Richmonders again came out in support of the environment and initiatives in line with eco-friendly living at the RVAGreen Sustainability workshop at the Carillon in Byrd Park Thursday evening. Mayor Dwight Jones said he was pleased to see more than 170 people for the event and joked that he needed to hold all of his […]
Richmonders again came out in support of the environment and initiatives in line with eco-friendly living at the RVAGreen Sustainability workshop at the Carillon in Byrd Park Thursday evening.
Mayor Dwight Jones said he was pleased to see more than 170 people for the event and joked that he needed to hold all of his public meetings at the Carillon to improve partipation. The Bike, Pedestrian and Trails workgroup was held there in Sept. 2010 and was regarded as a big success with 200 in attendance.
“We want to take the next step in our green initiatives,” Jones said. “We want to create more efficiency, less waste….and reduce our carbon footprint.”
Jones highlighted several initiatives that are in place or on the way, including the creation of a full-time bike, pedestrian and trail coordinator; institution of an anti-idoling policy for city vehicles; allowing up to 20 percent of the city workforce to tele-work and more.
On the walls were large sheets of paper with citizens highlighting current green initiatives in the city: To the Bottom and Back, community gardens, Cannon Creek Greenway, GRTC bike racks, bayscaping, solar utility poles, etc.
“We want to create a livable city that keeps its people and is more attractive to new people,” he said, pointing out that a more bikeable and walkable city would help improve the health of citizens, reduce obesity and the number of vehicles on city streets.
I met with many eco-friends supporting the cause at the event, including Nathan Burrell, James River Park trails manager; Champe Burnley, President of the Virginia Bicycling Federation; Louise Seals of the Richmond Tree Stewards; members of Richmond Cycling Corps; Damon Harris of Werecycleit (recently featured in RichmondBizSense); Nathan Lott, executive director of the Virginia Conservation Network; and Luke McCall, arborist for the City of Richmond.
The event did have about 25 protesters with Richmond TEA Party shirts and posters, passing out pamphlets from the American Policy Center that opposed sustainable developments and “Agenda 21.” One sign said “Stop Domestic Imperialism” and another declared RVAGreen to be “The end of road for private property rights.” The peaceful group stayed outside in the 95+ heat in front of the Carillon.
From the City of Richmond:
What is Sustainability? Generally defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In Richmond this means ensuring a clean and healthy environment; a competitive economic advantage; and fair access to livelihood, education, and resources for community members now and into the future.
What is a Sustainability Plan? A comprehensive set of goals and strategies focused on improving environmental quality, economic strength, and social equity within a community. The Plan works like a roadmap guiding the City towards a more sustainable future, through the implementation of strategies identified through a comprehensive, inclusive stakeholder process.
The City will use the following five focus areas:
- Economic Development: Encourages a vibrant economy and includes such topics as: affordable housing, green and local jobs, sustainable businesses and urban agriculture.
- Energy: Encourages energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green power purchasing.
- Environment: Encourages conservation and support of the natural world and natural resources including: air quality and the management of solid waste and water resources.
- Open Space and Land Use: Encourages sustainable land use patterns and protecting urban open spaces by focusing on topics such as: the urban tree canopy, green spaces and mixed use development.
- Transportation: Focuses on sustainable modes of transportation and an improved infrastructure including: bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, alternative fuels, complete streets and parking.
Timeline: The sustainability planning process will last approximately twelve months and it includes the city releasing a draft report around November 2011 and a final report in April 2012.