Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Transit-to-Greenspace in Sarasota County

Public transportation serves millions of Americans each year, saving 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline, or the equivalent of 900,000 cars filling up every day. That’s a lot of energy saved and a lot of pollution that won’t get in to the air.

Unfortunately, transit funding across the country, and right here in Florida, is at risk. As budgets get squeezed, too many people feel transit is not an option for them, and therefore not a priority. One of the best ways to build support for public transit is to spread the word and get our friends and families to ride.

That’s why on July 8th members of the Sarasota and Manatee County community got "on board" with the Florida Healthy Air campaign for our first Transit-to-Greenspace outing.  Led by Bob Fellman of the Manatee-Sarasota group, the outing took us by bus from downtown Sarasota to City Island Park for a walk through a mangrove forest, a casual picnic lunch, and a visit to the Save-Our-Seabird Sanctuary.

Bus riders listen to a great report by Ann Mesnikoff 
Ann Mesnikoff, Director of Sierra Club’s Green Transportation campaign, joined us on our trip to learn more about what the Florida Healthy Air campaign is doing to reduce vehicle miles traveled, clean up our air, and reduce our community’s dependence on oil through better transportation choices. She reported on how the transportation bill recently passed by Congress affects local green transportation work and the funding we receive. 

Transit-to-Greenspace events, pioneered by the Sierra Club’s Northstar Chapter in Minnesota, help to increase demand for active transportation and for transit through a series of trips to local green space throughout the year, and creates linkages between transit, green space protection, and outdoor recreation. Similar trips are being planned in the Sarasota and Manatee County region incorporating different routes and destinations. Volunteers are encouraged to organize their own trips based on their own outdoor recreational preferences. 

Thanks to Diane of Occupy My Soapbox for the great video coverage and for an excellent blog entry about our first ever Transit-to-Greenspace event.  www.occupymysoapbox.com 

Watch the video coverage here: 

For more information about Transit-to-Greenspace and tips on how to organize your own, contact britten.cleveland@sierraclub.org