Does the Plan address air and water quality?
A statement was made by a member of the public that the consultant did not address ways to improve our water or air quality in the downtown.
The consulting team was not specifically tasked with addressing air or water quality strategies, but there was an element of the scope of work that included environmental sustainability. These recommendations by the consultants were incorporated throughout the plan. Several members of the Borough’s Sustainability Committee worked with the consulting team to ensure that the recommendations were also consistent with the goals of Resolution 944, which establishes goals for the Borough as a Climate Action Community. Staff has requested that recommendations that will have the biggest impact on increasing community sustainability be clearly marked in some way in the final version of the plan.
To this point, there are many recommendations in the plan that address air and water quality indirectly. One of the major themes of the plan was the “Park-Once” strategy. This strategy encourages greater use of bicycle and pedestrian travel, use of public transportation and places heavy influence on the use of parking garages to minimize unnecessary vehicle trips and vehicles idling in downtown. The recommendations to improve wayfinding and changes to the parking system could also help reduce vehicle traffic and air pollution in Downtown.
The introduction of new and increased number of street trees is recommended for all the streets in downtown-- both by the Borough and Penn State. Additionally, recommendations for more rain gardens, vegetated amenities zones in sidewalk areas and more pervious paving materials are have been included for all of the streetscape enhancements in the Downtown core. Together, these elements help improve air and water quality and help control urban heat islands and excessive stormwater runoff.
Finally, Appendix C of the Plan includes suggestions for sustainable practices, particularly for development or redevelopment of private property in Downtown. These include: environmentally conscious design for neighborhoods, existing buildings and new construction; energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality; lighting and power; building envelope; site considerations; water conservation; and conservation of materials and resources.
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