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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2004


Celebrate Earth Day
on foot

Itís time to leave cars at home

Express Staff Writer

Thursday, Earth Day, is a day to give the planet a break, and three local groups are promoting the day as an opportunity to shackle automobiles to their driveways.

"Given that our mission is to encourage the use of non, single-occupancy-vehicle modes and create an efficient multi-modal transpiration system to reduce congestion, protect air quality and improve quality of life, it makes sense to try to somehow connect to Earth Day through the concept of a car-free day," said Beth Callister, executive director of Wood River Rideshare.

Steve Berks of Hailey gets into a rhythm with a skating-type motion, which propels him forward on his slalom trike. He travels between South Woodside and Ketchum on the bike path. "As long as I donít hit a headwind, Iíll make it in about 90 minutes," he said. Express photo by Willy Cook

Rideshare is partnering with Citizens for Smart Growth and the Environmental Resource Center to try to raise public awareness about sustainable transportation solutions.

According to Callister, car-free days are meant to be a break in the daily pattern of driving. The aim is not to take all cars off the streets as a long-term solution. The purpose is to encourage people to think about the impact of their transportation choices and how cleaner, more effective forms of transportation can enhance quality of life.

Car-free events that are effectively organized on a broad scale can help identify opportunities for making both small and large changes in communities.

"We are starting very small, just getting the idea out there," Callister said. "We donít have the resources right now to plan an extensive car-free day, but we do want to continually put out ideas that might help to get people to think about their daily habits and what affect their individual choices have on our common resources."

Car-free days are not exactly a cutting edge concept. A worldwide car-free day has been designated as Sept. 22, and car-free days are held around the world in cities in Austrailia, Austria, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, England and Italy.

According to Callister, the growing use of non-sustainable modes of transportation worldwide has led to air pollution and congestion that have had negative effects on the health and quality of life in communities.

Pollutants from car exhaust such as nitrogen oxides, sulfates, ozone and acid aerosols contribute to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, asthma hospitalizations and reduced lung function, while increasing congestion has led to increased travel times, stress, noise and loss of productive time.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.