Archive for April, 2009

I-GO and Chicago Park District join forces on car sharing

April 29, 2009

I-GO Car Sharing and the Chicago Park District have partnered to bring four I-GO Car Sharing low-emission vehicles to four different park locations in the city. Beginning Friday, May 1, an I-GO car will be available at Horner Park, 2741 W. Montrose Ave. in Albany Park; Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield Ave. in Old Irving Park; Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Dr. in Uptown; and Ridge Park, 1817 W. 96th St. in Beverly. The cars herald a new relationship between I-GO and the CPD, with reserved parking spots generously provided by the latter.

“Car sharing makes a lot of sense for municipal agencies because it can reduce their fleet costs while providing a community benefit,” said Sharon Feigon, CEO of I-GO Car Sharing. “We are delighted to partner with the Park District so that Chicagoans can combine use of an I-GO vehicle with a visit to a park facility.”

The I-GO vehicles are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to any residents or Park District employees who become members of I-GO Car Sharing. They include: a silver Honda Fit (Horner Park); a red Toyota Prius hybrid (Independence Park); a silver Honda Civic hybrid (Margate Park); and a silver Toyota Scion xB (Ridge Park). I-GO members can search for these and any other I-GO car on I-GO’s website by address, neighborhood or vehicle type.

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Scotland hopes to lead the drive towards all-electric vehicles

April 29, 2009


The city of Glasgow is striving to become ‘Electric Motor City’ under an ambitious $250 million dollar plan to create, encourage and spread sustainable transportation options throughout Scotland. Glasgow has been selected as one of five urban areas in the UK to pilot the use of electric vehicles over the next two years. A plan to test 30 electric vehicles in Glasgow has just been given the go-ahead and the government also plans to give drivers who buy new all-electric vehicles a substantial tax break.

Electric vehicles are powered by battery-driven motors and therefore produce none of the polluting emissions that traditional cars produce. They also operate much more quietly than traditional vehicles. However, their range is limited without being recharged.

Environmental and transportation groups have applauded the plan, although they highlight the importance of using renewable and clean energy sources for the charging of the vehicles. Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, warns against using coal or nuclear sources of energy, and instead argues that, “We can use renewable power from the wind and tides.” Seeing as Irfan Rabbani, executive member for the environment, has publicly announced the City Council’s goal to make Glasgow “one of the most sustainable cities in Europe,” this just may happen!

Want to check out an all-electric car for yourself? Check out this video on the new Chevy Volt, which will debut to the public in 2010.

Fast Company cites I-GO and CTA’s transit smart card

April 28, 2009

I-GO just got name-dropped by Fast Company magazine. The joint transit smart card we created with CTA—the Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card—is one of the “12 Ideas to Build On” in the magazine’s May issue article on progressive green cities.

Our smart card program gets props for linking various modes of transportation—buses, trains, and automobiles—highlighting the importance of an extended, connected public transportation network.

Sharon Feigon, CEO of I-GO Car Sharing, explains, “We want to integrate the public-transit systems and car sharing any way we can, and sharing one card is a good way to demonstrate that these different ideas are linked.”

Other innovative ideas featured in the article include the Zero Landfill, Total Recycling program in Taipei, Taiwan; Tucson’s Healthy City Initiative; the Mortgage Foreclosure Protection Program in Philadelphia; and Vancouver’s Green Games initiative.

I-GO Car Sharing applauds Center for Neighborhood Technology, recipient of 2009 MacArthur Award

April 28, 2009


I-GO Car Sharing is proud to be a part of the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), which on Tuesday, April 28, was one of only eight organizations around the world to be selected for the 2009 MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions.

“The MacArthur Foundation has a long history of supporting organizations around the world like these that demonstrate the creativity, drive, and vision to make the world more just and peaceful,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “These organizations may be small but their impact is tremendous. From protecting human rights to improving urban neighborhoods to conserving biodiversity, they are blazing new paths and finding fresh solutions to some of our most difficult challenges.”


It was CNT—one of the country’s most venerable and innovative think tanks committed to urban sustainability issues—that originally launched I-GO Car Sharing in 2002. We remain closely attached to them to this day—both in terms of mission and literally: I-GO’s HQ is housed in the same LEED-certified-platinum office building in Wicker Park.

The accolades weren’t just from the MacArthur Foundation.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn: “The Center for Neighborhood Technology is an innovative and creative organization that has maintained a strong focus on sustainability for over 30 years,” said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. “The new technologies and ideas CNT has developed have kept Illinois at the forefront of green innovation, and this award is a fitting tribute.”

Sadhu Johnston, Chief Environmental Officer, City of Chicago: “Building a green city takes more than leadership from city government—it takes strong partners in the community. CNT has been and continues to be a valuable partner in the development and implementation of Chicago’s Climate Action Plan. Their in-depth analysis, along with their experience in implementing programs in transportation and energy, effectively demonstrate how and why cities are the solution to climate change.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We encourage everyone to read up on this remarkable, prescient organization that has been waaaaay ahead of the green curve since its founding three decades ago. Reinventing a “smart energy grid” for the nation may be the green topic du jour now. But CNT has been talking smart grid long before the greenwashing bandwagon hoppers grabbed ahold of those coattails.

