Today, unlike almost every other day of the year, Boston area commuters had many reasons to drive to work.  It is July 26th, the height of summer, when many are on vacation.  The Massachusetts Turnpike going into the city of Boston, which is choked by gridlock traffic almost every other day of the year, had 60 mile an hour traffic sailing into the city. And today, gas prices are near a ten year low, making driving and commuting by car cheap. And finally today it is hot outside, really hot. Heat wave hot. And sticky. Perfect weather for air conditioned driving.

Yet today, at the Herter Park&Pedal hub, one of 20 Park&Pedal hubs around the city of Boston, there were approximately 50 people who had decided to Park&Pedal in to their jobs, rather than take advantage of cheap gas and smooth sailing on an open turnpike.

I sat and watched as car after car pulled up, and pulled out a bike, and started the better part of their commute. I marveled at the fact that there were more than a dozen pickup truck drivers who had opted to leave their vehicle and ride their bike to work. Think of the emissions that saved!

All in all, with one location, on one day, the Park&Pedal program reduced emissions in the Boston area by a huge amount. Just the carbon dioxide alone that those 50 cars and trucks did not produce today totals around 6,730 cubic feet. That is substantial savings in emissions.  And the best part is, the price tag for setting up the program that made those savings possible was almost nothing. That’s right, Park&Pedal cost the taxpayers of Massachusetts virtually nothing.  It uses existing, underutilized weekday parking areas, some signs, and a little awareness.  And that’s it.

Park&Pedal is catching on quickly. It is getting people out of their cars, and onto their bikes for their commute. It reduces emissions. It also reduces gridlock traffic and parking issues near areas of employment, while providing commuters a healthy, less stressful way to get to work. Other cities, states, and countries would do well to note the success here in Massachusetts, and consider programs in their areas.

David Montague



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