ASK ANN

"This is not a new question but maybe there's a new answer. We are seeing another influx of deer invading our residential areas causing damage both to vegetation and vehicles. Our residents are complaining and expect us to do something about it. They're not willing to try the deer whistle idea any more. Anything new to suggest?"

The latest attempt I've learned about is occurring in Highland Park, IL with a "Deer Doctor" program. A mobile unit has been equipped to provide surgical facilities and a veterinarian performs sterilization procedures on does that are then released back into the habitat. The process is humane because the animals are not killed and the hope is to reduce the deer population by reducing the ability to reproduce. A humorous footnote to the program was the call received from the National Organization for Women (NOW) protesting the process for being prejudicial against the female species. It is too early to tell whether the process is having an impact on reducing the deer population in the area.

"I've noticed a big push for shoppers to 'bring their own bags' when they're shopping to discourage using plastic bags which fill up the landfills. Do you think it is really going to be a successful venture nationwide?"

It's raining today and my crystal ball doesn't work well without sunshine. However, I do know that several major cities across the country are proposing some pretty interesting programs to "encourage" shoppers to bring their own reusable bags. The City of Seattle is proposing that shoppers would be charged a 20-cent "green fee" per bag used at the checkout line at grocery, convenience and drug stores. Their plan would provide one free reusable bag to every household before the fee would go into effect next January. Retailers would keep five cents of the fee to cover the cost of implementing the fee. Small businesses that gross less than $1 million a year would be able to keep the entire 20-cent fee. The City is also planning to ban plastic-foam food containers and cups at food service businesses. Non-recyclable plastic food containers and utensils would be banned in 2010. It appears that the City Council supports the Mayor's plan. The City of Seattle has adopted a "zero-waste" strategy to increase recycling and reduce trash. Stay tuned for the results. San Francisco has also banned plastic grocery bags. Recycling has been offered as an "option" for many years, hoping that residents would "choose" to do the right thing for the environment. Many cities are now determining that the voluntary participation has not been enough to make the needed impact.

"When did you say the 6th edition of the Public Works Management Practices Manual will be released? If we are working on our Self Assessment and plan to apply for Accreditation, how long can we use the 5th edition of the Manual?"

The 6th edition will be released at the APWA Congress in New Orleans in mid-August and will be available online immediately following. Agencies that are currently working towards Accreditation using the 5th edition but have not signed a contract will need to do so by September 15 to ensure they can continue in that edition. After September 15, anyone signing a contract will be expected to use the 6th edition.

"I recently read a posting on one of the infoNOW Communities that referred to the 'Cool City Pledge.' Can you explain what that is?"

The Cool City program is one sponsored by the Sierra Club designed to encourage communities and individuals to "take action to help solve global warming." The reference in the infoNOW posting was in response to a discussion about what agencies were doing to attempt to control the rising fuel costs. Ideas shared by our members included buying more hybrid vehicles, reducing idling, better planning of daily driving routes to conduct business, proper loading of vehicles to reduce weight and return trips to the shop, car pooling and walking to meetings, proper tire inflation, and considering a change of fuel source. APWA has not developed a formal position on "global warming" but is supportive of assisting our members in promoting best practices for conserving energy and protecting our environment.

"We are continuing to look for new ways to provide traffic calming in our community. We've tried the roundabouts. Some of them work. Some don't. Speed bumps, humps, and tables have all had their place. We still have some areas that need something else. Is there something else?"

I'm sure there are lots of other things. I recently heard a presentation at the New England Chapter's Spring Meeting on "Road Diets." Not only was it a catchy title but the subject matter was fascinating. The presenter was Najib Habesch and he will be presenting the session at Congress in New Orleans, "Road Diets: Making City Streets Safer by "Slimming" Them Down." Check your Congress schedule for education sessions and be sure you find this one. Najib is with Urban Engineers, Hartford, CT.

Ask Ann...

Please address all inquiries to:

Ann Daniels
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625

Fax questions to: (816) 472-1610
E-mail:
adaniels@apwa.net