First launched in 2014, the shuttle program became a way for Google to help address the traffic congestion around Mountain View. The shuttles are a step up from public buses, offering free Wi-Fi, comfortable seating and an easy system for tracking shuttle whereabouts.
The shuttles didn't have many passengers early on, but they appear to be steadily gaining in popularity. Ridership data provided by Google shows significant year-to-year increases, and 2018 is on track to have the most riders to date, about 10 percent more than last year.
Google officials have declined to say exactly how much it costs to keep the system's six electric shuttles running seven days a week.
More information about the community shuttle program, including routes and schedules, can be found at mvcommunityshuttle.com.
Moonlight Run on Friday
The Palo Alto Baylands is expected to be flooded with visitors this Friday when more than 1,800 runners flock to the trails for the Palo Alto Weekly's 34th annual Moonlight Run & Walk.
The event, which is held by the Voice's sister publication, the Palo Alto Weekly, in collaboration with the city of Palo Alto, will send participants on various paths under the light of the near-full harvest moon.
The 5K walk will begin at 7 p.m., the newly introduced half marathon at 7:30 p.m., the 10K run at 8:15 p.m. and the 5K run at 8:30 p.m. Medals will be given out to the top three competitors from each section once the final results are tabulated between 9:30-10 p.m. The event will also include a climbing wall for children, live music by School of Rock, food from local restaurants and sponsor booths.
Online registration closed Sept. 19 but those who missed the deadline can still register onsite starting at 6 p.m. on the infield of the Baylands Athletic Center, where pre-registrants can check in. Upon signing up, runners will be provided with a complimentary shirt while supplies last. All profits from the race will launch the Palo Alto Weekly's Holiday Fund, which last year raised over $400,000 divided into grants for charities that benefit children and families in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
For more information on the event, visit tinyurl.com/PAWrun2018. A livestream from the event starts at 6:45 p.m. Friday on facebook.com/paloaltoonline.
New balcony inspection law
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill requiring inspections of apartment balconies, decks, outdoor stairs and elevated walkways in hopes of avoiding deaths from collapses like the one in Berkeley in 2015.
At a birthday party in June 2015, six young people died when a fifth-story balcony collapsed, according to the office of state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, who co-authored the bill, Senate Bill 721.
An investigation revealed the balcony had been poorly sealed and became infested with dry rot and the builder had a history of lawsuits related to construction defects, Hill's office said.
Now 15 percent of the load-bearing, exterior elements on apartment buildings and complexes with three or more units must be inspected every six years.
Elements that must be inspected include balconies, decks, porches, stairs, walkways and entryways.
Those elements must be inspected if they extend beyond the building's exterior walls and are six or more feet above the ground and get stability and support from wood or wood-based products.
State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D Berkeley, was the other author of the bill.
—Bay City News Service
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