Q I'm a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, and since seventh grade, I've been trying to convince students to walk or bike to school. I've learned that lectures about the facts and figures of air pollution or money savings don't make a difference. After all, walking takes time, our bags are heavy, the weather can be bad and we want to sleep. We need an incentive that trumps everything else. What is that incentive?
Prizes and competition. By offering movie tickets, smoothies, bowling passes and pizzas, you have all students engaged and ready to take a step forward.
In my middle school, we organized Walk One Week (WOW) to encourage students to walk and win fun prizes. After a successful run, other schools started organizing it as well. Neighboring businesses sponsored prizes and the city of Cupertino sponsored awards and brochures. Soon enough, it seemed we had the entire city walking.
Can other schools do the same at a low cost? Definitely! I have created a Walk One Week (WOW) kit to help others easily organize this activity. The kit, complete with instructions, templates, and samples, can be downloaded from www.ourgreengalaxy.org.
International Walk-to-School Day is Oct. 9. Bay Area: What if we make that week the international walk to school week? Ready for that challenge?
Monta Vista High School
A You have to like this young woman. After dozens of emails, tweets and Facebook postings to me from people upset with traffic around our school zones, Shailee is ready to take action. Will others accept her challenge?
And drivers, be on your best behavior this week. Police throughout Santa Clara County will be participating in the countywide school safety crackdown known as "Operation Safe Passage."
Q I have watched with interest and now despair the construction (in)activity on Montague Expressway between Zanker Road and North First Street. Construction signs still say completion date is "Spring 2013" but it is nowhere close to being finished. Orange cones, "Watch for Bicyclists," "Open Trench" and all kinds of signs adorn the edge of the road westbound. I do not see any crews working on-site anymore. Is there hope that this construction will be completed anytime soon?
Fahim Shafi, Robert Lyng and so many others
A There were problems with the contractor, and a new one has been hired to complete the widening of Montague. That should be accomplished late this year. Until then, one lane will be closed between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. westbound Monday through Friday.
Q Recently, I've noticed drivers wearing headphones while driving. Wouldn't the driver be distracted while listening to music through the headphones? Is this legal?
A It's legal to wear an ear bud in one ear, but not two.
Q The $40 to $50 fee for 49ers games next year in Santa Clara includes parking, a game ticket, hot dog and beer, right?
A Hah! The $40-$50 will likely be the charge for parking a car. Add a beer, a dog with mustard, relish and onions, and you may need to take out a loan.
Then there's the ticket. It'll cost $85 to $375 per game if you buy season tickets (10 games a year). That's on top of seat licenses (which you need to buy first, good for life) for $2,000 to $80,000.
If you're looking just to get one ticket for one game, you must buy them on the secondary market (StubHub, for example). But since tickets aren't on sale for 2014 yet it's unclear how much people will ask for them.
Suddenly, parking seems cheap.