Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s sustainability plan was both praised and panned at a public meeting tonight. Many people thought the plan needed to be bolder, while others applauded the attainable goals that were set.
Fischer released the plan last month. It sets an agenda for the next several decades in categories including energy, transportation and the environment.
Some of the suggestions offered at the meeting contradicted each other—like a comment that all parking lots should be removed from downtown, followed by one that feared businesses would move to the suburbs without ample parking. But there were two themes that remained persistent all night: bicycling and education.
Amanda Fuller with Bicycling for Louisville said the city needs to be bold in the face of rapid climate change.
“We need to make it really, really hard for people to do the things that have got us into this problem in the first place, like driving cars,” she said. “We need to make it easy for people to get on a bike. The best visual cue to get someone to change their behavior is that thing in the road that is a like a pleasant, wonderful place to ride your bike. It’s called like a bike lane, or a bike path.”
Carolyn Waters told Sustainability Director Maria Koetter there’s a need for deeper education.
“Anything we can do to create learning experiences for youth or adults that put it in our face that we’re part of an ecosystem,” she said. “Like composting. Like having ample opportunity to be in natural spaces. I think that will not only help us to see the impacts that we’re directly having, but it will also help us to care more.”
Koetter emphasized the importance of creating manageable goals that the city can realistically achieve. She said she wants the plan to be bolder, too, but it’s important to start with a plan. “It’s a challenge to decide what to do next,” she said.
Some residents praised the achievable goals in the plan, including efforts to conserve energy and increase recycling. There was talk of increasing weatherization efforts in the city, environmental justice issues and increasing neighborhood density.
Metro Government is accepting written comments on the plan for another week. The final version will be released next month.