Seattle (the city, not the region) has hit its Kyoto Protocol goal of reducing global warming emissions to 8% less than 1990. All of the gains came from land use, heating and electricity, while transportation emissions have actually increased by 3% over the period. The times article I have linked explicitly calls out that “the city’s achievement could be short lived, unless it can do more to reduce driving”.
On that front, Seattle is thinking of changing its multi-family zoning plans to increase density while lowering requirements for parking. This document (PDF) from one of their open houses a few weeks ago shows some of the plans in detail. I appreciate the city’s attempt to lower the cost of housing by increasing development, and making development cheaper. Having a mix of different incomes makes the city a better place to live, and I for one appreciate what the mayor and the council are doing on this front.
Carless in Seattle has pointed to another article, this one from the New York Times, about “Seattle and Other Cities’ Mantra: Improve Transit, Reduce Traffic”. It’s a great summary and a nice chance to read the perspective of someone from outside Seattle. Nothing new in there really, but this part I like very much:
This November, residents of Seattle and other Puget Sound communities will vote on whether to raise the sales and vehicle excise taxes to generate $7.8 billion for road construction and $10 billion to build 50 more miles of light-rail lines and other transit projects. A broad alliance of business, civic and labor groups and regional governments support the measure.
Public opinion polls indicate that voters are also in favor.
Let’s hope so.
With the Streetcar getting going and Central Link opening in 2009, we’re moving in the right direction on global warming here in Seattle.