Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In April, we wrote about cities hiring sustainability or energy directors to encourage departments to turn off lights and shut computers when they're not in use. Fayetteville, AR, is doing a lot in that regard.
But Victoria is doing additional things I hadn't heard about elsewhere. I observed a few this week while walking around Canada's "fittest city."
For instance, do your city streets provide solar-powered trash compactors? How about parking that encourages fuel efficient cars? Victoria is full of those hyper-tiny Smart cars, in lime, pink, blue and other colors. They are encouraged, in part, by special parking spaces just for them. (Or any other vehicle that is a maximum of three meters in length. I guess lawnmowers also would fit. Perhaps a mini Cooper or a Volkswagen? I haven't measured those recently.)
Anyway, those Smart cars fit snugly between the white lines painted on the street.
Victoria is also a biking city, with clearly marked bike lanes on the roads, and this week, a Bike to Work week. Biking amenities are getting more common here in the States, too.
Victoria, in general, seems to be very aware of doing its part to save the planet. It's a walkable city, and bus service seems extensive. Many restaurants do their part to promote and use products from nearby farms.
One eating establishment, called Red Fish Blue Fish, really goes the distance. It is housed in a steel shipping container that has a "green roof" with plants on it. The fish served comes from local fisheries that support the "Ocean Wise" conservation program. No threatened species on the menu.
The rest of the food is on the "100-mile diet," meaning that it comes from farms and producers within that distance -- something else we've written about recently.
Garbage is composted or recycled. The utensils are made of wood, not plastic. I also noticed those wood forks and knives at Pig BBQJoint.
It's likely that Victoria and its residents are doing more than I noticed during my brief stay. But these examples offer ideas for American cities to chew on.
One more shot -- of the solar-powered trash compactor -- below. All photos by Ellen Perlman
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.