City Desk

D.C.’s Assessment Says Sustainability Plan Is Off to a Good Start

In the past year, 100 D.C. police cruisers were equipped with anti-idling devices, slashing idling time by 60 percent in these vehicles, Mayor Vince Gray wrote in Sustainable DC's first year progress report, released today.

That's the kind of stuff in both the report and the plan. The ambitious and broad Sustainable DC plan, which specifically aims to make D.C. the greenest city in the country, lists goals that the District plans to hit by 2032, including creating three times as many small businesses, five times as many jobs providing green goods and services, and cutting the city's obesity rate by 50 percent.

So what has the city done this year (specifically between Earth Day 2013 and Earth Day 2014) to be more sustainable? In addition to the police cruisers, there are, of course, the much-touted larger recycling bins. And there's now an environmental literacy pilot curriculum in eight schools. Gray also proposed legislation to create a formal literacy program in schools.

D.C.'s population has continued to grow by about 1,000 residents each month and, according to the internal progress report, the city still decreased its overall use of energy while increasing community-wide electricity from renewable sources to 12.1 percent. In 2013, the District government, community partners, and private developers installed more than 300,000 square feet of green roof last year, which is more than any other city, according to the report.

On the food side of things, the progress report says the Department of Parks and Recreation is building a community garden in every ward and the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation is building a 100,000-square-foot greenhouse farm in Ward 8 "to grow a million pounds of local produce each year and create new jobs."

The District, with the help from partner organizations, has planted more than 9,000 trees in the last year and significantly upgraded more than 24 playgrounds throughout the city.

There are now 63 miles of bike lanes in the city. The city still hopes to create a 100-mile bike lane network. Capital Bikeshare now has 197 stations in the District, and the progress report notes that 38 percent of households do not own cars. (It does not compare these numbers to previous years.)

In all, there are 143 actions in the plan—83 percent of which are underway. The reports states 6 percent of the 20-year sustainability plan is now complete.

"In the the year since we released the Sustainable DC Plan, we have seen tremendous progress and are leading the nation on a number of fronts. Across District agencies and our many community partners, there is a collective effort to create a more sustainable city today and for generations to come,” the mayor said in a statement.. “The plan sets ambitious goals for the next 20 years. We’ve built a solid foundation, but there is much more work to do."

Read the full report here.

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