Almanac

Viewpoint - July 9, 2008

Guest Opinion: City of the future will have to be sustainable

by Elizabeth Lasensky

Mercedes Benz has announced that in seven years it will no longer manufacture cars that run on gasoline. Other car makers will surely follow suit.

So how will we respond now to this post-oil future? Can we be bold enough to think beyond the single-occupant, gas-guzzling SUVs? Are we brave enough to rethink our lifestyles?

We can be a community where solar panels are on every available rooftop, where convenient, green and inexpensive (maybe free?) public transit is available to all. We can encourage building higher-density housing near transit and conveniences and we can make ours a community of walkers and bikers, transit-takers and carpoolers. Let's consider dedicating a lane on El Camino in each direction for transit and bikes, and begin putting solar panels over parking lots and garages, connected to hookups for electric cars and motorcycles to recharge. People-powered taxis could be the future, just as they are the present in Cuba, Asia and Europe.

Wind generators and biofueling stations anyone? Imagine life without that pervasive plastic because plastic will be a thing of the past. Our oil-less future will change the ways crops are grown and sold, leaving petroleum-based agribusiness behind as local organic farming becomes the sustainable food source of tomorrow. Lawns are out, edible and drought-tolerant gardens are in.

While we watch in horror as our planet convulses in catastrophic climate change, we can be doing something, each of us. And while we wait for our Menlo Park City Council to decide on our El Camino process, we can be making our personal choices to walk, bike, take transit, buy a hybrid or an electric car or scooter and support efforts to create the post-oil world of our future — now.

Elizabeth Lasensky served on a Downtown Visioning committee and lives on Fremont Street in Menlo Park.

Comments

Posted by Very Impressed, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 8, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Ahh, such wisdom! And right here on the peninsula! The burbs! This is the kind of enlightenment Menlo Park needs on our council. This sounds like someone who isn't stuck on the past or minutia. Do I dare to hope? Are there more like this woman?


Posted by Hooray for Elizabeth, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 9, 2008 at 8:18 am

Hey...I bet we could talk this woman into running for city council. Especially if we make sure that there's a BMR unit somewhere in town that has her name on it.


Posted by get it right, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Ms. Lasensky doesn't present the true picture of where Mercedes Benz is headed. Apparently the true picture is:

"The Sun reports that Mercedes-Benz is aiming to phase out fossil-fuel powered vehicles over the next seven years, replacing its entire lineup with autos powered by electric motors, fuel cells, and biofuels."

Now if their new cars can burn biofuels, they can burn gasoline or blends. Search on Google and get the true picture.

When Elizabeth takes out her papers to run for council, lets see how many are going to support her. Some developers for sure, especially a local one, who is proposing the major project in the M-2 and she supports this project.


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