Mayor Specific Strategies
Keep Provo’s city departments focused on improving air quality.
Improving air quality requires long-term actions from everyone. The Mayor is well positioned to help city departments, boards, and committees maintain a focus on improving our air.
Tool: Support each city department in the development of a sustainability plan with an emphasis on air quality.
The city’s different departments each have a role to play in clearing our air, and each can adopt a sustainability plan that includes key air quality strategies. These department-level sustainability plans can feed into a city-wide plan. Help establish an annual review structure for these sustainability plans.
Tool: Hire a city sustainability manager.
A dedicated professional assigned to the role of City Sustainability Manager (or Chief Sustainability Officer or Director of Sustainability) could help ensure long-term continuity in the city’s sustainability efforts. A sustainability manager would support the Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee in their assigned duties and also be responsible for fundraising and grant application.
- An example of a highly-qualified City Sustainability Director. https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-werner-994185b
- City of Flagstaff’s Environmental Program Manager. http://www.flagstaff.az.gov/directory.aspx?EID=733
Promote Clean Air Initiatives and Practices
Raise broad public awareness about what Provo’s residents can do to clean Provo’s air.
Tool: Spread the word about Provo’s efforts to clear our air via social media and when speaking to the public.
Inviting the public and your social media followers to visit the Provo Clean Air Toolkit website is an easy first step to making progress on Provo’s air quality.
Tool: Publish a “Mayor’s List” of businesses that are making efforts to clean our air.
A Mayor’s List of businesses committed to clean air would encourage all businesses to adopt energy-efficiency goals and strategies and help citizens reward those businesses. Similar recognition could be given to car dealers who promote the purchase of clean (high smog rating) cars.
- Green Business Directory, Portland. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/sustainabilityatwork/62151?
- Green Business of the Month, Denver. https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/environmental-health/environmental-quality/certifiably-green-denver.html
Cleaner Vehicles and Fuels
Convert Provo’s vehicle fleet to cleaner (Tier 3, CNG, and electric) vehicles and promote the sale of tier 3 fuel.
Converting from “Tier 2” to “Tier 3” fuels and vehicles is among the most highly leveraged and cost-effective air quality control measures available.[i] CNG and electric vehicles also produce fewer emissions than vehicles powered by traditional petroleum-based fuels.[ii]
Tool: Use media platforms to spread the word on the impact of Tier 3 vehicles.
Many in the public do not fully understand the impact of newer, cleaner vehicles. A shift from a vehicle with a smog rating of 6 to one with a rating of 8 can eliminate 70% of emissions for every driver that makes the switch.[iii] Use outreach platforms to inform Provo’s consumers of the facts on Tier 3 vehicles, and encourage consumers to buy the cleanest car available for their needs and the needs of their family.
Tool: Convert Provo’s vehicle fleets to clean fuel vehicles.
The City has a large vehicle fleet and can set an example of responsible transportation to Provo’s residents and other cities by converting to clean vehicles (smog rating 8 or higher).
- Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool for vehicle fleet planning. Provides consumption-saving strategies and allows you to set goals for reducing consumption. http://www.afdc.energy.gov/prep/index.php
- Convert drive systems to hybrid electric, Ohio. An HVAC business in Ohio converted their fleet of vans to a hybrid electric drive system and cut their fuel usage by 30%. http://www.businessfleet.com/article/story/2015/04/hybrid-conversion-cuts-fleet-s-fuel-usage-by-30.aspx
- Fleet conversion, Salt Lake City. Since 2009, Salt Lake City has replaced 224 light- and heavy-duty vehicles with clean fuels/hybrid power, which now mark 15% of the fleet. This year, seven all-electric vehicles were also added to the fleet. http://www.slcmayor.com/pressreleases/2015/7/3/city-continues-to-green-its-fleet-with-new-zero-emisisons-electric-vehicle
Transportation and Urban Form
Take advantage of market shift to promote mixed-use land development; redevelop over-retailed real estate into mixed-use/higher density housing.
