable energy. The roll out process will take 12-months, and Phase 1 will begin this October. Sign up as an Early Adopter to be at the front of the line when the next phase launches!

Peninsula Clean Energy

What is Peninsula Clean Energy?

PCE is a public, locally-controlled electricity provider that gives all Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers (residential, commercial, and municipal) in San Mateo County the choice of having 50% to 100% of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources at competitive rates. PCE will source electricity on behalf of its customers from renewable resources like water, wind, and solar. The projects where this energy is sourced are located in California, Oregon, and Washington state.

Peninsula Clean EnergyHow Did PCE Come to Be?

PCE was created in February 2016 when all 20 cities in San Mateo County, plus the County of San Mateo, voted unanimously to form a Joint Powers Authority to administer the program, following years of careful study and development.

When California deregulated the energy market in 1997, many Californians switched to alternative energy providers. Following the energy crisis of 2000-01, consumer choice of electricity providers was suspended. As a response to the closing of the open market, Assembly Bill 117 was passed in 2002 to establish Community Choice Aggregation, which offers an opportunity for California communities to choose their electric provider and the source of their electricity.

How is PG&E Involved?

PCE will provide the electricity, and PG&E will deliver it over their lines and wires. PG&E will continue to do the billing for all of these services. The only changes to a PG&E electricity bill will be a few lines of different charges associated with PCE.

PCE provides electric generation, which is the source of your power, while PG&E continues to provide electric delivery and billing services just as they always have. PG&E still owns and reads your electric meter, sends your monthly bill, and provides the same maintenance and other repair services. PCE only replaces the electric generation services with 50-100% renewable energy at competitive rates.PCE_PGE_comparison-graphs_v3

PCE’s Energy Options

PCE offers two options of renewable energy for its customers, whether residential or commercial. Both options provide clean and renewable energy to homes and businesses at varying levels.

First of all, what is the difference between clean energy and renewable energy? PCE makes the distinction: “Clean energy is carbon-free energy that creates little to no greenhouse gas emissions. This is Peninsula Clean Energyin contrast to fossil fuels, which produce a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide and methane. Renewable energy is energy that comes from resources that are naturally replenished such as sunlight, wind, water, and geothermal heat. Unlike fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas and coal, which cannot Peninsula Clean Energybe replaced, renewable energy regenerates naturally in a short period of time.”

PCE provides both clean and renewable electricity for San Mateo County customers. Each electricity product has a different percentage of carbon-free and renewable energy. All San Mateo customers will be lpaced into the ECOplus plan. It offers at least 50% renewable and 75% carbon-free at lower generation rates than PG&E. ECO100 is a 100% renewable and 100% carbon-free energy product. As a PCE customer, you are able to choose which energy option you feel is most beneficial to your home or business. The website offers a cost calculator to help you decide what is the best choice for your energy options.

How to Enroll

All residents and businesses in San Mateo County are automatically enrolled with PCE in the ECOplus plan. The switch will be made in phases, with the first customers receiving PCE energy this October. The second phase will be in April 2017 and the final and third phase will be October 2017.

To jump to the top of the list and be one of the first customers in the county to begin using PCE, regardless of your enrollment group, sign up as an Early Adopter. If you decide you don’t want to use PCE, you’re able to opt-out once your enrollment has been initiated; this means that if your neighborhood or commercial area isn’t scheduled to begin using PCE until next October, you will not be able to opt-out until next October.

Clean and Renewable Energy for All!

PCE is an effort to create affordable and clean energy for all residents and businesses. This creates a better environment and helps keep the planet safe and healthy. This innovative program benefits everyone involved and the City of San Mateo is excited to see it begin to roll out on October 1st!

 

City Council, Community, Sustainability

Sustainable landscaping at City Hall sets example for community

The Bay Area is in the midst of another severe drought and warnings are being issued about limiting water consumption and usage. One of the biggest areas where residents and businesses can limit their water usage is when watering gardens and landscaping. To both reduce water consumption and set an example for the rest of the community, San Mateo City Hall has revamped its surrounding landscaping with sustainable plants and watering systems to create sustainable landscaping, and added a new decorative wall to emphasize the natural look and feel of the building.

City Hall is situated in the center of San Mateo on West 20th Avenue and has an understated presence. Its new sustainable landscaping and decorative wall create a welcoming entry to an approachable facility that fully complements its location within the community.

