Friday, January 29, 2010

All Aboard – New York is Surrounded by Water, Take a Ferry to Work

The other day I had a Clean Air NY Partner meeting on Staten Island and I was considering my transportation options to the outer borough. Among them was renting a car, but since I didn’t have a carpool buddy that was not a smart choice to improve air quality. I used the 511NY transit trip planner and learned that taking the Staten Island Ferry was the best option. It was only a 25-minute ferry ride. What better way to commute to Staten Island than by taking the relaxing, quick, easy and low-carbon-footprint ferry? I boarded, easily found a seat, read my book and the next thing I knew we were docked at St. George Terminal in Staten Island.

Ferries are the forgotten public transportation option. But in New York, where a lot of our land mass is surrounded by water – the Hudson River, East River, Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean – ferries just make so much sense.

Did you know that in the 12-county downstate region that Clean Air NY covers, there are 22 different ferry line options from which commuters can choose? Check out the list to see if any of them work for you and your commute.

All in all, large passenger ferries are a great, environmentally friendly alternative to driving alone in your car, so all aboard!

Written by Jessica Horne, Clean Air NY Outreach and Marketing Associate.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Upper Green Side Joins Clean Air NY as Community Partner

According to a new air quality study, the Upper East Side (UES) is home to some of the most polluted air in New York City. New York City’s Department of Health’s first Community Air Survey (pdf) used highly technical sensors to monitor the level of five types of air pollutants - fine particles, nitrogen oxides, elemental carbon, sulfur dioxide and ozone. These have been linked to a variety of health problems, such as asthma, in more than 150 locations throughout the five boroughs. Download the full report here (pdf).

While many people may be shocked to hear that the UES air is, in fact, so polluted, the news should sadly come as no surprise. The neighborhood has long been home to a high concentration of older buildings, many of which still house old boilers and furnaces that burn a heavy grade of heating oil. In addition, heavy traffic from two nearby bridges and streets full of taxis, cars and trucks do more than their fair share to contribute particulate matter and other toxins to the district’s poor air quality.

Upper Green Side is proud to be Clean Air NY’s newest Community Partner. We will be working with other local community groups and stakeholders to help raise awareness about the need to clean our polluted air. Together, we can clean our air and provide a cleaner and safer environment for all!

Guest Blogger: Michael Auerbach, President of Upper Green Side

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This New Year, Re-evaluate Your Commute

Welcome to 2010, New Yorkers! Were you trying to think of a good New Year’s resolution? How about changing your driving habits? Cars and trucks are responsible for about 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, so the less you drive, the less you pollute. It’s that simple.

Every situation is different, but there are clean-air actions for every commuter. If you work on Long Island or in the Lower Hudson Valley, it may be less practical for you to walk to work. Instead, try a carpool, vanpool bus or train. If you work in New York City, you may want to consider walking or biking. New York City’s Bicycle Access to Buildings Law, announced in December, allows bicycles in buildings, so take advantage of this new law! Walking or biking also keeps you in shape, so you’ll be improving your health and local air quality at the same time.

So, this New Year, find an alternative commute that works for you. Visit or to get started.