05
JUL
0

I’ve been a transportation professional for almost 40 years, working from California to Florida over that period. During my career, I’ve experienced the completion of the interstate system, the associated rush to expand suburban living yielding more and longer commutes, and now the emerging focus of many of those same communities to re-energize their pre-1970’s urban areas into livable, economically viable and multimodal places where residents can work, live and play without ever owning or using a car.

 

Across the country there is increasing dialogue about the nation’s failing transportation system and the need to plan and implement long-term transportation solutions that are sustainable, less impactful to the environment and community, and inclusive of all roadway users. Land use is becoming more integrated with street and transit systems and just in the last 10 years over 900 state and local governments have adopted “complete streets” policies to ensure that their communities offer increased transportation alternatives to all modes of travel and ages and abilities of travelers. More complete street systems expand the value and reach of strained government budgets and can transform communities in a powerful way.


The National Complete Streets Coalition says that Complete Streets are “streets for everyone.” Unlike more traditional car-centric solutions, Complete Streets are multi-purpose, supporting safe and efficient transportation for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists (both car and truck) and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets are tailored to suit the unique needs of cities and their residents and roadway users.

 

As explained in a May 2016 APWA Reporter article, Making Streets Complete for Community Sustainability, in urban areas these streets typically include sidewalks, bike lanes, bus lanes, public transportation stops, intersection crossing opportunities (via enhanced crosswalks, curb ramps and sidewalks), median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, roundabouts, and more. No user’s safety or access is compromised for another user.

 

I’ve recently been spending time working on a number of projects for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), who adopted their Complete Streets Implementation Plan in 2015. FDOT is committed to consistently planning, designing, constructing, reconstructing and operating a context-sensitive transportation network that is balanced to safely serve all modes of travel. The whole implementation initiative is scheduled for completion in December 2017, and it’s exciting to already see the impact: a variety of safety, health and economic benefits that are enhancing quality-of-life for residents across the state.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Complete Streets Policy and new Complete Streets Implementation Plan helps provide safer, context-sensitive roads by putting "the right street in the right place." Just last month, I assisted Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition in providing multimodal complete streets training to a number of agencies in the Orlando region. These in-depth workshops are helping state, regional and local agency staff evaluate where and how Complete Streets could be incorporated throughout the region, including discussions about land use context, transportation context, implementation strategies and public involvement.

 

It was exciting to see that so many different projects across the Orlando region have the potential for Complete Streets elements to be introduced: large and small projects, high-budget and low-budget projects, maintenance and new capacity projects, and complex and simple projects. These workshops represent a major paradigm shift in the way states and communities approach transportation projects. Rather than tackling a project with a primary goal of addressing existing problems, generally associated with motorized transportation issues, agencies are thinking more holistically. The Complete Streets concept encourages us to let the end users inform our decisions and to think long-term and big picture about how better planned and designed streets can contribute to more healthy, livable communities and improved quality-of-life.


In summary, I’m encouraged to see so many state DOTs, cities and neighborhoods considering the value of Complete Streets from so many different angles, and I’m confident that we’ll continue to see a steady increase in these types of projects for many years to come. Across the U.S. communities of every size are working hard to create sustainable transportation networks that more safely connect people and places, and for transportation professionals, there’s no more important goal.

 

Marshall Elizer

Gresham, Smith and Partners

Senior Vice President


09
JUN
0

When I was the Public Works Director in the City of Kirkland, Washington, city leadership wanted the City to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and overall fuel consumption within the City fleet. Kirkland had already emphasized active Transportation (bicycling, walking and transit); and thus sought to have the City fleet mirror that same commitment.

 

As a result, the City employed several Green Fleet techniques, including

  • Purchasing hybrid sedans for the pool fleet when vehicles were up for replacement
  • An in-house retrofit of a power lawn mower using an electric engine produced in Germany  for other purposes
  • Purchased three gas-powered one-seat Honda Metropolitan scooters for short in-town trips; this was in-lieu of additional sedans to accommodate increased staff.  The Metropolitan traveled 99 miles on 1 gallon of gas vs. the approximate 18 mpg the sedans had been getting. These were used regularly by staff at City Hall, the Corporation Yard, and the Parks and Recreation office.

As Fleet Managers are aware, there are several opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel consumption. Specifically, by integrating hybrid, all-electric, clean diesel, biodiesel, CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), or LNG (liquefied natural gas) vehicles; enforcing no-idling guidelines;  and implementing active transportation modes where feasible.

 

There are many motivations agencies and municipalities have for addressing this issue. For some, Climate Change Action Plans, state or local GHG emission reduction targets, and other factors are the primary motivator. For others, a desire to limit usage of non-renewable resources, promote more active modes of transportation and other goals are behind the interest to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

 

No matter the motivation, it is important that Fleet Managers and Public Works Directors are fully engaged in the goals and means to create a Green Fleet.  The four primary factors that Fleet Managers consider when implementing a Green Fleet are:

  1. The initial purchase cost as compared to other alternatives
  2. The ongoing maintenance costs; and the compatibility of the proposed vehicle with the parts and materials commonly utilized by maintenance staff
  3. The cost and availability of the fuel source
  4. The ability of the proposed vehicle to meet the operational needs required by the user

 

These four criteria must be fully analyzed and reviewed by those responsible for insuring the fleet meets the operational needs of the City. In addition, Fleet Managers and Public Works Directors, consistent with all their decision-making, must always have a) a long-range plan for how the Green Fleet is to be purchased and maintained over time; and b) a way to measure the benefits and costs to insure the fleet is meeting public service goals at the appropriate short- and long-term costs.

