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Hive Pass Pilot Program Moves from Study to Evaluation Phase

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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Hive Pass pilot program, an innovative and experimental transit pass idea–the first of its kind in the country–will conclude the initial phase of study and sales on Tuesday, Sept. 30 and move into an analysis and evaluation period. The Hive Pass allowed Salt Lake City residents to purchase an annual transit pass at a significant discount.

Hive Passes will remain on sale through Tuesday at three locations in Salt Lake City. Visit http://www.ridewithhive.com for details. Residency verification is required.

Mayor Becker originally proposed this unique idea to UTA as part of his Administration’s ongoing work to mitigate air quality issues by addressing the largest contributor to dirty air–vehicle emissions. The program also sought to provide better access specifically for lower income residents by making a monthly payment plan available and by initiating a voucher program to invite broader participation from a variety of organizations. Some 100 passes were distributed to residents in need through the voucher program.

The pilot program was also geared to evaluate if, by making transit more equitable, accessible and convenient, rider habits could be positively impacted. According to the results of a survey administered to residents who purchased Hive passes, significant changes occurred. Survey results show that:

  • Among those who responded to the survey, over 90 percent of Hive Pass users were satisfied with their purchase
  • Among respondents, 44 percent said they now use transit every day and only 23 percent had used transit every day before the Hive Pass
  • A similar increase was seen among residents who went from being infrequent users to regular users
  • Thirty-seven percent said they began using public transportation because of the Hive Pass

A complete copy of the survey results can be found here: http://www.ridewithhive.com/survey.pdf

Per the terms of the agreement between the City and UTA, the two agencies will now enter into an evaluation period in which both entities will work together to process all of the information collected during the pilot, evaluate the pilot and make recommendations about how to apply what’s been learned from the experiment going forward. While regular Hive Passes will not be available during this evaluation, the voucher program will continue.

Project Skyline Launches in Salt Lake City

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Overlooking the city from the rooftop terrace of the downtown library, business leaders, clean air advocates, and healthcare professionals joined Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to announce the launch of Project Skyline. The initiative is designed to impact air quality by cutting energy waste. Administrator McCarthy’s presence served to underscore EPA’s nationwide leadership in providing key energy management tools and resources through the Energy Star program.

Project Skyline is a cornerstone initiative of Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015, the Mayor’s blueprint to improve air quality, boost economic development and improve livability in Salt Lake City. As part of the initiative, Mayor Becker challenged building owners, tenants, universities, schools, hotels, and hospitals across the city to proactively meet – and – exceed the air quality and energy-saving targets of Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015 by joining theMayor’s Skyline Challenge.

The event kicked off with remarks from Mayor Becker who stressed the themes laid out in his State of the City address earlier this year, including the direct impact of air quality on the physical and economic health of the city. The Mayor also recognized the Salt Lake City businesses and institutions that have already joined the Challenge and emphasized his commitment to lead by example by cutting energy waste in municipal operations.

Administrator McCarthy followed Mayor Becker with a powerful message about energy efficiency and the importance of working together to improve the health of American families. “Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective opportunities we have to make our businesses more competitive, improve air quality, and save money. And we know that healthy communities attract investment, businesses, and more jobs.  Environmental health promotes economic health,” said Administrator McCarthy.

President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power Rich Walje highlighted the enormous opportunity for businesses to save money by maximizing energy efficiency opportunities and taking advantage of the utility’s Wattsmart incentive program. “The cleanest and cheapest energy is the energy we don’t use. Working together, we can significantly reduce energy waste and make a positive difference in our community,” said Walje.

Remarks by President and CEO of Economic Development Corporation Utah Jeff Edwards followed by echoing Mayor Becker’s message, calling attention to the top reason businesses choose not to come to Utah— poor air quality. “Air quality is becoming a growing concern across the nation, and companies want to know what Utah is doing to address this issue,” said Edwards. “If we want to continue to attract quality growth to Utah, we must lead by example. I applaud Mayor Becker’s efforts to do just that and encourage building owners to step forward and participate. Project Skyline will set the example for other cities across the country.”

University of Utah Health Care CEO Dr. Vivian Lee wrapped up the event, bringing the perspective of a major healthcare provider and research institution. Dr. Lee stressed how significant the local air quality issues are to the health of Salt Lake City’s residents.