Enhancing Sustainability with Plants

The landscaping features an environmentally sound collection of Mediterranean and California native plants. Special attention was given to the selection of each plant regarding their ecological functions and their architectural design. “The plantings were selected to thrive together,” said Elga Perez-Rubio, Green Iridescent Hummingbird Feeding on Pink FlowerSenior Parks and Landscape Maintenance Worker. Gardens and landscapes are expected to be resource efficient and use reduced amounts of water, fertilizer, pesticides, labor and energy. “All of these elements were taken into consideration, and the landscaping is having less of an impact on the environment,” Perez-Rubio stated.

The new landscaping is a serene habitat and is creating an ecological system that is inviting to a variety of wildlife such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, sparrows, lady bugs, and earthworms. The selection of landscaping was made with this in mind. Everything from the colors of the plants to their scent and flower production attracts and retains them.

In total, landscapers placed 1,500 plants throughout the grounds of City Hall ranging from non-fruit bearing olive trees, coastal Redwoods, and Maples. Lavender, rosemary, carpet roses and an assortment of salvia, sage, star jasmine and California poppies provide an array of color ranging from white to yellow, orange, blue and purple. Hydrangeas and leaf foliage in shade zones were added for interest.

The majority of the plants require moderate amounts of water to thrive, and an upgraded irrigation system helps to meet state and local water efficiency goals and mandates. Landscapers installed a drip tubing irrigation system called Netafim, developed in Israel, to apply water at the root zone where it is most needed; smart controllers adjust the irrigation amounts, and mulch throughout the grounds retains soil moisture in the roots. The three components of the irrigation system successfully conserve water and manage its usage.

A Lab for the Community

City staff hopes that San Mateo residents can come and learn from the new landscaping and incorporate some of its features into their landscaping at home.

“Think of the new landscaping as a lab,” said Parks and Recreation Director, Sheila Canzian. “Many of these plants are easy to incorporate into home gardens and the community is welcome to visit the grounds to learn about the varieties planted.” resized

To encourage residents and community members to come visit the new landscaping, and City Hall, the new display wall was designed to “grow” out of the landscape and flow around the building. Staff wanted the environment to be welcoming as well as properly detailed so anyone walking by will know they arrived at City Hall.

The wall is capped with a natural flagstone selected to blend the elements together. It provides an appealing transition from the building to the landscape with its subtle curves and complementary colors. The wall on the east side gives a predominant place for the friendship olive tree from Toyonaka, the Sister City of San Mateo.

The new landscaping and entry feature create a stronger sense of place and enhances City Hall’s presence in the neighborhood. “The grounds are beautiful, and City Hall is such an inviting place to visit,” says Mayor Goethals. “I encourage community members to visit City Hall and wander the grounds. It’s peaceful and relaxing, and this project represents one small fraction of all San Mateo is doing to create a more sustainable environment.”

City Council’s Recognition

Last Monday, July 18th, the City of San Mateo formally recognized the completion of the new City Hall Landscaping Project. The new landscaping creates a serene environment and the recently constructed entry feature identifies the building as a civic facility in the neighborhood. Mayor Joe Goethals and San Mateo4X3A2003 City Manager, Larry Patterson welcomed the community at the ceremony, acknowledged city staff that led and contributed to the project, and recognized the benefits this landscaping brings to the community and the environment.

“It’s a tremendous improvement from what used to be here,” Patterson said. “The wall facing 20th Avenue lets visitors know they’ve arrived at City Hall, and the new landscaping is a complete transformation of the grounds. City staff designed and installed the landscaping and city staff also designed the wall. I’m proud of the attention and ingenuity given to the project. They’ve done a remarkable job.”

At the following City Council meeting, Council presented a proclamation to recognize July as Parks and Recreation Month. The City wanted to acknowledge all of the hard work that Parks employees put into completing the project. This project was important because it makes San Mateo an even more sustainable city.  For more information about upcoming Council meetings and City events, please visit cityofsanmateo.org.

Community Development, Sustainability

Have You Tried San Mateo’s Bike Share?

San Mateo’s Bay Bikes are Perfect for Your Commuting Needs

San Mateo has been working to make commuting in and around the City as easy as possible. Connect San Mateo is one of the best resources that San Mateans can use to figure out their commutes on a daily basis. One of the featured modes of transportation featured on Connect San Mateo is the recently-launched bike share program Bay Bikes.

