Green Transportation Hierarchy

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I received an interesting bulletin recently from the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute in Ottawa. The title was "Making the Case for Active Transportation". As I read it, I again realized how hypocritical I am-- discussing environmental issues but driving my car more than I need.

I know that every time I drive my car, even though it is the hybrid Prius, I am polluting the air and adding to the respiratory problems of my community. I try not to drive into Cornwall unless I have several things to do. It try to park in one place and walk to several businesses. But I don't take my bike and I don't do as good a job of walking around as I should.

I also have not looked into the transit system properly. I did find out that there is no longer service to St. Andrews but I didn't go the next mile. Shame me into it folks! As a retired person, if I organize myself better, I should be able to improve.

As far as using my bike, the City has certainly added some bike lanes but I wonder about Pitt St. Am I just a coward? Is it actually easy to bike on Pitt? Second St. seems to be wide enough, though in the rush hours it might be questionable.

In the bulletin that I mentioned above, there was a list of "Green Transportation Hierarchy". "Prioritizing the needs of transportation users according to this list favours more efficient modes (in terms of space, energy and other costs) over modes that leave a larger ecological footprint. Planning transportation to reflect this hierarchy will provide greater opportunities for active transportation and environmental benefits".

Here is the list: pedestrians, bicycles, public transportation, service and freight vehicles, taxis, multiple-occupant vehicles, single-occupant vehicles.

Some will say that since we don't have a real traffic problem why bother. We do have health problems and vehicle exhaust adds to those problems. We do have rising gas costs and that causes us problems. So what is the harm in aiming for implementing the list? The City is taking steps but let's not allow the economic times to stop those steps.

The group "All Things Food" sent out the following information. Since we want to support our local food producers and /or cut down on pollution from transporting food long distances, check out the following:

"Fall has finally arrived. For many this is a busy time at home, at work and especially in the garden where there are crops to harvest, prepare and preserve; seeds to save; weeds to pull; debris to collect and compost; cover crops to plant and the list goes on. To help you save time, money and space, USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative has invited experts to share advice in its 2011 Fall Webinar Series.

A series of five hour-long trainings will broadcast live on Wed. Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26 and Nov. 2 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. They are free for anyone to watch online. To join the training, register at www.extension.iastate.edu/broadcasts/emg/."

Organizations: Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, Active Transportation, USDA

Geographic location: Ottawa, Cornwall

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