Mayor Pat Burt outlined the City's accomplishments, challenges and goals for 2016 in the State of the City address he delivered on Feb. 24 at the Mitchell Park Community Center.
Burt highlighted the City's progress on meeting aggressive sustainability goals (including a carbon-neutral electricity portfolio), repairing aging infrastructure and streets, providing a new, seismically sound public-safety building, and recent reforms to employee benefits that will help the City stay fiscally sound.
The speech addressed the biggest issues and challenges: downtown traffic and parking woes, housing costs and the prolonged drought.
Burt said the Council is currently working on ways to protect downtown local retail and businesses while finding ways to balance the traffic, parking and development concerns of its adjacent neighborhoods. The newly formed non-profit Transportation Management Association (TMA), which aims to reduce single car commutes, as well as more than a dozen bike projects are among various programs launched to find solutions.
Burt acknowledged the Council adoption of an annual cap on new office buildings in specific commercial areas as another way the City is addressing traffic challenges, but he stressed the need to build new housing near transit-rich areas to help minimize traffic.
The importance of planning for the City's future is the focus of both the Comprehensive Plan and Sustainability and Climate Action Plan updates, and the long-term goal of expanding ultra-high-speed Internet to nearly every home is also moving closer to reality.