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Nov 28th
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Traffic Talk

transportationSANTA CRUZ > The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is undertaking more than a few infrastructure projects. To help get the word out to the public, they're trying something a little unconventional for a government agency: a television series.

The RTC's Transportation Café series tackles a different issue that affects Santa Cruz County residents with each new episode. The series began as a quarterly event in September 2010, but a new episode now premieres every other month.

"There's a lot of confusion about what the RTC actually does," says Karena Pushnik, the RTC's senior planner and public information coordinator. "We wanted to help the public understand the wide range of programs and projects that the RTC works on and to give people a better sense of the depth of those projects."

The show's most recent installation, which premiered on Community Television on Monday, Jan. 30, addresses the issue of sustainability and how it will affect the RTC's long-term goals. The episode features a short segment detailing the allocation of funds for various transportation projects. The bulk of the 30-minute episode consists of RTC Executive Director George Dondero interviewing Grace Blakeslee, the RTC's program coordinator, and Peter Hurley, project manager at the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

In addition to his work for the city of Portland, Hurley is also a key developer of an innovative transportation sustainability project. The project, known as the Sustainable Transportation Analysis and Rating Systems (STARS), is a set of guidelines that communities can voluntarily adopt to ensure that their transportation projects are sustainable for the long-term. The STARS system is similar to the widely used LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) which is used to evaluate building projects. In the episode, Hurley stresses the importance of what he calls "the triple win" when it comes to planning sustainable projects.

"To truly be sustainable, you have to have three key pieces," says Hurley. "A healthy economy, a healthy planet and healthy people."

The latest episode of Transportation Cafe comes on the heels of the start of construction on new auxiliary lanes on Highway 1 between Soquel Avenue and Morrissey Boulevard. That particular stretch of Highway 1 is notoriously troublesome for commuters, often becoming severely congested with traffic during peak driving hours. Though the project is still in its infancy, the construction will include the addition of one-mile-long traffic lanes connecting the on-ramp with the next off-ramp, along with the demolition and reconstruction of the La Fonda Avenue bridge. Pushnik views the highway construction project as a natural extension of Santa Cruz's commitment to sustainability.

"We look at it as a system-wide approach," says Pushnik. "When that part of the highway gets congested, the overflow traffic actually interferes with bicycling and walking. People feel less safe and less comfortable because there's a lot more traffic in the roads trying to cut through and avoid the highway."


To view the episode online, visit the RTC's website at sccrtc.org.

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We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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