City Blotter: Sustainability legislation passing through City Council

Benchmarking
Passed June 21, 2012

Requires commercial buildings of more than 50,000 square feet to track, measure and report energy and water use. Benchmarking is expected to save tenants and building owners money as well as encourage energy efficient practices. Takes effect in one year.

Complete Streets
Vote postponed until Fall 2012

Revises Philadelphia’s traffic code to meet the state traffic code and provide better protection for pedestrians and cyclists. Highlights include no parking in bike lanes and $100 penalty for bikes running a red light. The bill was proposed May 31, but the hearing is postponed until Council reconvenes in the fall.

Philadelphia Land Bank
Under discussion

Establishes a single authority to hold and maintain land, simplifying the current process. A state bill was passed on April 3, 2012 that will allow individual cities to create land banks. Gov. Corbett has yet to sign the bill into law. Meanwhile, an additional bill (currently under discussion) is proposed in Philadelphia that would bypass the state and put a land bank bill up for a citywide ballot vote.

Bag the bags: Philadelphia Plastic Bag Ban

Reusable totes are a great alternative to plastic. | Photo Credit: www.modernest.comToday, take a stand and ditch your plastic bags in honor of Philadelphia’s “Bag the Bags” day—a campaign for a city-wide ban on those pesky plastic grocery bags.

The bill to outlaw plastic bags was first introduced in 2009, but denied. Chemical companies and bag-supporters argued that with mandatory recycling programs and a public education campaign, Philadelphia would be able to yield the same result.

Read More

Mo' Paper Mo' Problems

Can paperless government work in Philly?
by Brian James Kirk


Long lines and mountains of paperwork await citizens seeking licenses and grants, trying to establish businesses or hoping to renovate their homes. City workers tap away at keyboards full-time, entering the requests into computers. The paperwork is then shipped to storage facilities to gather dust.
Read More