To Steve Cover, AICP, City Community Development Director
From Gary L. Peterson, AICP
Subject Draft of The Madison Sustainability Plan
Date April 27, 2011
In reviewing the draft copy of the report I find many good points. I did find elements that I believe need correcting, changing or expanding.
A deficiency of the Plan is the emphases on the City. A majority of the tasks are what the City can or should do. If Madison is to become a sustainable City we must heavily involve the private sector. The private sector is where most actions take place from energy consumption to Lake pollution. The private sector controls most of the land and where most activities occur. This report only occasionally touches on the private sector. The planning process did involve a Sub-committee of the Private Sector. To my knowledge only a small number (maybe 2) of the members actually run a business. What was and is needed is a significant educational program on Sustainability for the private sector as a whole. To have the City lead by example is not sufficient and will not get the job done.
A second theme lacking to the extent needed is the principal, “There is no such thing as waste, but only resources out of place.” Applying this principal to all redevelopment and new development is what will place Madison ahead on the sustainability curve. I do not mean recycling construction “waste,” but applying the principal to the construction itself. We do need to do it with carrots, not sticks. This important opportunity needs full inclusion in the plan.
The following are my comments:
On page 2 and 3 the Accountability section recognizes that Sustainability involves the Private and Public Sectors, but only the City acts.
On page 3 in the second paragraph under Background we need to include all private property owners; developers; planning, engineering and architecture consultants; builders; real estate professionals; and others.
On page 10 Goal 3 mentions goals of 40% and 50% to be met in 2 years. What happens then? Are we done? Have we reached the maximum? I think we need better metrics for this goal.
On page 10 the 5th Action Point says we are to meet two storm water standards. Could we exceed these standards? Should we exceed these standards? Will these standards give us the clean storm water we need to clean up our lakes? We need a clear statement that cleaning up the lakes is not the “other guys problem,” but our own.
On page 10 there needs to be a point on including mechanical storm water filters or other means to clean storm water.
On page 10 under funding Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) needs to be listed as a source of funds. TIF could be listed many other places. In fact all funding sources need to be reviewed and many significantly expanded.
On page 11 the 5th Action Point says zoning can increase the use of grey water. I certainly support the use of grey water, but I do not think zoning can require it.
On page 11 the 6th Action Point should simply say dual water systems need to be installed and do so with incentives. It is no longer necessary to assess the viability. We have documentation of the demand for ground water is approaching supply and storm water runoff from the City is polluting our lakes.
On page 16 the Goal to Improve transportation Planning needs to include and greatly rely on a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).
On page 17 there needs to be another Action Point that calls for the development of a City Wide Redevelopment Plan.
On page 18 the need for LEED is made a requirement for TIF. Just the opposite of what we need to do. Use TIF to finance Sustainability. We need all of Madison’s Sustainability Goals to be carrots and not go after developers with sticks.
On page 21 an RTA should be the focus of all these actions. The RTA also needs to be the lead agency.
On page 22 we need to focus on ALL modes of transportation. Do not favor one over the other.
On page 22 take out the Action Point requiring a TDM. We can inform event participants of alternatives to car transportation without requiring a plan.
On page 22 change the Action Point on commuter bicycle stations needs to read, “Build one or more downtown bicycle commuter station(s).”
On page 22 for the Action Point on bike station pods it needs to be separated into two Action Points. We need more parking pods than we do repair pods.
On page 27 the Vision seems to say the City is leading businesses and individuals. What is needed is a partnership for sustainability (city, business and individuals) from the beginning (2011).
On page 28 under the Goal we need to include no-carbon fuel vehicles and are those reductions where we really want to be in 19 years?
On page 28 Action Point 7 on preferred parking needs to be remove. Parking is not a problem downtown and again we are using a stick to get action. Education and the market will obtain greater results.
On page 28 Action Point 8 on downtown toll zones needs to be removed. It simply is not needed. Transit, bicycling, and density to permit walking will do much more than a big stick of tolls. This idea is just, in my opinion, a huge turnoff.
On page 29 the Action Points need to stress education as a large part of the desired changes. The private sector Action Points are few and weak.
On page 30 the last Action Point should not read, “ Investigate impact of requiring….,” but rather should say, “ Provide TIF funds to obtain LEED Certification Silver or higher to reduce Energy consumption of 30% or more below code in existing buildings. We also need to include on-site energy consumption as an Action Point.
On page 32 Action Point 8 needs to include Downtown Madison, Inc., THRIVE, UW- Madison, Madison College, Madison Metropolitian School District and hospitals.
On page 36 Action Point 1 needs to be resolved now as the Zoning Ordinance and Downtown Plan are being written now. This is a task that City staff needs to do now.
On page 36 Action Point 5 should not include expedited approvals. A fair, efficient process is what is needed. An expedited process implies punishment for the other guys.
On page 37 the Goal needs to include a sharing of energy, grey water, naturally filtered air and storm water resources (The Green Zone in Umea, Sweden would be a model). This is part of theme I mentioned at the beginning of the memo.
On page 50 the Sustainability Principal referred to is larger than the discussion on the page or the following pages. Needs more on jobs and should not assume that people in need of social equity are low income. How about including citizenship and voting rights?
On page 52 we need to add the safe routes to school principal.
On page 59 we need to include bicycle routes and pedestrian maps.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.