Leadership from partner businesses, organizations, and the community stood alongside Mayor Becker and Administrator McCarthy during the launch to show their support for the initiative:

President and CEO Questar Gas Ron Jibson, Senior Managing Director CBRE Mark Bouchard, Managing Director Goldman Sachs Bruce Larson, Senior Vice President and CSO Intermountain Healthcare Greg Poulson, Director of Engineering Marriott International Charles Cooley, Salt Lake Community College President Dr. Deneece Huftalin, Chief Pulmonary Division and Director Program for Air, Health, and Society Dr. Robert Paine, President BOMA Utah Lorrie Ostlind, Executive Director Utah Clean Energy Sarah Wright, Board President USGBC Utah Whitney Ward, Hotel Monaco General Manager Daryn White, New Mark Grubb Acres Vice President Justin Farnsworth, Salt Lake Chamber Vice President of Business and Community Relations Ryan Evans, UCAIR Executive Director Ted Wilson, Salt Lake City School District Energy Manager Greg Libecci, Salt Lake City Fire Department Captain Rick Stratton, and Breathe Utah Board President Dr. Deborah Sigman.

The Mayor’s Skyline Challenge is created through a partnership between Salt Lake City, Questar Gas, Rocky Mountain Power, BOMA Utah, USGBC Utah, and Utah Clean Energy.

For more information or to join the Challenge, visit http://www.slcgov.com/projectskyline.

Media Stories

Watch the Press Conference

 

Salt Lake City Expands EV Infrastructure

Today Mayor Ralph Becker joined representatives from the Utah Office of Energy Development (OED) and the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) to announce new Salt Lake City infrastructure that supports electric vehicles (EVs) and air quality goals in the region.

“Supporting electric vehicles is another key element of our plan to improve air quality along the Wasatch Front,” said Mayor Becker. “Another critical ingredient is collaboration. These new EV charging stations represent how sharing resources among government agencies, and corporate partners like Nissan, can create a positive outcome for all.”

Salt Lake City’s two new fast-charge stations, donated by Nissan to OED, are among the first of their kind in Utah. OED provided the stations to the City, along with one previously granted to Salt Lake County, as part of an inter-local agreement signed in early 2014. OED and UCAIR then partnered to cover the cost of installing the units. The 480-volt stations can provide a significant charge to the typical electric vehicle in less than an hour.

“The Office of Energy Development was pleased to partner with the City, UCAIR and Nissan on this exciting project,” said Cody Stewart, Energy Advisor to Governor Gary R. Herbert. “It’s important to note that these new charging stations are just one aspect of how electric vehicles are receiving a boost in Utah. Bills passed during the 2014 legislative session enhanced tax credits for EVs, bolstered the state’s fleet of cleaner vehicles and allowed organizations to sell electricity from EV charging stations.” These changes resulted in Utah improving its grade from a B- to a B+ in the 2014 EV Report Card (details here).

In addition to the new fast-charge stations, the City has upgraded its existing public charging infrastructure. Low-voltage EV charging stations were originally added at five locations in 2011 and these stations were recently upgraded to higher voltage units (locations in link below). These new Level 2 stations will allow users to charge their vehicles in about a third of the time. As with the original low voltage stations, these upgraded Level 2 units will remain free for public use.

Parking for EV users will be free, for up to two hours, at all charging stations. However, the City Council is expected to review a proposed fee schedule for electricity at the two fast-charge locations. Fees would help cover costs for monitoring and maintaining the stations, in addition to electricity charges.

More information on the City’s new fast-charge and enhanced Level 2 charging stations can be found at SLCgov.com.

Links to media stories:

Map of charging stations located in Salt Lake City.

Map of charging stations located in Salt Lake City.

Open Letter from Mayor Becker on Air Quality

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you may know, air quality has been a major focus of my work as mayor. My administration has been working on bringing greater attention to the issue and I’ve been advocating for aggressive, meaningful steps to that can be taken by Salt Lake City, state government, industry and individuals to help clean our air.

This is a complex problem and the only way we’re going to solve it is with a comprehensive solution. Let’s come together and fix this problem right away-we can’t wait, the time for talk is over, we need to take action.

Mayor Becker delivers his State of the City address on air quality to a packed house.

