You can make a difference to the hurt being caused by climate chaos and the great extinction event in your town or your city! How? Reuse, repurpose, and recycle this information. You can push your local politicians to act. It will make a difference!
This is the letter for week 185 of a weekly climate strike that went on for 4 years in front of San Francisco City Hall, beginning early March 2019. For more context, see this story. For an annotated table of contents of the topics for all the strike letters, see this story. Meanwhile…
STRIKE FOR THE PLANET
Oh lord, stuck in Lodi again
Reaction Guidelines for Transportation
This is a resource for transportation. The goal is to create procedures you can pick off the shelf and put into action when it’s already too late to avoid disaster.
What are the threats to our transportation system?
- Lack of fuel
- Lack of operators
- Lack of funds
- Hacking and sabotage
- Lack of equipment, parts, and repair expertise
The Amtrak tracks on the northeast section of the bay already flood. The 70’s oil embargo demonstrated how ridiculously dependent we are on gas for transportation, and the situation hasn’t improved since then. High temps are already reducing plane flights, damaging roads, and threatening infrastructure. Lack of personnel and equipment, made worse by the pandemic, is already hurting both public and private transportation. Transit systems and other car alternatives continue to be grossly underfunded, in favor of cars. From 1906 and 1989, we know earthquakes can be devastating to transportation. And, while BART and MUNI haven’t been hacked yet, the dangers of cyberattacks and sabotage to all public systems are enormous, according to the FBI.
How well can SF’s transportation system react to disaster?
A single disaster that is not on-going, such as an earthquake with no big aftershocks, takes us years to respond to and requires state and federal aid. Examples of this are the 1989 earthquake (24 years to rebuild the Bay Bridge) and the covid pandemic (in its 3rd year with MUNI still operating reduced lines and trips).
For multiple or repeated disasters, or an on-going disaster that is not “fixable” (such as permanent flooding), or either of these situations with no state or federal aid available, we just don’t know. The closest multiple disasters we’ve had so far are the Milk/Moscone assassinations, Jonestown, and the White Night riots, all in a 6 month period. These clumped disasters caused very little physical damage to the city, yet the impact of these events was enormous. Will a clump of transportation disasters prove as damaging?
We can see that for big, one-time disasters, SF has not responded well, and for three disasters happening close to each other in time, causing relatively little physical damage, SF did not respond well (cf. The Elephant Walk police riot). We are now facing multiple disasters without time constraints that bring expected extreme physical damage, especially to our transportation systems. Are we any more prepared now than in 1978 or 1989?
Can our transportation system handle climate change?
- We don’t have sufficient local gas supplies for all the gas-dependent vehicles. Burning gas is causing climate change. The suicidal paradox is clear, but we are doing very little to eliminate gas-powered vehicles in SF.
- Major transportation arteries, especially for land-based transportation in the Bay Area, are prone to flooding and will be permanently destroyed by sea level rise. In most cases, alternatives are insufficient or non-existent.
- Our transportation systems currently already are underfunded, under-equipped, and have insufficient personnel.
- Transportation remains an area of extreme social injustice and inequity, and seems to be getting worse.
Can our transportation system handle climate change? No. We are doing little to nothing to address this threat and have little or nothing to put in place when disasters occur.
What possible transportation system responses does SF have available?
Limited local gas supplies. Lots of bicycles. A walkable city with connecting routes above sea level (until all the ice melts). Some electric transit infrastructure. Some solar power and some battery capacity to power electric transit. That’s about it. It’s not enough.
Don’t underestimate the scale of likely catastrophe
Just before COP27 started, UN Secretary General Guterres said, “We are in a life-or-death struggle for our own safety today and our survival tomorrow. There is no time for pointing fingers -- or twiddling thumbs. The world cannot wait.”