Let us celebrate Earth Day April 22 all year long. Besides recycling newspapers, magazines, glass, plastics, old medicines, paints and cleaning materials, there are other actions you can take which will also contribute to a cleaner environment. Leave your car at home. For local trips in the neighborhood, walk or ride a bike. For longer travels, consider many public transportation alternatives already available.
Downstate New York, there is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), New York City Transit bus, subway and Staten Island Railway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Rail Road, MTA Bus (seven former NYC franchised private bus operators transferred to the MTA in 2005), Nassau Inter County Express (NICE) Bus, Suffolk County Transit, Huntington Area Rapid Transit (HART) Bus, City of Long Beach Bus, New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Trans Hudson (PATH), New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Staten Island Ferry, NYC Economic Development Corporation Private Ferries Westchester County Bee Line Bus, Transport of Rockland County Transit, Putnam Area Rapid Transit Bus, Dutchess County Loop Bus (includes the old City of Poughkeepsie Bus), Orange County Bus, City of Kingston Bus and Ulster County Bus.
In upstate New York, there is the Albany Capital District Transit Authority, Allegany County Transit, Amsterdam Transportation, Batavia Bus Service, Birnie Bus Service, Broome County Transit, Chenango County Transit, Chemung County Transit, Clarkstown Mini Transit, Clinton County Transit, Corning Transit System, Elmira Bus, Franklin County Transit, City of Glens Fall Bus, City of Gloversville Bus, City of Corning Transit System, Greene County Transit, City of Hornell Area Transit, City of Hudson Bus, City of Kingston Bus, Niagara Frontier Transit Authority, City of Oneonta Bus, Rochester Genessee Regional Transportation Authority, Schoharie County Public Transit, Sullivan County Bus, Syracuse Central New York Regional Transportation Authority, Tioga County Public Transit, Tompkins County Consolidated Area Transit, City of Watertown Bus, Wyoming Transit Service and other smaller municipalities all provide local bus service.
Depending upon your community, there may be various options, such as local and express bus, ferry, jitney, subway and commuter rail services. Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars including grants from the Federal Transit Administration. They use less fuel and move far more people than cars. In many cases, your employer can offer transit checks to help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize your investments and reap the benefits. You'll be supporting a cleaner environment, reduce your carbon foot print and be less stressed upon arrival at your final destination.
More employers continue to allow employees to telecommute and work from home full or part time. Others use alternative work schedules, which afford staff the ability to avoid rush hour gridlock. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. You could join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.
Use a hand-powered lawn mower instead of a gasoline or electric one. Rake your leaves instead of using gasoline-powered leaf blowers. The amount of pollution created by gasoline-powered lawn mowers or leaf blowers will surprise you.
A cleaner environment starts with everyone.
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road MTA Bus, New Jersey Transit along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ.