Fri, 15 December 2006
PennFuture is thrilled to introduce our first video podcast, or vidcast, or vodcast, depending on who you ask. No matter: tune in to see and hear why you should join us and many others in supporting a moratorium on prematurely buying and demolishing thousands of homes and businesses throughout Pittsburgh and other communities in the Monongahela River Valley.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and backers of the Mon-Fayette toll road have for decades been pushing for a Turnpike expansion that would extend from Pittsburgh to Morgantown, West Virginia. To date, they've spent over $1.1 billion on the project, but are nowhere close to completion.
The latest move is that backers of the Turnpike expansion want to buy thousands of homes and businesses in the right of way for a 24-mile section of the toll road (PA 51 to I-376) and demolish them-- but they have NO money to actually build even an inch of road. And no plan for generating the measly $2.7 billion (and growing!) estimated to construct the project.
The result: indefinite uncertainty about land use and community revitalization plans, loss of tax revenues for already-strapped school districts and municipalities, and creation of blight.
But the Turnpike Commission could simply wait: they don't have to move ahead with buying and razing communities. Tune in to learn more about the situation, and to learn about the growing list of elected officials and organizations supporting the moratorium.
Get more information on our Web site, in PennFuture Facts, and on the Hands Off Web site. Take action to let your elected officials, Governor Rendell, and the Turnpike Commission know that you support the moratorium. To join our Mon-Fayette Toll Road e-mail list to stay up to sate on this issue, e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Tue, 5 December 2006
In this podcast, part two of a series on wind energy development in Pennsylvania, PennFuture's Heather Sage and Jan Jarrett talk with experts in the Commonwealth who are involved in processes for siting wind projects in the state. Establishing processes to avoid and minimize negative impacts to local communities and to wildlife is an important goal for the wind industry. Pennsylvania is ahead of most states when it comes to wind energy, and will continue to reap the benefits of this clean, renewable source of energy in terms of our state's long-term economic development, energy security and our environmental health.
We hear first from George Jugovic, Senior Attorney at PennFuture who worked collaboratively with stakeholders under the leadership of Governor Rendell's office to develop the Model Ordinance for Wind Energy Facilities in Pennsylvania. The model ordinance is a tool for local township and municipal officials to use as they begin to examine their local zoning and planning needs in areas where wind energy development is possible. George describes the sorts of local issues that the model ordinance covers, and explains that the ordinance was not intended to examine environmental issues relating to wind development.
However the Commonwealth does have an extensive process underway to do just that, and it is led by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' John Quigley, who speaks with Jan Jarrett. DCNR has brought together a wide array of stakeholders in a Wind and Wildlife Collaborative, representing a variety of perspectives and expertise to create a process whereby Pennsylvania can consider objective, scientific criteria for determining where wind development is most appropriate and where it is not. The group is also examining the possibility of siting wind energy developments on certain public lands, for example abandoned mine land areas or others. They hope to have recommendations on the possibility of wind energy on public lands by 2007.
Jan lastly speaks with PPM Atlantic Renewable's Sam Enfield, who describes how his company and others within the wind industry extensively consider proper siting of wind farms. Chief among their concerns are potential impacts to wildlife and surrounding communities. Sam also describes what the wind industry has learned about wildlife impacts.
To learn how you can make the switch to clean, renewable, local energy, visit Clean Your Air. For more information on this and other renewable energy issues, visit our Web site or e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Fri, 1 December 2006
Christine interviews Scott Pendergrast, Manager of Real Estate at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). Atlanta's population continues to grow, and Pendergrast highlights what MARTA is doing to alleviate roadway congestion. He also shares ideas that Pennsylvania cities can implement to expand their transit systems.
Christine next speaks with Dick Voith, one of Governor Ed Rendell's appointees to the Transportation Funding and Reform Commission, and a board director of the organization PenTrans. Voith shares details of the commission's recent report to the Governor, providing recommendations on generating long-term funding for both highways and transit. Voith also provides suggestions on increasing ridership by targeting developments around areas near train stations and bus stops (transit-oriented development).
Christine ends by speaking with Sam Schwartz of Sam Schwartz PLLC, a multidisciplinary transportation engineering and planning firm based in New York City. Schwartz describes his experience in the field of transit development, and expresses optimism about the future expansion of Philadelphia's transit system.
Visit the Next Great City site to learn more about the initiative to improve the quality of life, neighborhoods, and the environment in Philadelphia. For more information on PennFuture's work, visit our Web site or e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Direct download: PFuture06_UrbanSustainability_TransitDevelopment.mp3
Category:Urban Sustainability Forum -- posted at: 8:30 AM