York’s Clean Air Commute Week heroes help save the air

Were you Yorkwise during Pollution Probe’s Clean Air Commute? If so, you were among a celebrated group of individuals who, by taking alternative forms of transportation to York’s Keele campus June 23 to 27, prevented 2.5 tonnes of environmental pollutants from entering the atmosphere.

By choosing to commute to work by taking transit, cycling, walking or carpooling, rather than driving to work alone, staff at York University demonstrated their commitment to cleaning the air and reducing harmful smog.

The annual Clean Air Commute, organized by Pollution Probe and supported by York University’s Department of Transportation Services and Smart Commute – North Toronto Vaughan, is an annual event that encourages employees to try out more environmentally friendly modes of getting to work. Clean Air Commute Week participants were encouraged to make small changes to their daily commuting routines to help reduce smog. Their efforts were recorded in a daily diary and, at the end of the week, all diaries were entered into a draw for a Raleigh Mountain Bike, to be awarded by York’s Transportation Services, and for a larger grand prize draw from Pollution Probe for a seven-night Caribbean Cruise.

This year’s winner of the Raleigh Mountain Bike was Debbi Collet, an administrative assistant in the Office of the Associate Vice-President Academic Resources Planning. Collet did her part to save the air by taking GO Transit to work each day during Clean Air Commute Week. Her single effort saved more than 18 kilograms of pollutants from entering the atmosphere.

Right: from left, Nicole Arsenault, manager, Department of Transportation Services at York University; Debbi Collett, Clean Air Commute prize winner and a Clean Air Hero; Adam Arnold, program manager, Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan

"Choosing to carpool, take transit, cycle or walk to work reduces harmful vehicle emissions which lead to Climate Change. ‘Smart commuting’ also helps reduce the stress associated with commuting and saves staff and students money," said Brian Shifman, executive director of Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan.

Building on the success of this year’s Clean Air Commute Week, York’s Department of Transportation Services and Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan will continue to promote alternative ways of commuting to York, said Shifman.

Members of the York community have access to Carpool Zone, says Shifman, a ride-matching Web site with more than 5,000 registered users across the Greater Toronto Area. Carpool Zone provides a variety of handy tools to assist with matching those needing a ride with drivers offering a ride, including Google Maps to help commuters find others who are travelling along their route who are looking to carpool.

For more information on how you can save the air, visit the Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan Web site. To find an available carpool opportunities for those travelling to York University, visit the Carpool Zone Web site. Registration is free and easy to complete.