Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘public transit’

We've Got the December Bad Air Blues

The view from the SLCgreen office on Dec. 4, 2019.

With a week of air that has been some of the worst in the country, it’s no wonder we’re all feeling frustrated. Salt Lake City’s current air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups and requires mandatory action of limited driving and no wood burning. For most of us, Salt Lake City’s notoriously bad air is a nuisance and health concern, limiting our activities and turning our skyline grey. Moreover, pollutants like PM 2.5 are dangerous, especially for older residents, children, pregnant women, and people with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. Air quality is a public health concern, as well as an economic one.

It may come as a surprise that although transportation currently contributes nearly half of the emissions causing Salt Lake City’s bad air, buildings are catching up. Indeed, houses and buildings currently contribute roughly 38% of emissions, and industry point sources produce the other 13%. As emissions standards on cars are becoming more strict, managing emissions from houses and buildings is a growing priority.

PM 2.5 is the primary winter concern in Salt Lake City’s airshed. The particulate matter poses serious health risks and gets trapped in the Salt Lake valley during inversion. Most of the PM 2.5 is a direct result of precursor emissions from tailpipes, smokestacks, and chemicals that mix to form PM 2.5 in the atmosphere.

When you look outside, it may feel like there’s no good news. However, per capita pollution in Utah is decreasing. Salt Lake City is taking steps to help clean the air and protect our public health and environment. Find out how you can keep our airshed (and lungs!) clean and healthy.

What is SLC doing?

Reducing combustion and emissions are a key step towards cleaning the air.

Salt Lake City has many air quality initiatives in place that are helping clean the air. Among these include the continued expansion of EV infrastructure, expanding cleaner vehicles in our fleet, and implementing our energy benchmarking ordinance for nearly 1,000 commercial buildings. Additionally, the HIVE pass provides residents with access to UTA’s public transit system at a reduced cost.

Salt Lake City built the nation’s first Net Zero energy Public Safety Building.
In 2018, Salt Lake City converted five parking enforcement vehicles to all-electric Chevy Bolts. As of Oct. 2019, the Salt Lake City fleet has over 135 hybrids, 32 all-electric vehicles, 72 compressed natural gas heavy duty vehicles, and 117 clean diesel heavy duty vehicles.

Read more

Clearing the air is easier than ever

Winter is coming. And along with it, inversion season. As temperature and pressure changes trap pollutants in the Salt Lake Valley, it is an important time to recommit to reducing our impact.

Air pollution in general is extremely costly in terms of public health and our economy. In the U.S., we spend $131 billion in air quality-related damages each year. The costs to our well-being are enormous. Bad air is linked to asthma, pneumonia, pregnancy loss, and premature death.

Luckily, expansions to our public transportation infrastructure are making it even easier to leave your car at home and help clear the air.

Idle Free sign near City and County Building

Public Transit Expansions

One way to avoid driving is to make use of public transit.

In July, Salt Lake City and the Utah Transit Authority expanded services on three essential routes, the 2, 9, and 21 bus. The expansions are critical steps towards improving air quality because they allow more riders to take advantage of the public system.

The bus route expansions are among several enhancements made possible through the Funding our Futures income (comprised of a sales tax increase, passed by the City Council, and a bond, approved by Salt Lake City voters, in 2018.)

The results are already starting to come in!

Read more

UTA HIVE: Trax, Buses, and S-line Streetcar for $42/mo.


54

by Colin Green

Another summer has come and gone, can you believe it? The days are getting shorter and the fall equinox is right around the corner. Crisp morning air greets us as we step outside, sending kids off to school and beginning our morning commutes.

Autumn is a time of fresh starts and new routines. This transition is a great time to build positive habits that will carry smoothly into the busy year ahead.

We’d like to encourage you to consider integrating a lower emission commute into your routine this fall.

Around the globe, urban transit is the single greatest source of transportation related emissions and it’s growing. By riding public transit, even a few days a week, you can do your part to reduce emissions.

Driving alone in your vehicle is also a major source of local air pollution. Did you know that over 50% of Salt Lake City’s air pollution comes from transportation?  By building public transit into your routine, you can make a difference on a local and global level.

The Hive Pass can help you do that! This Salt Lake City subsidized program, which launched several years ago, offers City residents half off the monthly UTA pass!  Read more

Drive Less, Clear the Air & Win Prizes this July

IMG_20140614_101342_514

The 2014 Challenge kicked off at the Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday, June 14.

Are you ready to help clear the air? The 2014 Clear the Air Challenge starts next week on Tuesday, July 1!

