Bike Week is coming up in May with several exciting bicycle rides in Rochester, NY. Check out Rochester’s Bike Week Schedule of events: Rochester Bike Week 2011 sponsored by the Rochester Cycling Alliance (RCA). The whole concept of Bike Week is to get folks to think about commuting to work and other short-travel destinations for a healthier community. One of the aspects about Bike Week that I highlight is to encourage folks to think about Climate Change and how bicycling or walking (active transportation) will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we emit when we get around. Because, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 27% of our greenhouse gases in the U.S. are emitted by transportation, active transportation can make a significant difference in our region’s ability to combat Climate Change.
Let’s not continue to fool ourselves. Climate Change is real and it is happening now. Go to the experts (climate scientists) and get the whole story in a series of well-designed short videos on the things you should know about Climate Change: NSF.gov - To What Degree? - What Science Is Telling Us About Climate Change - How Do We Know? Remember, there are many likely scenarios that Climate Change will inflict on our region: Possible Rochester, NY region Climate Change scenarios.
Also, consider that all of our area’s long-range transportation, solid waste, and energy plans include Climate Change as a major planning factor. This is essential because these groups are accountable for addressing Climate Change in our area. These plans are: ·
- Beyond Waste: A Sustainable Material Management Strategy - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
- Genesee Transportation Council Long Range Transportation Plan for the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region 2035
- The New York State Energy Planning Board is soliciting public comments on the Draft Scope for the 2013 State Energy Plan [PDF].
There are many other benefits, of course, to increasing the safety and viability of bicycling in our region. Bicycling can make you healthier, less stressful, improve your neighborhood, save you big bucks, increase the value of your home with bicycle boulevards, and much more. Bicycling and walking are alternative transportation options that will move us away from a present unsustainable transportation system that dominates our communities, paves over our environment, and takes a large slice of our tax dollars to maintain. Imagine being able to move around without having the myriad of expenses that go with owning a car.
Sure it will be difficult to transform the Rochester, NY region to change our traveling habits and use bicycles and walking to those short distances we most often travel. But there are a lot of folks who would consider these modes of travel if there were a safe infrastructure to do so: bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, more awareness by vehicle drivers for bicycles and walking, and more facilities for bicycles at shopping destinations and places of work.
Changing our area’s transportation system to better accommodate active transportation won’t happen without an effort on your part. Rochester area folks must demonstrate to their public officials and the public at large (not to mention the media) that they really want to get off the oil habit and have a healthier lifestyle. If the public doesn’t rise up and ride their bicycles, the transportation authorities will continue to think we only care about road repair and fixing bridges—and that’s where your tax dollars will continue to go.
Two rides that I have helped develop and consider critical for increasing bicycling in our area are the South Wedge/Public Market Ride and the Upper Monroe Neighborhood/Swillburg Ride. The first will help you visualize how bicycle boulevards will work in our community and the second will get you to think about bicycling on a beautiful Saturday morning on your bicycle with your neighbors to shop for healthy food at the Rochester Public Market, 280 Union Street North, 428-6907, http://www.cityofrochester.gov/publicmarket/
Be a part of the solution and demonstrate that we aren’t helpless consumers of an unsustainable lifestyle based on greenhouse gas emissions. Oh, I almost forgot to mention: You’ll have fun too.