As reported yesterday, the City of Philadelphia abstained from voting in favor of adopting the 2050 Long Term Plan as prepared by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. This move represents a signal from the City to its fellow board members that it didn’t think the Plan went far enough to address climate change. In response to a request from BCGP to Councilman Mark Squilla, who represents the City on the DVRPC Board, he wrote the following about the City’s decision to abstain from supporting adoption of the Long Range Plan in an email.
We appreciated the work of staff and the cooperation of the other member governments in putting together the LRP. There is a lot in the plan to be proud of. While we hope for higher levels of Federal funding in the future, we in particular support all the projects in Philadelphia in the fiscally constrained LRP. However, reflecting on the climate crisis, we need to reevaluate all of our plans and policies. This was even more so after the flooding a few weeks ago, and after reviewing the public comments. After discussing with OTIS and others in the administration, we think a stronger pivot to sustainable, equitable mobility is needed. (emphasis added). We’ll keep working with our DVRPC partners (both member governments and staff) to bring this about.
The decision of the City of Philadelphia to break from its fellow local governments is significant. It’s a reflection of the hundreds of public comments received by DVRPC that decried any funding going towards road expansion and the lack of near-term programmed funding for bicycle-pedestrian projects, and the City’s conviction that the region needs to take bolder, stronger action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A NO vote might have sent an even stronger signal, but their abstention is noteworthy.