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NYC Open Streets? Yes, Please!

Can you imagine walking along car-free streets in Manhattan?

That’s exactly what people are able to do with NYC’s Open Streets program. It’s a pedestrian and cyclist prioritized project that is changing the way people explore the city that never sleeps.

This program embraces public spaces while supporting the small businesses that line the streets of NYC. The areas chosen as open streets are coordinated with local community organizations and are scattered throughout the five boroughs.

You can check out more about the program and see all the open streets here on the New York City DOT website.

As a nonprofit that supports every alternate mode of transportation, our mission is constantly adapting to innovations like this in the industry. Seeing that streets throughout NYC have been transformed into public spaces is an important victory that moves us in the direction of being able to imagine car-free societies.

Have you been to any of NYC’s Open Streets? Share a photo with us on our Twitter page with the hashtag #LoveOpenStreets!

by Isabelle Brown  | 


Who Needs Some Summer Fun in their Workday?

As we settle into August, we know it can feel like we’re missing out on some great summer days as we work from home. By the time we are off the clock, the hot, sunny day has become a warm, golden evening.

Since we can’t all sit at the beach all day, here are ways to bring some summertime joy into your workday, and we’d like to share some with you.

Try different lunches that remind you of summer days. We’re talking watermelon salads, BBQ sandwiches, and iced coffees. Food is a big part of your day, whether you realize it or not.

Brighten up your desk! Let in the natural sunlight, get a bouquet of flowers to put in your space, or get some new décor that makes you smile. Whether you are working from home or back in the office, making your workspace a positive environment will in turn make you happier to be at work!

Try some fruit infused water. The flavors of summer can channel the joy that relaxing by the pool can bring. In season fruits in August are strawberries, lemons and limes, blackberries, blueberries, and more.

We hope these tips can help you bring the summer fun to your daily life, even on the weekdays. Happy August!

by Isabelle Brown  | 


Van Life: The Ups and Downs

A lot of niche lifestyles became mainstream in the strange year of 2020. It seemed everyone was becoming a banana bread baker, an avid cyclist, or a plant parent.

Some people took it to the next level and changed their entire way of life by packing up and living on the road. Living in a van was once something you rarely heard of, but 2020 changed a lot for us. Suddenly, a nomadic lifestyle appealed to more people than ever before.

“Van life” videos were becoming some of the most watched content on social media for so many different reasons. Getting to see the process of stripping an old school bus or Volkswagen van and converting it into a tiny home was like HGTV taken to new heights.

The Ups

A huge trend within van-lifers is the joy of being able to telework from wherever you choose to go in your home on wheels. It’s as easy as parking in a McDonald’s parking lot for the day to get your work done with their free Wi-Fi.

Many content creators living the van life focus on the glamorous parts like parking by the beach at sunset, hiking with your dog in a different state every day, and not being tied down by rent or mortgage. However, a lot of van-lifers are transparent about the harsh realities of life on the road.

The Downs

Gas prices have spiked this summer, as we are all very aware of, making fueling a van a heavy expense. Dealing with repairs and vehicle maintenance can also make a home on wheels extremely inconvenient. Imagine having to drop your house off at the shop for a couple days!

Is it Sustainable?

While the lifestyle isn’t without its carbon footprint, the majority of people living in vehicles utilize solar energy, produce less waste, and become conscious consumers with their limited space.

One solo van-lifer, Cori Geiger, works fully remotely for a marketing organization. She installed solar panels on the roof of her van with the knowledge she acquired from YouTube.

All in all, van-lifers chose a nonconventional and exciting way to live. So, what do you say; are you ready to pack up and hit the road?

by Isabelle Brown  | 


Bikeshares: Revolutionizing Micromobility

Bikesharing saw a big reduction in usage when COVID-19 began in March 2020, with many systems suspending operations, and some companies even closing permanently. While things were not looking up for bikeshare ridership, suddenly the tides began to change.

Members of the American workforce who relied on buses, trains, subway, carpooling, and vanpooling were left in a difficult spot—How do I get to work as safely as possible? People were beginning to turn away from public transit in fear of spreading germs, and companies halted their rideshare systems to keep their staff healthy and safe.

Public Transit Ridership Losses Source: APTA Ridership Trends Dashboard powered by Transit, January 2021, https://transitapp.com/APTA.

Public Transit Ridership Losses

Source: APTA Ridership Trends Dashboard powered by Transit, January 2021, https://transitapp.com/APTA.

 

Not every business was able to go fully remote. So, city-dwelling essential workers looked to bikesharing to replace their commute modes.

Using bikeshare systems enabled people to get where they needed to go while exposing them to as few people as possible. This form of micromobility became an essential transportation service when there was a serious gap in transit that needed to be filled.

Now, with bikeshare systems electrifying their business models by adding e-bikes to their fleets, people in cities around the country like New York City, Chicago, Miami, Portland, Metro DC, and San Francisco can go further and get there faster.

Companies like Lyft with bikeshares in these major cities began adding e-bikes by the thousands and are seeing the results in their increasing ridership numbers. Where it stands now, there’s no denying it: Bikeshares are only going up from here with e-bikes making their mark!

by Isabelle Brown  | 


5 Ways to Enjoy an Eco-Friendly Summer

Making small efforts to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle can actually save you money this summer, and inspire positive change in different areas of your daily life. Here are 5 ways to have some great, green summer fun!

Shop Local: Farmers Markets

Going to a farmers market isn’t only a fun summer activity. There are more to these markets than meets the eye. Produce at farmers markets are typically sold at lower prices than a supermarket, and three out of every four farmers say they use practices consistent with organic standards. By shopping at local farmers markets, you can be spending less to receive sustainably grown produce all while stimulating local economies and preserving America’s farmlands.

Beat the Heat: Close your Shades

You’d be surprised how much heat can come in through your windows. A good way to prevent running the air conditioning all day long is to close your shades on hot summer days. This is a natural way to provide shade to your home and save money on energy costs.

Two Words: Bike More!

One of the worst parts of summer is opening your car door to the intense wave of heat that has been trapped inside. Then, you slide onto your seat that can reach temperatures upwards of 180-200 degrees F, and nearly burn yourself on the metal seatbelt. How can we avoid this? Bike there! For trips within a few miles, biking there is a great way to leave the car at home altogether and save money on gas!

Use Reef Friendly Sunscreen

Believe it or not, island nations and states are beginning to ban beachgoers from wearing harmful sunscreens in the waters. When it comes to purchasing reef friendly sunscreen, checking the active ingredients is key. The big substances to look for are Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, parabens, and microplastics. If any of these are listed, put it back on the shelf. Here is an in-depth article from the Save the Reef charity project to learn more.

Doing your Part: Picking up Litter

A good motto to bring to your eco-friendly summer is to leave every space better than you found it. Something simple to include in your beach or hiking routine is bringing a trash bag and gloves with you. As you clean up after yourself, picking up litter even on a small scale makes a difference. Joining community beach clean-ups is also a weekend activity that can be fun and very rewarding!

Be safe in the heat this summer, and don’t forget that even small efforts to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle are worth it!

by Isabelle Brown  |