Mayor Becker delivers his State of the City address on air quality to a packed house.

During my recent State of the City Address on solving the air quality problem, I proposed key actions that must be taken in order to accomplish this goal.

With clean air as our goal, Salt Lake City has adopted anti-idling ordinances, more than doubled our bike lanes and introduced the City’s first solar farm. For the upcoming year, we are launching the City’s first-ever multiple transit pass and are creating an incentive program to phase out wood burning stoves.

In addition to what Salt Lake City is doing, I’ve also outlined what the state ought to do. Those actions should include:

  • Allocating More Money for Public Transit
    • Increased funding for public transit in Salt Lake City would allow for buses and trains to run more frequently. We must make it more affordable and accessible for individuals to drive less and ride more.
  • Making Lower Sulfur Gasoline a Requirement
    • Tier 3 gasoline has lower levels of sulfur and therefore helps decrease emissions. It is widely available to us but is not required. Mandating that it be required would provide an immediate impact on our air quality.
  • Requiring Buildings to Use Power Efficiently
    • Utah’s energy code standards date back to 2006, lagging far behind many national and international standards. Adopting an updated building code for energy efficiency would help reduce energy use and improve air quality.
  • Making the True Cost of Driving Transparent at the Pump
    • Gas prices have a significant impact on how much people drive their cars. Raising the gas tax would help pay for better roads while also encouraging less driving and improving air quality.
  • Allowing Utah to set Utah-specific air quality standards
    • Setting air quality standards tailored to Utah’s needs is imperative if we are to improve our air quality. Generic national conditions will not work in Utah, and we need to set air quality standards that will work for us.

These are real solutions that will not only produce tangible differences, but produce them quickly. We have received a great response from the community, and are looking to turn that response into results.

If the state is unable to do these things for any reason, I’ve asked that they grant local governments the ability to make these changes because we will get it done at the local level. Enough is enough.

There are 2 things that I would ask of you in order to help improve our air quality.

  1. Lobby your legislators — Ask them to support these measures that I am bringing up and consider the other proposals that will clean up our air.
  2. If they do not support these measures, ask your legislators to grant authority to the local level, so that we can take care of our own problems. We can get this done on the local level if the state can’t or won’t.

I would also implore you to work with your legislators, and not against them. To be effective and to make real change, we need to work together in a respectful and civil manner. While it is important to let your voice be heard, it is equally important to do so in a manner which conveys respect and encourages cooperation.

One of the most memorable moments of my State of the City speech was when a class of 4th graders from Whittier Elementary School took the stage and sang a song they wrote about the inversion and what needs to be done. Our children are, at the end of the day, the most important reason we must strive to clean our air and these kids said it better than anyone could. Watch the video.

There has been enough talk, and it is time for action. A change must be made, and it is up to each and every one of us to make that change.
I hope you will join me in the fight to help improve the air quality of Salt Lake City.

Warm Regards,

Ralph Becker
Mayor
P.S. If you were unable to attend my State of the City address in person, the full text of the speech and some additional information about the issue can be found here.
Also the Salt Lake City Tribune ran a terrific op-ed that discusses the ideas I laid out in my air quality address and if you’re interested, you can read it here.

Mayor Becker Takes on Air Quality

On Wednesday, January 8, Mayor Ralph Becker gathered with residents, students and stakeholders to deliver his 2014 State of the City Address.

But instead of following tradition and sharing the administration’s accomplishments, Mayor Becker focused his entire speech on air quality.

The Mayor began by focusing on what Salt Lake City has already accomplished to reduce emissions and help clear the air. Efforts include the City’s Idle Free Ordinance, bike share, electric vehicle charging stations, biking infrastructure and the new net zero Public Safety Building. Read the full summary.

Then he outlined Salt Lake City’s next steps on air quality issues, including discount transit pass for city residents, creating an incentive program to replace woodburning stoves and phasing out inefficient maintenance equipment like 2 stroke engines. Read the full summary.

In some of the most compelling moments of the address, Mayor Becker outlined five clear requests for state government. These requests specifically deal with limitations that local governments face when combating air pollution. Part of the plea included the message “If this can’t be accomplished at the state level, let us. We at the local level can get it done.”

