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City Adopts Plan to Go Green

The Hermosa Beach Green Task Force's sustainability plan focuses on water, waste, transportation, building, energy, environment—and calls for the city to reduce its carbon emissions.

After two years of research and meetings, the Hermosa Beach Green Task Force presented its final sustainability plan to the City Council .

The 60-page report recommends actions for the city and residents to take to improve sustainability, including:

  • Creating secure bicycle storage facilities to encourage biking.
  • Creating more pedestrian-friendly environments and encouraging students to walk to school.
  • The creation of a summer time "Beach Bus" shuttle service.
  • Converting the cities fleet of vehicles to electric, and adding natural gas and electric charging stations in town.
  • Through various education programs, encourage residents to waste less, drive less, and utilize "green" technology
  • Becoming a "zero waste" city by increasing the rate of trash diverted to recycling.

The council unanimously accepted the plan.

City staffers will consult with Green Task Force members and begin work on a concrete implementation of the sustainability plan to present to the council by the beginning of 2012.

"We call it a sustainability plan but I like to think of it as a quality of life plan. Every measure in here speaks to quality of life issues," former Green Task Force Chair Philip Friedl told the council.

The plan calls for the city to reduce its carbon emissions 15 percent below its 2005 baseline by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050.

While Friedl acknowledged the ambition of the long-term carbon goal, he said that the city "can set aggressive measures if we can attack the issues."

Transportation causes a majority of the city’s carbon emissions, with building energy efficiency a distant second, according to the Green Task Force report.

To tackle transportation, the sustainability plan recommends that residents bike and walk more, and use public transportation. Easier to read public transportation signs, a summer shuttle, and safer roads are just some of the recommendations made in the plan for the city.

The task force also recommended increasing the energy efficiency of municipal buildings with green technology and increasing the use of solar and wind technology among Hermosa Beach homes and businesses.

Speaking to Patch before the council meeting, Mayor Howard Fishman said that the city might not have the funds to implement every recommendation in the plan.

"The city right now has a fleet of vehicles that use gasoline and ideally we’d like to replace all those vehicles with electric, but we cant necessarily buy all these new vehicles," he said, adding, "We cant do everything right away, like purchase new technology, but we need to have a plan and vision, so their [the Green Task Force] work is important."

Hermosa Beach Senior Planner Pamela Townsend said that the Green Task Force "has put together a comprehensive program for addressing long-term livability issues of the city… clean air, water, health, our beach and our economy."

Councilman Peter Tucker said that in the future the Green Task Force could become a permanent five-person group to help assist with the implementation of the sustainability plan.

And
Fishman said that the sustainability plan possibly could be submitted to the California League of Cities, or become a blue print for initiatives statewide.

But ultimately, Townsend said that the plan is the first step in a long process aimed at helping Hermosa Beach become a "green" city.

"The most important work is ahead; to continue to make steady progress in changing behavior by talking to people, making changes at City Hall, spreading the message, enlisting the community and other partners," Townsend said. "That’s the beautiful simplicity of sustainability, everyone can do it."

How do you think Hermosa should go green?

Carlos Livingston September 16, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Excellent, informative article.

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