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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.