FOR LEADERS IN GOVERNMENT, EDUCATION & HEALTHCARE.
SUSTAINABLE CITY NETWORK
VOLUME 23 April 2017
e City SustainaWbl ORK NET
PALO ALTO EMBRACES ITS FAMILY TREE LEADERBOARD SERIES SPONSORED BY: CRESCENT ELECTRIC SUPPLY CO.
10 COMMUNITY TREE CANOPY PROGRAMS MADE EASY 12 U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS DOWN 11.6% SINCE 2007 21 DANGEROUS BY DESIGN: REPORT ADVOCATES FOR PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
10TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OCTOBER 3-4 2017
PRESENTED & HOSTED BY:
Grand River Center | Port of Dubuque | Dubuque, Iowa
A two-day sustainability conference for municipal and business professionals. Ideas, plans and best practices. SPONSORED BY:
PALO ALTO EMBRACES ITS FAMILY TREE
Photo: City of Palo Alto
VOLUME 23 April 2017
Community Tree Canopy Programs Made Easy
Inclusionary Housing Policies Attract Millennials
Swimming in Sustainability
Equity, Smart Growth Converge as St. Louis Hosts Conference
Dangerous by Design: Report Advocates for Pedestrian Safety
Feeding Public Schools with Local Food Hubs
Driverless Car Technology Speeds Along
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down 11.6% Since 2007
Sustainable City Network Magazine
The Best of Sustainable City Network is a quarterly magazine highlighting the most popular articles posted on sCityNetwork.com, an online trade publication that serves government, education and healthcare institutions in all 50 U.S. states and the provinces of Canada. The magazine is available in print or as a digital download at www.sCityNetwork.com/bestof. The opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sustainable City Network or WoodwardBizMedia. SUBSCRIPTIONS Contact 563.588.4492; firstname.lastname@example.org www.sCityNetwork.com
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Introduction to Sustainable Remediation
BUSINESS MANAGER Maggie Vetsch CONTRIBUTING WRITERS F. Alan Shirk Tom Doherty Smart Growth America Teresa Wiemerslage Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies CREATIVE DESIGN Eric Faramus Cover Photo: Courtesy of the city of Palo Alto Unless otherwise noted, all images used throughout © 2017 Ingimage, all rights reserved. Sustainable City Network 801 Bluff Street Dubuque, Iowa 52001 Visit Us On The Web sCityNetwork.com Printed on recycled paper
3-Hour Online Course – April 18-19, 2017 Sustainable City Network and NWETC will present an online training course for any personnel who investigate, remediate, regulate or monitor environmentally contaminated sites. The course will illustrate sustainable remediation with case examples describing its practices during the investigation, remediation, operations, and monitoring of hazardous site cleanups. Learn more at http://sCityNetwork.com/Remediation
Sustainability in the City of Palo Alto, Calif.
Free 1-Hour Webinar – April 27, 2017 Gil Friend, chief sustainability officer, will provide details about how the city of Palo Alto has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to 36% below its 1990 level and how its new Sustainability and Climate Action Plan will lead the city to 80% by the year 2030. Register now at http://sCityNetwork.com/PaloAlto
The End of Tree Plagues in an Age of Invasive Diseases
4-Hour Online Course – June 7-8, 2017 Learn how to blunt Emerald Ash Borer losses, stop the next tree plague from devastating your community, and create a better, stronger, resilient future forest. In this 4-hour online course, instructor Peter MacDonagh will present a workshop for civil engineers, landscape architects, architects, urban foresters and planners that will provide professionals the tools to communicate and implement a staged Ash tree canopy removal and replacement program. Learn more at http://sCityNetwork.com/AshTree
from the editor Welcome to Sustainable City Network Magazine – the Best of sCityNetwork.com! This quarterly magazine is a compilation of the most popular articles on our web site and in our email newsletter, the InBox, which is delivered to more than 40,000 leaders in government, education and healthcare across the U.S. and Canada. Sustainable City Network produces advertiser-supported, non-partisan articles, webinars, trade shows and white papers that provide local institutions with quality, organized and timely information about sustainability projects, plans and best practices. This magazine is another way we fulfill our mission.
Randy Rodgers Publisher & Executive Editor SUSTAINABLE CITY NETWORK www.sCityNetwork.com 801 Bluff Street Dubuque, IA 52001 563.588.3853 email@example.com
OUR MISSION “To make U.S. cities more sustainable through quality and well-organized information.”
In this issue, we continue our Leaderboard series by profiling the city of Palo Alto, Calif., which took its name from a 1,000-year-old redwood tree that still stands in a tiny park on the edge of town. One of the wealthiest and most educated cities in the country, Palo Alto is a leader in the struggle to make American cities sustainable for future generations. In our cover story, you’ll meet Gil Friend, chief sustainability officer for the city of Palo Alto, and several of his colleagues, who will step you through the city’s new Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. The plan, just adopted in November, calls for the city to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below the 1990 level by the year 2030. Yes, it’s an aggressive goal, but they’re already nearly half way there! Don’t miss our April 27th webinar featuring Palo Alto. Register or download the recording afterwards at www. sCityNetwork.com/PaloAlto. In other top stories: Speaking of trees, on Page 10 you’ll learn how the Arbor Day Foundation can help your community start a local tree distribution program or enhance an existing one. Tools are provided to help brand and promote your program, educate citizens and take online orders. U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are down 11.6 percent since 2007. Our article on Page 12 explains how it happened. Other articles in this issue focus on inclusionary housing policies, creating sustainable public swimming pools, designing streets that are safer for pedestrians, using food hubs to help supply school cafeterias, and the latest on driverless car technologies. The articles in this magazine have been selected by our readers. We’ve packaged them together in this convenient magazine format, available as a digital download or in print at sCityNetwork.com/Bestof. We hope you find value inside.
Brookfield WWTP, Wisconsin Unison Solutions Inc., based in Dubuque, Iowa is proud to be part of the team at this municipal wastewater treatment plant site. The anaerobic digesters produce 100 scfm of biogas which is treated with the biogas conditioning equipment designed and built by Unison Solutions. After removing hydrogen sulfide, moisture and siloxanes, the gas is used to fuel a Tech 3 internal combustion engine. In addition to the electricity production, the heat from the system is used to supply hot water for the digestion process and to heat the facilities buildings. Learn more about it at www.unisonsolutions.com
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PALO ALTO EMBRACES ITS FAMILY TREE
CITYâ€™S SUSTAINABILITY PLAN PREPARES FOR THE NEXT 1,000 YEARS BY RANDY RODGERS, PUBLISHER & EXECUTIVE EDITOR
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“This is a very entrepreneurial community…. People tend to say, ‘what can we do?’ about something.”
GIL FRIEND is chief sustainability officer for the city of Palo Alto, Calif.
If ever there was a tree that served as a metaphor for a city – consider El Palo Alto. The tree, whose name means “the tall stick” in Spanish, is a 110-foot-tall California redwood that stands on the bank of a creek near the southwest tip of San Francisco Bay, where it has stood for more than 1,000 years. While human activity in the first half of the 20th century nearly killed it, people began rallying to care for its health in the 1950s and it has since rebounded – albeit about 50 feet shorter than it once was. In 1999, the appraised value of the tree was estimated at $55,600, but city arborist Dave Dockter knew the redwood meant more to the community than that.
PHIL BOBLE is manager of public works engineering for the city of Palo Alto, Calif.
“…Because of the tree’s cultural history, intrinsic majestic presence and value to the communities of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and the surrounding environs, it is considered to be an invaluable and priceless natural resource – and irreplaceable at any cost in the event of loss,” Dockter concluded. As a California redwood, El Palo Alto could live for another 1,000 years, and the city that now bears its name would very much like to be around to see that happen.
SANDRA SLATER is northern California project director for the Cool City Challenge
Palo Alto, Calif., was chartered in 1894 by Leland Stanford who was looking for a place to establish his new college, Stanford University. Today, the university is still the city’s biggest employer and is widely regarded as the cradle of the Silicon Valley tech industry that sprang up all around it. Palo Alto has perhaps the most educated population in the nation, ranking number one for the percentage of residents with an advanced degree (40.2 percent).