Mayor Joe Goethals

Mayor Joe Goethals riding a Bay Bike

Bay Bikes offers bikes for short term use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All you need to do is register with the Social Bicycles app, add a few bucks, and you’re ready to go! With convenient hubs throughout San Mateo it’s the easiest, healthiest and most affordable way to get around town. This new bike share is operated by Bikes Make Life Better, a Bay-area bike fleet operator, with funding and support from the City of San Mateo. The bicycles and technology are by Social Bicycles, a leading provider of smart-bike share systems.

The program launched in May and has been a success so far. The City is happy with usage rates and is excited to see the rates growing. These bikes are unique and stand out from other bike sharing systems because of the Social Bicycles app. The app makes finding bikes and hubs incredibly easy. On the app, you can find out how many bikes are near you at a certain time, and can find the nearest hubs to you.

When you register, there are two options for membership plans: hourly and monthly. The hourly plan is simply $5/hour and trips are prorated to the minute. Monthly membership is $15/month. Click here for more information on membership plans.

Make sure you register for Bay Bikes today! It’s the easiest choice for moving around town. Watch the video for further introduction to this great program!

 

Sustainability

Protect the Bay!

Pollution & Water Conservation

Last week we provided San Mateo residents with information and tips about water pollution prevention and conservation in San Mateo County. Keeping clean water on the mind, protecting the San Francisco Bay is crucial to maintaining the beauty and health of the Bay Area. Read more to learn about how you can help protect the Bay and conserve water in San Mateo.

What Pollutes the Bay?

It’s hard to keep track of what you should throw away, flush, recycle, compost, sell, etc — it seems like anything could harm the environment in one way or another. But, it doesn’t need to be too confusing; there are just a few things to keep in mind when it comes to protecting the Bay and saving the environment. For more information, visit www.savesfbay.org for all of your pollution and conservation questions.

Trash

Protect the Bay

Bay Front Clean Up

Trash is one of the biggest visible culprits of damaging the environment. Many pieces of trash harm wildlife like seals, birds, and turtles when they become entangled in it. Trash can end up in the Bay when it ends up in storm drains or Bay Area creeks.

How Can You Help?

The easiest solution = don’t litter! And if you see trash on your daily walk or in parking lots, etc., pick it up and dispose of it correctly. You can also participate in many Bay Area cleanups that are hosted by various organizations, and reduce your own waste by bringing your own cloth bags to grocery stores and your own coffee cups to coffee shops.

Car Pollutants

Every car, whether it be hybrid or not, discharges harmful pollutants like oil and metal particles like lead, zinc, and copper into the environment. When you wash your car or

Protect the Bay

Bay Bikes: San Mateo’s convenient bike share program

when it rains, these pollutants wash off and into storm drains which lead to creeks which eventually lead to the Bay.  Although the pollutants are somewhat unavoidable with cars, it is possible to prevent the pollutants from entering and contaminating the Bay.

How Can You Help?

Instead of washing your car at home, take it to one of many car washes (and quite a few are eco-conscious!) in town. Car washes treat the polluted water that comes from your car before letting it wash away to the Bay. Be sure to also take your car in for regular maintenance to ensure everything is working correctly and nothing is discharging unnecessarily. If you change your oil yourself, make sure none of the oil washes into the storm drains and remember to never dump your oil!

Of course, the easiest way to avoid car-related pollution is to not drive at all. San Mateo offers a myriad of public transit options. Check out this article for more information about Connect San Mateo — the easiest way to figure out the best public transportation options for you.

Mercury

Protect the Bay

Bay Front Clean Up

Mercury doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking of pollution and all you can do to prevent it, but it is a problem that is easy to eradicate. There are large amounts of this toxic liquid metal left over in the Bay Area from the gold-mining era. This makes it extremely important to eliminate any new sources of mercury from entering the Bay. Mercury is dangerous to any person, bird, or fish who eat Bay fish as they are at risk of mercury poisoning. By doing your part, you are drastically reducing this risk!

How Can You Help?

First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that throwing away any items that contains mercury is against the law. If you have a mercury thermometer, it is possible to exchange it for a non-toxic one. Check out this site for more tips on how to dispose of toxic household items. You can also bring these mercury thermometers, or toxic fluorescent light bulbs, to your local hazardous waste facility. To find the closest facility, check earth911.com.

