ASK ANN

Stephen Lippy, Refuse Disposal Division Chief for Baltimore County, MD, sends the following question: "I understand there is a new concept being discussed for collecting residential solid waste. It is called a 'trough,' and residents would deposit their debris in this trough and then it would be pushed with a loader up to 200' to a loading dock where it can then be loaded into an open top transfer trailer. The input averages 90 tons per day, up to a high of 200 tons per day. Can anyone share constraints with funding or siting or any experiences (good or bad) with this type of center?"

This is a new process to me so I would solicit any responses you could provide to Stephen. You may contact him at slippy@co.ba.md.us.

Can someone clarify what "sustainable development" is? I hear it used in many contexts and would like a better understanding of what it actually is.

Sustainable development became the hot topic during the mid-1990s and it has a "warm and fuzzy" feeling because it appears to allow both environmental stewardship and development to coexist simultaneously. But sustainability can mean many things to many people. Generally, it is understood to mean development that occurs with sensitivity to environmental concerns. It incorporates environmentally benign materials that have not placed a critical demand on limited resources or caused environmental damage through their harvest or manufacturing processes. Projects that use sustainable development standards also minimize the project's impacts on the natural environment through siting design, incorporating landforms and natural drainage pathways into the final building placement. Finally, buildings and structures built to sustainable standards make a minimum demand on future operations resources, such as energy and toxic materials. They might even incorporate deconstruction and recyclability into the plan so that when the building becomes obsolete, it easily can be taken apart and the basic materials reused or recycled.

Gabe Menendez, Public Works Director, Tallahassee, FL writes: "Are there any cities or counties that have installed stop signs with the intent of using them purely as 'traffic calming' devices? If so, how has this practice been successful in slowing traffic down, and what have been citizen reactions? What are the pros and cons?"

I'd bet nearly every agency has experienced the joy of installing a stop sign in an area where not only is it not needed, it may also create more problems than it solves; however, because an elected official wants to be responsive to a constituent, the stop sign goes up. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices has specific requirements for the use and placement of stop signs, and violating those provisions decreases the city's compliance and enforcement. That said, we all know that promises made to a constituent often take precedence over true need and benefit. Most results demonstrate little or no improvement in the reduction of speed, but "you can't fight city hall" often wins out.

My agency is considering the installation of Red-Light Cameras. I have heard many pros and cons about this program but really need to know more details. Can you provide a source of information?

The Federal Highway Administration has issued guidance to assist state and local agency managers, transportation engineers, and law enforcement officials in identifying and properly addressing safety problems resulting from red light running. Actually there are two programs you might check into. The first is the Stop Red Light Running program which was designed to educate the public on the dangers of red light running and increase enforcement efforts at a grassroots community level. You can access more information at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/community/srlr.htm. The second program provides guidance for these same officials by helping them identify and properly addressing safety problems resulting from red light running. This information is available at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rlcguide/index.htm.

Ask Ann...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquiries to:

Ann Daniels
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd.
Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625
Fax questions to (816) 472-0405
E-mail:
adaniels@apwa.net