Finally, proponents of Green Fleets should also utilize the insights and lessons learned from other municipalities. As a result of resources, political leadership, citizen engagement, and other factors, some cities have the means to be at the forefront of innovation. Fortunately, we all can benefit from their investments and lessons learned.

 

Noted below are some additional resources in the C4S Sustainability Toolkit that could be useful as you pursue the ‘greening’ of your fleet.

http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/pev-guide-to-lessons-learned-report.pdf

http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/FAS/FleetManagement/2014-Green-Fleet-Action-Plan.pdf

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/pdfs/45827.pdf

 

Daryl Grigsby

City of San Luis Obispo

Public Works Director


02
JUN
0

The three P's (people, planet, profit) are often referred to as the "Triple Bottom Line" when describing sustainability. It is important to utilize these principles when determining sustainable practices.

 

At the City of Tempe our facilities division is constantly looking for ways to promote sustainability by reducing both electricity costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

 

We identified several large structures that were using metal halide lights.  The first area identified was the Kiwanis Wave Pool.  We replaced fifty-four 400 watt metal halide lights with fifty-four 188 watt LED lights. Annually, we will use 75,114 less kilowatt-hours (kWh's) and save $15,321 in electricity costs.

 

Another area identified was the City Hall Parking Garage. We replaced 240 metal halide lights with LED's. Annually our kWh savings will be 178,688 while our electricity savings will be $17,868.

Here are some other facts about LED's verses metal halide lights you may not know. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lights use approximately 54% less electricity. A typical 400 watt metal halide light produces 20,000 Lumens when newly installed and greatly dissipates after they are initiated. In fact, metal halide lights lose 50% of their Lumens after a mere 10,000 hours and have a 16,000-20,000 life expectancy.  However, they continue to use 456 kWh's. By contrast, LED light fixtures produce 18,000 Lumens while only using 213 kWh's. LED's maintain 92% of their Lumens for 60,000 hours and have a life expectancy of 100,000 hours.

 

This reduction in kilowatt-hours and electricity usage results in reduced costs and power plant emissions.

 

LED's promote the "Triple Bottom Line' by producing better lighting longer; therefore increasing our ability to see (people), use less kilowatts, contain no known disposal hazards and reduce greenhouse gases (planet) and use much less electricity (profit).

 

The U.S. Department of Energy (http://www.energy.gov/eere/femp/lighting-energy-conservation-measures) is an excellent resource for investigating the advantages of LED's. Here’s a link to a great video that highlights the LED streetlight program that the City of Los Angeles completed http://bsl.lacity.org/led.html.

 

Jennifer Adams

City of Tempe

Facilities Maintenance Manager


19
MAY
0

Given that this is National Public Works Week and National Bike to Work Week and in sticking with our May theme of climate change, I thought it would be worth taking a minute to emphasize the important role that Public Works plays in making biking to work possible and what kind of greenhouse gas reduction benefit we might actually get if more people did it.

 

Potential GHG Reductions

For many cities in North America, the transportation sector is often the largest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the toughest area to address. Any actions to get people out of single occupancy vehicles is a step in the right direction when it comes to reducing GHG emissions.

 

In November 2015, the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy and the University of California, Davis released the findings from a study that sought to determine the potential for and the benefit of increasing bicycle use in cities around the world. While the specific benefits to any individual city will vary, their findings suggest that if we used bikes instead of cars for 10% of our trips, globally GHG emissions from vehicles would drop by about 11% and a savings of $24 trillion on infrastructure costs would be realized.[1] You can access the full report here: https://goo.gl/6FmjhN

 

Role of Public Works

From the road conditions, to signage, shared lane markings, and lighting, public works has its hands all over every mile of your ride. Like everything, these road improvements come at a cost, but it is important to consider the benefits. In addition to reducing GHG emissions, biking supports a healthy lifestyle, and reduces traffic congestion and associated impacts to air quality.

If you are not sure how to balance the costs and benefits, you can use this tool to estimate costs, the demand in terms of new cyclists, and measured economic benefits: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/bikecost/step1.cfm. See the full report behind all this data at http://goo.gl/BStIwO.

 

Bike Friendly Cities

In August, PWX will be held in Minneapolis, one of the top biking cities in the country. I have always been impressed that a city in such a cold climate continues to grow its number of urban cyclists. The City insures this by continuing to commit budget to constant improvements and additions to their bike facilities. Interested in checking out what Minneapolis has to offer? Sign up for the PWX Wednesday Workshop tour of their bike facilities. You can also learn more about what Minneapolis is doing at the links below.

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/bicycles/.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm1UFA3GpQs

From bike share programs to rails to trails, cities across the continent are shifting away from viewing cars as the only means of transportation. A multimodal approach is more sustainable and is frankly what more and more people want these days. People want options. Join the C4S APWA Connect Community at http://infonow.apwa.net/welcome.htm (click on InfoNow and click on C4S) or reference @APWAC4S in your tweet to tell us what your community is doing to celebrate Bike to Work Week!

 

Kim Lundgren

Chair, APWA Center for Sustainability (C4S)

Kim@KimLundgrenAssociates.com

@TheKimLundgren

 


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