City of Syracuse

Climate Change Strategies



Adaptation to a changing climate:

 One of the most certain effects of climate change for the Northeast is an increase in
torrential rains. Syracuse is better equipped than most cities to deal with such storms,
because for several years now, Syracuse and Onondaga County have been partnering in the
EPA-award-winning Save the Rain program. Save the Rain has been installing permeable
surfaces on public properties to soak up and store rainwater – green infrastructure like rain
gardens, bioswales, pervious pavement and green roofs – preventing rainwater from
overwhelming our sewer system, and preventing it from polluting Onondaga Creek and
Onondaga Lake.

 Consistent with the City’s Sustainability Plan, over 1,000 new street trees are planted every
year in the City, mainly through Save the Rain. These additional trees soak up more rain
water, and also help to reduce the urban heat island effect - which is expected to intensify as
a result of climate change.

Greenhouse gas reduction strategies:

 The City will soon begin rewriting its Zoning Ordinance using a grant from the New York
State Energy Research and Development Authority. The revised zoning will be based on
Syracuse’s newly adopted Land Use Plan, which favors mixed-use development, walkable
neighborhoods, transit-oriented development, and land use patterns that support reduced
reliance on automobile travel. As urban living continues to become more attractive,
commuting and attendant vehicle emissions will be reduced.

 The City is also adding more bike infrastructure to city streets – bike lanes, “sharrows”, and
a cycle track – to make bicycling a more viable method of commuting, which reduces
greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

 The City has a newly-adopted Sustainability Plan, which identifies numerous strategies for
reducing energy use and attendant greenhouse gas emissions. The Sustainability Plan also
addresses stormwater management, and makes Urban Forestry recommendations.

 The City recently made major strides in improving the energy efficiency of several City-
owned facilities by installing LED lighting, insulation, sensors, and other energy efficiency
technology, using a grant from the Department of Energy/ American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act.

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