Home to numerous heavyweight tech companies, including HewlettPackard, Amazon, Dell, and Lockheed Martin, the city has long been a Mecca for entrepreneurs and an incubator for some of the most successful startups in the world, including Google, Facebook and PayPal. So, it’s no surprise Palo Alto boasts one of the highest median household incomes in the country at $119,046, and is also one of the most expensive U.S. cities in which to live, with a median home value of more than $2.4 million. About the same time local citizens were springing into action to save their iconic tree, they started taking other steps to protect their city for future generations. Gil Friend, chief sustainability officer for the city of Palo Alto, said his town has been a leader in this realm for decades. “If you go back to the early roots, you see a well-to-do, educated, progressive California community in the Bay area, where there is a background orientation to these issues and a culture of people who get things done,” Friend said. “This is a very entrepreneurial community…. People tend to say, ‘what can we do?’ about something.” In 2007, Palo Alto developed one of the first climate action plans in the country, and followed that with a strict residential and commercial green building code, a landfill diversion ordinance and a bicycle/pedestrian plan, among other initiatives. The city has operated its own electric utility since a group of Stanford professors established one in the 1890s, Friend said. Over the years, it has become California’s only “full-service” municipal utility, providing the city with electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater treatment and fiber-optic communications. With all these pieces in one place, the city has been able to move quickly and has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent since 1990. The city’s electricity supply has been 100 percent carbon neutral since 2013 when the city signed long‐term contracts for clean energy resources, including solar, wind, hydroelectric generation and renewable gas from landfills. With the addition of renewable energy from these projects, the city is on track to reach a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of up to 60 percent in 2017. For comparison, in 2015 California adopted one of the most aggressive RPS policies in the country, requiring that all utilities in the state supply 50 percent of their retail electric sales from eligible renewable energy resources by the year 2030. Palo Alto was one of the first few cities in the world to reach “carbon neutrality” with its electricity portfolio, and is now planning to do the same thing with natural gas, Friend said. In July, the city will start purchasing carbon offsets to balance the emissions associated with utility customers’ natural gas consumption. 
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“So, we see offsets not just as a way to buy dispensation from emissions, but to actually be a capital formation channel to accelerate investment in sound emission-reducing projects right here (in California),” he said. “If that works, we think it’s a big deal that other cities will want to copy.” In 2016, the city council raised the bar even higher by adopting a new Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. The plan has established a framework of principles, goals and strategies for reducing the community’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below the 1990 levels, and to accomplish this by the year 2030, which is 20 years ahead of the state’s target for achieving the same reduction. In fact, Palo Alto’s water and energy conservation standards have consistently exceeded those established by the state of California, “which are, in turn, among the most aggressive in the United States,” Friend pointed out. Water conservation, in particular, has been a major focus as the entire West Coast is in its sixth year of a devastating drought. While recent rains have provided some relief, State emergency water conservation regulations are still in effect, Friend said, and Californians know it’s only a matter of time before another dry spell begins. City Manager Jim Keene recently appointed a “blue ribbon committee” to develop a comprehensive strategy for making the best possible use of all types of water in the city, including stormwater and recycled water. The green infrastructure plan, which every city in California has been required to develop by state mandate, has resulted in a variety of projects now under way. Karla Dailey, senior resource planner for the city’s utility, said one of those projects is exploring more ways to make use of recycled water.
Photo: Jawed Karem
■■ El Palo Alto (center rear)
the lone California redwood tree, for which the settlement of Palo Alto was named, is more than 1,000 years old. Pictured here, circa 2004, the tree is in relatively good condition after citizens took steps to save it. A pipe running up the length of the trunk leads to a sprinkler head intended to simulate coastal conditions by fogging the tree at night. California redwood trees can live up to 2,000 years.
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“Given the long-term water needs in California and the long-term need to protect the Bay from the effluent coming from (wastewater treatment) plants like ours, we have a double incentive to put more recycled water to use,” Dailey said. That means creating a system that allows treated wastewater to be used for irrigation in the short term, but also building the infrastructure that could allow for indirect potable reuse of water in the future, she said.
Along with curbside collection of residential food waste, which includes soiled paper and cardboard, Bobel said Palo Alto has also implemented a mandatory commercial food-waste ordinance that was phased in over the past three years. He said the volume of waste collected has reached about half the city’s goal and, now that all systems are in place, his department will begin focusing on educating restaurants and citizens on how to optimize the processes involved.
While there are no “design and build” plans for potable reuse, Dailey said the city is currently using recycled water for irrigation at some city facilities, including a golf course, some parks and at the wastewater treatment plant itself.
Bobel said the city has also helped facilitate a “food rescue” program to reduce the amount of food waste that is generated at the source. He said some national studies have estimated as much as 25 percent of food produced in the U.S. is wasted as it passes through the supply chain from farms to wholesalers, retailers and households.
“It’s all city-owned (property) right now, but the proposed expansion of the distribution system would work its way through town up to the Stanford Research Park where our largest commercial users are,” Dailey said. While the water would still be used only for irrigation in the short term, having it available in the research park area would open up the possibility of finding other industrial uses for it and/or injecting it into the groundwater system for indirect potable reuse, she said. Palo Alto has a strong stormwater rebate program, according to Phil Bobel, manager of public works engineering for the city. “We’re practically giving away rain barrels,” he said, and households can also get help paying for permeable pavement, cisterns and green roofs.
“An awful lot of food is wasted, and that’s a shame. So, we’re spending a fair amount of time trying to hook up people who have food with people who need food,” Bobel said. He said the partnership connects local grocery stores and food vendors with nonprofit groups that direct excess food to needy people before it has a chance to spoil and get thrown away. The program also educates citizens and restaurants on ways to reduce food waste and donate excess food whenever possible.
“Here in the arid west, we really need every drop of water we can get,” Bobel said. The city has also made a zero-waste commitment, intending to be at net zero waste by 2021. As part of that effort, the city council in early 2016 revised its recycling and composting ordinance to expand curbside collection of food scraps to multifamily complexes, among other initiatives. Its landfill diversion rate has been at or near 80 percent since 2010, but Bobel said the city hopes removing organic waste will get it the rest of the way there.
■■ El Palo Alto, circa 1910.
At the time the tree was in relatively poor health due to the soot from coal powered trains, as evident by its relatively thin canopy.
The city’s recycling vendor, GreenWaste Recovery, has recently opened the first dry fermentation anaerobic digestion facility in the United States, just 15 miles from Palo Alto in northern San Jose. The facility, Zero Waste Energy Development Co., is operated by GreenWaste in partnership with Zanker Road Resource Management. At full capacity, the facility can digest 270,000 tons of organic material per year to make biogas and compost. Billed as the largest anaerobic digestion facility in the world, the facility currently generates 6,778 MWh of electricity and 30,000 tons of finished compost per year from food and yard waste gathered throughout the region.
Friend said the city government subtly changed its green purchasing policy last year, as well. Rather than asking staff to purchase the “greener” product whenever possible, the policy was changed to require purchasing the greener product by default, with exceptions allowed if other considerations, like price or effectiveness, are compelling. As an example, Friend said the city had been purchasing vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, but last year the city manager issued a directive to always consider electric vehicles first.
“We recognize that EVs won’t work in every situation, but that’s our preferred choice whenever we can do it,” Friend said. With the new sustainability plan setting the course, city departments now have their work cut out for them. “The immediate priority is to turn the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan into a series of implementation plans and work programs for city departments in the next three years,” Friend said. “The trajectory goes out to 2030, so it’s a big, big leap. I’ll be the first to confess that we don’t know exactly how to do everything to reach our 2030 goals …so some of our first steps are to do some deeper analysis, assess opportunities, and conduct certain pilot programs.” 
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He said Palo Alto’s city government is organized well around sustainability. Its internal sustainability board includes the directors of most city departments, and they are assisted by a variety of community boards, commissions and advisory groups. Many regional groups also congeal around sustainability issues, particularly around the one topic that affects them all – the state’s notorious traffic congestion. “Mobility is a big concern because at this point, about two-thirds of our emissions are related to road travel,” Friend said. “…So, it’s both an emissions source and a source of misery to people. Reinventing transportation is very high on our agenda. How do we make it convenient for people not to drive; and if they do drive, how do we get them to drive electric?” Palo Alto and its regional public- and private-sector partners are attacking the problem from multiple angles, seeking innovative new ways to increase walkability, bikeability, car sharing and other solutions to the gridlock, he said. Friend said Palo Alto’s sustainability programs have been helped along by a “very cooperative citizenry.” Participation at stakeholder meetings during the development of the sustainability plan was outstanding and the tight-knit community has a long history of citizen activism. Sandra Slater, a Palo Alto resident and the northern California project director for the Cool City Challenge, is working with the city to implement a block-by-block strategy dedicated to reducing carbon emissions, increasing disaster resiliency, improving health and safety, sharing resources and building neighborhood connections. The “Cool Block Program” involves recruiting a block leader (one “early adopter” on each block) who is trained to organize others on their block to learn and participate in strategies that accomplish the goals of the program.
