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Longmont, Colo., Council Eyes Path to Carbon-Free Future

The Longmont City Council is considering a proposal that could push the city toward more equitable, carbon-free transportation emissions by 2050. The effort will consider new and existing initiatives in this process.

by John Fryar, Daily Times-Call / April 5, 2021

(TNS) — Longmont's city staff is to present City Council on Tuesday night with proposed policies and programs that could pave a path toward carbon-free transportation emissions by the year 2050.

The study-session item will review transportation and climate-action initiatives outlined in various other plans council has already adopted, putting them together to create one coordinated plan to achieve Longmont's goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while creating "a healthy living environment that effectively engages all members of our community," staff said in a news release.
The overall plan, which city staff has labeled the "Equitable Carbon-Free Transportation Roadmap," would serve as the staff's initial recommendations for creating "an inclusive, carbon-free, and healthy community," according to the news release and a memo to council for Tuesday's meeting.
Staff said carbon-free generally refers to energy generated from renewable sources such as the sun, wind, water and human power, rather than fossil fuels, and that carbon-free transportation refers to modes of travel that are derived from those non-fossil-fuels sources. That includes vehicles that are run on renewable sources, known as zero-emission vehicles, which do not emit exhaust gas from an onboard power source, as well as active forms of transportation such as biking and walking.
Three base strategies were used in developing the package of proposed steps toward reducing transportation greenhouse-gas emissions steps, staff said:
  • Shorten and reduce the number of trips people take. Staff said, "Reducing the number and length of vehicle trips taken is the most direct way to reduce transportation-related emissions. The City and its partners can use outreach, incentives, programs, and infrastructure to encourage residents and employees to consolidate errands and work from home."
  • Shifting people's use of transportation modes. Staff said, "The majority of Longmont commuters still drive to work alone. The city can work with employers and property managers to expand education, and improve the quality of infrastructure, to increase the safety and comfort for residents using alternative forms of transportation. The City is also committed to land uses and new development patterns that promote access to walking, bicycling and riding transit — all mode shifts — rather than driving a personal vehicle."
  • Reduce direct vehicle emissions. Staff said, "When reducing the number of vehicle miles traveled or shifting modes is not an option, drivers can choose reduced- or zero-emission vehicles. The city can adopt policies and promote programs that encourage individual and fleet ownership of zero emission vehicles and participation in EV (electric vehicle) car share programs as well as the build out of EV charging station infrastructure."
Also on Tuesday night, Longmont's council is to hear the latest semiannual report from Detlev Helmig about his company Boulder A.I.R.'s ongoing monitoring of air and the data being collected at the Union Reservoir and Vance Brand Airport monitoring stations.
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