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Top 6 Sustainable Points in Mayor Jim Kenney’s Budget Address
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Top 6 Sustainable Points in Mayor Jim Kenney’s Budget Address

Ever since Mayor Jim Kenney was elected in November (or May…), there’s been a buzz about what he’d prioritize as Mayor.

Former Mayor Michael Nutter created the Greenworks plan to make Philadelphia the most sustainable city in America. Would Kenney have similar visions to prioritize a sustainable, urbanist city?

Mayor Kenney gave his budget address on Thursday, setting the precedent for his term. What does this mean for sustainability? We break down a few of the biggest points.

6 Sustainable Points in Mayor Jim Kenney’s Budget Address:

  1. Protecting cyclists & pedestrians is important. Early in his address, Kenney focused on traffic-related fatalities and Bicycle Coalition-backed vision zero goals, aiming to protect all parts of those commuting, whether biking, walking or driving. This point is crucial as Philadelphia is a highly-devoted biking community without an extensive infrastructure to protect cyclists.
  2. Booming construction = sidewalk closures aren’t OK. We’re all psyched that Philadelphia is booming with development. However, there are dangerous areas where sidewalks close without warning, and pedestrians are forced to walk on the street. As Kenney mentioned, “this budget would allow us to ensure safe travel around these closures, and to better enforce penalties against those that are illegal.”
  3. By fixing eyesores, we can reduce crime too. Many refer to the famous Broken Window Theory, but Kenney calls outCommunity Life Improvement Program, which manages graffiti, vacant lot clean-ups and other instances of blight. Cleaner areas can not only reduce crime but further reduce litter as well.
  4. Green spaces aren’t only important for us to connect with nature, but can educate our youth and reduce crime.  Investing in parks, libraries & rec centers is crucial to expanding educational opportunities and improve communities. Kenney mentioned how Parks & Rec and the Free Library are the largest providers of after-school programs, and how investment in parks can reduce crime. Our friends at the Fairmount Park Conservancy invested in Hunting Park, and crime went down 89% within a half mile radius.
  5. Energy efficiency saves money AND creates jobs. Council President Clarke wants to spend $150 million to increase energy efficiency in city buildings and reinvest the savings in initiatives like education and public safety. Do we really need to get into the benefits of energy efficiency on here?
  6. Jim Kenney don’t give a f*ck about lobbyists. OK, he didn’t exactly say that. But he did mention the power of Big Soda lobbyists and admitted they even got to him. Why is this so important? If he takes a stand to big soda and wants to implement a sugary drink tax (which would hopefully improve our health and waistlines as a city), perhaps he could take a stand against lobbyists for other industries. I’m looking at you, American Progressive Bag Alliance, Wawa & those who fought the plastic bag bill three times.

You can read the full budget address on Citified.

Readers, what do you think about the recent budget address? Tell us in the comments.

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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