Alternative Transit

It’s the right time to bring an urban ecovillage to Akron, Ohio.

Look for these exciting sustainable elements to be included:  (1) Greenbuilding and rehabs, (2) urban farming, (3) Co-op retail businesses, (4) shared transit, and (5) ecoliving events, training and education.

Here are the TOP TEN reasons why the launch of an urban ecovillage in 2013 is sure to rock:

  1. The drive toward sustainable urban development: a greater focus on neighborhood efforts to integrate environmental, economic, and social responses to our current crises.   Urban Current:  A Project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States Urban & Regional Policy Program.
  2. Urban agricultural efforts have made common cause with groups concerned with healthy non-processed food.  The Nation
  3. The sustainability movement will stay on track to become the norm, rather than the exception, with greater efforts in the works to develop greener urban districts and more sustainable, low-tech urban design.  Greenbuilding Services
  4. Collaborative Consumption describes the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending, renting and swapping—including shared landscapes, transportation and meals.–TIME names Collaborative Consumption as one of the “10 Ideas That Will Change The World.” 
  5. With the uptick of sustainable building mandates and consumer demand for  sustainability, funding and incentives for sustainable structures are becoming more readily available.  Greenbuilding Services
  6. We are becoming a nation of overachievers.  Just saving energy is now not enough. The trend is to go all the way and make homes net-zero.  Most net-zero homes achieve this designation by combining a variety of passive and active design strategies.  Buildapedia
  7. Hundreds of “social enterprises” that use profits for environmental, social or community-serving goals are expanding rapidly. New Economics Institute
  8. At the cutting edge of experimentation are the growing number of egalitarian, and often green, worker-owned cooperatives.  New Economics Institute
  9. The number of bike commuters in the USA rose by 64 percent from 1990 to 2009. University Transportation Research Center   
  10. Companies are lining up to register as B Corporations (the “B” stands for “benefit”) allowing companies to subordinate profits to social and environmental goals.  The Nation

Goin' Green Guy tackling frigid temps on bicycle

Actually, yes, you do sweat! Peddling all uphill 3 miles on West Market who knew it was -2F? Full wool mask under the helmet, long underwear, wool socks–you are not cold, just invigorated!

Hey, if I can survive bicycle commuting in frigid temps and icy roads, and feel great–anyone can. Good thing my transmission started going out on my ’99 Honda to encourage me to take it down to two wheels whenever possible.

Here’s my ROI on hoppin’ on the bike instead of getting behind the wheel this winter, vehicle cost not included (November-March):

Bike $: Wool face mask, Goodwill, $3; finger glove, Walmart, $5; Long Underwear, Gabriel Bros, $7; deluxe used backpack, Goodwill, $5; Schwinn combination bike lock, Target $15, lubrication, Walmart, $7. TOTAL: $ 42

Car $: Gas, $1000: oil change, $40; car wash, $150; avg. repairs, $300; license $75. TOTAL: $1565

SAVINGS: $1523

· More than half of all American s live less than five miles from where they work
according to Bicycling magazine.
· Only 1.67% of Americans commute by bicycle.
· In Japan, 15% commute by bicycle; In China, bicycles outnumber cars 250 to 1.
· About 12 bicycles can be parked in the space required for one automobile.
· Traffic jams in the 29 major cities cost commuters an estimated $24.3 billion each year.
· 100 bicycles can be produced for the same energy/resources it takes to build
a medium automobile.
· The average cost of a new car in the U.S. is $13,532.
· The average cost of a new bicycle in the U.S. is $385.
· Commuting by bicycle produces zero pollution.

For a comparison on true cost savings, consider that you can drive your car to the grocery
store and spend 35 cents for a bar of soap, adding 7 cents for the gas, or you can ride your
bike to the corner convenience store and pay 41 cents, actually saving a penny and
getting some exercise at the same time.

The City of Akron is making great strides in encouraging bicycle commuting–seeing a lot more designated bike lanes popping up all the time. I am pleased to see the fledgling non-profit Summit Cycling Center gaining traction for reconditioning old bikes for resale and providing repair and safety riding instruction. I am still waiting for free bicycle kiosks downtown, more companies incentivizing employees and more bike racks in key locales. Akron, you’ve got a little more work to do to become a leading community for commuter and recreational bicycling–but you’re getting there. See Akron-Bicycle-Plan-5-2009 for a comprehensive look at bicycle planning and promotion for the region–very encouraging.