On another recent episode of AmandaAcrossAmerica, Amanda Congdon interviewed Mayor Dave Cieslewicz of Madison, WI. During the interview the mayor discussed the efforts that Madison and many other cities around the country have taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since the federal government is currently ignoring the problem, local municipalities are taking the initiative by changing things at a local level. Last year Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle started trying to get local municipalities to sign on to the Kyoto protocol and Madison was the fifth city to do so. There are now over 300 cities and towns supporting the initiative.
Madison has provided a fleet of bicycles for city employees to get around town on. When employees need to go somewhere, they can just check out a bike and go. This can work really well in a city like Madison that has a fairly contained downtown area where cyclists can get around without too much difficulty, at least in warmer weather months. The mayor even has a dedicated bike to get around on.
The city has also allocated funds to purchase diesel electric hybrid buses for use by the Metro Transit System. Madison will be taking delivery of the first five buses in early 2007. They have also reached an agreement the University of Wisconsin-Madison to use three of the first five buses on routes around the campus area in the central part of town. The hybrid buses are expected to provide a 35% improvement in fuel economy and a reduction in carbon monoxide emissions from 3 grams per mile for diesel to 0.1 gram per mile for the hybrid.