Philadelphia Progresses On Greenworks Initiatives But lacks in Planning for Climate Change

As the city continues to make headway on its list of sustainable initiatives, it realizes much more still needs to be done to plan for future climate change.  At Tuesdays Planning Commission meeting, Katherine Gajewski gave a progress report on the city's environmental mission statement, Greenworks Philadelphia.  As of today 26 of the initiatives have been achieved and 109 are currently in progress.  This accounts for a majority of the initiatives.

Percy Street was recently paved with porous pavement.  The city's recycling rate, spurred along with an incentive program, has hit 30 percent, up from 5 percent three years ago.  The water department now operates a solar array.  A region-wide energy efficiency fund offers low-interest loans to residential and commercial energy efficiency projects.  An on-going retrofit of 85,000 city traffic lights with LED bulbs will save $1 million a year in utility bills and, because they require less frequent bulb changes, workers will have more time for other projects.

Summary of Greenworks Progress

Water departments solar panel

In coming months, her office will be working with other city departments and outside entities to do more.  Through a partnership with Philly Car Share, about 20 new electric vehicles will be brought into the car share fleet this fall.  Greenworks will be working with urban farmers and gardeners to make it easier to grow on vacant city lots.  The city also learned that its tree canopy cover is stronger than they thought, but still intends to plant roughly 250,000 more trees.  Because the greatest opportunity for planting is on the privately owned land of institutions and residences, the city is working on an incentive program to foster more tree planting.

Despite all of these efforts Gajewski says the city must establish a plan to deal with climate change and create " climate adaptation strategies,"  Many major cities have already looked at how they would deal with rising temperatures and water levels.  Some programs to be discussed or made public are; the water departments plan for the cities rain water collection on public thoroughfares; How the energy companies plan to tap into renewables sources like solar and wind energy in our region; SEPTA and PATCO's future plans on creating more cohesive and fluid connections throughout the tri-state area; or the Zoning Board and Planning Commissions plans to carve out designated districts for a concentration of economic growth, resources, and entertainment throughout the city.

 Philly 2035 Transit and Community growth plan

Urban wind turbine park in Southeast Asia