Active Transportation Month encourages sustainable transport
The Washington University Office of Sustainability and Parking and Transportation Services has announced October as Active Transportation Month and will organize multiple programs and events to encourage sustainable transportation.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, transportation makes up 27 percent of the United States’ total greenhouse gas emissions. By encouraging students to walk, bike or use public transit, Active Transportation Month will focus on reducing these emissions.
The Office of Sustainability plans to host Active Transportation Month every October and April, according to Sustainability Coordinator Clara Steyer.
“There is a big culture of driving in the U.S., so in terms of carbon emissions, it’s a disaster. And so especially at Wash. U., I think it’s a chance for people to change their mentality around transportation, and I think getting people together and getting people excited about other ways to move, not only on campus but around the city, is super important,” Steyer said.
To accomplish this change, the Office of Sustainability and Parking and Transportation Services has planned programming focused on student and commuter involvement.
The first event of the month will be the Commuter Resource Fair, held in the Edison Courtyard on Thursday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be free bike tune-ups, alternative transportation consultations from Parking and Transportation Services, bike registrations and discounted U-lock and helmet sales. Additional bike tune-ups will be held Oct. 10, 16 and 24.
A MetroLink ride and Food Roof tour will be held Oct. 7. A group will meet at Brookings Quadrangle to take the Metrolink to Food Roof, a rooftop farm in downtown St. Louis, to tour the 10,000-square foot farm, sample its produce, and learn about sustainable rooftop farming methods.
In addition to this, the Washington University Outing Club has organized a bike ride to Grove Fest, at which participants can watch street performances, as well as explore local craft, fashion and art vendors. Before the bike ride, there will be a short lesson on Missouri bicycle laws and road safety.
“I’m excited for the bike ride to Grove Fest. I think a huge barrier to getting off campus using active transportation is comfort, and it’s a great opportunity for people to ride in a pack and become comfortable riding on the roads and becoming familiar with St. Louis’ bike infrastructure,” co-president of Volunteers for Environmental Restoration, Development and Education and junior Alexis Vidaurreta said.
The last event of Active Transportation Month will be Car-Free Commute Day, held on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Though many undergraduate students live on campus, those who live off campus will be able to participate in morning group bike rides from various neighborhoods, and free breakfast will be available for car-free commuters. There will also be a Bike Skillshare and Safety class led by the Washington University Police Department at 5 p.m. on the Swamp that day.
According to Vidaurreta, active transportation goes beyond merely participating in the month’s events.
“I think active transportation [is] one of the biggest things you can do to reduce your individual carbon footprint,” Vidaurreta said. “[It’s] really an important individual choice you can make.”