Topic: smarter transportation

Cary’s Corner: Young opinions on climate change

Welcome to the second guest post from my 11 year-old niece Cary.  This time Cary weighs in on current events like climate change, gas prices, and alternative energy.

Current Events

Do you hear, know, or think much about global warming and climate change?  What do you think about it? I hear a lot about it. I think people should try to stop it or many animal species may go extinct and we could lose many very important resources.  In conclusion do things to stop global warming!

Do you hear, know, or think much about high oil and gas prices? What do you think about it?     Yes. It is really not that great for more than one reason.

  1. It will make more people drive long distances just to find a price that isn’t unbearable.
  2. It means that more money will have to be made just so people can afford these things

People are driving that extra distance.  Why not ride your bike our walk more?

Do you hear, know, or think much about alternative energies like solar and wind power? What do you think about it?    Yes. I think that it is great that people are trying to find new ways to power their things.  Environmentally friendly things it will help us all.

Celebrate World Car-Free Day

World Car-Free Day is September 22.

Plan to celebrate by leaving the car in the driveway for the day.  Will you plan to walk, bike, bus, or rollerskate to school or work this Monday?

Two-wheeler parking locations - enter your vote

The city is planning to provide parking spaces for scooters and motorcycles downtown.  If you want to vote on which location would be most convenient, visit the survey here.

Here’s more about the two-wheeler program from the release:

Two-Wheeler Parking Downtown

-  Vote for your top 5 locations!

This fall, the City of Cincinnati will install reduced rate, 10-hour parking meters specifically for scooters and motorcycles. But, first we need to know which spots best fit your needs.

Go to www.cincinnati-oh.gov/twowheeler and take our online poll to tell us which locations you prefer.

We’ll announce the top five vote-getters on October 15th, and create multiple parking spaces at each location.


Help us spread the word by forwarding the attached flyer to your friends!


Why Two-Wheeler Parking?
.       .         More fuel-efficient than cars
.       .         Less CO2 emitted
.       .         Less damage to our roads
.       .         Less space needed to park
.       .         More and more people are driving two-wheelers Downtown!

Questions? Suggestions? E-mail us at twowheeler@cincinnati-oh.gov

Ale 8 One’s recycled bottlestop

Local Kentucky soft drink, Ale 8 One, is bringing a unique design to a Lexington bus shelter.  The new “Bottlestop” will be made out of recycled Ale 8 bottles.

In addition, the lighting in the bus shelter will be powered by solar energy.  Both useful and artistic, the Bottlestop shows a creative way to reuse local materials in order to provide a service or meet a function and need of the city.

How about some park benches or street signs for Cincinnati made out of reclaimed blue straws from Skyline Chili?!

More love for the Cincinnati Streetcar plan

The Director of the Economics Center for Education and Research at the University of Cincinnati recently worked to provide testing to support the positive outcome of the Cincinnati Streetcar feasibility study presented in 2007. In a nutshell, George Vredeveld’s work says:

Cincinnati is on the right track in considering a streetcar system, according to Vredeveld. The likely average net economic payoff of $315.8 million, as estimated by HDR over a 35-year period, is sound, as is HDR’s most conservative net economic payoff estimate of $186.8 million over 35 years. Even if this most conservative payoff comes to pass, “the proposed streetcar system is economically worthwhile,” said Vredeveld.
From the UC News online.

This week’s guest blogger on Soapbox Cincinnati is Councilman Chris Bortz. His first entry is a piece with more information supporting the Streetcar initiative. Here are his concluding remarks:

Why build it? You’ve heard the arguments. We need more money to keep the pressure on crime, close the health gap, improve workforce development, and combat blight. We need more residents and more jobs. A streetcar, according to the experts, will help create those jobs and attract those residents and generate those new dollars as well as position our city in a competitive, global economy, create walkable neighborhoods, attract young professionals, stimulate residential development, energize retail, reduce parking pressures and alleviate traffic congestion. But my favorite reason to do this? To tie together all the investments we have already made or are making. We can physically connect them.
From Cincinnati Soapbox.

These are convincing arguments for a small leg of city mass transit, and all without specifically mentioning gas prices or the environment. That’s a good indicator of the right thing to do - when it makes sense economically, socially, and environmentally. Remember the triple bottom line: people, the planet, and profits working together to create sustainability.

Park it and ride into downtown for the Riverfest fireworks

If you’ve ever driven downtown for the baddest fireworks display around, you know that traffic and parking for Riverfest are enough trouble to almost make you want to stay home.

Everyone knows that it’s not the same if you’re not there in person.  This year, let Metro and TANK do the driving for you.

Metro’s Riverfest Express runs on Sunday August 31st for only $3 one-way, or $5 for a round-trip ticket. Compare that to $10 and $20 parking near the river and you can justify taking the whole family on the bus or riding solo and being able to afford a t-shirt and funnel cake. Check out the Metro Riverfest site for the details on where and when to catch the Express.

Looking for a seat on the Kentucky side of the river this year? Ride the TANK’s special Riverfest Park and Ride service. Be shuttled from NKU, Turfway, or Buttermilk to Newport or Covington. Check out the TANK Riverfest Park and Ride details to find out when and where to pick up the bus.

Can’t make up your mind about which side of the river to watch the show from? Ride the TANK Southbank Shuttle between Covington, Newport, and Downtown Cincinnati for $1.25 per trip.

