All 82 Recommendations From the Draft Princeton Climate Action Plan

Molly Jones, Executive Director of Sustainable Princeton, presenting the Draft Princeton Climate Action Plan at a public meeting at Princeton Town Hall May 14 2019 (click to expand)

The public comment period for the draft Princeton Climate Action Plan is due to finish on May 31 2019, but how many residents really know what is in the plan? We have assembled all of the policy proposals into one page. By our count, there are eighty-two individual recommendations. Which do you like the best?

The local residents and staff members who worked to write the Princeton Climate Action Plan considered all the ways in which our lifestyles impact climate change, and are likely to be affected by climate change. The report identifies climate change as something that is already having an effect, and which is likely to become more and more of a nuisance. In the report, the different recommendations are split into different sections (“Energy”, “Natural Resources” etc). We are publishing them all, together, in one place, for easy access!

Princeton residents commenting on Climate Action Plan recommendations at May 14 meeting. (click to expand)

At ‘Walkable Princeton’, we are particularly keen on recommendations #13 and #14, which would encourage walkable, affordable housing. By making it easier for people to live near where they work, we can reduce energy use associated with transportation. In the present day, almost all local transportation involves gasoline-powered cars, which produce a large share of the carbon emissions that are driving global warming. Many lines of action are likely to be necessary to deal with climate change. But some of the proposals in the Draft Climate Action Plan may not be wholly popular. For example, recommendation #78 suggests that local residents should bag leaves for pickup, instead of piling them at the curb, as we do today. When considering the various suggestions for action, it may be useful to consider:

  • which proposals do you like? which do you not like?
  • which proposals are likely to be easy to implement. which are likely to be hard to implement?
  • which proposals are likely to have big impact on reducing the causes and impacts of climate change? which are likely to have a small effect?

Those 82 policy recommendations, in the order they appear in the report! You can comment on the report directly at the Sustainable Princeton website at this link.