“We’ve found that if you just go in with carbon reduction, it’s a nonstarter. You’ll get the people who are already green, but you’ll be preaching to the choir and you won’t be able to get other people engaged and involved. You have to go in with other motivators,” Slater said. “The number one reason people actually join these teams is to build social capital. They want to get to know their neighbors,” she said. So, the program teaches block leaders how to organize teams to participate in eight gatherings that not only address conservation issues, but also allow participants to express what they’d like to see the city provide in their neighborhoods and what other block activities they’d like to organize. Once the eight meetings are over, Slater said, many of the neighborhood groups continue meeting, and this is how the momentum begins. Slater said the goal of the program is to train block leaders in at least 25 percent of Palo Alto’s residential blocks and achieve a carbon footprint reduction of at least 25 percent in each of those blocks. If that can be accomplished, studies suggest the lifestyle changes would reach critical mass and spread organically throughout the rest of the city, she said. Friend said this method of organizing citizens fits perfectly with the approach the city is taking with all its programs. “In our sustainability initiatives, we’re not just talking about climate, efficiency and environment,” Friend said. “We’re also talking about doing things in a way that enhances the quality of life in this community, is economically positive, and fulfills people’s happiness as well as their resilience. So, we are very much not inclined to think about the environment versus the other things that people care about; but rather the environment AND all those other things,” he said. n
Photo: City of Palo Alto
The program is the result of more than 25 years of research conducted by author David Gershon of the Empowerment Institute. The trick, Slater said, is that the neighborhood teams can’t just be about carbon reduction.
■■ Palo Alto,
a Silicon Valley city of 67,000 just north of San Jose, Calif., has a daytime population that swells to 110,000 as Stanford University students and tech-sector commuters converge on the south-bay city. If sea level rises 5.5 feet, as predicted, it will destroy coastal wetlands, parks and some residential areas in Palo Alto, and wreak havoc around San Francisco Bay. Regional efforts are under way to mitigate, adapt, protect and retreat as the water in the bay rises.
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Sustainable City Network Magazine
Community Tree Canopy Programs Made Easy Arbor Day Foundation Provides Turn-Key App to Distribute Trees BY RANDY RODGERS PUBLISHER & EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Empowering citizens to acquire the right trees, and plant them in the right locations, can make an important contribution to a city’s sustainability goals, and the Arbor Day Foundation recently made it a lot easier for local governments and organizations to get a tree distribution program up and running.
KRISTEN BOUSQUET is business development manager, Energy-Saving Trees, at the Arbor Day Foundation.
By now, most people know the benefits of trees: they can save energy by providing shade and wind breaks around buildings, they reduce soil erosion, mitigate stormwater, provide habitat for wildlife, cool and beautify neighborhoods, absorb carbon, clean the air and water, and raise property values. At the same time, as every utility and street department knows, the wrong tree in the wrong place can be a headache, cost money and even endanger lives.
IAN JURGENSEN is sustainability project manager for the city of Orlando, Fla.
The answer: invest up-front to distribute trees and provide homeowners with tools for selecting, planting and nurturing the right trees in the right places.
The Arbor Day Foundation launched its Energy-Saving Trees program in 2011 and has since helped 43 partners in 36 states develop “community canopy” projects. “The program provides both the mechanism and the strategy for growing your urban canopy through private property plantings, which can be an excellent way to reach your canopy target... and can be coordinated with tree replacement programs in cases of tree removals or emerald ash borer losses,” said Kristen Bousquet, business development manager at the Arbor Day Foundation in Lincoln, Neb. Bousquet said the foundation’s “turn-key” program provides a software program that helps with homeowner education, tree tracking [ 10 ]
and measuring the benefits per tree. As a result of strategically planting trees for shade in the summer and wind breaks in the winter, Bousquet said, homeowners in certain climates can achieve up to a 20- to 30-percent savings in annual energy consumption. The data used to compute these values comes from the i-Tree research project, developed over 20 years by the U.S. Forest Service, the Davey Institute and the Arbor Day Foundation. The calculations compare the costs of planting, watering and caring for trees with their respective quantifiable benefits, Bousquet said. “What they figured out is that for every dollar invested, you can get back an average of between $1.37 and $3.09 per tree in benefits,” she said, depending on the type and location of the tree. “What we’ve found is that if we can educate and help people to plant trees strategically around their homes, it leads to an increase in that energy benefit, and by maximizing that energy savings, we can potentially triple those per-tree benefits to $9 or more per dollar spent.” In the first five years of the Energy-Saving Trees program, the foundation has distributed nearly 190,000 trees, generating $106 million in combined energy and community benefits, Bousquet said. The amount of energy saved would be like taking 34,000 households “off the grid” for an entire year, she added. The foundation’s program can be customized to fit any community’s needs. The number of trees distributed can range from 100 to 30,000 per season. Tree sizes and species can be selected to fit local needs. Homeowners use an online interface to order the trees, and distributions can be handling by mail, pick-up or a hybrid of both. Agencies can purchase an all-inclusive program, where the Arbor Day Foundation handles everything from start to finish, or they can purchase the software only, to work with an existing program, Bousquet said. Pricing is on a per-tree basis and varies from $14 to $50 per tree, depending on tree size, variety, and the delivery options. There are no separate software or user fees to participate in the program. Many of the communities who use the program find local partners to help with funding, outreach and distribution of the trees. The webbased system can use the foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees brand or the branding can be customized to match a community’s new or existing brand.
Orlando used several funding sources to pay for the program, which gives trees away free to the public. The city controls the species of trees included in the program in order to meet its biodiversity goals and ensure the trees are appropriate for the local climate and the central Florida landscape.
Photo: Arbor Day Foundation
He said the Energy-Saving Trees system helps the city track not just how many trees are being distributed, but exactly where they’re being planted, what species of trees are being used and how the city is progressing toward its environmental goals.
■■ The Benefits of Trees
A community canopy project using Energy-Saving Trees is designed to engage and educate homeowners on the benefits of strategic tree planting. The Arbor Day Foundation has created the program to help communities distribute free trees to thousands of homes and track the environmental and financial benefits to the community.
Bousquet demonstrated the software features of the program in a recent Sustainable City Network webinar. An audio/video recording of that presentation is available for free download in the SCN content store. Ian Jurgensen, sustainability project manager for the city of Orlando, Fla., joined Bousquet for the presentation and outlined how his city uses Energy-Saving Trees to manage its urban tree canopy initiative, One Person, One Tree. That project is part of Mayor Buddy Dyer’s citywide sustainability program, Green Works Orlando. Jurgensen said the Arbor Day Foundation’s software was easy to integrate into the city’s initiative, which has a goal of increasing Orlando’s tree canopy 40 percent by 2040. That will require the addition of 250,000 trees, or roughly one tree for every resident of Orlando – thus the name “One Person, One Tree.” Achieving that goal will save the same amount of energy as permanently removing 143 homes from the electrical grid, taking 1,000 cars off the road and removing enough water from the city’s stormwater system to fill about 115,000 swimming pools each year, Jurgensen said.
“The app that’s online is very helpful. It’s easy for residents to use, and all those benefits are automatically tracked from a 20-year cumulative standpoint,” Jurgensen said. “Orders come in and we can see them in real time, which is hugely helpful when tracking the effectiveness of marketing,” he said. One of the customizations Orlando found helpful was the ability to upload its GIS boundaries into the system to manage and track the jurisdictions of the tree plantings. It also allowed the city to customize the terms of service with local rules and regulations – requiring tree recipients to notify the local utility before planting the trees, for example. Since launching the program in November 2015, Orlando has distributed more than 3,700 trees to 2,537 homeowners and has accumulated $1.9 million in benefits (about $14 per $1 invested), Jurgensen said. Bousquet said about half the partner organizations currently utilizing the program are using pickup events to distribute the trees, while the other half use the direct delivery option. With both distribution methods, citizens order the trees online. The pickup event allows larger trees to be distributed and gives communities the opportunity to provide special programming, training and engagement at the event. The direct delivery option requires less planning and organization, but generally is limited to smaller potted trees. n
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Sustainable City Network Magazine
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down 11.6% Since 2007 EPA Cites Mild Winters and Switching from Coal to Gas as Key Reasons BY SUSTAINABLE CITY NETWORK
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft report in February that indicates the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions declined 2.2 percent in 2015, continuing a generally downward trend since U.S. emissions peaked in 2007.