The month long Challenge is just that — an excellent way to challenge yourself to “drive down your miles” and reduce your emissions. Choose alternatives to driving alone and track your impact on air quality.

(And keep an eye on the leader board for the Salt Lake City Corporation network, which is SLCgreen’s home team!)

The Basics

  • The Clear the Air Challenge runs July 1-31, 2014.
  • Register at www.CleartheAirChallenge.org (registration details below).
  • Track the trips and miles you save by using alternatives to driving alone:
    • Active transportation (walk, bike) — Biking and walking, also known as active transportation, are gaining popularity as healthy, efficient and sustainable means of transportation.
    • Public transit — To put it simply, ride UTA!
    • Carpool — Carpooling involves more than one person traveling together in a car and can be used for many occasions including commuting to work, attending special events or taking kids to school, practices or recreational activities. This strategy requires some coordination of schedules, but can be easily implemented to achieve significant results.
    • Telework — Teleworking is possible from just about anywhere – from home, a telecenter, the local coffee shop or anywhere that has a wireless Internet connection. Teleworking can include conference calling or video conferencing for meetings instead of driving to an off-site location or working from a remote office.
    • Skip the trip — The skip the trip strategy is as easy as it sounds. Just plan ahead to avoid unnecessary trips. These can be trips taken for work or for home activities.
    • Learn more about these strategies at TravelWise.utah.gov.
  • Join a network, track your impact and compete for great prizes!

Registration

This year there is a new and greatly improved tracking tool for the Clear the Air Challenge. The new tool will require all users to re-register, but the registration process will only take about 30 seconds and users now have the ability to sign up using their Facebook profile.

During the registration process you will be asked to join a team/network, although it’s not required. If you do not see your team/network listed, please email tracker@ppbh.com with the following information:

  • Team/network name
  • Team/network admin name (the person on your team who will have admin rights)
  • Admin’s email
  • Team/network address
  • Team/network description (a little about who your team is- optional)

Prizes

The Challenge has approximately $10,000 in prizes to give out this year to participants. A number of weekly prizes will be randomly given to people who have earned badges. Grand prizes will be given to the winners in various categories, including: most trips saved, most miles saved and overall champion. The Grand Prize for the overall individual champion will be a $1,300 pair of powder skis provided by Ramp Sports.

New technology

Here are some of the features of the new technology implemented this year:

  • Social media integration: Sign up with your Facebook account and share Clear the Air Challenge posts to your Timeline.
  • Easier tracking and recording of saved trips:
    • Set up favorite trips – Trips you take often can be easily added to your tracker dashboard
    • Multiple day trip recording – Forgot to track each time you took the TRAX over the past week? Simply click on each of the days you made the same trip and record them all at once!
  • Trip Planner: Not sure how you might use alternative transportation to get somewhere rather than your car? Simply enter in your starting and ending locations, and you’ll receive carpool, vanpool, transit, walking and biking options to get to your destination. Use this feature all year round whether you are tracking trips or not!

 

Salt Lake City’s Council Dist. 4 Reigns Supreme in Hive Pass Contest

Passes Are Another Way SLC Residents Can Help Clear the Air

For nearly two months, Salt Lake City Council members have been battling each other for bragging rights and district pride in a challenge posed by Mayor Ralph Becker in April to see who could put the most new Hive transit passes in the pockets of residents.

Well, the results are in and Councilman Luke Garrott’s Fightin’ Dist. 4 has emerged the victor. As promised, all Dist. 4 residents who purchased Hive Passes will be treated to a Salt Lake Bees game on June 18 (vs. the Memphis Redbirds) at 7:05 p.m. at Smith’s Ballpark.

“While our Dist. 4 residents get the prize, it’s truly the case that anyone who has already purchased a Hive Pass is a winner,” said Mayor Becker. “Not only does the discounted pass get you were you need to go, but using it is one of the best ways anyone can help make a positive impact on our air quality challenges.”

“I’m proud of the Dist. 4 folks who work at both reducing air emissions and recognizing a great transportation deal when they see one,” said Councilman Garrott.  “It’s a win for everybody in the Valley as the City supports a pass aimed at enhancing mass transit.”

The new Hive Pass is a pilot program created through a partnership between Salt Lake City and the Utah Transit Authority that is initially only available to Salt Lake City residents. The annual pass is good on all UTA TRAX, Frontrunner, bus and S-line Streetcar services and available for an up-front payment of $350 or for $360 in twelve monthly installments. The pass is good for one-year after its first use.

