October 29, 2009

Urban living on the green frontier: slashing greenhouse gases, taxing cars to build bike lanes

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rita_hibbardwebHere’s an update from the front lines of sustainable urban living.

Portland’s City Council has agreed to slash the city’s greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, changing how homes are heated, how residents commute and how food is moved from field to table, the Portland Tribune reports. This puts Portland, which already is considering putting 25 percent of its commuters on bikes by 2030, as earlier reported by InvestigateWest, front and center in green urban living.

“Some people ask why Portland and Multnomah County need to adopt such an aggressive strategy instead of letting national or global programs take their course,” Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen said. “It does need to be addressed globally, but local leadership really matters.”

Portland’s mayor says the plan will spur the economy by adding green jobs producing services and products that can be marketed globally. Read the whole plan here.

Meanwhile, the city of Burien, a Seattle suburb, could become the first city in Washington to tax cars to build sidewalks and bikelanes if a $25 car tab fee is approved in next Tuesday’s election. The two-year levy could be renewed until as many as 20 bike and pedestrian routes crisscross the city, the Seattle Times reports.

— Rita Hibbard

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