Pharmaceuticals

If you have left over prescription drugs, or just regular over-the-counter painkillers, be sure you know how to dispose of them properly. Flushed pharmaceuticals and leaky landfills are leading to more

Protect the Bay

Watershed into the San Francisco Bay

and more of these toxic products found in the Bay, which can harm wildlife and prevent fish from reproducing.

How Can You Help?

Do not flush OR throw away your unwanted pharmaceuticals. Take these pollutants to your local hazardous waste facility (earth911.com), or head to a local pharmacy that accepts medication for proper disposal. To find one such pharmacy, look here.

Pet Waste

Protect the Bay

Bring a bag to pick up your pet’s waste on every walk!

Although it seems like pet waste is natural, organic, and compostable, it’s not! Pet waste contains bacteria that is harmful to humans and other wildlife alike. By not picking up your pet’s waste when on a walk, the waste can flow into storm drains, then creeks, then the Bay.

How Can You Help?

Always, always, always pick up your pet’s waste, even if it is in your own backyard. Never compost pet waste, especially your cat’s waste. Some cat feces carry a common parasite that has been found to be harmful to sea otters. Throw all bagged waste into the trash!

Check out this article to learn more about receiving a free pet waste container, and more about how pet waste can be harmful to the Bay.

Water Conservation Efforts

We shared many tips about water conservation in last week’s article, and we want to show you that San Mateo residents’ efforts are paying off!

When comparing the first five months of this year to the first five months of 2013, San Mateo has seen a reduction of 20.2%, which exceeds the state mandate of 16% reduction. Also, in 2013, the gallons per day per capita averaged 61.4. In 2016, the new average of gallons per day per capita is 50.4, which is tremendous. Way to go San Mateo!

Community, Sustainability

Water Pollution Prevention in San Mateo

The San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program (SMCWPPP) has been working hard county of small summer to make sure San Mateo residents know their options when it comes to doing their part for water conservation. This is the hottest and driest summer on record for California, and it’s important to keep water conservation in mind while doing every day activities. Below you’ll find incetives from SMCWPPP to conserve water, as well as other tips and tricks to keep your life water-waste-free.

Car Wash Program

In all this dry heat, dust seems to be coating all the cars on the peninsula. Car washes are great, and so satisfying, but did you know that there are hazardous pollutants that come from washing cars? In an effort to have residents take their cars to eco-friendly car washes throughout San Mateo County, SMCWPPP is offering a 20% off coupon to 11 participating eco-friendly car washes!

To sign up for the coupon, text “carwash” to 38470, or visit www.flowstobay.org/carwash. This coupon will not be available after August 31st, so be sure to sign up today!

Pet Waste Bag Container Giveaway

Walking your dogs in the park, or seeing all the dogs being walked, can be so fun and rewarding — they’re always so happy to be out and about! When you’re heading out the door, sometimes it’s difficultdogbag to remember to grab some plastic bags to pick up  your pet’s waste while on the walk. Just leaving the waste can be harmful to the community, but also to local waters if the waste is washed away.

SMCWPPP is encouraging residents to continue to pick up after pets by giving away free pet waste bag containers that can be easily clipped to a leash or harness so you never forget to bring some bags! To request a canister, visit www.flowstobay.org/petwaste. These containers are only available while supplies last.

Other Water Conservation Tips & Tricks

There are many aspects of our lives that can be adjusted to save more water. The obvious ones, like showering and washing dishes or doing laundry, are important to keep in mind. However, there are so many other things you can be doing to conserve water, too! This website provides a large list of tips for
IMGL6822resizedwater conservation, check it out and see what you can incorporate into your daily life.

Landscaping

Landscaping is a big source of water use and it can be difficult to think of ways to reduce water waste. To start, check out this Watering by the Numbers guide to help you determine how much and what you should be watering. There are also plenty of options when it comes to how to landscape, like xeriscape landscaping to reduce your impact.

Indoor Tips

From simple tricks, like throwing a dropped ice cube into a plant’s pot instead of in the sink, or to big adjustments made after calculating your daily water use, there are many things that you can do to reduce your use of water inside your home. There is also a handy calculator where you can see how you’re using the most water and where you need to cut back: click here. Be sure to also check for leaky faucets and pipes and tightening them as needed — this can make a huge difference!

