Sustainability Update - North American Cities

Austin privatizing their bus transit system? Interesting.


Sustainable Economic Development 

 

DC Metro Business Leaders Lament Lack of Cohesive Transportation Plan  The 2030 Group surveyed a small group of transit professionals for its report. One conclusion is that governments are thinking locally instead of regionally when making their transportation plans. That leads to a lack of focus on what many commuters feel is most important - faster and more consistent trips. The report says top priorities should include Metro maintenance and upgrades, new bridges over the Potomac, and improved bus and high-occupancy toll lanes on roads like the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270. Read more

 

Lowering Costs and Finding New Revenue Sources

 

Increased City Contributions to DC Metro Help Prevent Rail Fare Hikes Metro's board of directors has approved a $2.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2012 that does not call for any major rail fare hikes. Metro had a $66 million deficit in its operating budget, but the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia closed the gap by making larger contributions. The board also found internal cost savings, and changed some bus routes. Read more

 

Austin Considers Privatizing Bus Transit The Austin Capital Metro board today is expected to vote to abolish a subsidiary that manages its bus operations and instead take bids from private companies, starting a complex and culture-shocking transition that is likely to take more than a year. Federal regulators, and the possibility that they could withhold millions of dollars in grants, could have a large say in what happens with workers' pay in the transition. Read more

 

Transportation Planning

"Vision Los Angeles" Transportation Plan Released On June 16, a broad coalition of groups led by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) released a new vision for Los Angeles, designed to reduce congestion, increase transportation options and reduce air pollution by building on existing transportation plans. 15 strategies range from adopting a Complete Streets strategy to advancing the America Fast Forward initiative. "With an unemployment rate of more than 12 percent, our region will see a tremendous benefit from thousands of potential jobs created by the implementation of Vision Los Angeles' strategies," said Bill Allen, CEO of the LAEDC. Read more

 

Cleveland's Complete and Green Streets Ordinance Approved Cleveland's Complete & Green Streets Ordinance was introduced at City Council on June 6th and approved by the City Planning Commission on June 17th. The ordinance is moving through committees and various City approval boards and will be read again at the July 20 meeting of City Council. The Plan seeks to ensure that streets are designed, operated, and maintained with all modes of transportation in mind. Read more  

 

Biking and Walking

 

In Santa Monica, $2.5 Million Committed to Bicycle Action Plan In the grand scheme of things, the $2.5 million out of the over $1 billion city budget that will be spent in the next two years, is just a nickle in the jar. However this is a substantial investment for bicycling because bike improvements are substantially cheaper than other transportation investments. To put this in perspective with a bike city that so many are fond of, Portland has substantially increased it's bike budget, with $2.8 million allocated this year, and $3.4 million next year. Read more

 

New Signage to Guide Pedestrians in NYC Improved sidewalk signage and maps for pedestrians will be the latest addition to the streetscape by the Department of Transportation, which just released a request for proposals for a new wayfinding system in four neighborhoods. In a DOT survey conducted in preparation for the proposal, nine percent of New Yorkers and 27 percent of tourists said they had been lost in the past week. A good wayfinding system would alleviate confusion and make walking more attractive. Read more

 

The Future of Bike Sharing Schemes in the US Bike sharing is a fledgling concept in the United States and has the tendency to be scattershot geographically. Chicago, Minneapolis, and Des Moines have programs in the Midwest while shares in Miami, Boston, and Washington, D.C. dot the coastlines. Two cities known for their high share of cycling commuters and typically progressive agendas, New York and San Francisco, are exploring their options. The most robust of these programs, Capital Bikeshare in Washington, has about 1,100 bikes and 114 stations distributed throughout the metro area, about one-fifth the size of Montreal's Bixi (the largest in North America) and one-twentieth the size of Paris' Vélib´. Read more

 

Energy and Efficiency

 

Franklin, TN, and South Miami, FL, to Hit ENERGY STAR Boot Camp Franklin, TN and South Miami FL were selected to participate in ICLEI's ENERGY STAR Boot Camp, a training designed to enable small and medium sized communities to track their energy and water usage using ENERGY STAR'S Portfolio Manager. By the end of the Boot Camp, each community hopes to benchmark at least 50% of their total estimated energy use in the system, giving them the ability to monitor their facilities and prioritize energy reduction projects. Read more

 

Urban Food Systems

 

San Francisco Update on Sustainable Food System Policy On December 31, 2010, The City of San Francisco issued an annual report on Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2009 Executive Directive on Healthy and Sustainable Food. This report describes how the Directive was developed, a summary of the progress made as a result of the Directive, and future direction for food system policy and planning in San Francisco. The document is posted in the USDN forums at the following link. Read more

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Covering the game changing discussions that are taking place in the realm of sustainability. From the impact of the City of Fayetteville's decision to switch its fleet to biodiesel to Paul Stamet's research in the Pacific Northwest on how mycelia...

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