New bike paths and bike lanes along with a public education effort are among the proposals to be considered by the Manhattan Beach City Council as part of an ongoing effort to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions.
For the past several years the city has been working to reduce emissions both in its buildings and by city employees.
The city encourages its employees to carpool or take public transit by giving carpoolers preferred parking and offers a financial incentive of $60 a month as well as staggered work hours to allow employees to use public transit and work around carpool schedules, according to Sona Kalapura, environmental programs manager for Manhattan Beach.
The city owns nine compressed natural gas vehicles, four hybrids, two electric vehicles, and three propane vehicles, which, all told, represent 13 percent of its fleet. City-owned diesel vehicles run on five percent bio diesel fuel.
Thanks to these efforts, from 2005 to 2007, the city reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent. Now it wants to do more. According to Bob Scott, head of the city's Climate Action Plan subcommittee, the road toward creating workable proposals to the city council has not been easy.
"We've been making steady progress but there have been ups and downs along the way," Scott said. "We had to spend a lot of time waiting for the results of the emissions inventory. Our proposals and ideas have changed as we get updates from Council."
Many of these changes have resulted from having to find a compromise between the most effective measures and what the city can afford given the current budget deficit.
The city has received a grant of $155,800 through the federal Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant program to replace current parking lot and security lighting, as well as some streetlights, with energy efficient LEDs to reduce emissions.
The city is now creating its own Climate Action Plan, slated for completion by April. The city hopes eventually to create a community Climate Action Plan detailing what citizens can do to help.
The next public meeting of the Environmental Task Force is scheduled for March 18.