“The remaining 21 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were contributed by, in order of magnitude, the agriculture, commercial, and residential sectors, plus emissions from U.S. Territories,” according to the report.
Overall, net emissions in 2015 were 11.6 percent below 2007 levels, according to the report. Except for 2012, when emissions were slightly lower, they have not been this low since 1993.
But, not all greenhouse gases have an equal effect on global warming, the report notes. While carbon dioxide (CO2) accounted for 82.2 percent
The decline in recent years has been mostly attributable to reductions in the electric power industry as a result of mild winters and power plants switching their fuel from coal to natural gas. Consumption of electricity decreased slightly in 2015, but power plants still accounted for the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions (29%), followed by transportation (27%), and industries (22%). “Emissions from industry have in general declined over the past decade, due to a number of factors, including structural changes in the U.S. economy (i.e., shifts from a manufacturing-based to a service-based economy), fuel switching, and energy efficiency improvements,” according to the report. As the EPA acknowledges, when manufacturing shifts from the U.S. to another country, like China or Mexico, the carbon emissions follow, which negates some of the gains seen in the U.S.
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■■ Gross U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Gas
This chart illustrates the overall trends in total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by gas, annual changes, and absolute change since 1990. Overall, net emissions in 2015 were 11.6 percent below 2007 levels, according to the U.S. EPA.
of the nation’s emissions in 2015, other gases like methane, nitrous oxide and industrial gases known as HFCs, PFCs, SF6 and NF3 can trap heat significantly more and stay in the atmosphere much longer than CO2. Between 1990 and 2015, total emissions of CO2 increased by 5.6 percent while emissions of methane and nitrous oxide have decreased 16.7 and 6.8 percent, respectively. During the same period, HFCs, PFCs, SF6 and NF3 gas emissions have increased 86.2 percent.
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Sustainable City Network Magazine
■■ Emission Data by Economic Sector
Emission declines in recent years have been mostly attributable to reductions in the electric power industry as a result of mild winters and power plants switching their fuel from coal to natural gas. Other sectors have been relatively flat.
“Despite being emitted in smaller quantities relative to the other principal greenhouse gases, emissions of HFCs, PFCs, SF6 and NF3 are significant because many of these gases have extremely high global warming potentials and, in the cases of PFCs and SF6, long atmospheric lifetimes,” the report states. The EPA uses a “common and consistent mechanism” that enables parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to compare the relative contribution of different emission sources and greenhouse gases to climate change. To ensure that the U.S. emissions inventory is comparable to those of other countries, the estimates were calculated using methodologies recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
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The draft report is required to be produced annually under the U.N. agreement. It is currently open for public comment and scheduled to be finalized in April, according to the EPA. Former President Barack Obama announced in August the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan, which was intended to cut U.S. carbon pollution from the power sector by 870 million tons, or 32 percent below 2005 levels, by 2030. Similar emission reductions were announced in the transportation sector as new standards for heavy-duty trucks were established in 2016. It remains to be seen whether or how much the Donald Trump administration will roll back these new regulations. Trump has famously suggested global warming is a “hoax” and has threatened to curtail federal efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.n■
Inclusionary Housing Policies Attract Millennials Zoning Strategy Helps Middle Class Stay in the Neighborhood BY RANDY RODGERS PUBLISHER & EXECUTIVE EDITOR
DR. LISA STURTEVANT is president of Lisa Sturtevant & Associates, a Washington, D.C.based housing and economic development consulting firm.
In a country where housing supply is not keeping up with demand, especially for cash-strapped working families and millennials, many cities are using inclusionary zoning ordinances to make sure middle-class homebuyers aren’t left out in the cold when housing developers draw up their plans.
Francisco, Denver, Houston, St. Louis, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. pay more than that. In Detroit and New York City, more than half exceed that amount.
Key to any discussion on affordable housing is the definition of “affordable” and exactly who can afford it.
An inclusionary zoning ordinance is a legislative tool that attempts to increase the availability of affordable housing in areas where the market value of housing exceeds this threshold. They can be mandatory or voluntary and typically provide incentives for developers to include a certain percentage of units and/or square footage in a housing development at affordable rates.
By now, we’ve all heard about the Silicon Valley barista who commutes three hours to work at a Starbucks downtown. But, now try imagining yourself paying $850,000 for a 2,700 sq. ft. townhouse in a city like Alexandria, Va., or someplace closer to home.
SASHA HAUSWALD is state and local policy director at Grounded Solutions Network.
MEEA KANG is a founding partner at Domus Development, which specializes in creating and preserving affordable housing and infill mixed-use projects.
The fact is, in many metro areas, people who never considered themselves “low-income” are finding themselves priced out of the housing market altogether. Teachers, nurses, cops and accountants are just a few of those feeling the squeeze. If you’re a millennial working in customer service and eyeing that studio apartment near work and a transit stop… yeah, you might need to live with mom and dad just a few more years. In North America, a commonly accepted definition of “affordable housing” is a housing cost that does not exceed 30 percent of gross household income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 46 percent of renters in Portland, San
Take your monthly household income and multiply it by 0.3. If the result is more than your monthly mortgage payment or rent, then guess what? You live in affordable housing. For a household earning $100,000 per year, a monthly housing payment of $2,500 or less is considered affordable.
“In 2016, we (the U.S.) added 1.2 million households and we built 1.1 million housing units,” said Dr. Lisa Sturtevant, a Washington, D.C.-based housing and economic development consultant who recently spoke at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in St. Louis. “And, over the last few years, particularly since the end of the recession, household growth has really outpaced housing construction,” she said. This “supply vs. demand” variance has been one of the factors causing home prices to soar in some of the most densely populated metropolitan areas of the country. And, the people on the demand side are often millennials who were hit hardest by the recession and whose wage growth has still not recovered. As a result, many of these young people have delayed marriage, childbearing and the formation of households, Sturtevant said. This, in turn, has become a problem for communities trying to attract employers and build healthy and diverse local economies, she said. At the same time, federal spending on housing is shrinking and is mostly going to programs that serve “low- to very low-income” people, said Sasha Hauswald, state and local policy director at the Grounded Solutions Network. This has created a crack many urban millennials are falling into: earning too much money to qualify for federally subsidized housing, but not enough to afford a market-priced apartment near their job, Hauswald said. [ 15 ]
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Photo: Domus Development
housing strategies, and alone it’s not going to miraculously solve all of our housing affordability challenges,” she said. There are more than 500 cities in the U.S. that have inclusionary zoning ordinances. The concept has been around since the mid-1970s. Massachusetts, New York and California have the most, with more than 100 jurisdictions each. This has given researchers like Hauswald and Sturtevant a lot of examples to study, and the web site InclusionaryHousing.org contains a variety of case studies and best practices.
Lately, Hauswald said, the concept has been getting ■■ La Valentina TOD more popular across the Looking to reactivate a historic urban neighborhood, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency contracted with Domus country, including in some Development to build Sacramento’s first true transit oriented development. The former brownfield site adjacent to the La Valentina Light cities within conservative Rail Station, is now an affordable housing development that offers access to employment centers and family-friendly amenities such as parks and a free on-site after-school program. states that historically frown on such programs. In some cases, Hauswald said, progressive Some believe we can build ourselves out of the problem, she said. This cities like Nashville, Tenn., and Tucson, Ariz., have attempted logic suggests that by reversing the supply vs. demand paradigm, to implement inclusionary zoning ordinances only to have them prices will automatically come down as the overall supply goes up. preempted by the state. Such is often the fate of a blue city inside a However, Hauswald and Sturtevant said, it’s not that simple. red state, she said. New housing tends to be priced at the top of the market; construction Hauswald said she believes interest in inclusionary housing has costs are high; and new construction tends to catalyze the market in been growing recently because “it’s really particularly good at adjacent neighborhoods, making the problem grow. While increasing something that traditional affordable housing development isn’t supply can lower home prices slightly, it isn’t the whole answer. that great at. It’s really good at creating mixed income buildings and neighborhoods, and in this era where we are increasingly aware of the “It’s not that we’re just not building enough housing,” Sturtevant benefits of economic and cultural diversity, inclusionary housing is a said, “we’re actually not building the right types of housing. In some tool that can help us get there.” markets there’s a mismatch that’s growing larger between the types of housing that’s getting built and what is needed to support growth While the practice is still sometimes controversial among developers, of a socioeconomically diverse community.” who tend to believe they bear the brunt of the costs, Hauswald said studies indicate that these ordinances have little effect on the While inclusionary housing policies can help, they aren’t the whole production or cost of market-rate housing. In most cases, the price of solution, either, Hauswald said. land adjusts down, just like it does with any other zoning restrictions that affect the market. Any adverse effect on developers can be “Inclusionary housing is one of the local policies we can implement, further mitigated by incentives, she said. n■ but not the only one. It’s not a panacea. It’s one tool in the toolbox; one strategy you want to consider amongst a suite of low- and affordable[ 16 ]
Swimming in Sustainability Tennessee Town Goes Green with Blue Water BY TOM DOHERTY, TDEC
Situated five miles from the Alabama border in southern-middle Tennessee is the quaint city of Loretto. With a population of approximately 1,800, the town is usually quiet, but recently there’s been a big splash with the opening of a new state-of-the-art recreation space. Through a partnership with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Sustainable Practices (TDEC), Division of Recreation Educational Services, and Croy Engineering, Loretto celebrated the opening of its new pool in August 2016. Getting Started
The citizens of Loretto were actively involved as city leaders kept them engaged and informed throughout the process. When city leaders began discussing the closing of the old pool following the receipt of cost estimates for repair, citizens turned to social media through the “Save the Loretto City Pool” Facebook page. Because of this page, the public was able to stay informed of city council meetings and project updates regarding the future of their new pool. Citizen involvement further persuaded the city to explore options related to possible grants and funding for the development. By involving stakeholders in the process, Loretto created a unified effort for discovering the best solution.