Teach Your Kids!

It’s important that kids know how to conserve water too. Be sure to be teaching your children water IMGL7342 resizedconservation habits — like short showers, turning off the faucet when brushing teeth or washing hands, etc. — so that they form the habits early and carry them into their adult lives.

 

Water conservation is something all residents of California should be thinking about, and SMCWPPP is a great resource for San Mateo County residents to use. Check out their website for more tips, tricks, and helpful information about how you can help save water.

Connect San Mateo
Community, Sustainability

“Connect San Mateo” for your Transportation Needs

Traffic in the Bay Area is notorious and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Modes of alternative transportation are increasingly encouraged, but with so many choices it can be a bit overwhelming and confusing. In San Mateo alone there are so many ways to get to a from the city, or San Jose, or even just around town. This is why the Connect San Mateo program has been put into place: to make it easier and more convenient for commuters and travelers alike to figure out public transportation.

This program is a great resource for San Mateo residents because it helps to save money, and it’s environmentally friendly. Commuters also won’t be stuck in traffic alone for hours and will have time to catch up on some reading or work when using some other modes of public transportation.

connect san mateo

What is Connect San Mateo?

This program is a partnership between the City of San Mateo, commute.org, and Sam Trans. It’s funded by a grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Climate Initiatives Program. As the website states, “the goal of the program is to increase awareness of mobility options and increase the use of alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions.” This is an easy resource for San Mateo residents to use when trying to make travel plans on the peninsula.

How to Use Connect San Mateo

There is a simple and easy website (which is mobile-friendly!) for Connect San Mateo that serves as a one-stop-shop for all of your transportation questions. Each mode of transportation within the City of San Mateo has its own pageBike Station resized where it is explained and visitors can learn how and where to use that chosen mode of transportation. For example, the newly launched Bay Bikes program explains what the program is, how to use it, and provides a map detailing where all the bikes and hubs are around San Mateo.

The website is designed to be simple and easy for all visitors to use. It is meant to simplify the myriad of alternative transportation options available throughout San Mateo. Instead of visiting all of the separate websites for each option, users can look at the Connect San Mateo site and decide which mode they want to gather more details about. The Connect San Mateo site will also lead people to other modes of transportation that they perhaps were not aware of in San Mateo.

Trip Planner

One of the best features of the Connect San Mateo site is the trip planner. Here you can plug in  your starting location and destination and it will find a route that considers both traffic and costs. This helps you find the least expensive commute, and sometimes it might be the faster route depending on traffic that you’re avoiding. The trip planner makes it simple to figure out exactly which transportation options you’ll be needing and how to navigate between them.

 

Start using Connect San Mateo today to lessen the stress daily commuting creates and get places more efficiently, for less money, and by being environmentally friendly.

 

San Mateo Wastewater Treatment Plant
Public Works, Sustainability

Groundbreaking at the Wastewater Treatment Plant

A ground-breaking at the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in San Mateo was held yesterday morning as one of the first steps in the Clean Water Program. The WWTP is owned by both the City of San Mateo and Foster City, Estero Municipal Improvement District (EMID). The improvements to facilities are essential for all residents, and project managers and city employees are excited to get the project started.

IMG_1214

Immediate Action Project, Phase 1 got underway at yesterday’s ground breaking ceremony.

Wastewater treatment plants use a series of physical and biological processes to treat wastewater from residential, commercial, and industrial sources. The San Mateo WWTP treats the wastewater and discharges the treated water into the Bay.

As many San Mateo residents know, the population of the city continues to grow. The current WWTP was never built to accommodate such a large amount of people, and despite numerous improvements to the facilities, which have some components that are up to 75 years old, these improvements to facilities are a “long time coming,” said Public Works Director Brad Underwood.

The Clean Water Project goals are to replace aging infrastructure and facilities, meet current and future regulatory requirements, build wet weather capacity assurance, and align with the cities’ sustainability goals. The June 27, 2016 ground-breaking ceremony, for the Immediate Action Project (IAP) Phase I, at the WWTP marks the beginning of construction of the Clean Water Program projects. The IAP Phase I project will include rehabilitating the gravity thickener, the secondary clarifier, the centrifuge hoist, and the motor control center, as well as replacing the Plant Control System at San Mateo’s WWTP.

