November’s topic is Transportation and Land Use. This is the final component of the One Climate Future planning process being undertaken by Portland and South Portland, the others being Climate Resilience, Waste Reduction, and Buildings and Energy Use.
Transportation remains the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions here in Maine. This is in large part due to our dependence on private automobiles to get around in a largely rural state. Also, consider the need to truck so many commodities into and around the state.
There are four aspects of this reality that we need to work on:
- how we move ourselves in conducting the activities of our lives;
- how we move necessary supplies;
- where we live in relation to the places we need or want to visit; and
- the proximity of those destinations to each other.
These are big issues that involve our smaller individual actions. But also, they require our collective will to change business as usual.
BRIGHT IDEA: Think about a used electric car!
This is especially possible if you live on the peninsula or confine your activities to places near your home.
Electric cars have been on the market long enough now that they’re affordable and can make economic sense. Especially true, if your lifestyle is such that you don’t drive long distances. You can operate with no problems within the limited range that the older models have, especially as the number of charging stations increases. Or you may want to opt for getting a charging device installed at your home – or go in with neighbors on one!
Renters might consider getting a community charging station with the right to use the station being part of the apartment’s lease.
BRIGHT IDEA: Get the zoning in Portland changed!
Cities throughout the country are changing their ordinances to eliminate residential zones that are restricted to single family houses on what are often sizable lots. This is an idea whose time has definitely come for Portland.
More multi-family housing in the suburban areas of the city can go a long way toward solving Portland’s housing crisis. And it could take development pressure off the peninsula.
Denser populations along the major transportation corridors will increase demand and use of Metro, reduce use of private automobiles, and can lead to more and enhanced amenities and services offered in the neighborhoods. Call or write your city Councilor and get this ball rolling!
Bright Ideas is brought to you by Portland Climate Action Team which meets the last Thursday of the month, 6-7:30 PM. All are welcome. FMI: firstname.lastname@example.org.