  1. Allocate more money for public transit. “We have to make it easier for people to use transit as an alternative to driving. We need more coverage that runs more frequently and costs less. Recent polling and many anecdotes I hear reinforce how difficult it is for most people to use transit. It just takes too long and is too inconvenient. And the only way to improve transit service is to better fund it. I urge our State to raise the cap on sales tax for transit. It should be a no-brainer. Or, if you are unwilling to do so, let us do it. Give us local control to fund transit. We at the local level can get it done.”
  2. Make lower sulphur gasoline available. “Tier 3 gasoline, as it is called, has lower levels of sulphur and therefore decreased emissions. It is mandated in other states and should be required for use along the Wasatch Front. This technology exists today to significantly reduce tailpipe emissions. Interestingly, one of our local refineries, Chevron, already produces Tier 3 gasoline, but it is shipped to Washington State because it’s is required there. Even our Salt Lake County Council of Governments endorsed the shift to Tier 3. Or, once again, if you are not willing to do that, let us make that determination locally.”
  3. Change state law to allow for standards that are relevant to Utah. “Do you all know that we have a state law that says our air quality standards here in Utah cannot be more strict than federal standards? Are we really okay with a standard that represents a passing grade for most other cities and states, but still allows us to fail? Since when are we content with Federal officials in Washington determining what’s best for the people of Utah? If this can’t be accomplished at the state level, give us local control over air quality standards so we can make them fit our local needs.”
  4. Make the true cost of driving transparent at the pump. “Gas prices directly affect whether people drive their cars more or less. According to a recent statewide survey, about half of Utahns would reduce vehicle use if gas cost an additional 25 to 75 cents per gallon. And, at an additional $1 per gallon, nearly two thirds would reduce their vehicle use and find other ways to run errands, get to work, and live their lives. If this can’t be accomplished at the state level, let us. We at the local level can get it done, and in fact local governments are united around a proposal for a local option gas tax increase.
  5. Require buildings to use power efficiently. Utah’s energy code standards date back to 2006. Since then, national and international building codes have been upgraded and have been proven to achieve a 30% improvement in energy efficiency. Many other jurisdictions across America have done this already. If state entities cannot or will not, let us do it. We can get it done locally.”

The event closed with the 4th grade ELP students from Whittier Elementary singing an original song called “The Frightful Inversion.” Watch the video below!

Additional Resources

Read a full transcript of the 2014 State of the City Address.

View images on SLCgreen Instagram.

Join the conversation! Use the #clearupslc hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

Sustainable City Dashboard

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Screenshot of the homepage of the Sustainable City Dashboard.

Today SLCgreen joined Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker to unveil a new and innovative tool to track our sustainability efforts and engage with the public.

The Sustainable City Dashboard website features over 100 different metrics from 12 core areas of livability: Air & Climate, Energy, Recycling, Transportation, Open Space, Water, Urban Forestry, Arts & Culture, Housing, Community Health & Safety, Food & Nutrition and Education.

“The Sustainable City Dashboard is an effort to openly engage with residents as we work toward our goals for the future,” said Mayor Becker. “The tool illuminates a broad and ambitious agenda to protect our resources, enhance our assets and establish a path toward greater resiliency and vitality for every aspect of our community.”

The dashboard also features a venue for residents to voice their ideas and concerns about all aspects of Salt Lake City life. The new format, facilitated through Open City Hall, provides the opportunity for two-way communication and enhanced idea sharing.

We hope that Salt Lake City residents will see the new dashboard as an opportunity to explore what their city is doing to improve our community, and become part of the process by sharing their own ideas on how we can reach our goals.

Start exploring the new Sustainable City Dashboard.  We can’t wait to hear your ideas!

Winter Farmers Market Arrives Nov 9

Farmer's Market

Although the Downtown Farmers Market is in its final days of the season, another farmers market is on the horizon for Salt Lake City residents.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and the Downtown Alliance recently announced the arrival of a new Winter Farmers Market that will take up residence in the Rio Grande Depot.

Opening day is scheduled for Saturday, November 9. The Winter Farmers Market will take place every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through April 26.

Officials are heralding this as an important step towards a year round market, similar to those seen in Seattle, Portland and Madison, Wisconsin.

Roughly 50 vendors are slated to participate, offering fresh produce, meat, bread, honey, eggs and other items.