Long Island will be joining 1,500 cities in 40 countries around the world in celebrating International Car Free Day on Thursday, Sept. 22. For the Fourth Annual Car Free Day Long Island, more than 2,400 Long Islanders have already pledged to leave their cars home or drive less—and try more sustainable modes of travel. When possible, carpool, bicycle or walk, or take the Long Island Railroad or a bus.
Last year for Car Free Day LI, 2,855 Long Islanders pledged to be car free or car-lite, saving more than 72,000 miles of driving as well as 36 tons of CO₂ emissions.
More than 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions generated on Long Island are attributable to transportation, according to 2013 Cleaner Greener Long Island Regional Sustainability Plan.
Ozone pollution poses multiple, serious threats to health. Automobile use is one factor that contributes to high ozone levels. According to recent census data, nearly 70 percent of Nassau County and 80 percent of Suffolk County residents drive to work alone.
One community making an impact is Long Beach, where you can rent a bicycle on the boardwalk for $5 an hour or $50 for the whole season. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if more Long Island communities offered this service?
Pledge to go car free or car-lite at the Car Free Day LI website, www.carfreedayli.com. Whether commuting to work or school, or running errands around town, using your car less qualifies for participation in Car Free Day LI.
Even those who are already using alternatives modes of transportation can take the pledge. Participants are eligible to win raffle prizes including commuter bikes, gift cards, and theater and sports tickets.
Several events are being planned in support of the event. The LI Bus Riders Union will host their 3rd annual Rate the Ride event on Sept. 19 and 20, highlighting the many Long Island locations accessible by NICE Bus and Suffolk County Transit buses.
On Sept. 22, Suffolk County and Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) will jointly host a Car Free Day LI Summit at the SCCC Ammerman Campus in Selden, at Brookhaven Gym, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and SCCC President Shaun McKay will kickoff the event and speakers will discuss several sustainable transportation options including Bus Rapid Transit and bike sharing.
Later that evening, the Wyandanch Plaza Association and the Town of Babylon will welcome commuters and residents on their way home, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with music and refreshments at the Car Free Day LI Celebration at Wyandanch Plaza, steps from the Wyandanch Village transit oriented development, the Wyandanch LIRR station and parking facility and Suffolk County Transit bus stop. Exhibitors including 511NYRideshare, Transit Solutions, Sustainable Long Island and Commuter Benefit Solutions will provide information on sustainable transportation alternatives.