  1. Accelerate residential and commercial participation in state and utility energy efficiency programs
  2. Require large commercial buildings and multi-family buildings to benchmark and report their energy performance
  3. Require an energy audit and disclosure at time of sale or lease for older residential, commercial and multi-family
  4. Investigate the ability to provide energy efficiency incentives to middle income homeowners, addressing a gap in the
  5. Adopt policies and programs to ensure new buildings in the community achieve near-zero/net energy/fossil fuel-free
  6. Explore options to accelerate affordable electrification of building energy systems
  7. Pursue community solar and ensure maximum participation of low- to-moderate income households
  8. Pursue Renewable Government Energy Aggregation (R-GEA) at a price equal to or better than the default utility rate for residents
  9. Increase adoption of low-carbon, on-site power generation, e.g. rooftop solar, ground source heat pumps
  10. Implement microgrids at Princeton’s critical facilities, e.g. police and fire stations
  11. Update Master Plan to include a Green Building and Sustainability Element and integrate the principles of transit-oriented and location-efficient development
  12. Develop a form-based code that will ensure location-efficient and transit-oriented building design and siting and improves the development review and permitting process, increasing its predictability for developers
  13. Use incentives such as density bonuses and parking credits to promote affordable and accessible housing development that is transit-oriented and location-efficient
  14. Prepare plans and update zoning regulations in selected areas to build mixed-use, transit-oriented and location-efficient development: Lower Alexander Rd., S2 Zone, Clifftown Center, Princeton Shopping Center, Nassau North, Lower Witherspoon and other areas near transit routes
  15. Develop and implement community-wide, comprehensive Traffic Demand Management (TDM) programs that offer cost-effective and convenient alternative transportation services that reduce travel demand and traffic congestion
  16. Improve the user experience, convenience and frequency of TigerTransit, Free-B and the jitney systems of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Theological Seminary, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and encourage use by students of public and independent schools
  17. Ensure ridership by instituting an intensive and continuous transit information and education campaign (i.e. Go Princeton) that includes elements such as public wayfinding signs, Wi-Fi enabled, and real-time information about transportation options
  18. Require employers with more than 50 employees and new developments that will generate more than 50 employees to implement transportation demand management programs
  19. Implement Princeton’s Bicycle Mobility Plan and its prioritized commuter and school routes
  20. Work with regional partners to plan for transit and traffic management in the U.S. 1 corridor and neighboring municipalities
  21. Promote alternatives to car ownership such as car sharing and bike sharing (e.g. Zip Car, Greenspot, Zagster) and implement curbside management locations for the staging and loading of passengers to support the shift to ridesharing (e.g. Uber, Lyft)
  22. Ensure the potential transition to autonomous vehicles increases public safety, serves the mobility disadvantaged and leads to a reduction in vehicle miles traveled and emissions
  23. Partner with car sharing companies to increase access to zero-emission vehicles
  24. Require all new development to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure in appropriate locations
  25. Promote the installation of visible and accessible zero-emission fueling stations for use by the public Transition fleet and public transit vehicles to zero-emission
  26. Update the Master Plan Open Space and Conservation Elements to add more parcels of significance to preserve as open space to mitigate the effects of climate change
  27. Establish a campaign to educate residents, landscapers, municipal staff, garden clubs and other practitioners about low maintenance landscaping, protecting native species and preventing the spread of invasive species
  28. Appoint an Open Space Manager to oversee municipally managed land and ensure it is managed in a manner that protects and enhances natural resources
  29. Protect and expand connective corridors between habitats and open spaces and expand no-mow/low maintenance areas
  30. Reduce emissions from public and private lawn maintenance equipment
  31. Advocate for the health and safety of outdoor workers during extreme weather events
  32. Limit ecosystem stressors such as deer population and invasive species
  33. Create adaptive restoration planting and a list of seeds and plants that are likely to succeed in the region to endure climate change
  34. Implement a data-driven plan to protect and expand tree canopy, taking into account the impacts of climate change; and develop and maintain an adequate tree inventory of public and private trees that includes information about tree health, carbon sequestration capacity, effects of canopy and impervious cover on water quantity and quality
  35. Revise tree planting list given expected climate changes and the importance of maintaining species diversity
  36. Ensure a minimum 1:1 tree re-planting ratio for public trees
  37. Implement initiatives that demonstrate the value of wellbeing, livability and community connectivity over material goods
  38. Develop educational materials that illustrate the emissions impacts of the use of goods and services, e.g. shopping, travel, housing and food, and encourage residents, businesses and institutions to take action to reduce their carbon footprint
  39. Support businesses and institutions in minimizing the carbon intensity of their supply chains and operations through increasing the number of businesses that participate in accreditation and recognition programs such as Green Restaurant Awards, ReThink Disposable, etc.
  40. Develop and implement a cost effective plan to reduce the use of non-recyclable and non-reusable items and ensures items are not replaced with ones that have a larger life-cycle emission footprint
  41. Support regional and state efforts to require responsible manufacturing, product and packaging design, and reuse recovered materials to expedite the transition to a circular economy
