On Earth Day 2010 (04/22/10), the Climate Action Leadership and the Community Advisory committees sent the report Sparking Boston’s Climate Revolution to Mayor Menino. The report offers strategies for achieving Mayor Menino’s goal to reduce Boston’s GHG emissions 25% by 2020. The proposals covered three areas: building efficiency and energy, solid waste, and transportation.
The report states that 27% of Boston’s 2008 GHG emissions originated from the transportation sector. To make reductions, Boston has several programs in place including WalkBoston, Boston Bikes, Complete Streets and the diesel retrofit grant program for businesses. Additionally, the city has retrofitted its diesel vehicles to run on biodiesel and has begun to retrofit school buses for ultra low sulfur diesel fuel and pollution control. To reduce transportation GHG emissions even more, the committees recommend the following:
- Encourage the use of energy efficient taxis, and find ways to require efficiency improvements in taxis.
- Develop a public campaign to improve automobile use behavior including improved vehicle maintenance, reduced driving speeds and smooth acceleration.
- Improve enforcement of excessive anti-idling laws and educate the public on the benefits of reduced idling.
- Expand bicycle infrastructure, including bike lanes and parking areas.
- Promote bicycle and car sharing programs.
- Utilize social media to encourage the use of mass transit, bicycling, walking, and ridesharing.
- Encourage businesses to join transportation management associations.
- Increase parking meter rates and analyze the costs and benefits of increasing meter hours.
- Institute residential parking permit fees, including a graduated fee structure based on the number of vehicles in a household.
The committees predict that 30% of Mayor Menino’s GHG reduction goal can be achieved by creating and expanding green transportation programs.
Boston is one of several cities nationwide focusing on transportation emissions. Another leader is the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently, seventeen transportation projects in the Bay Area each won a share of $33 million in federal funds from the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission Climate Initiative Program. Nearly $10 million was awarded to electric vehicle purchase programs, including $6.9 million to purchase electric taxis in San Francisco and San Mateo and $1.7 million to buy electric vehicles for a car-share program in Berkeley and San Francisco. The city of Berkeley also received $2 million to institute a new parking plan, which will include the creation of a flexible parking permit system designed to discourage driving and the installation of smart parking meters to afford variable parking fees. Other programs received awards to create green school routes. For example, Alameda County received $500,000 for its BikeMobile project, which will use a mobile truck to provide bike repairs along with bike safety and repair education to school children. Other counties also received funding to create bike-sharing and car-sharing programs. As these seventeen projects are instituted, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission hopes to find programs to expand throughout the Bay Area.