Martin’s Report about Sun 9/26/2004’s
Good Ways to Get There: Transportation for the Lehigh Valley:
(There was also a follow-up discussion on what can be done about transportation issues.)
It was a beautiful day. Maybe that’s why not all the people who were interested in Good Ways to Get There: Transportation for the Lehigh Valley, the Alliance September Community Dialogue, actually showed up. Some people had called Steve Schmitt of CAT to say what a good idea it was — some Eastonians had even asked Steve if he could do a Transit Training Opportunity out of Easton. And some who couldn’t/didn’t make the event, emailed the Alliance to find out how to contact David Rosenstraus of the Fossil Free Fuels collective to see how they could make vegetable-oil-eaters out of their engines. And some told us that they heard about it on the Muhlenberg radio station and thought they would come, but, alas, were no shows. Hey, but that’s all right—we got them thinking!
The people who did come had a fun time.
The first hour, folks listened to Steve Schmitt at the CAT office talk about four things you can do to make transportation more sustainable.
- Ride your bike to get to places – including to work.
- Walk – you might have driven to work, but you can still walk to places near work: to shop, have lunch, whatever.
- Take a LANTA bus even one day a month—that can substantially increase its revenues and make LANTA into more of an option.
- And help maintain trails.
During the second hour, folks had their choice: either taking the LANTA E bus to Allentown and back with Steve Schmitt; walking to destinations in downtown Bethlehem with Mike Wuerstle of the Allentown Hiking Club; or relaxing aboard a Lehigh Valley Cycleworks pedicab with David Quinn pedaling.
At 2:30, folks walked across the Hill-to-Hill Bridge or biked across the Fahy Bridge to the Southside and met up with other folks who had come just for the 3pm presentations in Maginnes Hall at Lehigh University:
- David Rosenstraus on how he converts car engines to vegetable oil fuel – interesting stuff – did you know that diesel engines were originally designed to run on vegetable oil?
- Al Wurth on how to replace congestion and frustration with more sensible, healthier choices – a major point: we need to get back to living in multiple-use locations – if you live, work, and play in the same place, you don’t have to spend all that time driving the daily circle from where you live to where you work to where you play to where you live. And
- JoAnn Jones presented Tom Egan‘s paper on Honolulu’s comprehensive bike/bus transportation system. It can be done — it is being done — in a region the same size as the Lehigh Valley!
The discussion was supposed to end at 4 pm but folks kept going – we didn’t end until 4:45 pm.
Here’s some information about the participants:
Allentown Hiking Club, founded in 1931, has approximately 300 members from throughout the greater Lehigh Valley. It has maintained a 10.3-mile section of the Appalachian Trail since 1931. Its quarterly newsletter includes articles and a 3-month activities schedule. Meetings are the first Wednesday evening of the month, currently at the Lehigh County Senior Citizens Center in Allentown. An enthusiasm for outdoor recreation and adventure and concern for conservation of the resources which make their activities possible bind its members together.
Alliance for Sustainable Communities – Lehigh Valley is an umbrella organization made up of individuals, organizations, and businesses that are either working to sustain and enhance the quality of life in the Lehigh Valley or working to remove threats to sustainability. The Alliance is committed to active, collaborative, and wholistic approaches that value the environment, social justice, health, participatory democracy, and local economies. For more information about the Alliance, contact Joris Rosse 610-838-7666, email us at info@SustainLV.org, or browse this website.
CAT—Coalition for Appropriate Transportation works to improve mobility for everyone. Improved walking, bicycling, and transit mean a stronger economy, a higher quality of life. More transportation choices mean less congestion, reduced pollution, fewer auto crash deaths and life changing injuries, too. Curbing our use of the automobile fights suburban sprawl, obesity, and increasingly high medical costs.
Tom Egan: Teaches Economics at Moravian College’s Comenius Center.
Fossil Free Fuels: David Rosenstraus is one of the founders of the Fossil Free Fuels collective. He graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2003 and initially became interested in vegetable oil as a means for his bands to tour and not have to support the oil industry. Since, David has met other people interested in the same idea and formed a collective business dedicated to converting diesel automobiles to run on used vegetable oil (collected from restaurants). The collective’s ideal is that by the use of recycled and less polluting materials as fuel, individuals can counteract the great expense in both human and environmental harm that comes from the drilling of fossil fuels. David’s ideal for the Lehigh Valley is to have enough people with converted cars that Fossil Free Fuels will do all of the collection and filtration work and be able to provide a consistent supply of fuel. Fossil Free Fuels info: 732-618-2234 or email (temporary email).
LANTA: The Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA), created in the midst of a transportation crisis in March of 1972 by Lehigh and Northampton counties, is charged with operating a “public transportation system . . . for public use in the metropolitan area consisting of the Counties of Lehigh and Northampton.” A bi-county, municipal authority, LANTA supplements passenger fares and other revenues with county, state and federal funding to support operating and capital expenses.
Lehigh Valley Cycleworks, Inc: provides environmentally friendly and uniquely enjoyable transportation in and around the Lehigh Valley. Though we operate primarily in downtown Bethlehem, our well-trained drivers also serve special events throughout the Valley. Our pedicabs (bicycle taxis) are used by people with physical limitations, by those looking for a slower and more direct experience of our lovely historical areas, and by those just trying to get from one place to another. Whether your ride is around the block, over the bridge, or across town, you’ll find our pedicabs an excellent and fun alternative to travel by motorized vehicles. Info: 484-554-5538
Lehigh Valley Greens: promotes the Ten Key Values of the Green Party and works locally toward a more just and sustainable world. We publish a quarterly newsletter, sponsor forums, and work together with local environmental, peace and justice groups in actions. Many of us are members of the Lehigh County and Northampton County Green Parties and through those parties we run candidates for local office and support candidates of the Green Party of Pennsylvania and the Green Party of the United States. Info: 610-865-9050
Muhlenberg Environmental Action Team (EnAcT)
Progressive Student Alliance: Lehigh University student group.
Al Wurth: Lehigh University Political Science Professor, Board Member of the Sierra Club Lehigh Valley Group and Clean Water Action