Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Dec 21st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Pedal Pushing

news_greenwaysGreen Ways to Schools gets kids to rethink transportation
In today’s auto-centric world, it is easy to forget that mobility does not have to be synonymous with automobiles. The efforts of one local organization hope to curb this dependency on cars for Santa Cruz youth.

The program is called Green Ways to School, and aims to transform the way young Santa Cruzans perceive transportation. The two organizations that sponsor Green Ways to School, People Power and the Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Transportation, are both committed to promoting alternative and eco-friendly modes of transportation. Green Ways to School differs from the missions of its parent organizations because it hones in on educating middle and high school-aged students about these alternatives. In addition to bicycling, Green Ways also promotes carpooling—the focus of Rideshare Week, which celebrates its 27th anniversary this week.

According to the Hub for Sustainable Transportation’s website, cars are the single largest source of greenhouse gases in Santa Cruz County. Indeed, the City of Santa Cruz’s current draft of the Climate Action Plan reports that in 2008, transportation accounted for 34 percent of carbon emissions in the community. The Hub also explains that cars create congestion, reduce air quality, and contribute to rising obesity. They also cite cars as a source of stress and fatigue for teens. However, their campaign is not just targeted at youth of driving age, but at children of all ages—whose parents may make several trips a day driving them to and from school and activities.

“Twenty percent of traffic during rush hour is from people dropping their kids off or kids driving themselves to school,” says Tawn Kennedy, director of Green Ways to School. “Furthermore, 40 percent of the trips people take in Santa Cruz are under two miles—so it’s a trip to the store, or to go shopping, or wherever. Most kids feel that two miles is something they can handle.”

To spread the word and educate kids about the benefits of active transportation, Green Ways puts on presentations in classrooms across Santa Cruz County. These presentations discuss the ecological and physical benefits of bicycling. Green Ways also organizes recreational rides to get students involved. ”One big ride we do is a ride down to Monterey,” says Kennedy. “It’s about 100 miles round trip and we have kids who go on it who cycle every day and others for whom it might have been months since they’d ridden.”

Green Ways is also working on making bicycles accessible to more youth. Eligible participants can get bikes through their bike adoption program. The program acquires bicycles from the Bike Church on Pacific Avenue and from the Santa Cruz Police Department, which gives lost, stolen, and unclaimed bikes to various youth programs. Kennedy is also starting to work with the Bike Shack in Watsonville to increase access to bicycles for Watsonville youth.

Cars do still dominate Santa Cruz roads, and safety is always an issue for those who bike. “That’s where politics and working with People Power comes in,” Kennedy says. He is working with People Power to organize a fun ride that would raise awareness about the possibility of making King Street a bike boulevard—a street that would reprioritize its function to permit fewer cars and include better bike paths, thereby making the street safer for bicyclists.

Kennedy points to the history of the transportation system currently in place in the United States and in Santa Cruz as reason for the current situation. He says that throughout the 1900s, the automobile industry spent a lot of money to ensure that other means of transport would be marginalized. Kennedy feels that now, the system has become naturalized and it is hard for many people to imagine travelling without an automobile.

“We’re used to having cars and the comfort of cars,” says Kennedy. “Getting a car is a sign of becoming an adult and I think that for most kids, getting a car is a rite of passage. So part of it is about getting kids to ride their bikes, but a large part of it is getting kids to think about where we get the ideas that we have about transportation and our other options”

Green Ways and its founding organizations are getting involved at a local governmental level to help promote sustainable transportation and increase bicyclist safety, and they have had some recent successes. People Power was an important advocate for the bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the San Lorenzo River that was completed in 2009. They encourage students to get involved in local policy, as well, and Kennedy says that Green Ways students have attended and spoken at civic meetings to share their bicycling experiences. One student on the Green Ways website says that participating in the program is “inspirational,” and feels that “we can all make a big change in the community.”


Green Ways is currently hosting an essay and art contest about why it is important for teens to consider alternative forms of transportation. For more information, visit greenways2school.org.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire