In an ecosystem, plants, animals, and other living organisms function together with their physical environment. An ecosystem can be small—like a local creek—or large; the whole earth is one big ecosystem. The things we do every day can affect both local and global ecosystems. The County builds partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and citizens to preserve and restore local ecosystems through creek restoration, urban forestry, and other initiatives.
Designing communities where people can walk to the grocery store or public transportation helps improve quality of life and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The County provides public road improvement projects in unincorporated communities that provide for a balance for all uses including motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
We have had an on-going traffic calming program since the mid 1990's and, where feasible, include narrower roads, wider sidewalk areas, street trees, and bay-friendly landscaping. The program encourages neighborhood connectivity, walking, public transportation, and crime reduction through people presence. The green features of these streetscape/redevelopment projects will also be designed to meet independent standards of both the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® program and the regional Bay-Friendly Landscaping program.
BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN MASTER PLAN
Walking is the most basic and convenient form of transportation. Most travelers walk during some portion of their journey. Pedestrians have the same basic needs as all other travelers: direct, continuous, and safe routes. Planning for pedestrian travel, however, must account for pedestrians' unique needs for shorter travel distances and personal security.
Bicycling is a healthy, non-polluting, traffic reducing, and fun form of transportation. Exercise such as bicycling (and walking) has a positive effect on the overall health of the community by increasing fitness and reducing diseases related to inactivity. Encouraging people to bicycle when making short trips also helps cut down on harmful auto emissions, noise pollution, and congestion.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan promotes pedestrian safety and access to create more walk-able communities in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County. The plan makes providing safe routes to schools and safe routes to transit a high priority for pedestrians.
The Plan also advances the County goal of making bicycling an integral part of the transportation system in Alameda County unincorporated areas. The Plan recommends projects, programs, and policies to encourage bicycling. Projects include creating bike paths, adding bike lanes to existing roads, and widening roads. High priority is given to projects that would close gaps in bike routes to public transit and schools.
The demolition, design, construction, and maintenance of buildings and structures within the County can have a significant impact on the County's environmental sustainability, resource use and efficiency, and waste management. It can also affect the health and productivity of residents, workers, and visitors. Based on studies by StopWaste.Org, construction and demolition debris comprises up to 21% of materials disposed in Alameda County landfills.
In 2003, the Alameda County's Green Building Ordinance was adopted. This Ordinance requires that a minimum of 50% of construction and demolition debris at County projects be diverted from the landfill through recycling and reuse; its 2008 75% waste diversion resolution sets a goal of increasing that percentage to 75%.