  42. Reduce consumption-related emissions by promoting sustainable consumption tactics, e.g. plan before purchasing; give the gift of experiences; reuse, borrow, share, rent, barter and fix items; and refuse single-use disposable items
  43. Identify and promote reuse and repair programs, businesses and opportunities that can reduce the disposal of goods and extend the useful life of the materials
  44. Foster networks that connect residents, businesses and institutions to exchange reused and reusable goods
  45. Expand neighborhood and backyard composting of organic materials
  46. Convene a committee to discuss the impact the current system of municipal public finance has on emissions
  47. Prevent food waste by encouraging strategies for residents, businesses and institutions to reduce the volume of food waste generated such as gleaning, proper food storage, meal planning and donation of excess food to organizations that serve the food insecure
  48. Develop a Creative Placemaking Plan that enhances the positive, distinct qualities of Princeton, makes the most of existing resources and ensures equitable participation
  49. Facilitate the transition to a new form of work and consumption that reduces carbon intensity and promotes equity, e.g. compressed and flexible work schedules
  50. Evaluate all waste streams (solid waste, recycling, food, leaf and brush, electronics, etc.) from all sectors (residential, commercial and institutional) and implement a plan to save money and reduce emissions
  51. Explore an equitable unit-based/variable rate waste management program, e.g. save-as-you-throw, that includes a well-designed transition plan
  52. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis for the municipality to provide additional collection of non-mandated and hard-to-recycle items at the River Road facility, e.g. textiles, #3-7 plastics, polystyrene
  53. Develop a plan to eliminate single-use disposable items that is cost-effective, equitable and reduces emissions
  54. Establish metrics to measure and improve the performance of waste reduction and management practices, and report progress annually
  55. Implement a comprehensive waste reduction and education compliance strategy that increases the quantity and quality of recyclable materials collected from residents, businesses and institutions
  56. Develop and implement a financially viable enforcement strategy for the municipal recycling ordinance
  57. Require businesses and institutions to annually submit a waste reduction plan to the municipality and link the plan to a certificate of occupancy
  58. Link the submission of a waste reduction plan to a certificate of occupancy issued by the Health Officer
  59. Require public events as part of the permitting process to submit a waste reduction plan
  60. Advocate at the county and state level for improved waste reduction policies and infrastructure
  61. Develop a multi-layer map of Princeton’s stormwater system including storm drains, outfalls, flooding zones, etc.
  62. Adopt best practices for stormwater management to mitigate flooding from the 2-year storm and below (defined as 3.3” of stormwater in 24 hours)
  63. Develop a Stormwater Mitigation Plan
  64. Establish a stormwater utility to fund the installation and maintenance of stormwater infrastructure, preferably green infrastructure and projects identified in the Stormwater Mitigation Plan
  65. Update Complete Streets Policy to include Green Streets guidelines
  66. Develop a maintenance plan to ensure that stormwater drains are kept free of debris that clogs grates, resulting in flooding in unanticipated places
  67. Develop a system for better understanding and predicting when and where storms will trigger flooding
  68. Leverage new technology including sensors to monitor and maintain the stormwater system
  69. Install green infrastructure demonstration projects on municipal property
  70. Provide green infrastructure training to key municipal personnel including Public Works, Engineering, Planning and Parks and Recreation to ensure proper installation and maintenance of green infrastructure on public property
  71. Provide green infrastructure education to design professionals, landscape architects, civil engineers and other practitioners
  72. Institutionalize climate preparation planning and best practices in municipal operations and decision-making, and monitor effectiveness
  73. Amend the Emergency Operating Plan (EOP) to include an annex that addresses climate change vulnerabilities, identifies high priorities to educate, train and conduct necessary exercises to better prepare for and respond during extreme weather
  74. Assess and improve Princeton’s public notification systems such as Register Ready, Access Princeton and Everbridge to better prepare for and meet community needs during extreme weather events
  75. Engage first responders, municipal inspectors and other public facing personnel in identifying vulnerable community members, e.g. oxygen dependent, wheelchair bound, low-income and undocumented, and streamline the process to include in the Register Ready database
  76. Increase ability to provide real-time updates on flooding, road closures and downed power lines; and review and update communication processes related to these events during Emergency Operations Center (EOC) operations and during normal day-to-day situations
  77. Install job boxes equipped with supplies and/or permitting gates at locations prone to flooding to improve response time and increase safety
  78. Require leaves to be bagged at the curb to reduce flooding caused by clogged storm drains and to keep roads and sidewalks clear for bicyclists and pedestrians
  79. Implement Health in All Policies that incorporates health impacts due to climate change
  80. Increase collaboration of outreach efforts among municipal departments and partner organizations on prevention, early identification and treatment of health impacts due to climate change (Health Dept., Corner House, Princeton Senior Resource Center, Human Services, Sustainable Princeton, etc.)
  81. Assess vulnerability, magnitude and capacity to respond to the health related impacts of climate change, and incorporate recommendations to address them in the Emergency Operations Plan
  82. Develop and distribute culturally appropriate and accessible materials about the health impacts of climate change with particular attention to underserved community members
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