Dist. 4 Hive Pass purchasers can pick up their tickets (one per pass purchased) at the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office, Salt Lake City & County Building, 451 S. State Street, outside of Room 306. Tickets will be available weekdays beginning Thursday, June 12 through Tuesday, June 17 from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. On game day, Wednesday, June 18, tickets can be picked up from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For questions, call 801-535-7704.

For more information on the Hive Pass visit: http://www.ridewithhive.com/.

Open Letter from Mayor Becker on Air Quality

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you may know, air quality has been a major focus of my work as mayor. My administration has been working on bringing greater attention to the issue and I’ve been advocating for aggressive, meaningful steps to that can be taken by Salt Lake City, state government, industry and individuals to help clean our air.

This is a complex problem and the only way we’re going to solve it is with a comprehensive solution. Let’s come together and fix this problem right away-we can’t wait, the time for talk is over, we need to take action.

Mayor Becker delivers his State of the City address on air quality to a packed house.

Mayor Becker delivers his State of the City address on air quality to a packed house.

During my recent State of the City Address on solving the air quality problem, I proposed key actions that must be taken in order to accomplish this goal.

With clean air as our goal, Salt Lake City has adopted anti-idling ordinances, more than doubled our bike lanes and introduced the City’s first solar farm. For the upcoming year, we are launching the City’s first-ever multiple transit pass and are creating an incentive program to phase out wood burning stoves.

In addition to what Salt Lake City is doing, I’ve also outlined what the state ought to do. Those actions should include:

  • Allocating More Money for Public Transit
    • Increased funding for public transit in Salt Lake City would allow for buses and trains to run more frequently. We must make it more affordable and accessible for individuals to drive less and ride more.
  • Making Lower Sulfur Gasoline a Requirement
    • Tier 3 gasoline has lower levels of sulfur and therefore helps decrease emissions. It is widely available to us but is not required. Mandating that it be required would provide an immediate impact on our air quality.
  • Requiring Buildings to Use Power Efficiently
    • Utah’s energy code standards date back to 2006, lagging far behind many national and international standards. Adopting an updated building code for energy efficiency would help reduce energy use and improve air quality.
  • Making the True Cost of Driving Transparent at the Pump
    • Gas prices have a significant impact on how much people drive their cars. Raising the gas tax would help pay for better roads while also encouraging less driving and improving air quality.
  • Allowing Utah to set Utah-specific air quality standards
    • Setting air quality standards tailored to Utah’s needs is imperative if we are to improve our air quality. Generic national conditions will not work in Utah, and we need to set air quality standards that will work for us.

These are real solutions that will not only produce tangible differences, but produce them quickly. We have received a great response from the community, and are looking to turn that response into results.

If the state is unable to do these things for any reason, I’ve asked that they grant local governments the ability to make these changes because we will get it done at the local level. Enough is enough.

There are 2 things that I would ask of you in order to help improve our air quality.

  1. Lobby your legislators — Ask them to support these measures that I am bringing up and consider the other proposals that will clean up our air.
  2. If they do not support these measures, ask your legislators to grant authority to the local level, so that we can take care of our own problems. We can get this done on the local level if the state can’t or won’t.

I would also implore you to work with your legislators, and not against them. To be effective and to make real change, we need to work together in a respectful and civil manner. While it is important to let your voice be heard, it is equally important to do so in a manner which conveys respect and encourages cooperation.

One of the most memorable moments of my State of the City speech was when a class of 4th graders from Whittier Elementary School took the stage and sang a song they wrote about the inversion and what needs to be done. Our children are, at the end of the day, the most important reason we must strive to clean our air and these kids said it better than anyone could. Watch the video.

There has been enough talk, and it is time for action. A change must be made, and it is up to each and every one of us to make that change.
I hope you will join me in the fight to help improve the air quality of Salt Lake City.

Warm Regards,

Ralph Becker
Mayor
P.S. If you were unable to attend my State of the City address in person, the full text of the speech and some additional information about the issue can be found here.
Also the Salt Lake City Tribune ran a terrific op-ed that discusses the ideas I laid out in my air quality address and if you’re interested, you can read it here.

[VIDEO] Get Inspired to Clear the Air

‘Tis the season for New Years Resolutions.

While you’re revisiting resolutions to exercise, eat healthy and spend more time with those you love (a great way to start the new year!), consider making one more resolution — to help clear the air.

Through the winter Care to Clear the Air project (2010-2012), a series of videos captured the stories of residents making a resolution to limit their impact on air quality by driving less.

Watch the videos below to hear from people that have done everything from moving closer to where they work, to biking, carpooling and taking public transit.

Their stories will inspire you to make your own resolution to help clear the air!

Kyle LaMalfa shares his commitment to take public transit.


Read more