The Sightline Institute's Eric de Place has an interesting opinion piece up at Gristmill, arguing that we should read into Seattle voters' rejection Tuesday of a ballot initiative that would have simultaneously funded light rail and road construction:
It's pretty well accepted that Seattle-area voters are receptive to environmental messages -- and in this case there were smart and well-informed greens on both sides of the debate. But green or not, the biggest problem for a certain segment of voters may have been that there was no comprehensive accounting of the climate impacts of the project -- one that included the roads, the rail, and the probable effects on land use.
de Place argues that future transportation packages should "address climate change as a guiding principle," doing so by estimating climate impacts in advance, focusing on efficient and climate-friendly transportation solutions, and taking the opportunity to leverage and improve land-use planning. And while his analysis focuses on the challenges facing the Seattle area, familiar and ongoing developments out in California indicate that he's not the only one looking for specific solutions:
Build new homes closer to where people work to avoid long commutes in gas-guzzling cars and adopt green building standards so homes and businesses consume less energy.
That was the advice California Attorney General Jerry Brown gave Monday to western Riverside County leaders wanting to know how to meet the requirements of California's landmark global warming law and to avoid lawsuits like the one his office filed against San Bernardino County this year.
Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge told Brown it would be helpful for cities to get a uniform checklist so they would have guidance when making decisions that involve greenhouse-gas emissions.
State agencies, including the California Air Resources Board and the Governor's Office on Planning and Research, are crafting guidelines, but they won't be final until 2012. But Brown urged local leaders to start talking about the issue and taking any action possible.
The more discussion and guidance on this issue, the better things will be for officials, planners and local residents who want to seriously contribute to warming solutions. This is an exciting topic for us here at Warming Law, and we look forward to sharing more ideas as they develop...