With an aged, 25-year-old pool hampered with failing pumps and severe leaking, the city had no option other than to close the former pool in 2011. After years without any aquatic recreation opportunity, the city was eager to develop a new facility.
“We conducted a survey to gauge the community’s interests in our parks and recreation programs,” said City Administrator Keith Smith. “Building a new pool was what the community requested and a splash pad was the second choice. We wanted to build a sustainable pool and were able to accomplish this goal by working with this incredible group of stakeholders,” Smith said.
■■ Inaugural ‘Dip’
Project partners take the inaugural “dip” in the new Loretto, Tenn., public swimming pool shortly after it opened in late August. The facility incorporates pervious pavement, bioswales, skylights and LED lighting, and it uses a recycled glass bead filter system and a pool deck composed of 40 percent fly-ash — a byproduct of coal combustion.
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The effort has not gone unnoticed. Somers said the project has helped the city market its innovation and its holistic approach to creating an environment that supports health and wellness, provides a community gathering space and addresses the need for a public facility in the region.
“The pool was not designed as a standalone project, but was specifically sited to fit in with the overall park plan,” Somers said. “The pool project includes elements that help meet city goals for better handicapped accessibility, improved public restroom facilities and a continuous walking path around the park perimeter. All while taking advantage of sustainability features wherever possible,” he said. ■■ Ribbon Cutting
Mayor Turner said the pool development was a collaborative effort. “As mayor of a small town, I always want our projects to reflect the best of our community. It can be a struggle to find the resources to make a project come true. This is why I am so proud of our new community
Loretto, Tenn., Mayor Jesse Turner and project stakeholders cut the ribbon at the new Loretto Pool at a ceremony following the August 2016 opening of the city’s new swimming pool.
“In meeting with Mayor Jesse Turner, his staff, the project engineer, Andy Somers of Croy Engineering, and Representative Barry Doss, it was determined to move forward with this project,” Parish said. “With a $250,000 Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant and a $273,100 Office of Sustainable Practices’ grant, plus the local match of $525,000, the total project was over $1 million. “We have now developed a model in swimming pool development for the state of Tennessee in using recyclable products and energyefficient equipment to help preserve our environment,” Parish said. Building and Enjoying Loretto City Pool Environmentally friendly features such as a recycled glass bead filter system, a pool deck composed of 40 percent fly-ash — a byproduct of coal combustion — and a retractable pool cover to help maintain ideal aquatic temperatures are helping put this small town on the map for sustainability. The facility includes pervious pavement, bioswales, skylights and LED lighting to illuminate interior areas, and is built from the same fly-ash concrete. All sustainability features are highlighted in permanent signage around the property. Additionally, all pool facilities, parking, restrooms and sidewalk areas are compliant with the Americans with Disability Act.
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That solution presented itself in 2014 as the city applied for a Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant, an opportunity offered through the state’s Division of Recreation Educational Services. The program provides funding to eligible entities to purchase lands for parks, natural areas, greenways and recreation facilities. According to Director of Recreation Educational Services, Gerald Parish, the application noted some innovative ideas for sustainability, including the use of recyclable material and energy-efficient features.
■■ Going Green
Permanent signage touts the sustainable features of the new pool facility in Loretto, Tenn.
pool,” he said. “Not only does it provide a great source of recreation for everyone in our town, it is also a beautiful structure — one that will make Loretto proud for many years to come.” “We’re booking private parties daily, and we’ve began a water aerobics class and the attendance has been phenomenal,” Turner said in October. “I cannot give enough thanks to the project partners.” The Loretto City Pool will be opening again in the spring. So, if you find yourself in southern-middle Tennessee, be sure to pack a bathing suit. n Tom Doherty,LEED Green Associate, is an Environmental Specialist for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Sustainable Practices.
Equity, Smart Growth Converge as St. Louis Hosts Conference ‘New Partners’ Convene for 16th Annual Event BY RANDY RODGERS PUBLISHER & EXECUTIVE EDITOR
ST. LOUIS, Mo. − With civil unrest after the Michael Brown shooting, legal challenges over discriminatory policing practices, and the contentious election of President Donald Trump all serving as unavoidable subplots, equity and inclusivity were reoccurring themes at the 16th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference held recently in St. Louis. KATE MEIS is executive director of the Local Government Commission, organizers of the annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.
While Trump’s name was not uttered once during the opening plenary session, his perceived threat to the core values of many in the room was palpable. “It’s been a challenging couple weeks already for many of us in the sustainability field, ...with threats to our climate scientists, to our federal agency partners and to the basic human rights that we all hold dear,” said Kate Meis, executive director of the Local Government Commission, organizers of the annual conference.
Meis called on the more than 1,000 attendees to stay actively involved in LEWIS REED grass-root efforts and look to “subis president of the St. Louis Board national leadership” for support in the of Aldermen in St. Louis, Mo. continuing struggle to build a more just and equitable America while protecting future generations from the harsh economic and environmental consequences of climate change. “Despite what some of the tweets we’re reading might purport, ...60 percent of Americans favor smart growth,” Meis said. “They prefer neighborhoods with a walkable mix of houses and stores, ...and for good reason. Smart growth not only addresses the major health and environmental challenges we face, but it also saves money.”
She cited research that indicates smart growth practices save an average of 38 percent on the upfront costs of construction and infrastructure, and generate 10 times more revenue per acre than traditional suburban development. She said smart growth also saves 10 percent on the cost of police, fire and other services. “Americans are with us on climate science as well,” she added, noting a Gallop poll that found 64 percent of U.S. adults are concerned about the problem. Meis said Canada is a good example of how provincial action can overcome a federal government that is hostile to environmental protections. For 10 years under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Canadian government “muzzled climate scientists, reducing coverage of climate change more than 80 percent; canceled billions in federal dollars for climate funding; targeted environmental groups and pulled out of climate talks,” Meis said. The result: some of the country’s most oilrich provinces passed carbon taxes and put limits on production from oil sands, among other environmental reforms. “This would be the American equivalent of Texas passing a carbon tax,” she said. “Change can happen and change will come.” She called on attendees to join committed groups throughout the country in working toward sustainability despite the new political realities. “We don’t have time to lead with our political, racial, sexual or religious differences. We will succeed by building partnerships, not walls, and by deepening our commitment to each other. That means standing up for our federal partners at U.S. EPA, whose jobs and funding are under threat; that means standing up for our Muslim friends and colleagues who are banned from traveling....” “Our nation needs leadership from communities now more than ever,” Meis said, “to continue to protect each others’ rights and our hard-won environmental protections.” “Despite how divided we may sometimes feel, we’re all in this together − rich or poor, North or South, red or blue − and we have a shared [ 19 ]
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responsibility to protect our neighbors, our natural resources and the industries that energize our communities,” she said. In brief remarks, Lewis Reed, president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, said history is made by the masses, not by one individual person. He said “tens of thousands” attended the Women’s March on St. Louis in concert with millions more around the world on the day after the inauguration. “When I saw that, I saw history in the making. So I think we can come out of this stronger than when we went into it,” he said. “St. Louis was built by immigrants, for immigrants,” Reed said to much applause, “and that’s what America is made up of. That’s our true strength. When we embrace our diversity from top to bottom... we have the opportunity to come together like never before.” Reed concluded his remarks by invoking the image of Dr. Martin Luther King. Had he stood by himself in Birmingham, Ala., Reed said, “he
would have been just a man. But, because people showed up and because people believed in the vision, and because people committed to that vision, they were able to move America. And that’s what we have an opportunity to do now.” Numerous workshops at the smart growth conference were dedicated to concepts of equitable development and environmental justice. One session dealt directly with the redevelopment efforts in Dellwood, a St. Louis suburb that experienced much of the damage caused in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting in neighboring Ferguson. Sustainable City Network will report on this and other smart growth conference sessions in the coming weeks. A special project at this year’s event is providing St. Louis-area high school students and their teachers with a role in several communityled smart-growth projects taking place before, during and after the conference. A crowdfunding campaign is under way to help pay for materials and transportation for youth involved in the projects. n■
■■ Gateway Mall
The famous Gateway Arch, built on the St. Louis riverfront and completed in 1965, is a monument to the westward expansion of the United States and symbolizes St. Louis as the “Gateway to the West,” the point where the Lewis and Clark expedition began in 1804 and ended in 1806. The Gateway Mall, a linear park leading from the arch through the downtown district to Union Station, has been under redevelopment since 2009. The Citygarden section of the mall, pictured in the foreground, contains a variety of sculptures and other works of public art.
