Taylor Guss: Northampton's zoning should align with its climate goals

The vacant lot on King Street in Northampton where a Volvo dealership is proposed to be built next to the Foster Farrar hardware store.

The vacant lot on King Street in Northampton where a Volvo dealership is proposed to be built next to the Foster Farrar hardware store. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Published: 04-19-2024 1:45 PM

Humanity is currently facing the crisis of a generation with climate change. We exceeded 1.3 degrees Celsius of warming in 2023, just shy of 1.5 degrees, the threshold scientists warn could have catastrophic consequences for the planet. Northampton should be a leader in fighting for a better climate — this is why I support the amendment to ban car sales in the central gateway business district. While electric vehicles are better for the environment than traditional ones, personal vehicles still have far greater greenhouse gas emissions than taking other modes of transportation, accounting for 17% of all of U.S. emissions according to the EPA. If we are going to achieve our climate goals we need to encourage walkability, density, and multimodal transportation in downtown Northampton. Open lots in the gateway business district such as the one on King Street are ripe for this kind of development with easy access to transportation, entertainment, and food — we should not squander these opportunities to develop our city for the better.

Taylor Guss

Northampton

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