Making Climate Change Part of the Local Transpo Debate

As the leaders of the G-8 meet in L’Aquila, Italy, to discuss how to tackle climate change on the global level, we bring you a report from Streetsblog Network member GreenCityBlueLake about a victory on the local level in Ohio.

It shows how advocacy organizations can reframe the debate over transportation spending so that addressing climate change is an explicit goal for regional authorities:

1630675139_63906f82f1_m.jpgPlanning for fewer of these in Northeast Ohio. Photo by undergroundbastard via Flickr.

Thanks to the advocacy of the GreenCityBlueLake Institute in recent months, regional plans in Northeast Ohio will be changed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation…

When two of the region’s transportation agencies — the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) — released drafts of their long-range transportation plans in early 2009, they glossed over the impact of climate change… [N]either mentioned climate change as a serious challenge to the region. Nor did they include reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as a criteria for setting goals.

In response, GCBL staff met with agency staff and board members and explained what other regional planning agencies (such as the one for the Columbus region) and federal agencies are doing to address climate change. We outlined how they could add climate change language to their plans. We shared our climate change transition plans
and explained how they could be consistent with the goals and vision of long-range transportation plans. And communicated these outreach efforts here.

As a result of our work and public comments, NOACA recently amended goal Number Two of its 2030 long-range plan
to specifically identify climate change. Just as important, NOACA promised to initiate an effort to develop a more detailed climate change policy for the region…

With AMATS, GCBL engaged in the public debate by posting about the need for climate change as part of the Summit County area’s long-range plan. And our staff met with AMATS board members individually. As a result of the increased awareness, AMATS recognized the region faces a significant challenge, and, thus, adopted climate change language in their 2030 Regional Transportation Plan. Now the agency is beginning to prioritize its projects and review their performance through the lens of carbon reduction.

In other network news: Yesterday, we brought you New Geography‘s take on telecommuting; today, World Streets has a post by Jack Nilles on the same topic. The MinusCar Project in Sioux Falls, SD, updates us on a citizen-driven initiative to mark streets in that city so that light-change sensors detect cyclists as well as cars. And Bike Portland reports on a second credit union that wants to lend you money to purchase a vehicle. A two-wheeled vehicle.

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