Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Sep 20th
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

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.