News | July 21, 2016

Virginia’s capital wins first-place honors for climate protection efforts

Congratulations, Richmond.

Virginia’s capital city won first place among large municipalities in the 2016 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Walmart. The award recognizes the achievements of RVAgreen, a community-based sustainability program that is reducing the city’s environmental footprint through more than 50 initiatives—from saving open space to developing new bus rapid transit service.

“RVAgreen demonstrates what can be achieved when local citizens and officials work together to find ways to improve a community’s environmental performance and quality of life,” said SELC Senior Attorney Trip Pollard, who chairs Richmond’s Green City Commission. “This award is a strong affirmation of Richmond’s commitment to sustainability, although there is still much more to be done.”

Pollard was on the advisory committee that helped develop the RVAgreen program and, along with other members of the Green City Commission, works with the Mayor, City Council, and city staff to put it into action. In addition to cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, RVAgreen has helped generate many other benefits for Richmonders, including opportunities to grow fresh produce in community gardens, the conservation of 280 acres along the James River, and 25 miles of new bike lanes and trails.

As one of our region’s leading experts on transportation and how to curb its impacts, Pollard has played a lead role in advancing RVAgreen initiatives that provide cleaner and more efficient modes of travel in the Richmond area. A prime example is the Pulse, a bus rapid transit line that, when completed, will run in dedicated lanes along eight miles of two major arteries in the city—Broad and Main Streets.

Pollard also worked with city officials to craft Richmond’s Complete Streets ordinance. Designed to make travel safer and more convenient for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders, as well as motorists, Complete Streets policies have been shown to reduce accidents, ease traffic congestion, and decrease tailpipe pollution by encouraging the use of multiple modes of transportation besides driving.