Car Free Day in Westchester. Take Bus and Leave the Driving to Us. Route 119 discards exclusive bus lanes.

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. (Edited) September 20, 2018:

 Westchester County Executive George Latimer is asking that all drivers leave their cars at home on Friday, September 21 in celebration of “Car Free Day” in the Hudson Valley. The event, sponsored by the County Department of Public Works and Transportations SMART Commute Program, is designed to encourage alternatives to single occupant driving, such as the use of mass transit, carpooling, biking or walking to your destination.

Latimer said: “I know we are all in the habit of getting into our cars to drive to work each day. But on Car Free Day, I am asking that you try to find one small way celebrate sustainable transportation. Ride to work with a colleague, or take a walk to your local deli or coffee shop instead of using your car. For the first annual Hudson Valley Car Free Day in 2017 more than 1500 commuters traveled sustainably, and we are hoping for an even greater turnout this year.”

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, who rode a Lime Bike to the press conference, discussed different ways the City of White Plains is embracing sustainable travel.

Roach said: “We are working very hard to increase pedestrian and bicycle activity throughout the city. We brought Lime Bike in and you can see those bikes all over the city. You can see the personal bikes in the bike racks. People riding bikes to the train station every day. There are a lot of people who walk to the train station every day. And many of the building we are putting up are transit-oriented, and we’re hoping that people won’t even need their cars.”

In an after press conference interview, Mayor Roach told the CitizeNetReporter at this point there are no plans for a cross county bus service improvement as part of the county bus rapid transit system that Mr. Latimer said should go into effect in 30 to 60 days. 

Mr. Roach also said that the exclusive bus lanes planned for Route 119 were not going to be buses only that they would be shared with cars with buses having the ability to turn redlights to green electronically to speed the traffic flow. Roach said the idea of exclusive bus lanes has been at this time eliminated because there is no room on 119 to include them.

Asked about locations of new promised bus stations in the various communities along Route 119 (Tarrytown Road), Mayor Roach said the engineers are still discussing the locations in White Plains and other key communities along the route. 

511NYRideshare Program Manager Heliana Verónica Higbie said: “511NY Rideshare is thrilled to partner Westchester County Government to promote sustainable transportation this Car Free Day. We applaud Westchester County’s efforts to make the County more bike, pedestrian and transit accessible, and for encouraging residents to try a more environmentally friendly commute.”

The Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation is also using Car Free Day to highlight the County’s Smart Commute Program, which provides information to increase the use of mass transit alternatives.

Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation Hugh Greechan said: “There are a lot of ways that Westchester County commuters can reduce their carbon footprints, and Car Free Day is just one example. We have made several enhancements to the Bee-Line Bus System this fall, including adding service to various routes where ridership is strong and the demand is high. Commuters and seniors can also apply for reduced fare MetroCards.”

Join the SMART Commute team for Car Free Day in Mount Vernon’s Petrillo Plaza on Friday, September 21 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Stop by to learn more about how to travel sustainably by using the Bee-Line Bus System.  Pick up a system map or bus schedule, enter to win a free 2-Trip MetroCard and enjoy complimentary refreshments provided by local businesses.  Ultimate Juices and Edible Arrangements, both of Mount Vernon, will be providing free samples throughout the event, and Lowe’s of Yonkers has graciously donated turf to prove that there are “greener” ways to use your parking spot.

The MetroCard van will be making a special appearance at the Car Free Day event from 3 to 5 p.m. The van is a “one-stop shop” and is equipped to assist bus riders with all of their MetroCard business. Riders will be able to buy a regular MetroCard, apply for a Reduced-Fare MetroCard if they are 65 and older or have qualifying disabilities, and refill their existing MetroCards. MetroCard is the automated regional fare collection system managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Help make Car Free Day 2018 a great success, take the pledge to go car free on 9/21. For Bee-Line Bus information visit www.westchestergov.com/beelinebus or call the Bee-Line customer service center at (914) 813-7777, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Automated information is available 24 hours a day.

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