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Portland Green Streets » 2010 » January

Archive for January, 2010

Sign in Here Now – Green Streets Day this Friday, January 29th!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Warm, well-lit bus on a cold winter night

Warm, well-lit bus on a cold winter night

Sign in now (click here) – Please take a minute to sign in now (and every month!) if you plan to walk, bike, take public transit, carpool, and/or telecommute this Green Streets Day – Friday, January 29th.

Signing in during the depths of winter helps us see how hearty we are :) – as we become a year-round green commuting region.

For special treats for Green Streets participants, visit our Green Streets Freebies & Discounts page for offers of free food and drink and various area discounts that day.

Photos and Notes from Green Streeters

Monday, January 25th, 2010
Green Streeters and Portland Bike Commuter Meetup members John Brooking and Ian Riddell - pause in downtown Portland, all lit up for the holidays

Green Streeters and Portland Bike Commuter Meetup members John Brooking and Ian Riddell - pause in downtown Portland, all lit up for the holidays

It’s been a few months since we last posted news from some of our awesome Green Streeters out there.

(And thanks to the 21 hearty – and/or cozy! – souls who signed in for December’s Green Streets Day (aka Christmas Day!) As Ian Riddell of Portland put it when he signed in:

“I won’t be at work, but I won’t be a single occupancy motor vehicle either.”

Jaclyn  Jacobson writes:

“I commute every day from the Rosemont area of Portland to Mercy Hospital’s Westbrook location, then to the Mercy on State Street, and back.  I was happy to see U Car share come to Portland – I was a devoted ZipCar member and unofficial promoter when I lived in Boston – just waiting for there to be a U Car location in my neighborhood!”

By John Patriquin

By PPH Staff Photographer John Patriquin

Check out the latest on Green Streets sponsor U Car Share in this Portland Press Herald article

- and featuring Green Streeter Alex Landry – photograph at right with his U Car membership card!)

Lisa Fernandes of Resilient Homes in Portland writes:

“We’ve re-designed our lives to drive less (60% fewer miles per year than 4 years ago) for the whole household.  Since we both moved our businesses “in-house” we technically commute about 10 feet (both self-employed now).

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes

The driving we still do (about 40% of the past amount) relates to personal use of the vehicles and visiting clients in various parts of Maine. My primary clients are in the Belfast area so I’ll be looking at using the bus for that all winter as I only go up once or twice a month and do the rest of the work from home.”

Meredith Collins of Portland writes:

Meredith Collins anticipates a warm bus!

Meredith Collins anticipates a warm bus!

I documented a recent bus trip with a photo and commentary on my Lazy Green Commuter blog.  It wasn’t technically Green Streets day, but it was close, and it was certainly GS-inspired.

A friend of Green Streeter Jim Tasse – Jim DiStefano – posted this excellent haiku to Tasse’s Facebook page:

Studded tire grip firm,
the hazard road before you,
ride now with aplomb.

Elliott May on Climate Ride - NYC to DC

Elliott May on Climate Ride - NYC to DC

Elliott May of GreenDrinks and Reverb fame shares these photos from the Climate Ride he did in September from New York City to Washington, DC – in support of strong climate legislation.

Climate Ride - NYC to DC

Climate Ride - NYC to DC

The last photo is of all the bikes he and his colleagues use – outside their offices in downtown Portland.

Bikes at the Office

Bikes at the Office

Combat the Flu with that Daily Walk or Bike Ride!

Sunday, January 24th, 2010
eecs-walking-school-bus-cropped

Walking School Bus at East End Community School

According to a Jan. 5th Wall Street Journal article:

“Physical activity has long been known to bestow such benefits as helping to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress, not to mention tightening those abs. Now, a growing body of research is showing that regular exercise-as simple as a brisk 30- to 45-minute walk five times a week-can boost the body’s immune system, increasing the circulation of natural killer cells that fight off viruses and bacteria. And exercise has been shown to improve the body’s response to the influenza vaccine, making it more effective at keeping the virus at bay.

