Sarah Thomson’s green plan shocks all by not being pie-in-the-sky

Sarah Thomson’s green plan shocks all by not being pie-in-the-sky

Hybrid taxis, like these in New York City, are part of Sarah Thomson's green plan (Image: Yodel Anecdotal) 

Most observers have been pretty tough on Sarah Thomson‘s transit plan for the city. Hey, we love the idea of putting subway tunnels under every street with a Starbucks, but the city probably can’t afford it, even if you charge hefty tolls on using the DVP and the Gardiner. Given that, we were taken aback when Thomson announced her environmental policy plan last night at the Blake House and it turned out to be pleasantly incremental—one might even say realistic.

Here’s the Toronto Star‘s take:

Thomson also proposes giving taxi owners an undetermined rebate on their $1,113 registration fee to get the city an all-hybrid fleet within five years.

Jim Bell, of Diamond Taxi, said the intention is good, but owners would need a grant toward hybrid purchase and relaxed rules as to how long cabs can stay on the road.

[Franz] Hartmann applauded Thomson’s pledge to have community members help run a “buy green and local” initiative, but said other pledges, such as getting green bins into all highrises by 2014, when the city’s current target is 2012, don’t make sense.

Okay, so no plan is perfect. Thomson is still making too much out of her subway plan and getting the city to 100 per cent hybrids in five years seems like a stretch. But some of the other candidate’s other ideas—like changing zoning rules to allow more mixed-use developments, financing solar panels, and staggering work times to lessen traffic congestion—are pretty solid and don’t need to cost the city much.

One of our faves is painting roofs white, an idea that is cheap, easy, and could make a big dent in climate change if applied broadly enough—the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that having white roofs globally could have the same effect as taking 300 million cars off the road. Given the weather we’ve had this summer, a policy that would reduce the peak summer heat in the city would seem to deserve some attention.

Many other candidates followed Thomson’s subway plan with “tunnels to everywhere” plans of their own. So, look for a white roof plan from Rossi next week, with a Ford one sometime before October.

• Sarah Thomson’s green plan includes all-hybrid taxi fleet [Toronto Star]
Green taxi fleet anchors Thomson’s environment plan [Globe and Mail]
• Thomson’s green plan includes white roofs [Toronto Sun]