This multimillion dollar project showcases the focus the current San Mateo City Council has on

Mayor Joe Goethals

Mayor Joe Goethals and Public Works Director Brad Underwood

sustainability, Mayor Joe Goethals pointed out. “This City Council is as dedicated to sustainability as any other San Mateo City Council,” Mayor Goethals said. He called the project a “once in a generation investment,” marking yesterday as a “great day for San Mateo.” Projects like this are essential for San Mateo residents because “you don’t want to see when this stuff stops working,” the Mayor said.

The design for the IAP Phase I project began in 2012, and a construction bid opening went out in November of last year. Just this March, the construction project was awarded and it is expected to be completed by November 2018. The current plant will face numerous renovations to remain operable until the new WWTP facilities are built and commissioned.

City Councilmember Maureen Freschet said she is proud to see this project get started. Freschet emphasized that this project is making “sure the future is safe and protected” for following generations. Diane Papan, City Councilmember, stressed how wastewater treatment is “an essential function” for the city and “essential to our municipality.”

San Mateo Bikeshare
Community, Sustainability

Hop A Ride On San Mateo Bay Bikes

San Mateo bikeshare rolls into town just in time for Bike to Work Day!

San Mateo Bay Bikes

Sign up for Bay Bikes at www.baybikeshare.com and receive a $5.00 discount using promo code PROMO5. Once registered, start using
Bay Bikes – it’s a fun new, way to get around San Mateo!

Bay Bikes, San Mateo’s innovative new city bikeshare pilot, launches this Thursday on Bay Area Bike to Work Day. Look for 50 blue Dutch-style bikes parked at 11 stations around town (map).

The bikes are available 24/7 and can be ridden throughout San Mateo, giving residents and commuters a sustainable and healthy way to run errands, get to work, or visit friends.

Bay Bike hubs are located near Caltrain stations and major employment centers, but riders may lock bikes to regular racks anywhere in San Mateo.

The pilot uses “smart bikes” as opposed to the “smart hub” system used by most other bikeshares—including Bay Area Bike Share—that require bikes to be checked out and returned to a docking station. The technology for locating, renting, releasing and locking a Bay Bike lives on the bike, not the bike rack, giving riders flexibility when it comes time to park.

“I love these bikes because I have the option of locking them anywhere in the City instead of bringing it back to a station. It really gives me the flexibility to ride where I want when I want,” stated Ken Chin, a bikeshare rider.

With Bay Bikes, riders can lock to any regular sidewalk rack if they decide to make a stop during their reservation, to grab a coffee or sandwich, or can leave the bikes at a “non-hub” location once they arrive at their destination for a small fee.

The pilot is a partnership between the City of San Mateo, Social Bicycles (SoBi)—bikeshare pioneers with 20+ successful programs worldwide, and Bikes Make Life Better, a San Francisco-based company that helps large organizations enhance transportation, sustainability, and wellness through innovative bike programs.

Bay Bikes makes cycling and alternative transportation options more accessible throughout San Mateo. People may use them for traveling short distances, running errands, and quickly getting around town. The new bike share program supports goals to expand San Mateo’s bicycle network while encouraging ridership from Caltrain stations and employment hubs located along the transit corridor. The program will also help the San Mateo community stay active, lead a more sustainable lifestyle, and make cycling an integral part of daily life.

“We are proud to pioneer this innovative new bike share system. San Mateo is taking on the leadership role for this program, and we hope that our neighboring cities will join us in creating a regional network,” stated San Mateo Mayor, Joe Goethals.

Give Bay Bikes a try – it’s easy!

  • Simply register and pick a plan for either $15 a month, which includes one hour of use per day or $5 per hour as a pay-as-you-go rate.
  • Find and reserve a bike using the site, mobile app, or by entering an account number and pin on the bike’s keypad.
  • Unlock the bike and start pedaling!
  • Relock the bike at a convenient hub location free of charge or at any regular bike rack inside the system area for a small fee.

Check out the video tutorial for more on how these bikes work, and visit baybikeshare.com for pilot details.

The City of San Mateo, Social Bicycles, and Bikes Make Life Better are excited to partner on this innovative new bikeshare and hope to see the Bay Bikes system adopted by neighboring communities soon.