A new program has rolled into the Fairpark neighborhood, offering free transit passes, pedometers, bike lights and more in an effort to convince residents to leave their cars at home in favor of walking, biking or taking public transit.
“One of the biggest barriers to adopting alternative transportation is feeling confident and comfortable enough to navigate the change in lifestyle, and that’s where SmartTrips comes in,” says Sara Rose Tannenbaum, SmartTrips program manager.
The aim of SmartTrips, a free Salt Lake City Green Program, is to provide educational materials and incentives to residents so that they explore ways to commute, run errands or get exercise in Salt Lake City without a car.
All Fairpark residents are eligible to sign up for SmartTrips kits. The idea behind these kits is to empower residents with the knowledge they need to embrace existing biking, walking and public transportation options.
Besides offering helpful Fairpark-specific maps, schedules and tips, kits include a free bike light, pedometer, and 7-day unlimited UTA Tap-on-Tap-off pass, and coupon book to local businesses. Residents may also request custom bike and transit commute routes, or step-by-step guides including details such as transfer points, bus frequency and desirable bike lanes.
The Smart Trips program was launched last year in the East Liberty Park neighborhood and showed a 26% decrease in miles and trips driven by car with an 18% increase in environmentally preferable trips. Success has been similarly achieved in neighborhoods in Oregon, and Tennessee, Washington, as well as in Australia.
“With over 40% of trips in the US less than 2 miles, and 68% of these trips are driven in cars, there is a lot of potential to make changes close to home,” says Tannenbaum. “Any reduction in the amount of drive-alone car trips, especially in the Salt Lake Valley, helps to alleviate our impact on air quality and protect the health of our community.”
SmartTrips collaborates with local organizations to coordinate events that celebrate community and public/active transportation. On May 12th SmartTrips hosted a group bike ride to the opening day of the People’s Market at the International Peace Gardens. Neighbors joined Councilmember Kyle LaMalfa, and representatives from the Day-Riverside Library, SmartTrips and local bike shop Saturday Cycles. Of the fifteen participants, 10 visited the People’s Market for the first time, and 8 traveled on stretches of the Jordan River Trail that were new to them.
Next month, SmartTrips will join the Jordan River Commission when they host a weed pull to remove the infamous bike tire-popping goatheads on Saturday July 13th from 9-11 a.m. Though only Fairpark residents can sign up for SmartTrips kits, all are invited to attend the community events.
“By choosing alternative transportation we become closer to our community, our city, and the people, businesses and resources that are a part of it,” says Tannenbaum. “We don’t get to know our neighbors behind a steering wheel. We meet them in our community gardens, at a local business, a local park, or even in passing on the sidewalk. When we get out of our cars, and start walking or biking, we begin to discover our surroundings and neighborhood in a whole new way.”
Do you live in Fairpark? Sign up for SmartTrips when you receive a SmartTrips postcard in the mail or register online.