‘No pill or nutritional supplement has the power of near-daily moderate activity in lowering the number of sick days people take,’ says David Nieman, director of Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab in Kannapolis, N.C. Dr. Nieman has conducted several randomized controlled studies showing that people who walked briskly for 45 minutes, five days a week over 12 to 15 weeks had fewer and less severe upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds and flu. These subjects reduced their number of sick days 25% to 50% compared with sedentary control subjects, he says…”

Source: http://tinyurl.com/y9r9a6s , Title: “The Hidden Benefits of Exercise” by Laura Landro

The beauty of green commuting is that it also puts you in touch with the season. It’s often the only time all day we really get a chance to connect with the outdoors – walking, biking, or even if strolling to the bus stop, or waiting for a carpool. It’s when we really find out what the weather is doing outside or discover the sun has come out (or has disappeared). At this time of year, it also means we need to be prepared for colder temperatures and less light. That’s no problem if we all just use our common sense and keep a few things in mind!

Tips from Local Green Streeters for Walking & Biking in Winter

  • In general: Protect extremities like feet, hands, ears (good socks, hats, gloves). Wear layers on your torso in case you need to take something off once you start moving.
  • Walking: Wear something highly visible. Be especially careful making street crossings in the dark.   Allow extra time and take extra care moving about when conditions are icy or snowy (several Green Streeters recommend hiking poles as invaluable!).  When temperatures really descend, nothing beats a well wrapped scarf or face mask and a pair of trusty snow/insulated pants.
  • Biking: Think high visibility! Light-colored pants, a fluorescent jacket or one of those orange construction worker vests – things with lots of reflective material. Red blinking lights can be had starting at under $10 from a bike store. Buy several! Headlights, blinking or steady, vary greatly in size and price, and are also available from a bike store. Maine law states that bicycles at night are required to have a white light in front, and a red or amber light or reflector in the rear, both visible to at least 200’ – and well as reflective material on the pedals, feet, or ankles. Follow the rules of the road for cyclists – shown here beautifully thanks to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine – especially important when car drivers can’t see as well or respond as quickly. Clothing for winter cycling: It’s easy to overdress on the torso (you probably don’t need a puffy coat after the first mile or so). Worry more about extremities like feet, hands, ears, face. Check out a local year-round bike commuter’s take on it all (with photo!)
  • And if you are walking, biking (or taking transit or carpooling) don’t forget to log in and register with GoMAINE Commuter Connections and sign up for the Emergency Ride Home Guarantee.
According to a Jan. 5th Wall Street Journal article, “Physical activity has long been known to bestow such benefits as helping to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress, not to mention tightening those abs. Now, a growing body of research is showing that regular exercise-as simple as a brisk 30- to 45-minute walk five times a week-can boost the body’s immune system, increasing the circulation of natural killer cells that fight off viruses and bacteria. And exercise has been shown to improve the body’s response to the influenza vaccine, making it more effective at keeping the virus at bay.”“‘No pill or nutritional supplement has the power of near-daily moderate activity in lowering the number of sick days people take,’ says David Nieman, director of Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab in Kannapolis, N.C. Dr. Nieman has conducted several randomized controlled studies showing that people who walked briskly for 45 minutes, five days a week over 12 to 15 weeks had fewer and less severe upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds and flu. These subjects reduced their number of sick days 25% to 50% compared with sedentary control subjects, he says…”

Source: http://tinyurl.com/y9r9a6s
Archive search: Use “Search” window
Archive cost: No
Title: “The Hidden Benefits of Exercise”
Author:Laura Landro

New Ride Match System & Discounted Bike Racks – Join the GO MAINE Nation!

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

GoMaine NationNew GO MAINE Ridematching System

GO MAINE Commuter Connections has just introduced an innovative new ridematching system that’s easier and faster to use. State-of- the-art “smart” ridematching software  weighs all possible matches against your commuter profile, allowing the system to more accurately find you a commuter match for carpooling and other commuting options.

Another great new feature allows you to instantly view other commuters in your area. Whether you’re interested in carpooling, vanpooling or both, go to GO MAINE for an instant list of people who live and work near you and work a similar schedule who may also want to share a ride.

Order Now – Discounted Bike Racks for Your Location from GO MAINEBike racks

The MaineDOT and GO MAINE Commuter Connections Program, in partnership with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Safe Routes to School program, support and encourage bicycling as an important mode of transportation. They have created Bike Racks for ME for communities, organizations and workplaces across Maine to help expand bicycle parking opportunities. The only cost to you or your community is the local match of 20%.

