Kayaking in Pittsburgh, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Gabrielle Clark’s photostream

Mayor describes ongoing city efforts to promote environmental sustainability

PITTSBURGH, PA – “Earth Day is a reminder for all us to be conscious and considerate of the world around us, and of the impact that we can make.

Today, with the help of our City Forester, the Shade Tree Commission, the Office of Sustainability, Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, and Tree Pittsburgh we distributed 1,000 trees downtown. We dedicated a new green infrastructure installation in East Liberty, and we celebrated being a Tree City USA designation. These are all major acts that remind us of the positive impacts that we make on our environment.

This morning I had the honor of being a part of a rain garden dedication at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. This extensive storm water reclamation system is projected to hold 160,00 gallons of rainwater annually and will continually have a positive impact on the local water system, ecosystem and environment in the surrounding community in East Liberty. This is a perfect example of the sustainable and renewable environmental practices we look to develop and maintain throughout our communities.

My office and the city’s Department of Innovation & Performance are hard at work on several ongoing projects to help our planet — from taking a lead role in the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative to working on green infrastructure improvements — many of which are detailed in my administration’s 100 Days report.

There is much work work we are continuing to do in multiple categories.

The first is in building performance and energy efficiency. We are making great strides, even in our nearly century-old headquarters in the City-County Building. We are working on improving recycling in the facility and brokering City Allegheny County cooperation to make our efforts better. My staff also had an initial meeting with Carnegie Mellon University related to installing sensors to monitor facility performance.

Next is work in sustainable development and EcoDistricts. After the 100 Day report was distributed last week my sustainability office received three calls from neighborhoods that want to be EcoDistricts, and the city will be leading a team to the EcoDistrict Incubator in Portland the first week in May.

Water is a hot topic, from large scale efforts at ALCOSAN to six locally-based green infrastructure efforts. There is a great deal of civic energy related to improving water quality around the region, and here in the city we are working with the Water & Sewer Authority to develop a proposal that will help develop a green infrastructure investment plan.

Pittsburgh has a great growth opportunity in clean technology and the economy. A recent benchmarking report shows the city has a ways to go in the clean tech marketplace and my staff is working with several local firms to help nurture this sector.

Finally there are the great strides we are making in improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure. As part of my sustainable transportation system later this year I plan to adopt a complete streets policy that is very progressive and builds a network of streets that enhances safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians.

I look forward to working in conjunction with all our partners on further environmental practices that will help all our communities.”