As online retailers become more prevalent, convenient, and popular the demand for certain brick-and-mortar stores will decline, leaving old retail space available for redevelopment.
Tool: Incorporate language into city plans and visioning documents which recognizes and emphasizes retail trends and opportunities for redevelopment in the city.
Documents which guide city plans should key in on this major trend which will have ramifications on land use, and thus air quality. As retail spaces shift, the city should ensure that it is prepared to maximize the land use to allow for improved walkability, mix of uses, and a variety of housing options for residents in all stages of life. All documents guiding the city in its land use, transportation, and redevelopment efforts should recognize major market trends, and make plans accordingly.
Tool: Consider allowing parking pricing to represent true costs.
“Free” parking encourages excessive driving, which pollutes our air and ends up costing us money in healthcare and lost productivity. UCLA Urban Planning Professor Donald C. Shoup estimates that the value of the free-parking subsidy to cars was at least $127 billion in the U.S. in 2002.
- “Free Parking Comes at a Price”, Tyler Cowen, The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/business/economy/15view.html?_r=0
Encourage higher density and transit-oriented development, smaller block sizes, and higher density of intersections.
People are more likely to use active and public transportation if there are small blocks, a high number of street intersections (which means streets are well-connected), and higher residential densities. These improvements to the urban environment would influence travel behavior and result in reduced emissions from vehicles by reducing trip distances and frequency.
Tool: Help Provo lead in transit-oriented development.
Transit-oriented developments (TOD) encourage moderate and high density housing near a transit site. TODs create an environment that is conducive to walking, biking and using public transit. TODs see reduced traffic congestion and accidents and expanded mobility of cyclists and pedestrians.[iv]
- Introduction to transit-oriented development. http://www.reconnectingamerica.org/what-we-do/what-is-tod/
Organize and zone well-spaced, walkable community centers.
Historically, Utah was planned around a network ofindividual towns that spread up and down the Wasatch Front. This pattern of centers brought important destinations close to residents in the pre-automobile age. Building on this network and expanding it to new greenfield development is critical to shortening and eliminating vehicle trips. Commercial, civic, religious, retail and educational centers built around existing cores, and planned for future core areas, will bring daily needs within walking distance of most city residents.
Tool: Work with City Council, and Community Development on amendments to zoning ordinances that will encourage walkable communities and public transportation.
A variety of factors dictate the form our cities take. Provo can be proactive in encouraging the walkable communities that residents want by pursuing zoning ordinance amendments that help shape urban form, and efficiently link it to public transportation. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Rezoning underutilized commercial spaces
- Minimizing the amount of parking required for new development
- Reducing block lengths
- Increasing intersection density
- Encouraging a wide variety of housing options for people in all stages of life
- Creating the trails and facilities needed for multi-modal commutes
- Encouraging street-facing front doors for local retail and businesses
- Locating parking lots behind buildings, where feasible
- Much of this will involve close collaboration and cooperation with both the city council and the Community Development.
Improve transit ridership through increased accessibility.
Many people support public transit, but ridership levels depend primarily on the convenience of using transit compared to the convenience of driving a private vehicle. More people will use public transit as it becomes more convenient for them to do so. Making public transit more accessible for people who live and work in Provo will help clear our air.
Tool: Encourage companies to provide UTA’s current Eco Pass program to their employees.
UTA already has an Eco Pass program, which is a company-sponsored annual transit pass employees can use to ride the train or the bus to commute to work and also for personal transportation. The Eco Pass saves companies money by cutting the cost of parking fees and real estate costs and providing tax credits.
Tool: Consider subsidizing public transit, particularly during winter inversion and summertime ozone seasons.
Providing lower-cost public transit passes on poor air quality days will reduce the number of private vehicles on the road and improve our air quality. Many Provo residents have never used public transit—low-cost public transit passes will provide a positive first experience.
