Recently we have been asked about the best ways to reduce our carbon emissions. Here’s one list of answers from Science. I bet you could do at least one of them, and I suspect you will be surprised by some of them.
ColorBrightonGreen.org supports transportation infrastructure that will provide safe travel for non-carbon emitting vehicles such as bicycles. There is a proposed change to the lane configuration on Route 96 (East Avenue) between E. Highland Drive and Route 31F in the towns of Brighton and Pittsford. The current configuration of Rt. 96 is a 40′ wide roadway comprised of four 10′ wide lanes. The Fall 2017 proposed New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) configuration was three 11’ wide lanes for motorized vehicles (the center lane being a turn lane), and two 3.5′ shoulders/unofficial bike lanes.
While ColorBrightonGreen.org supports the initiative of the NYSDOT to provide wider shoulders on this section of East Avenue, we don’t believe that maximizing speeds and leaving only 3.5′ wide bike lanes will protect the safety of all road users. ColorBrightonGreen and several other community groups (including Mothers Out Front, the Rochester Peoples’ Climate Coalition, and Rochester Cycling Alliance) have responded to a coordinated advocacy effort led by Robin Wilt to call for three 10′ vehicle lanes and two 5′ official bicycle lanes along this section of East Avenue. Such a configuration already exists on East Avenue at Winton Road (less than a half mile from the proposed project area).
ColorBrightonGreen.org sent written comments to the NYSDOT Project Design Engineer Daniel Schwind (Daniel.Schwind@dot.ny.gov), and to the Town of Brighton Board Members, and to other elected officials in December 2017. These letters can be seen here on our website.
Subsequent to local advocacy efforts, the NYSDOT has now proposed two 10′ vehicle lanes, one 11′ vehicle turning lane, and two 4.5′ wide shoulders that would not be official bicycle lanes. As of January 6, 2018, advocacy efforts for three 10′ wide vehicular lanes and two 5′ bicycle lanes continue.
Here are some sources of information for you to consider: Narrower Lanes Safer Streets Article from Planet Citizen. Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Narrow Traffic Lanes Make Cities Safer article from World Resources Institute. Narrower Lanes Safer Streets from Research Gate.
The Spring 2017 Curb Your Car Week event took place the week of May 14-20, 2017. During that week 74 residents from the Rochester region registered their pledge to walk, bike, carpool, or ride the bus for at least a day as an alternative to driving their car.
70 registered participants, 23 reporting their results
- Total miles saved: 1,586
- Gallons Saved: 47.55 gallons (based on individual MPG)
- Pounds of CO2 saved: 951 (based on 20 lbs per gallon)
Miles saved per activity
- Biking: 250
- Carpooling: 468
- Not going somewhere you normally go: 399
- Combining trips: 292
- Bus: 8
- Walking: 73
- Telecommuting: 76
- Other: 20
- Not going somewhere you normally go: 296
- Carpool: 138
- Combining trips: 82
- Biking: 45
- Telecommuting: 24
- Walking: 10
- Bus: 8
Every gallon of gas you save averts 22 pounds of CO2 pollution, and it adds up. For example, if your car gets 25 miles per gallon, and you reduce your annual driving from 12,000 to 10,000, you’ll prevent 1,800 pounds of CO2.
I am trying to schedule my weekly errands so that I can accomplish them with fewer outings. I sometimes use MapQuest or another mapping site to efficiently plan my stops so that I am traveling the most efficient route. MapQuest allows me to ask for directions using the shortest distance instead of the shortest amount of time and to add stops to my route. As a result of this scheduling, I have changed my regular route to the the drug store, decided to use a different bank branch that is near the drug store, and am going to a library branch and grocery store that is in the same neighborhood.
Get back to basics and get a grocery store/errands buddy. We did this during a previous energy crisis. Coordinate with your neighbor(s)—this is real neighborhood connection—trips to grocery store, library for those short trips when you can grab a couple of things for the folks next door or return books to the library. Maybe make a pact: email or call each other by a certain time each day. For example—M/W I grab what you need at the store; T/TH you pick up my needs.
I have been going to my workplace on bike (in good weather, not in winter). It is about 3.5 miles away, so I save that much gas and it makes me that much healthier. I also do my small errands like going to the bank, post office, etc. on bike or by walking. My daughter walks to school when weather permits.
When you replace the air in your tires with nitrogen you will save approximately 10 percent on your fuel usage. Your tires will run cooler and there will be drastically less pressure fluctuation and friction created. Your tires will run cooler and more efficiently with less drag and wear. It cost me $40.00 for the nitrogen and I get my tires topped off for free by my dealer if and when they need it. For more info go to www.getnitrogen.org and calculate how much money you can save!
In addition to riding the bus, biking, walking, carpooling, telecommuting, and combining trips, consider the following actions:
- If your family has more than one vehicle, the person driving the furthest should drive the more fuel-efficient vehicle.
- Rid your car of unnecessary weight: every extra 100 lbs loses 1% fuel efficiency.
- Plan the route that prevents idling in traffic: up to 1/3 of your fuel can be wasted in idling.
- Plan trips outside rush hour and peak traffic periods.
- Slow down! 55mph saves 20-30% in cost over 75mph!
- Anticipate stops and slowdowns. Decelerate steadily to save gas.
- When appropriate, drive between 45-55mph, the most fuel-efficient range.
- Avoid using the air conditioner in city driving.
- On the highway, opening the windows reduces the aerodynamics of your car, so it’s better to use the air-conditioner, but in slow start-and-stop driving, it’s better to open the windows.
- Park in the shade in hot weather if you can. Less gas will evaporate from the engine and gas tank.
- Avoid “topping-off” and spills at the gas station. Spilled gasoline pollutes the air when it evaporates.
- Don’t idle! Turn your engine off at railroad crossings, or whenever you stop for a minute or two. After 10 seconds, it is more fuel-efficient to stop the engine and start it up again than to keep it running.
- Consider getting an electric bicycle. You can plug it in at night, and can carry heavy loads easily uphill, including lumber, hardware, and even an extra person.
Next time you buy a car, think extra carefully about MPG. If the car you choose gets 40 miles per gallon instead of 25, and you drive 10,000 miles a year, you’ll slash your CO2 emissions by 3,300 pounds.