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Dangerous by Design: Report Advocates for Pedestrian Safety People of Color, Elderly Most at Risk BY SMART GROWTH AMERICA
Between 2005 and 2014, a total of 46,149 Americans were struck and killed by cars while walking. A new report released in January by Smart Growth America and its National Complete Streets Coalition argues that street design is a leading factor in this escalating problem.
account for almost 38 percent of pedestrian deaths. Older adults are similarly at higher risk: individuals 65 years or older are 50 percent more likely than younger individuals to be struck and killed by a car while walking.
More than 1,200 Complete Streets policies are now in place at the state, regional, and local levels, and over the last year federal agencies have followed suit with changes in national policy intended to make streets safer for everyone, the report says.
Low-income metro areas are predictably more dangerous than higherincome ones: as median household incomes drop, PDI rises. Similar trends bear out with rates of uninsured individuals, meaning that the people who can least afford to be injured often live in the most dangerous places. The temptation is to think this may be due to lower income people walking more, but this study seeks to control for that.
In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, 4,884 people were killed by a car while walking — 105 people more than in 2013. On average, 13 people were struck and killed by a car while walking every day in 2014. And between 2005 and 2014, Americans were 7.2 times more likely to die as a pedestrian than from a natural disaster. The new report, Dangerous by Design 2016, takes a closer look at this alarming epidemic, and ranks the 104 largest metro areas in the country, as well as every state, by the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) — a calculation of the share of local commuters who walk to work and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths. Southern states, particularly Florida, are the most dangerous for pedestrians. The seven most dangerous metropolitan areas in 2016 were all in Florida, with the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area topping the list. The fourth edition of this report also includes a significant racial and income-based examination of the people who are most at risk, showing that people of color and older adults are over-represented among pedestrian deaths, and that PDI is correlated with median household income and rates of uninsured individuals. Download the report to read the full findings. The following are excerpts from the report, which received support from AARP, the American Society of Landscape Architects and Nelson\ Nygaard Consulting Associates: Non-white individuals account for 34.9 percent of the national population but make up 46.1 percent of pedestrian deaths. In some states, this disparity is even starker. In North Dakota, for example, Native Americans make up just five percent of the population but
The way we design streets is a factor in these fatal collisions. Many of these deaths occur on streets with fast-moving cars and poor pedestrian infrastructure. People walk along these roads despite the clear safety risks—a sign that streets are not adequately serving everyone in the community. First developed in the 1990s by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and used more recently by Smart Growth America’s Transportation for America program, PDI is the rate of pedestrian deaths relative to the number of people who walk to work in the region. Measuring danger as a rate and not an absolute count corrects for cities that may have higher numbers of deaths simply as a function of higher numbers of people on foot overall. Florida has been the most dangerous state for walking since Smart Growth America first began tracking these numbers in 2009. This year’s analysis is no different: Florida has the highest PDI of any state, and it’s home to eight of the ten most dangerous metro areas in the nation. State leaders have seen these sobering numbers and are taking action. In September 2014, four months after Dangerous by Design 2014 came out, the Florida Department of Transportation adopted a Complete Streets policy with the goal of reducing pedestrian deaths in the state. Not content to simply pass a policy, the agency has also taken decisive steps to put it into practice. In December 2015, the agency published its Complete Streets Implementation Plan, an ambitious and comprehensive commitment to change the way roads are designed and built in Florida to make them safer for all types of travelers. [ 21 ]
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Florida’s improved safety efforts are reflected in its statewide PDI, which, though still the worst in the nation, has declined by 5.8 points since 2011.
they became more dangerous for people walking. Nineteen states saw their PDI numbers decline. The rise in most individual state PDIs is in keeping with the rise in their overall average PDI.
Local communities in Florida are joining the effort as well: more than 70 Complete Streets policies are now in place across the state. Many of these metro areas have seen their PDIs decline since 2011 — most notably Miami-Fort Lauderdale (-22.8), Tampa-St. Petersburg (-20.7), and Orlando-Kissimmee (-20.7).
The data show that street design matters. Multiple studies have found that reducing the number of travel lanes and installing median islands have substantially reduced all crashes, including those that often result in serious injury or death for pedestrians. Reducing speeding can be similarly lifesaving. Nationally, speeding causes nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities each year, or close to 10,000 deaths. Speeding increases the likelihood of crashes with people walking and also it increases the probability that those crashes will cause injuries that are far more serious. At 20 mph, the risk of death to a person on foot struck by a vehicle is 6 percent. At 30 mph, that risk of death is three times greater. And at 45 mph, the risk of death is 65 percent — 11 times greater.
Nationally, the majority of individual metro areas’ PDIs have improved since 2014. Thirty out of 51 metro areas became less dangerous, with lower PDIs in 2016 compared to 2014. Three saw no change, and 18 became more dangerous and saw their PDIs rise.
Photo: Ryan Snyder
Most individual state PDIs have worsened since 2014. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia saw their PDI numbers rise, meaning
■■ Risky Route
Pedestrians navigate a busy roadway in central Florida, illustrating a Smart Growth America report on the dangers of walking in American metropolitan areas.
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Policy, design, enforcement, and culture can also be part of the solution. Understanding how people use — and want to use — streets and public spaces is the first step. A Complete Streets approach helps transportation planners and engineers see streets from this perspective, and consider how to keep people walking separate from people driving vehicles; keep traffic speeds low; ensure sidewalks and curb ramps are accessible to people with disabilities; and clarify where each road user should be expected to travel. With these principles set, planners, landscape architects, and engineers can select from a large set of nationally used appropriate design elements, including but not limited to: wide sidewalks; curb extensions; refuge islands; pedestrian countdown signals; leading pedestrian interval signal timing; midblock crossings (especially at transit stops); pedestrian hybrid beacons; narrow travel lanes; planting street trees; restricted right turns on red lights; compact intersections; back-in angled parking and smaller curb radii. Governments at all levels need to do more to protect people from being struck and killed or injured by cars while walking. In particular, leaders must take action to better protect people who are consistently at higher risk of these collisions.
Chart: Smart Growth America
Changing how we design and build infrastructure is an enormous part of the solution. Local, state, and federal government all play a role in creating and maintaining our transportation system. That also means government can and should take action to transform our historical transportation planning processes that focus just on vehicles to one that recognizes all users, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender, income, ability, or mode. ■■ Top 20
The top seven most dangerous metropolitan areas in America for pedestrians are all in the state of Florida, which also tops the list of the most dangerous states to walk, according to Dangerous by Design 2016, a report released this month by Smart Growth America. Download the report to read the full findings.
Policy, design, enforcement, and culture all contribute to these dangerously high speeds. Road designs meant for highways — such as wide, straight lanes — can be dangerous when applied to the streets that go through communities and are lined with homes, shops, schools and offices. These road designs can encourage people to drive far faster than intended or appropriate for these community streets where people need and want to walk.
The next step is to transform these policies into changes on the ground. Communities across the country must use these policies to change how transportation decisions are made, how roadways are designed, and ultimately, how projects get built. n■ Smart Growth America works with elected officials, real estate developers, chambers of commerce, transportation and urban planning professionals, governors, and leaders in Washington to improve everyday life for people across the country through better development.