- Free transit passes, Salt Lake City. In winter of 2015 the Salt Lake County Health Department teamed up with UTA to provide 2,000 people with easy-to-use FAREPAY cards with $10 credits in order to familiarize new riders with the system. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865620673/UTA-health-officials-offering-free-fare-cards-to-reduce-pollution.html?pg=all
Tool: Coordinate between the Transportation and Mobility Advisory Committee, Community Development and others to conduct a feasibility study to determine the best starting point for implementing a bike share system in Provo.
Bike share systems can be a powerful tool in improving first mile and last mile connectivity of transit trips. In less dense areas, bike share has shown the ability to expand the reach of transit while in denser areas, bike share has actually replaced some transit trips.
- Greenbike, Salt Lake City. Greenbike 2014 Annual Report
Develop a dedicated, consistent funding system for programs and infrastructure that support transit and active transportation.
State funds cannot yet be legally earmarked for bike infrastructure. Consider special city funding for cycling infrastructure, and other forms of infrastructure that will improve active transportation.
Tool: Establish mode share goals for active transportation and transit that are directly tied to funding allocation.
Consider developing a policy to allocate general fund transportation spending at the same ratio of the desired mode share goals for the City of Provo. For example, if a goal of 15% biking mode share was established, then 15% of all transportation funding should go towards bicycling infrastructure or program improvements.
- Bike funding policy, San Luis Obispo, CA. http://www.bikewalkalliance.org/blog/535-how-san-luis-obispo-just-established-the-most-powerful-bike-funding-policy-in-the-nation
Tool: Structure the City’s Capital Facilities Plan, Transportation Master Plan, and Impact Fee Facility Plan so that impact fees can be used to construct bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Impact fees collected by the City of Provo are currently used to offset the costs of publicly provided utilities and services such as water, sewer, storm water, transportation, power, and parks. Active transportation projects, though part of the Transportation Master Plan, are not included in the Capital Facilities plan and therefore cannot be used by the City for active transportation projects. Some cities have developed multi-modal impact fees to address the funding needs created by new development for active transportation facilities.
- Multi-modal Impact Fee Abstract http://www.westernite.org/Sections/washington/newsletters/Samdahl%20multimodal%20impact%20fees.pdf
Coordinate the efforts of Public Works, Parks & Recreation, and Community Development to create a connected, complete, and safe bicycle and pedestrian system.
It is important to develop complete alternative transportation networks in order for them to be useful and used by commuters. These networks should emphasize navigational simplicity and connecting key neighborhoods, destinations, and transit.
Tool: Promote activities that popularize and normalize walking or biking to school and work.
The mayor’s office has already taken the lead on bike to work weeks, as well as bike to school weeks and other activities. Continue to promote the visibility of cycling, as well as walking as a healthy alternative to driving for daily trips.
Tool: Coordinate with citizens and the Public Works department to provide lighting along streets, trails and public spaces to promote safety.
The use of appropriate lighting along sidewalks, crosswalks and public spaces creates a safer and more comfortable environment for cyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrian scale lighting promotes safety through traffic calming and illuminated bikeways while discouraging criminal activity. People are encouraged to bike and walk more when they feel safe, especially at night. Lighting requirements should also minimize light pollution.
- Seattle Pedestrian Lighting Citywide Plan http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/pedestrian_masterplan/docs/PedLightingFINAL.pdf
Tool: Coordinate between Public Works, Community Development and the Provo School District to develop safe routes to school for children.
Partner schools with the Transportation Department to develop safe routes for children to bike and walk to and from school on developed bike lanes and sidewalks with monitored crosswalks.
- Safe Routes to School National Partnership report on promoting active transportation http://www.saferoutespartnership.org/sites/default/files/pdf/The_Final_Active_Primer.pdf
Ensure that active transportation is measured and appropriately valued within overall transportation planning metrics.
Accounting for active transportation in transportation planning is a prerequisite to achieving goals of increasing active transportation
Tool: Develop an annual report describing active transportation metrics.
Tracking significant active transportation criteria including commute to work mode share, funds invested in facilities and programs, number of miles of facilities constructed, collision and health data can help to track the benefits of bicycling and walking within a community.
