San José, California Mayor Chuck Reed on Friday released a 15-year roadmap—Green Vision—to address environmental problems while growing the local economy. San José is the US’s tenth-largest city, and the third-largest in California. Green Vision is organized around three elements: Clean Tech Innovation, Sustainability, and Green Mobility.
The plan outlines 10 goals that address energy consumption, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and other environmental impacts. The goals are:
Create 25,000 Clean Tech jobs as the World Center of Clean Tech Innovation.
Reduce per capita energy use by 50 percent.
Receive 100 percent of electrical power from clean renewable sources.
Build or retrofit 50 million square feet of green buildings.
Divert 100 percent of the waste from the landfill and convert waste to energy.
Recycle or beneficially reuse 100 percent of wastewater (100 million gallons per day).
Adopt a General Plan with measurable standards for sustainable development.
Ensure that 100 percent of public fleet vehicles run on alternative fuels.
Plant 100,000 new trees and replace 100 percent of our streetlights with smart, zero-emission lighting.
Create 100 miles of interconnected trails.
The problems are significant. We rely on an uncertain supply of imported water from the Delta. We depend on fossil fuel—much of which comes from unstable regions around the globe—to run our cars, heat and cool our homes and offices, and operate our information society.
Many of us have begun to make changes in our daily lives to address these problems. We recycle more of our household waste than any other large city in the nation. We recycle and reuse 11 million gallons of wastewater each day. We are investing in green buildings. We are a leader in driving hybrid cars.
But we can and must do more. By using our local ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and creative talent, we can create solutions that change the course of global events. What better place than San José, the Capital of Silicon Valley, to create and test the technology that will harness the sun and wind, turn sewage into fuel, and turn garbage into energy.—Mayor Reed
Green Mobility. More than 40% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Santa Clara county (the location of San José) comes from transportation. San José is also growing rapidly; over the next 30 years, the population growth in the city is projected to be greater than the growth in San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont combined.
We must prepare for this population growth to prevent gridlock and pollution. To develop a system of Green Mobility, we must reduce reliance on single-occupant vehicles and ensure that alternative transportation is efficient, convenient, and environmentally sustainable.—San José Green Vision
The primary elements of the Green Mobility plan include:
Long-Term Planning. The city will establish sustainable development standards in its General Plan with the intention of promoting high-density commercial and residential development near transit or on in-fill sites and limiting low-density housing. The standards will encourage builders to create opportunities for residents and employees to walk to retail, entertainment venues, parks, and schools in all neighborhoods. The General Plan Update, Envision San José 2040, will include clear and measurable standards for sustainable development.
Emission Reduction. This element concentrates in decreasing dependency on the automobile, and expanding the use of public transportation. The city will also replace its city fleet with “green vehicles” and provide support for alternative vehicles with public plug-in recharging stations and access to alternative fuels.
The plan calls for the development of smaller, lighter, and alternative fuel vehicles for mass and private transit. The City of San José is establishing a center to stimulate the development of such clean, alternative fuel vehicles using Silicon Valley technology.
Partnerships with San José educational institutions will promote walking to school and using zero-emission buses. Local policies will encourage residents and businesses to use zero-emission and hybrid vehicles. The city will advocate for State and Federal legislative action for additional investment in research and consumer incentives.
Smart, Green Streets. San José will adopt advanced technology such as light emitting diode (LED) efficient lighting, solar-powered lighting systems, and message and traffic intelligence programs to move traffic efficiently.
The city will test new ways to pave streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and trails. New pervious surfaces, which allow water to penetrate the surface, offer promise for being better for the environment.
Expanding the urban forest will help cool streets and sidewalks, clean the air, improve water quality, and help convert carbon dioxide emissions to oxygen.
To encourage more pedestrian and bicycle travel, the city is considering the installation of covered facilities along City sidewalks that will make it more convenient and comfortable for residents to walk and cycle. These cooling stations would serve as bike lockers or benches where people can rest or wait for a bus. At the same time, the stations would collect solar power to run adjacent streetlights.
Expanding the system of park trails to 100 miles will allow residents to travel more easily by bicycle or on foot.
Green Airport. The plan calls for the use of green building materials in the construction of the improvements at the San José International Airport. The airport will also generate alternative energy, implement energy efficient practices, mitigate noise, and enact initiatives to protect air quality. San José will continue its use of alternative energy vehicles for airport operations and encouraging the use of zero-emission modes of transportation to get to and from the airport.