Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sustainability and Our City Streets; and Solving the flooding issue:

MEC's green roof among othersImage by 416style via Flickr
The incumbent may be redoing some streets now, during an election year only, by adding in a curvature on the street, just to have the street show movement, but he failed in his overall mission to the residents. His campaign this go around is about "going green and being environmental". The incumbent had the opportunity and the federal stimulus money to get the job done, but he still did not. My innovative plans of action will implement an objective of "greening our city", along with creating a new design of sustainability for our city streets, to show movement, connecting with the community in that area, and to show ecological balance by using nature to help our residents with our city's heat island effect, eliminating sewer overflows, rainwater flooding, along with transportation needs, (i.e., bus, bike, or places to lock up your bike), just to name a few. We need to connect design features of our streets, not just for looks, but with functionality, to help our city streets become sustainable, by providing for the needs of the residents today, that will not negatively impact the future of the city. The incumbent's work that has been done will not promote "being green" or provide for sustainability. For example on Central Avenue, the incumbent had a chance to "keep it green" and did not. Instead, he wasted money blacktopping the once grassy area on the Avenue; and wasted money spreading an adhesive on the blacktop to decorate it with pebbles. Being decorative, is not functional or productive thinking. Grassy areas that once could soak up the rain, are now resurfaced with an impenetrable product. Where is the rainwater going to go? The areas it had to be soaked up by are now gone, which in turn will now increase water on the roadways, not decrease it. The flooding of streets and the residents homes and basement apartments is one of my priorities, as part of my "strategic plans to rebuild Albany". My plans/designs will eliminate this issue, by integrating new storm water pipes, to convert the single pipe system into a combined pipe system, one for sewage and a separate one for rainwater, that can be filtered and reused to water plants, etc., in the city. We will remove the blacktop in these high flood areas, and put in permeable pavers to resurface the roadway. These pavers will allow the rainwater to pass through them and down to the ground. To help further reduce rainwater in our streets immediately, we will do cut outs along the sidewalk curbing at road level, at different intervals, so that rainwater can have a new outlet to go into. In doing this, it will reduce rainwater flooding and functionally utilize the water at the same time, by having it water the newly planted trees, and the different types of fibrous plants that absorb alot of water that will be planted along the sidewalk's edging as well. In addition to the plants, and permeable pavers, we will also have planters with weep holes in them, so that the rainwater can absorb through the soil, pass through filtering material, exit the weep holes and drip down onto the permeable pavers to seep into the ground. These pavers and planters can also be used at bus stops, and in parking lots, to help reduce puddling. We can also have businesses green their rooftops, many businesses have flat roofs which can be supplied with the proper supports to hold the new green rooftop, with small plants and grasses, providing yet another level of water absorption; these green rooftops also help insulate the building below, helping again to save on energy bills. I currently do not see any of this happening in Albany, and the incumbent is not addressing the issues that directly affect the residents; but my plans do. My plans will also change the center island that was just put in on Everett Road, because minimal landscaping and blacktopping it, is not the answer. You have a high traffic area of cars in this area. Plants that can absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen and release oxygen back into the air, can be planted to reduce our carbon footprint, and help reduce air pollution and improve our city's air quality. Many of our senior residents, and those suffering from asthma and other respiratory problems would benefit greatly with cleaner air. I am the only candidate addressing these problems, and speaking about how to solve the flooding problems. It's not just in some areas, it's all around the city. Rebuilding the city to accommodate more residents, also means that you need to change how you monitor and maintain your sewer lines, something that the incumbent is not doing, but I will. To help reduce our city's heat island effect, neighborhood streets will be tree lined streets; preserving our existing trees as well as planting new trees. The tree canopies, help provide shade and cooling in the summer, and help block the winter winds, both protecting your house and saving you money on your energy bill. The incumbent currently cuts down trees, and also uses small trees as decoration, not thinking about their functional use. We need to think about all of our residents, and we need to design our streets with everyone in mind, from the blind/physically challenged, to the walker/jogger, to the new mothers with baby strollers, by having level and even sidewalks and wheelchair/stroller accessibility on all corners; we need to think about the bicycler who needs space to ride and a spot to park/lock their bikes; to the dog owners who need greener places for their pets to walk on and to relieve themselves. My winter plans will also accommodate everyone, including the above-mentioned by having the city remove the snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of your house (creating new jobs), so that everyone can walk on the sidewalks without threat of injury from slipping or falling on the ice, including our dogs. Without the large snow banks at the sidewalks edge, dogs will not have to climb into a snowbank to relieve themselves; this clearing will also provide for a flat empty space on trash night, and will provide for a clear walkway the next morning, by the cans and bins not being thrown onto the sidewalks in the way of many pedestrians, especially for those children walking to school. Residents should not have to go out into the road to get around trash cans, simply because they could not be stood up, and this problem is even worse in the wintertime under the incumbent. Safety of our children comes first, many still walk to and from school. These are issues that needed to be addressed, along with others mentioned in my previous posts. Quality of Life even for the simpliest things are very important to all our residents. I will be a mayor that has both short term and long term goals to resolve the city's problems, not knee-jerk responses like the incumbent.
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