Eco-friendly transportation campaign kicks off in New Haven

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The city of New Haven launched an ambitious new transportation campaign Thursday aimed at helping the environment

The goNewHavengo campaign is called “2020: Moving Towards a Healthy Future.”    

New Haven has so many low-lying areas, and so many homes on or near the waterfront, rising sea levels are a huge concern. Officials stood in front of a row of bikes at a train station to encourage people to get out of their cars.

“The campaign is pretty simple,” said New Haven Transportation Director Doug Hausladen. “Next year is 2020. Cut your emissions by 20%.”

The initiative is a two-year long organizing, outreach, and education effort to significantly reduce transportation greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health. They plan to reduce the city’s greenhouse emissions by 20% by the end of 2020, less than 20 months away. 

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Several universities, businesses and community organizations will be involved. The goal is to bring awareness to the negative impacts of car pollution and the opportunities to improve health and save money with healthier transportation options

But how do we cut 20% of greenhouse gas emissions?

“A coordinated effort to reduce single occupancy vehicle use,” said Mayor Toni Harp (D – New Haven)

In other words, do anything except drive alone in a car. Mass transit is a good option. There are buses running all over the city, and New Haven is the spot where Metro North, Shoreline East and Hartford line trains all come together.

“Yet Connecticut is 50% higher than the national average in terms of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. It’s unconscionable. It’s immoral,” Hausladen said.

It also slows us down with all the traffic. One suggestion is to try 2 wheels instead of 4.

For years now, New Haven has been making itself more and more bicycle friendly, adding more and more bike lanes like this ever year, and it now has the longest continuous loop of bike lanes of any urban area in the state.

If you don’t have a bicycle, no problem. You can rent one.

“You’ll ride wherever you want throughout the city. The initial fee covers 45 minutes,” explained Carolyn Lusch, Bike New Haven Program Manager.

That fee is $1.75 for one of the bright green bikes. There are 200 of them at 31 different stations. Both those numbers are growing. You just need to download an app on your phone to use one.

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“Then you go up to whatever bike you have chosen and you scan this QR code with your phone,” Lusch said.” That activates the bike and this ring lock here will snap open.”

There’s always the option of carpooling as well. New Haven is right by the water and the effects of climate change and sea levels rising could be devastating for the city.

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