Tuesday, May 14, 2019

415ppm and a Bust for the Bike More Challenge

A little buried in the paper this morning is a thin column with news that we've hit the latest round increment of terrible, 415 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.

On the front page is a pull quote from Governor Brown during her address to the Salem Chamber of Commerce:
The harsh reality is future generations will judge, not on the fact of global climate change, but on what we've done to tackle it.
Those are fine words, and true enough.

But passage of the cap and trade bill will be far from sufficient. It's merely a baby step, and we will have to do more, much more.

For starters, the Governor and ODOT will have to renounce planning for more driving. There's no way we hit our climate goals with increases in driving.

This kind of disconnect is pervasive.

Also in the paper is a story about inconsistency - and perhaps even something that rises to cynical hypocrisy - at the University of Oregon.

The work on "sustainability" at our universities are frequently too small and too disconnected from larger university planning and capital projects.

Change will have to be threaded institutionally at multiple levels, the highest levels, and will need to be coordinated, not handled by small and decorative sustainability institutes. This will be true for the State of Oregon, for all our universities, for the City of Salem, for any institution or corporation.

Example of Bike More Challenge and the City of Salem

One of the recommendations from the Congestion Relief Task Force is to "develop and implement commute trip reduction programs." This is also helpful for emissions, of course, and we should be leveraging these alignments.

Last month Council considered whether to implement ordinances or to start with programming focused on municipal employees.

May's "Bike More Challenge" was right there for the picking, super low-hanging fruit.

Lukewarm participation at the City of Salem
At mid-month, it appears that only Public Works has a team, and participation is very low.

The Bike More Challenge is a proxy only, and it's supposed to be fun. It is not in and of itself the best or most important element in any trip reduction plan. But it's a useful tool.

And it seems really telling that there's this opportunity right there, and City management and leadership show no interest in it. Disconnects like this are pervasive.

You can see the rest of the Salem-area leaderboard here.


Anonymous said...

UO has just left apparently.

citation - https://www.oregonlive.com/environment/2019/05/university-of-oregon-withdraws-from-industry-group-opposing-gov-kate-browns-climate-agenda.html

Mike said...

If Salem and the State offer up lots of free and low cost off-street parking, then they're encouraging the problem. Both governments need to dramatically reduce off-street parking and charge a lot more for what they keep.

One other thing to show the disconnect. DAS is moving forward on building out at the southeast edge of town for the Mill Creek Industrial Center, which of course will have poor-if any-transit connection, will not be bike or pedestrian friendly and will only undermine efforts for infill closer to the core.