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Feeding Public Schools with Local Food Hubs Hubs Serve as Facilitators Between Farmers and Schools BY TERESA WIEMERSLAGE IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
TERESA WIEMERSLAGE is Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Region 4 program coordinator.
Question: Can schools be viable local food markets for farmers if they partner with a food hub?
The food hub coordinator worked with school food services, FoodCorps members, ISU Extension, Luther College, local farms and businesses, and members of the community to meet these objectives:
Answer: Yes, according to a recent study conducted by Iowa State University with a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. In order to truly grow farm to school programs, there needs to be an intermediary market like a food hub that can serve as a facilitator between the farmer and the school.
• Develop ways of procuring more local food at prices that are fair to farms, processors, and schools;
Schools are a low-margin, high-volume market and food hubs need multiple producers available to meet the demand. Food hubs also need enough capacity to conduct weekly calls to schools to collect orders. Background The Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative has a seven-year history of supporting rural school districts with their Farm to School efforts. This project leveraged the momentum built in school classrooms, gardens and cafeterias to increase local food purchases by schools. Leopold Center funding for this project was used to strengthen the efforts to connect rural school districts with an emerging non-profit local food hub, Iowa Food Hub (IFH). Funds provided assistance to schools to procure local products, create weekly delivery routes and investigate costs for minimallyprocessed food items. Four school districts were selected as pilot sites for this grant; however, the services and products developed were offered to any school district that chose to participate. (This project also received some funds from a USDA Farm to School grant.)
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• Develop aggregation models and methods that allow schools to partake in farm to school; • Determine the needs and costs for light processing of vegetables; and • Create distribution models that include schools, are logical and leverage existing resources. Approach and Methods Selection of Pilot Districts Based on interest and engagement, four Iowa school districts were chosen to be pilot sites based on demonstrated capacity, readiness and commitment to implement a regional farm to school cycle menu, and willingness to double their local food purchases. The partner districts created school wellness action plans which included Farm to School goals and activities. Development of Delivery Routes At the beginning of the project, the IFH was still determining the best way to service the 16 school districts in the region. The school deliveries were incorporated into the existing routes to the metro centers. One day a week was dedicated solely to school deliveries. Product Development The Iowa growing season aligns with the school year for a short time, so efforts focused on processing and freezing foods to extend availability during the winter months. One of the goals was to investigate the costs of
processing on a small scale. Some items, like sweet corn and shredded cabbage, received minimal processing to be served immediately. Other items, such as strawberries, sweet potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes, beef and pork, were processed in bulk to have inventory available throughout the winter months. Two certified kitchens were used for the produce processing operations.
and time to make arrangements for pickup/delivery, and 2) if a product becomes unavailable, the hub is able to communicate with the schools with enough lead time for them to make other plans. As a hub that is operating with an all-in/all-out system, it is hard for them to work with the conventional next-day delivery model. This “plan-and-order-ahead” model works much better for the hub and for the food service directors.
Results and Discussion
The local food purchases by the four pilot schools increased from $10,451 to $52,401 in two years. The increase in purchases each year is similar to the amount of food purchased from the food hub. These data suggest that the increase in purchases is largely due to the availability of product and services from the food hub.
Based on feedback from current customers and schools, schools were added to the existing delivery routes for maximum efficiency. The routes were adjusted several times, including after the food hub moved from Decorah to West Union, Iowa, in January 2015.
On the positive side, the hub’s method to receive food orders from schools works well. In general, the schools have created their monthly menus at least two weeks before the menu starts. If a school is using the NE Iowa Farm to School cycle menu, they have several opportunities to serve local items already built into the menu. Once the menus are determined, hub staff can have a discussion with the schools about what they can procure locally for them. When those products are identified, the food service director figures the quantity needed and places a purchase order with the hub. This system works well because 1) it offers several weeks for communication with the farmers
Conclusions • Partnering with a food hub is an effective way for schools to increase their local food purchases. • The logistics of offering fresh-cut produce are challenging. Because the food hub operates an all-in, all-out system, it requires at least three weeks advance notice to offer and deliver a fresh-cut product.
Photo: NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative
Because the food hub operates an all-in, all-out system, it requires at least three weeks advance notice for a fresh-cut product, which makes the offering a logistical challenge. They also are on a weekly delivery schedule for most of the schools. Because the hub delivers to most schools on Mondays, the product is processed on Thursdays or Fridays, which shortens the shelf-life. Testing showed that the frozen product was more expensive than fresh-cut because of the extra steps to blanch or parboil. They assumed that the kitchens would have boxes or containers for the finished product and appropriate equipment, but that was not always the case.
■■ Farm to School Lunch
This pork sandwich plate featuring locally-produced agricultural products made its way from farm to school with the help of a food hub near Decorah, Iowa.
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Sustainable City Network Magazine
• Frozen products give the hub more time to make the sales, but these items tend to be more expensive than fresh-cut because of extra steps needed to blanch or parboil. • Additional challenges came with packaging of the final processed product. One can’t assume that commercial kitchens or meat lockers will have boxes, containers or the correct equipment required for the finished product. • More research is needed to further explore small-scale processed products for sale to schools. • A regular, weekly delivery schedule works well for schools. • Schools should consider advance menu planning and generous lead time when working with local farmers and food hubs. Impact of Results By partnering with a food hub, a school can significantly increase its local food purchases. Food hubs also are in a better position than individual farmers to work with schools on identifying, procuring and processing local foods for a more consistent supply throughout the school year. Before the food hub was available, local food purchases by northeast Iowa schools had plateaued as a result of limited time to build relationships with individual farms. Once the food hub stepped in as the intermediary to connect schools and farmers, the local food purchases doubled.
Schools can be a significant market for local foods and food hubs. Farmers interested in those markets will need to refine their wholesale production practices and scale up production to satisfy those markets. Iowa Food Hub primarily sells to institutional food service units (schools and colleges), grocery stores and restaurants. Monthly sales for the Iowa Food Hub show large spikes in September, October and November that coincide with local food sales to schools and October’s designation as National Farm to School Month. In its third year of operation, IFH doubled its sales from 2014 to 2015. Community K-12 school districts accounted for 11 percent of those sales. The increase in sales led to the addition of staff at the food hub. They expanded the hours of their sales associate, added a second truck driver and contracted with a bookkeeping service. The food hub also moved into a new facility in December 2015 which allowed it to maintain a larger inventory, including frozen items for schools. In 2015, IFH worked with more than 50 farms and food businesses and returned over $508,000 to farmers. Communities interested in strengthening their local food system will be able to use this information to support conversations around food hub development and local food procurement in schools. Food hubs and schools can be great partners once effective relationships have been established. n For more information, contact: Teresa Wiemerslage, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, 218 7th Ave SE, Suite 102, Waukon, IA 52172. Phone: (563) 794-0599.
The NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative has been collecting data from K-12 school districts since 2009 as a measurement of its work. The large increase in sales in 2014 and 2015 is attributed to the implementation of the Farm to School cycle menu (2013) and the creation of the Iowa Food Hub (2014).
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Driverless Car Technology Speeds Along Car Sharing Could ‘Spike Like Crazy’ in AV Era BY F. ALAN SHIRK
Driverless cars, also known as autonomous vehicles (or AVs), aren’t science fiction. While many questions remain about safety, infrastructure, federal oversight, and the practical applications of the technology itself, experts agree that local governments should begin planning now.
ADAM DUCKER is managing director of RCLCO, a Bethesda, Md., real estate consulting and management company.
Like the “horseless carriage” that overwhelmed and totally changed the world forever in the 20th Century, driverless cars are expected by some to do the same in the not-too-distant future. “Technology always seems far off, but it creeps in quicker than you think,” said Adam Ducker, managing director of RCLCO, a Bethesda, Md., real estate consulting and management company, who spoke on the topic at the recent New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in St. Louis.
Ducker is an outspoken advocate for AV technology, a passion he shares with his colleague, Atty. Greg GREG RODRIGUEZ Rodriguez with the Washington, is an attorney with the D.C. law firm Best Best & Kreiger Washington, D.C. law firm Best LLP. His practice includes providing Best & Kreiger LLP. information, strategic guidance and legal assistance on the regulation and implementation of smart transportation technologies into the transportation network of local governments, including ridesharing and AVs. “We do a lot of work with municipalities and public works, especially larger transportation projects,” Rodriquez said. “I’d say one of our major tasks is to figure out how we plan for new technology, how we put a framework in place for it and how we avoid problems in the future because of it.”
