Posted by: kendra | May 13, 2008

Morristown Bike Lanes in the Daily Record

Recently the town and mayor have made some moves towards being more green, altho it seems like different people might mean different things by that.  Anyhow, here’s a daily record article that talks about it and has Council Member Rebecca Feldman suggesting one of the ways the city can become more green is to fund the Environmental Commssion’s goal of installing a bicycle and pedestrian plan.  There are some other good ideas here too!

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  1. Here’s the article for when it disappears from the website:

    May 13, 2008

    Solar panel critics: Morristown can do more to be green

    Some residents, officials say the $4.9M investment does not go far enough

    By Minhaj Hassan
    Daily Record

    MORRISTOWN — A shadow of dissent has been cast behind the glow surrounding town council’s decision to invest $4.9 million for solar panels at its sewage treatment plant in neighboring Hanover.

    Part of the cost will be offset by a $1.7 million grant from the state’s Clean Energy Program, and the panels could save the town up to $133,000 in yearly electric bills.

    Mayor Donald Cresitello hailed it as a watershed moment for the town.

    “Today was a great day for Morristown,” he said after the vote last month. “What we accomplished. … was approving one of the largest solar panel projects in the state.”

    Now, however, some residents and officials say, the town should not view the solar panels as an example of “us doing our part” to be green. In order for the panels to be effective, they must be part of a larger plan to make the town more eco-friendly and a prime example of energy conservation, they argue.

    ‘No’ voter’s view

    Councilwoman Rebecca Feldman of the First Ward said she supports environmental measures. However, she voted against the solar panel purchase. After talking to a couple of experts in the field, she said, she was convinced the prices of the panels could be lower, and there would be a more opportune time to look into buying them.

    She said other steps need to be taken.

    “As the county seat, center of commerce and daily destination for tens of thousands of visitors, Morristown can more than ‘send a message,'” she said. “Morristown can lead by example so that every resident, business owner and visitor can participate, learn and do something about the environment on their own. Solar panels alone, at the out of town sewer plant won’t do that.”

    Describing the panels as “one big green Band-Aid,” Feldman suggested other moves:

    • Install energy-efficient, LED (light emitting diode) bulbs in traffic lights

    • New patrol cars should be hybrids

    • Update recycling rules

    • Fund the Environmental Commission’s goal of installing a bicycle and pedestrian plan

    • Require all take-out food containers to be made of recyclable materials

    Chief on board

    Police Chief Peter Demnitz said if hybrid vehicles are proven to be effective in the day-to-day operations of a police department, “I wouldn’t have any problem with them.” However, he added that “costs alone can’t be the only factor.” Anecdotally, Demnitz said, the few departments around the country that have hybrid vehicles have given them high marks.

    Other residents also believe more tangible, and less costly measures should have been taken before entering into the multimillion-dollar solar purchase.

    Samantha Rothman, who is on the environmental commission, said the town could greatly benefit by investing more in shade trees. She said the current amount of $5,000 is too small and won’t do much to create an “urban forest cover.”

    “The tree is a very safe thing to fund.” Trees have been known to be a safe and convenient way to trap carbon gases.

    Other green ideas

    Feldman called for increasing the shade tree budget fourfold, from $5,000 to $20,000 a year and for creating a shade tree management plan and a shade tree commission.

    Landscape architect Carol Huber said Morristown should follow some of the measures implemented by Chicago, Ill., which she called the “greenest city in the U.S.” She called for doing small streetscape projects, greening the buildings with building gardens, and putting in more permeable surfaces.

    Cresitello said he supports other ways of conserving energy. In particular, he would like to see a way to use water as a source of energy. The town can use many of its waterfalls and bodies of water for this purpose, he said.


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