There are two types of racks to choose from, the Bike Dock and the Stadium Rack. The Bike Dock holds two bikes and the free-standing Stadium Racks hold six or eight bikes.  Go to GoMaine.org for the application packet .  Quantities are limited and prices are valid through March 2010.  Contact Erik West at GoMaine at 774-9891 for current program status and pricing, and any other questions related to bicycle commuting.

Commuter Stories Shared Through GO MAINE

Check out GO MAINE superstars and their stories. These are videos of Maine commuters and their experiences on the road to work, in carpools, vanpools, the bus, and on bike and foot. View them now! Plus, find GO MAINE on Facebook and share your commuting stories…

Additional Opportunities – Jan, Feb 2010

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Check Out New Green Streets Online Calendar for Timely Events!

We’re excited to finally have added a Green Streets transportation-related events calendar to our website – so please check it throughout the month for timely notices on Greater Portland happenings (on the right sidebar of our home page).  An added bonus: you can add any event to your calendar (scroll down to the bottom of the event description and click on “copy to my calendar”).  And feel free to submit transportation-related events info to us at portlandgreenstreets@yahoo.com

DUE FEBRUARY 2 – Worksite Wellness MiniGrant Applications – for worksites in Baldwin, Harrison, Bridgton, Naples, Casco, Sebago, Raymond, Windham, Standish, Gorham, Westbrook, Scarborough, South Portland, and Cape Elizabeth

Another grant opportunity to get more folks walking and biking – thanks to the hard work of the Healthy Maine Partnerships – see Worksite Wellness RFA Rivers 2010 Application for more details, the application, and contact information.  Check it out – there’s enough time!

Looking For a Car Bike Rack? Green Streeter Has One To Give Away

Longtime bike-ped advocate and active Green Streeter Bobbi Keppel has “a bike rack with straps that is for a car with trunk. I’d be happy to donate it to someone who could use it. Maybe someone from Green Streets can find a home for it.”  Please e-mail herif you’re interested: bobbik@gwi.net

Check Out New Website for Sharing Local Resources

No need to travel too far from home for what you need!  www.ClosestCloset.Com is a conservation website – based out of Scarborough – where members list and “share” resources or skills.  Here’s a recent article written in Mainetoday – check it out and sign up!

Weekly Bike Maintenance Classes from Gorham Bike & Back Bay Bicycle

Every Thursday there are bike maintenance & mechanic classes at Gorham Bike & Ski (flat tire workshop) and Back Bay Bicycle (flat tire workshop alternating with drive train maintenance).  Check their sites for class time and other info.

Bring a U Car Vehicle to Munjoy Hill!

Car Sharing is a wonderful way to save money (get rid of your other car!) while having the convenience of a car when you need it – and you only pay for the time you’re actually using it. U Car Share (run by U Haul) pays EVERYTHING, including gas, maintenance, and insurance. Rate for a Chrysler PT Cruiser is $9.50 per hour, or $66 per day.  It’s  wonderful service! If you live on the East End in Portland get your membership application fee waived for a limited time.   Log in at www.ucarshare.com to sign up anduse this promotional code: MUNJOYHILL. If enough East Enders join, the company will locate a car close by. For more information, contact Peter Alexander at 773-4606.

Submit Public Comments On MDOT Report – Due by Jan 26

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

DOT logo on yellow backgroundReview & Submit Comments about the Draft Report: LD 846, Ways to Reduce Energy/ Promote Efficiency on Major Transportation Corridors

MaineDOT welcomes comments from people interested in the Draft Report for LD 846.  The report and comment section can be found here. The comment period for this draft report will end on January 26th, 2010.

This report is being developed for presentation to the Joint Standing Committees on Transportation and Natural Resources.  This report is pursuant to LD 846, 124th Maine State Legislature, Resolve, Directing the Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) to Study Ways to Reduce Energy Use and Promote Efficiency along Major Transportation Corridors.

MaineDOT has worked with Stakeholder Groups including the Maine Municipal Association, the State Planning Office, the Department of Environmental Protection, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Regional Planning Organizations, The Bicycle Coalition of Maine and others.

Please forward to any interested parties!