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By Tim Hunt

Solar panel parking coming to Shadow Cliffs.

Uploaded: Aug 13, 2015

Shadow Cliffs Regional Park is going to look dramatically different after the East Bay Regional Park District takes a cue from community colleges around the state.
Community colleges, as well as some other institutions with large, open parking lots, have converted those asphalt spaces into covered parking with solar panels on the roofs. It's been a clever solution that is appreciated by both drivers who get shaded parking and those responsible for paying the electric bills.
East Bay parks is planning a similar installation at Shadow Cliffs in Pleasanton, the San Francisco Business Times reported this week. Like the former water slides, it will alter some of the landscape (the parking lot) dramatically, but it is a sign of the times.
With California's electrical power rates climbing steadily and no end in sight thanks to the governor's executive orders and the overly aggressive air board that was given a mandate by the Legislature in 2006 with no oversight or restrictions. Both the state air boards and water boards focus exclusively on the pollution reduction goal without any consideration of economic impact versus the benefit of a further reduction.
For the park district, there are not too many sites with open parking lots that receive plenty of sun all day long and are located close to the grid.
Yes, it will change the look of the park, but the water slides did the same. Installing the covered parking lot with solar panels is a good move.
As predicted last week when I wrote about a survey that laid out the shoddy state of California's roads, backers of a solution to state transportation funding held a Monday press conference this week to encourage the Legislature to deal with the problem.
With cars being significantly more fuel efficient, to say nothing about electric vehicles, it is well past time to establish a steady revenue stream to maintain and improve roads. Local road maintenance was a high priority in the re-authorization of Alameda County's transportation sales tax (it also doubled to 1-cent) because of the shortfalls.
The Legislature will have been on recess for a month when it convenes next Monday and there are only four weeks left in the scheduled session. If the Legislature does not deal with transportation or Medical funding because the governor has called a special session to focus on these two issues, then legislators may have to stay in Sacramento until they pass bills to address the issues.

Speaking of gas prices, last Sunday we filled up with regular at $3.85 in Temecula. When we stopped at Costco in Tracy (generally gas prices are lower than Costco in Livermore), we filled the tank for $2.99 per gallon. That comes after we heard the radio report that the Lundberg survey expected prices to drop by a dime in the next week and that again in future weeks based upon the barrel prices.
One of the worst traffic jams we saw at a retailer was Friday afternoon at a Costco in San Diego where 30-40 cars were backed up waiting to fill their tanks at Costco prices.