Get friendly with Metro

I’ve thought about taking my bike on the bus for months, but worried about being “that person” who held up the bus with her inability to understand how to get the bike on the rack. When I saw a Metro bus parked at Sawyer Point for Earth Day this year, I took the opportunity to practice loading and unloading my bike on the front of it while it was parked. It was simpler than I ever imagined. The helpful Metro staffer even practiced putting on the pressure to build my confidence. Still, simple.

Has it been a while since you’ve been on the bus? Metro is giving you a chance this Friday to get re-acquainted with the bus. This Friday (August 22) from 11:00am to 1:30pm, a Metro bus will be parked on Fountain Square.

Try the bike rack, look over the bus schedules, or practice nabbing your favorite seat!

Trucking companies saving money and gas

On a recent trip to Columbus, we saw this elaborate contraption at a truck stop.

Turns out, this is a great way for trucking companies to save money and in the process help reduce carbon emissions which contribute to global warming.

In the past, most truckers in the summer or winter left their trucks idling so that they could take advantage of air conditioning or heat in the cab while they rested on long journeys. With gasoline at $4 a gallon, that habit isn’t a very smart one for their business profits.

The system shown in the picture above, provides heat and a/c to trucks in the lot saving gasoline, saving wear and tear on the vehicles from constant idling, and reducing both air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.

This particular service is provided by a company called IdleAire, and according to their website visits by truckers has resulted in:

conserving over 15 million gallons of fuel and eliminating over 360 million pounds of diesel emissions, mostly carbon dioxide

The technology is out there to help us both reduce our dependency on foreign oil supplies and help cut back on carbon emissions, it just takes people willing to find business models that work. Have an idea you think will help the “green” economy of our area? Get out there and do it.

Before you buy that motorcycle or scooter

With gas at $4 a gallon it isn’t surprising that motorcycle sales are up and that more people are using them to commute to work. However, a new article in the LA Times claims that motorcycles and scooters are bigger air polluters than Hummers (smog producers that is).

The other bad news about motorcycles is that they carry with them a higher number of deaths per million miles traveled in the US than cars and trucks. This is particularly of concern in Ohio where there isn’t a mandated helmet law.

More bang for your buck

Now before you write off the motorcycle and scooter for good, let’s talk about what motorcycles and scooters do have going for them.

Because of their size and weight, motorcycles and scooters:

  • are approximately twice as fuel efficient as a car or truck
  • cost a lot less
  • use less resources to produce
  • create less CO2 - the greenhouse gas that causes global warming - then larger vehicles

What to look for when you buy

You’ve decided that you have a commute that is ideal for owning a motorcycle or scooter, or you live in a the perfect neighborhood for scooting to the store and back. When you visit some of the great scooter stores in Cincinnati, make sure to ask a few questions.

  • Ask if the scooter or motorcycle meets EPA standards - or the even stricter guidelines for models in California called CARB
  • Ask if they carry any models with catalytic converters

According to the EPA, with the surging demand for scooters in the US, importers are bringing in sub-standard products that do not meet EPA guidelines. Make sure you buy from reputable dealers and ask to see the EPA sticker for the scooter. Any scooter with an engine over 50cc is required to have them.

Consider all the factors

For those of us who are more safety conscious, a motorcycle is probably not the best idea, but for many this may be a viable economic option. Keep a few things in mind if you do get one.

  • Purchase a full-face helmet and heavily padded jacket
  • Always wear long pants, gloves and boots when riding
  • Take a motorcycle safety class

Wear your helmet

My former home state of Florida lifted their mandatory helmet law in 2000 and according to an article in the American Journal of Public Health, the state saw a 48.6% increase in motorcycle occupant deaths the year after the law changed.

After suddenly falling off my bicycle a few years ago and hitting my helmeted head on the concrete, it reinforced the need to keep the helmet on at all times. Instead of a couple of bruises, I could have been in the hospital. Now imagine going 25 to 65 mph. Enough said.

Currently, anyone over the age of 17 has the choice to wear a helmet in the state of Ohio. Regardless of the law, Live Green Cincinnati encourages everyone to wear a helmet whether biking, scooting or motorcycling your way around the tri-state.

Local Scooter Stores

Now, here are few stores in town where we suggest you start your search for the perfect scooter:

Metro Scooter

Midwest Powersports

Good luck, enjoy the road and be safe!

For more information:

EPA Scooter Alert

LA Times - Motorcycles and Emissions: The Surprising Facts

American Journal of Public Health

Package delivery, no gas needed

Live Green Cincinnati is all about ways to stand out from the crowd of green-wannabees by searching out real local options that work. Recently one that had been on the back of my mind for a while whizzed right past.

The Flying Pig Courier Service is truly a safe, efficient, and environmentally preferable way to get that package to the client. When your delivery arrives via bike messenger versus the standard drab brown delivery, it will make an impression. Might this be the tipping point that convinces your potential customer to use your business for their next sustainable product marketing campaign?

Want to bike it over yourself but don’t own any wheels? Campus Cyclery in Clifton offers a bicycle rental service called Cincinnati Bicycle Rentals. You can take the metro right up the hill from downtown and coast back down in style on your borrowed bike, right into the hearts of your clients. Heck, bring an extra bike for them and talk business over the wind while you ride around on the riverfront. Just don’t forget the helmet!