2016 was a big year for AVs: • During the final days of the Obama administration, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx introduced the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy with suggested guidelines. Foxx solicited proposals and established 10 proving ground pilot sites to encourage testing and information sharing around AV technologies. He also issued a rule advancing the deployment of connected vehicle technologies (V2V) throughout the U.S. light vehicle fleet, and announced new Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) guidance. • Uber launched a pilot AV taxi program in Pittsburgh, working with Carnegie-Mellon University, known for its robotics research and curriculum. • Ford Motors announced its intent to have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable AV in commercial operation in 2021 for ride-hailing or ride sharing. Ford’s high-tech partners include Velodyne, SAIPS, Neurenberg Neuroscience LLC and Civil Maps. • Argo AI, a start-up founded by former Google and Uber executives, was launched. (Ford announced in February it will invest $1 billion in Argo AI over the next five years.) • General Motors announced it would begin self-testing self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric AVs on public roads in Michigan as a follow-up to its testing more than 40 AVs in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz. GM said in January thousands of Bolts will be deployed in test fleets in partnership with Lyft. While it’s uncertain how much of a priority AVs will have in President Donald Trump’s administration, new Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has said she wants testing and experimentation to continue without much federal intervention and without dampening “the basic creativity and innovation of our country.” Seeking government direction are automakers and private companies such as Uber, Lyft and Google, who went to the U.S. Congress in early February, reported USA Today, “seeking relief from a growing patchwork of state laws surrounding self-driving cars,” and urging lawmakers to use their constitutional authority to also preempt city and county regulations.
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Sustainable City Network Magazine
Thus far, five states — California, Nevada, Tennessee, Florida and Michigan — and the District of Columbia have passed laws dealing with AVs. Pennsylvania developed a set of guidelines in response to Uber’s Pittsburgh venture.
Rodriguez echoed, “We strongly recommend that cities start planning now as far as what is going to be needed to handle driverless cars. Everyone is excited, but AVs have to be safe. And while I see the bigger impact three or five years away, things are happening now.”
Ducker and Rodriguez agree that the critical issue with AV technology is to prevent a reoccurrence of things like the 1970s battle between the VHS and Betamax video formats, a battle to the death in the marketplace that Betamax lost.
What should cities and municipalities be planning for?
“Needless to say,” wrote Rodriguez in a November column in Eno Transportation Weekly, “the Department of Transportation through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has had a busy few months with the release of the highly anticipated Federal Automated Vehicles Policy and Cybersecurity Best Practices for Modern Vehicles. “With the release of the policy…DOT has moved the regulatory gears from ‘neutral’ to ‘drive’ for automated vehicles,” Rodriguez noted. “While the regulatory path for AVs has started to take shape, it is going to take a collaborative and creative effort between the federal government, states and industry to address the infrastructure funding gap looming on the horizon. This difficult conversation should not be put off any longer if we want to ensure that the transformative benefits of AVs are fully realized.”
Rodriguez suggested examining codes, for example, to see if anything prevents AVs from operating. It’s important to have a framework in place to allow them. Cities need to preserve local control over their right-of-ways. “This is important,” said Rodriguez. “You do not want to lose control of how AVs will operate in your municipality. Safety is a vital part of this too.” Driverless vehicles are part of the ongoing integration of technology to turn communities into “smart cities.” This also encompasses broadband and wireless build outs, going from 4G to 5G, increased connectivity, smart electric and water meters and more, the experts said. “Ask questions. How will our police regulate AVs? What about unmanned aircraft? Will we need a new network of sensors and antennas along our roads? What about privacy and cybersecurity? What does the future of jobs look like in the cities?” Rodriguez suggested.
Ducker said the technology matters for his clients who own and invest in real estate. “Transportation radically changes land use. For example, trains demanded new places to live, new housing and more. The automobile was a game changer. Suddenly we needed parking. The car was so impactful on changing land use.” Moving from driver to driverless is another big change. “The way we are building now has to change. The value of buildings will change,” said Ducker. Ducker explained how the neighborhoods of the 1820s looked radically different from those of the 1920s. The shopping centers of the 1920s in city business districts were dead by the 1960s, replaced by shopping malls, many of which are now being abandoned. “There’s no question that cities will have to do a better job of planning for and embracing this change to AV than they did with the malls. Today, cities have to be relevant to work.” ■■ Futuristic Parking
Autostadt Car Towers in Wolfsburg, Germany, takes a cue from the idea of dry storage for boats. Experts believe this might be how autonomous vehicles will someday be stored in cities as they wait for commuters to get off work.
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He added that his firm is watching AV very closely. “We don’t want any blanket preemption allowing the federal government to control everything. This would be the wrong approach, a one-size-fits-all that can’t be effective. A fleet model for AVs operating on the East Coast in cities like New York and Washington, may not work for less urbanized cities on the West Coast.” To maximize the technology, it needs to be site-specific, he said.
“It should not be just to improve things for single occupancy rides,” said Rodriguez. He noted that DOT has recently announced large amounts of funding for transitional transit projects, including $1 billion for the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project in San Diego, $1.6 billion for the Westside Purple Line Extension in Los Angeles, $1 billion for the Red and Purple Modernization Project in Chicago and $499 million for TEX Rail in Forth Worth.
Ducker said he sees two key changes coming with AV.
According to Rodriguez, there is a simultaneous challenge and opportunity of incorporating smart transportation technologies, including ridesharing and automated and connected vehicles into cities in a way that complements the existing transportation system.
“First, car sharing will spike like crazy when you take the driver out of the equation. For example, 60 percent of the Uber cost is the driver. Several people could share an Uber ride during morning and evening commutes to the train station. That means tremendous value creation in towns with mass transit. People can move further out and buy less expensive real estate,” explained Ducker. According to a July 2016 study cited by Ducker and done by Martin & Shaheen, “Impact of Car2Go,” conducted in five North American cities, up to 11 vehicles could be removed per car sharing vehicle, which could have a major positive impact on reducing traffic congestion. Parking is the second big change. “Parking is and has been a big problem for America. It is dominant in designing real estate. Where do you stash the cars? Wherever people go, they are going by car. The space where someone works is usually less than the space required to park their car at the office,” Ducker said. It is also costly and burdensome, he added. “Buildings are complicated and parking particularly affects urban real estate. We are working on a project in downtown Philadelphia where it will cost from $50,000 to $80,000 per space. It is not only the cost; parking garages are incredibly inefficient uses of land,” said Ducker. Ducker projected that a driverless car could take someone to work and return home, or it could park itself in large, dedicated parking buildings further from downtown offices, similar to a concept now being used in a German city. There is also an element of social equity that comes with reducing the overall costs of parking. “While the affluent can afford the rates, especially in big cities like New York, we need to make it easier for regular people to live, work and get around in America,” observed Ducker. Both Rodriguez and Ducker want to see AV technology improve mass transit. Ducker said a car serves four to six people, a bus up to 50 and a train about 300. “Personal cars are used only about four percent of the time. A taxi is actually used 100 percent because it is always available for hire.”
When it comes to mass transit, Ducker said buses are not a great system today. “They are unpredictable, subject to traffic and costly to run. Buses are likely to go autonomous sooner. The driver is eliminated, a major cost. You can have dedicated bus lanes where lights turn green every time the bus approaches. This could really open things up for the suburbs.” Ducker envisions a hop-on, hop-off constant loop single user, 10-passenger AV vehicle or pod that could operate 24/7 with simple swipe-of-the-smartphone entry. “No cards. No cash. No hassle. Just seamless,” he added. Rodriguez pointed out that DOT’s 10 proving grounds, trials by Uber and Lyft and ongoing research and development by traditional automakers and newer companies such as Tesla, are important opportunities to test the operations of AVs in different real-world operating environments and establish best practices — “an important step toward developing the critical and missing framework for the safe operation of AVs on our roads.” Many issues need to be addressed, said Rodriguez, including private and public grants, funding and partnerships; privacy; data and information sharing; infrastructure improvements; safety; the “not in my backyard” mindset; regulatory solutions; public outreach and education; and franchise agreements. i.e., for telecommunications networks. “This is an exciting opportunity to better our lives if we do it right,” stressed Rodriguez. That hopefully includes having the federal government fully on board as quickly as possible. Rodriguez noted that the Obama administration had been “very inspirational and wanted to see the potential developed for what transportation can offer for connectivity. How do we incorporate technologies in a way that enhances our productivity and our use of public transportation? How do we keep things balanced between innovation and regulation with respect to safety?” He said he expects the same from the new administration. n [ 29 ]
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Published on Mar 29, 2017
In this issue, we continue our Leaderboard series by profiling the city of Palo Alto, Calif., which took its name from a 1,000-year-old redw...