Archive for March, 2009

As the worm turns: Kitchen compost made easy

March 22, 2009

Have you heard about composting with worms (vermicomposting) before but been afraid to give it a try? Worried about making a mess or just not liking the idea of worms in your house? Or would your kids love to learn all that worms can do to green your household? We’ve got the workshop just for you!

Urban Worm Girl, who just happens to be a ChiTown Rewards Member, is hosting a “Worm Composting Workshop” in Lincoln Park on Saturday April 4th from 1 – 2 p.m. Don’t miss this special, hands-on opportunity to learn all about the process of composting with worms. You will also have the opportunity to buy supplies and set up your bin on-site: your worms will be ready to start working when you leave!

Come out and learn how to keep composting in the home easy, clean and fun for all. Call (312) 399-4725 or email Stephanie to reserve your spot today!

Car Ownership Costs Families Thousands

March 19, 2009

From “Wheels,” an editorial blog in the New York Times, yesterday:

“In 2007, a statistically average household, with an annual pretax family income of $63,091 and 1.9 vehicles, spent more on transportation than it did on clothing, health care and entertainment combined ($7,432).”

Here’s the full story.

I-GO’s not kidding when it say car sharing will save you big-time on annual auto costs. Seriously. Thousands of bucks!

3 New I-GO Car Locations

March 18, 2009

We’ll be kicking off April with 3 new I-GO car locations and, no, this is no April Fools! All 3 new I-GO locations are Chicago Park District spaces.

Independence Park (Irving Park & Pulaski)
Silver Honda Civic Hybrid

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Horner Park (2741 W Montrose Ave)
Silver Honda Fit

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Ridge Park (9625 S Longwood)
Blue Honda Civic

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Where else would you like to see new I-GO car locations? Let us know!

Emissions Accomplished?

March 11, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering reversing a Bush administration decision which prevented California (along with 13 other states) from enacting stricter air-pollution standards for motor vehicles. This is great news, not only because of the positive environmental effects the stricter rules would bring about, but simply because it might actually happen!

California has been leading the fight to enact these stricter CO2 regulations for years now and has seen little help from the federal government. However, that was under the Bush administration. Things seem to be changing since Obama took office.

On January 21, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he review the EPA’s denial of California’s waiver request, stating, “California and a growing number of farsighted states have sought to enforce a common-sense policy to reduce global-warming pollution from passenger vehicles, which are the source of 20 percent of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Regulation will not only reduce these emissions, but will also save drivers money and reduce our nation’s dependence on foriegn oil… Your administration has a unique opportunity to both support the pioneering leadership of these states and move America toward global leadership on addressing climate change.”

A mere five days after Governor Schwarzenegger sent this letter, President Obama directed federal regulators to review California’s and 13 other states’ request to set automobile emissions and fuel efficency standards. According to the Clean Air Act Section 209 – State Standards, the EPA must grant the waiver unless it finds that California:

-was arbitrary & capricious in its finding that its standards are, in the aggregate, at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable federal standards;

-does not need such standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions; or

-has proposed standards not consistent with Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act

The 13 other states joining California in this fight are: Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Help make this happen – sign the petition urging the EPA to grant the waiver!

I-GO gets some green ink

March 10, 2009

I-GO recently received some sweet coverage in two green publications. The lead feature in Green Business Quarterly’s spring issue profiles environmental initiatives at CTA and I-GO, including our new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO combo transit card. And the Illinois Environmental Council’s 2009 Briefing Book includes an informative overview of sustainable transportation programs in the state, including I-GO.

Check ’em out and pass ’em around, folks!

The public likes public transportation!

March 9, 2009

Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008! This is a 4% increase over 2007 levels and also marks the highest level of ridership in 52 years, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Ridership on all modes of public transportation increased in every quarter for the second year in a row. Light rail had the highest increase in annual ridership, growing by 8.3% in 2008, followed by commuter rail (4.7%), bus service (3.9%) and heavy rail (3.5%). Streetcars and trolleys are considered ‘light rail’, while subways are categorized as ‘heavily rail’.

Not only are more people taking public transportation, they are also driving less: Total vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. declined by 3.6% from 2007 levels. According to the APTA report, “This ridership record continues a long-term trend of ridership growth. Public transportation use is up 38% since 1995, a figure that is almost triple the growth rate of the population”. Not too shabby, huh?

Eco-friendly bamboo bikes

March 8, 2009

As car sales continue to fall and gas prices remain above the $2/gallon mark, it seems like more and more people are taking up a common childhood activity – biking. Biking is a great way to get around the city- you don’t have to deal with parking, gas, tickets, insurance, or traffic – AND you get some exercise along the way!

If you’re thinking about buying a bike, check out the bamboo bikes from Calfee Design. Calfee Design claims that their bamboo bikes have the lowest carbon footprint of any bike on the market today. Moreover, Calfee Bamboo bikes have won awards for Best Road Bike, Best Off-Road Bike and Peoples’ Choice Award at the American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Sun-Times compares I-GO & Zipcar

March 2, 2009

Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mary Wisniewski driving an I-GO Prius. Photo from Chicago Sun-Times.

Great piece in the Chicago Sun-Times today about car sharing in Chicago. I think transportation reporter Mary Wisniewski does a nice job comparing the city’s two main providers: I-GO Car Sharing and Zipcar. She doesn’t take sides, instead inferring it’s more of a lifestyle choice: Pay more for Zip, get more choices on types of cars (from green to glitzy); pay less for I-GO, get “less variety” (she cites I-GO’s all-green fleet in the article), access in more neighborhoods, and a warm, toasty glow in your heart about contributing toward a non-profit.

Okay, she didn’t really say warm, toasty thing.

And Wisniewski didn’t give much play to another benefit offered by I-GO over Zip: The new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card we created with CTA this year that lets you ride CTA trains, buses, PACE buses and access I-GO cars. We’re trying to link and expand public transit, make it more convenient to transfer from one mode to another, and reduce CO2 emissions by reducing car ownership and dependency.

That’s also part of our joint mission with our parent org, the Center for Neighborhood Technology. And it’s definitely something we offer that our competitor does not.

Although I’m not grinding any axes here. Obviously, I’d like to see I-GO succeed, but there is a huge amount of room in the Chicago market for car sharing providers to coexist peacefully. We’re all still in the initial stage of just spreading the word about car sharing, and explaining to the curious what the hell it is. What it is, is a very good thing, indeed. But just like all the green initiatives getting a big push these days, it’s going to take a major shift in the way we live and get around to truly effect a substantive change.

I-GO and I save!

March 1, 2009

Ever wonder just how much you’re saving by not owning a car? Check out the cost breakdown of one of our members’ yearly driving expenses. Car sharing is about more than just “going green”—it can also save you some dough! And in today’s economy, that’s something we’re all trying to do…