Imagine Long Island without a single car on the road – an SJC Long Island campus with empty parking lots.
Considering the region’s dependency on driving, the idea is clearly a fantasy. But Car Free Day – officially launched in 2000 and celebrated annually on Sept. 22 across the globe – looks to at least put a dent into the amount of driving we do.
Individuals are encouraged to walk, bike, use public transportation or carpool as alternatives to driving for the day. Additionally, Car Free Day Long Island annually recognizes and awards colleges, universities and companies in the area for pledging to use alternative transportation.
When I learned that the Office of Global Studies, Environmental Sustainability Committee and the Art Department at SJC Long Island coordinated a bike-to-campus route in the local area, it got my wheels turning. The benefits – personal and environmental – were clear. So I pledged to be car-free for the day.
On Thursday, SJC bicyclists joined the worldwide movement, gathering at the Sayville Train Station for the first meeting location. The bikers took off down Middle Road — riding east to Blue Point— en-route to Corey Beach for the second stop. I live in Blue Point, so I joined the riders at Corey Beach and cycled through the back roads of Patchogue to the SJC Long Island campus in Patchogue.
Combining my morning commute with my daily workout not only saved me time, but opened my eyes to a plethora of positive benefits to reoccurring issues. The benefit to greater society is a day with less street traffic, reduced pollution, a lower demand on gasoline and a decrease in energy use. Personally, I was able to save time and money, squeeze in a morning and afternoon workout, not have to worry about parking, save some miles on my car and hopefully start a routine that will inspire others to do the same.
My daily round-trip commute is about four miles. By biking to work everyday, I would save roughly $100 dollars a year. If you don’t live as close to work as I do, you’re probably going to save a few hundred dollars a year. Just something to think about for a little extra motivation.