Besides I-GO, they’ve created other green consumer programs:

  • CNT Energy’s Power Smart Pricing helps residential consumers cut energy costs and reduce their peak energy use through hourly price signals. The plan was adopted by ComEd and other electricity providers in the Midwest.
  • The Energy Savers program offers a one-stop shop for energy audits and loans to finance improvements that substantially reduce natural gas and electricity use in multifamily buildings. Reductions in energy consumption lower the operating costs of rental properties, keeping them affordable for the long term.

No doubt they’ll keep innovating for another 30 years and beyond.

Congratulations CNT!

Bike Sharing

April 26, 2009

“The fact is, we already have a zero-emission, efficient, great way to get around and it’s called the bicycle and we just need to start providing for it,”
-Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives

You’ve heard of car sharing but have you heard of bike sharing? There are already successful bike sharing programs in Paris, Barcelona, London, Stockholm, Milan, Berlin, Munich, Vienna & Copenhagen- to name just a few. Hopefully it is only a matter of time before bike sharing starts spreading throughout the U.S. as well!

Below you can listen to a very interesting interview on last Friday’s Brian Lehrer Show. Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, discusses the possibility of introducing a bike sharing program in New York City.

Would you utilize a bike sharing service in Chicago? If not, why not? What would need to change in order to get you biking?

Climate Cycle: A fundraising ride to install solar panels on Chicago area schools

April 26, 2009


Own a bike and free on Saturday, May 9th? If so, you should join us for a bike ride along the lake! Climate Cylce, a non-profit working to reduce global warming, is kicking off its inaugural bike-a-thon along Chicago’s southern lakefront. The event will raise money to install solar panels on local public schools. Solar energy will help save both schools’ and taxpayers’ money by reducing schools’ energy costs and also reduing their greenhouse gas emissions, the primary cause of global warming.

The event will feature two courses (a 12 mile and a 22 mile course) to choose from, both routes hug the lakefront and will be closed to vehicle traffic- not a bad way to spend a Saturday, huh? On top of the beautiful ride, there are some awesome prizes up for grabs- including free burritos for year from Chipotle!

According to Cimate Cycle, most schools spend more money on energy costs than computers and textbooks combined! Installing solar panels on local schools will save money, reuduce emissions and introduce a new generation to alternative energy and the importance of sustainability.

Click here to register today! All participants will recieve lunch, a t-shirt, goody bag and snacks. Hope we see you there!

Plugging in with Gov. Pat Quinn

April 22, 2009

I-GO press conference
Originally uploaded by igocar sharing

I-GO held a press conference with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and ComEd on April 21 at the James R. Thompson Center to announce I-GO’s new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. ComEd funded the plug-in conversions for the two cars. Representatives of the Center for Neighborhood Technology — which launched I-GO in 2002 — were on hand as well.

Gov. Quinn referred to car sharing as a significant movement in the state’s emerging green infrastructure, and said he supports the proliferation of plug-ins across Chicago and the state. I-GO hopes to expand its plug-in program in Chicago and beyond as that green industry expands in the years to come.

Check out our Flickr photo gallery of the event!

Upcoming I-GO Car Sharing Events

April 21, 2009

2nd Annual Auburn Gresham Earth Day Celebration
Thursday, April 23, 9am-noon
518 W. 79th

The Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, in association with Alderman Latasha Thomas (17th Ward), and the Winneconna Lakes Improvement Association are hosting their 2nd Annual Earth Day Event to raise environmental awareness. I-GO reps will be there to demonstrate economical and environmental transportation alternatives.

University of Chicago Earth Fest
Friday, April 24, 11am-2pm
Rosenwald Building (Main Quad)

The Sustainability Council of the U of C is providing an opportunity for students and faculty to become acquainted with local business, organizations and other groups in Chicago. I-GO will be there spreading the good word. I-GO does not need any volunteer help for this event, but we’d love to see you if you’re in the area.

North Lake Shore Earth Day
Saturday, April 25, 9am-4:30pm
Loyola (Rogers Park Campus)

Loyola University Chicago and the communities of Andersonville, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Rogers Park, Uptown and West Ridge are hosting the 2nd North Lake Shore Earth day celebration. I-GO has been invited to help inform community members about global and local environmental issues such as clean air and energy alternatives, as well as practical, everday ways to green one’s home and business. I-GO is looking for a few volunteers to help staff this event. If you’d like to help out, please send Lauren an e-mail at lauren@igocars.org.

2 New Chi-Town Rewards Businesses

April 20, 2009

I’m happy to announce that we’ve added 2 new, local businesses to our Chi-Town Rewards program this month! As I-GO members, you can now receive a discount when you visit the Adler Planetarium in Chicago’s Museum Campus or the Green Grocer Chicago in West Town- pretty cool, huh?

Adler Planetarium
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
www.adlerplanetarium.org
OFFER: 2 for 1 general admission

Green Grocer Chicago
1402 W. Grand Ave
www.greengrocerchicago.com
OFFER: 10% off total order

Plug-in Hybrids on I-GO Website

April 9, 2009

I-GO now has a dedicated web page for its new Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles. The page offers an overview of the converted Priuses (which were funded by ComEd), as well as tips and guidelines for I-GO members on how to reserve the cars, help maintain them in optimal condition, and operate them efficiently.

I-GO has two plug-in hybrids: one at Millennium Park’s north garage, 201 E. Randolph St., and one in the South Loop at 900 S. Clark St. at the 900 AMLI residential tower’s above-ground garage.