Bay Area lags on quake safety measures
The newfound wealth from San Francisco's tech boom isn't translating to more sophisticated earthquake safety measures, reports the LA Times.
Why it matters: Earthquakes pose the greatest natural threat to northern California's economy and infrastructure, but the Bay Area's cities — once national leaders in safety — are now falling behind their neighbors in southern California.
The vulnerabilities, according to the Times...
- "There are an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 brittle concrete buildings in San Francisco — a building type that is one of the deadliest in earthquakes — yet the city does not have a list of where they are located."
- "In Oakland, there are nearly 2,000 possibly vulnerable wood-frame apartment buildings at risk of collapse in a seismic event — and there is no law to require them to be fixed."
- "The report said 17,000 units in Oakland’s soft-story apartments or condominiums could be declared uninhabitable after a major earthquake — 10% of the city’s housing supply. ... Yet four years later, no proposal for a mandatory retrofit law has been introduced by the City Council."
- "San Jose doesn’t even have a list of its more than 1,000 apartment buildings thought to be at risk."
A suggestion: Utilizing the Bay Area's tech wealth to push for a massive retrofitting update — which happened thanks to a series of quakes in populated areas of the state from 1970s to the 1990s — but has stalled since northern California hasn't faced a "big one" since 1989's Loma Prieta quake.
- The Times spoke to structural engineer Janiele Maffei, former board member of the Oakland-based Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, who said: “The minute you start that clock, you’re ahead. The minute you say you’re not going to start that clock for 10 years, you’re behind.”
No art museum, no Amazon HQ2
As Amazon hones in on where they will build their second headquarters, the Washington Post is reporting that of the "238 cities and counties that applied for consideration, plenty have the population (over a million)... But if they don’t also have an exceptional art museum — and preferably more than one — those cities didn’t make the cut."
The details: Sebastian Smee of the Post points out that museums come into play in the decision considering that "[p]eople qualified to expect high salaries tend to have the leisure time and surplus cash to pursue cultural aspirations... That’s why, in the competition to secure the best and brightest, Amazon and other big companies care deeply about cultural offerings in the places they’re located." Washington, D.C. and Boston are likely to top Amazon's list.