- San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: https://www.sfbike.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Annual-Report-2013-web.pdf
Tool: Encourage public health professionals to collaborate with the City to promote active transportation.
There is a strong connection between the built environment and community health. Bike lanes, pedestrian cross walks, and developed sidewalk networks promote community health and clear our air.
Improve building energy efficiency.
Energy efficient building envelopes, systems, and appliances reduce negative impacts on our air quality while also reducing electricity costs for households and building users.
Tool: Calculate the energy efficiency of government buildings.
Understanding energy problems in a building is the first step to improving energy efficiency. Establish a baseline understanding of the energy needs for all Provo facilities in order to map out a plan for improvement.
The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index is the nationally recognized scoring system for measuring a home’s energy performance. The HERS Index Score can be described as a sort of miles-per-gallon (MPG) sticker for houses, giving prospective buyers and homeowners an insight as to how the home ranks in terms of energy efficiency. In addition to a HERS Index Score, a home energy rating also provides the homeowner with a detailed report regarding energy problems in the house.
Tool: Develop an annual report describing active transportation metrics.
According to the ENERGY STAR program, the average commercial building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes through inefficient operations and technologies, which is a drain on our economy and creates needless pollution. Building energy benchmarking is a critical step in saving energy by empowering building and facility managers with information about their building’s energy performance, and helps target which buildings are ready to save energy, money, and reduce pollution.[v]
- Rocky Mountain Power’s automated benchmarking tool. https://www.rockymountainpower.net/benchmarking
- Background information on benchmarking. http://utahcleanenergy.org/policy-central/item/317-automated-energy-benchmarking-a-new-solution-for-businesses-in-utah
Tool: Improve access to existing programs and create new programs that incentivize energy efficient buildings.
Homeowners are demanding more energy efficient homes.[vi] Outfitting homes with the best technologies that will improve air quality will meet that demand and result in savings for Provo homeowners.
- List of federal and state energy incentive programs that apply in Utah. http://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program?state=UT
- Wattsmart Residential Efficiency Program Rocky Mountain Power https://www.rockymountainpower.net/res/sem/utah.html
- Wattsmart Business Efficiency Program Rocky Mountain Power https://www.rockymountainpower.net/bus/se/utah.html
- Wattsmart New Homes Program Rocky Mountain Power https://www.rockymountainpower.net/res/sem/utah/esnh.html
- ThermWise Business Program http://www.thermwise.com/business/BusinessRebates.php
- Green Building Incentives, Charlottesville, Virginia. http://www.charlottesville.org/departments-and-services/departments-h-z/public-works/environmental-sustainability/green-building-incentives
Tool: Require the installation of high efficiency, low emission appliances.
An ultra-low NOx water heater produces up to 75% less pollution than a low-NOx water heater. Most Ultra-low NOx water heaters cost about $70 more than low NOx water heaters, while Energy Star rated models are $150 more. Low emission boilers may also be available. Ultra low-NOx furnaces are not yet commercially available, but may be in the next few years.
- Code requiring high-efficiency water heaters, California. Residential water heaters must be ultra-low NOx in California. http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2013standards/prerulemaking/documents/current/Reports/Residential/Water_Heating/2013_CASE_WH2.WH5_WaterHeaterReady-10.28.2011.pdf
- Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program, Australia. The CBD program “requires energy efficiency information to be provided in most cases when commercial office space of 2000 square meters or more is offered for sale or lease. … An informed market rewards better performing buildings. It creates a strong market-based incentive for owners to improve their properties with cost-effective energy efficient upgrades that are attractive to buyers and tenants and increase return on investment.” http://cbd.gov.au/overview-of-the-program/what-is-cbd#Q3
Tool: Change the city office dress codes and adjust thermostat accordingly.
Over-cooling an office in the summer and over-heating in the winter results in an unnecessary use of energy. Encouraging employees to dress appropriately in the winter and summer allows for reduced energy consumption and therefore cleaner air in our city.