Monday, January 31, 2011

Short News Stories No. 9

Philly Goes Green
The City of Philadelphia has an ambitious plan to convert fully one third of its asphalt surfaces into green spaces, consisting of wetlands, flood plan restoration, rain barrels, porous concrete and green roofs. The aim is to transform its combined-sewer system. Runoff in this $1.6 billion effort will be filtered with processes mimicking natural systems. The lead force in the program, head of the Watersheds Office in the Water Department, thinks the green approach is more cost effective and sustainable than building underground storage tanks and tunnels. Stream restoration is another component.
Engineering News Record, Dec. 20, 2010.

Saving Fish
A different system of regulating fish catches, going by the name of catch shares, is catching on so to speak in the U.S. Pioneered by New Zealand and British Columbia, and promoted by the Environmental Defense Fund to a skeptical fishing industry, the method has been shown to increase fish populations (by 400 percent over 17 years in a study published in the journal Nature). The key elements are individual accountability and making fishermen the stewards of the fish they depend on. It replaces what's called the command and control approach, where fleets were told when and how to fish, i.e. what the season is and how many pounds could be caught. It led to a virtual fishing derby where boats competed to catch as much as they could, as quickly as they could, and never mind the unwanted fish pulled in accidentally, which died. A catch share system, approved by the Commerce Department, took effect on Jan. 1, 2011, for the Pacific groundfish fishery, covering 90 species and 95 percent of the harvest.
Environmental Defense Fund Special Report, Fall 2010.

Risky But Promising
Even the person in charge of the Treasure Island redevelopment project in San Francisco Bay acknowledges, "It's about as risky a project as there is." Right now 2,000 or so live there but have no school or shops. Also, there's an instability to the island requiring $1.5 billion in improvements including land fill and shoring up a weak sea wall. Plans call for as many as 8,000 homes and a 60-story tower. A major green emphasis will include clustering housing at a planned ferry terminal and trying to limit, but not prohibit, cars. There is to be 300 acres of open space as well as a major mixed-use commercial component. Only a few buildings from the past are to be reused. The most recent past was a Navy base. The Navy agreed in principle to sell it to the city in December 2009, for $55 million, having left in 1997.
San Mateo County Times, January 24, 2010.

Model Map
Anyone looking for an example of a clear, informative harbor map should contact the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore Inc. and seek its Waterfront Promenade Walking Map. In a compact, easy-to-read format it calls out the principal downtown waterfront neighborhoods and describes same. The waterfront promenade that links there neighborhoods is delineated and the walking times from place to place are given. Features along the promenade, numbering nine, are called out and the water tax route is also laid out. The map notes that the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade Committee has been at work since 1984 to push for a continuous pedestrian walkway from Locust Point on the south harbor to Canton on the east. They are getting close.
Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore Inc., 2009.

Rally Big
Not to be outdone by San Francisco's ambitious plans for Treasure Island (above), a developer in Boston plans a $3-billion minicity in the south waterfront (near the site of the Center's Boston conference in 2007). The master plan by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates was approved last fall by the Boston Redevelopment Authority; more approvals are needed. Construction may begin as early as next fall on the first residential towers, each 500,000-square feet. In all there is to be 6.3 million swquare feet of mixed-use development in 22 buildings. Build out of Seaport Square is put at 10 years. Architects also involved are Studio Daniel Libeskind, HOK, CBT Architects and Hacin+Associates.
Engineering News Record, Oct. 18, 2010.

Greenway Grows
The ambitious East Coast Greenway connecting Maine to Florida grew by over 100 miles last year. New segments as large as 55 miles in Maine on the Downeast Sunrise Trial and the 30-mile M-Path/South Dade Greenway in Dade County, Fla., and as small as .05 mile of New York City riverwalk and one mile in Conventry, RI, became part of the network. The Downeast trail now totals 85 miles, beginning at the Canadian border and runs to Ellsworth, Maine, near Acadia National Park. The greenway alliance reports that fully 25 percent of its trails are off road. A presentation at a Center conference on the greenway project was made a number of years ago. For a copy of the alliance newsletter and free trail maps for New Jersey, New York City and Pennsylvania/Delaware, contact The East Coast Greenway Alliance is based in Wakefield, RI at 27 B North Road, 02879, 401/789-4625.
East Coast Greenway News, December 2010.

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