Tag Archives: Transportation

Belmont Drives Electric!

belmont-drives-electric

This new community-run program, sponsored by Sustainable Belmont, Belmont Energy Committee, Belmont Light and Belmont residents, promotes the use of electric vehicles in Belmont. Based on the highly successful Belmont Goes Solar model, the program includes pre-negotiated deals with local car dealers, Belmont Light monetary incentives, and community volunteers available to answer your questions.

Converting from a gas-combustion powered car to an electric vehicle could cut your transportation carbon footprint by half.  Save money and help reduce Belmont’s carbon footprint.

Belmont Drives Electric is also working with Belmont Light and the town to implement public charging stations for EV’s in Belmont and get some electric cars for the town fleet. We will keep you updated on the progress. Please talk to your town representatives to support this program. Thank you!

Events!

Nov. 12, 2016
Belmont Drives Electric Information & Test Drive Event

Info Session: 1:30-2:30pm
Test Drives: 2:30-4:30pm
Belmont High School Cafeteria & Parking Lot

Why is now a great time to consider an EV in Belmont? How do electric vehicles (EVs) handle in the snow and cold? Are EVs budget friendly? Come find out answers to these questions and more at a free public educational event sponsored by Belmont Drives Electric on Saturday, November 12 from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. During the information session, Belmont residents can find out about time-sensitive cost-saving incentives, need-to-know information regarding charging an EV, the environmental benefits of EVs, and other important information, such as efficiency of EVs in cold weather as well as maintenance and overall cost. Belmont EV owners will discuss their experiences and there will be time for questions and answers.

After the one-hour information session, EVs will be available to test drive a variety of EVs and PHEVs (plug0in hybrid electrical vehicles) and there will be a live demonstration of how to charge an EV.

Refreshments will be served.
Rain or shine!

For more information, please see the flyer here: Flyer – BDE Nov 12 Info Event.

December 15, 2016
EV Info Event & Test Drives at Belmont Light Open House
3-7pm
Belmont Light, 40 Prince Street

Details to be announced

More info:  www.belmontdriveselectric.org
To talk to a volunteer EV coach 617-855-5405
or email: Help@BelmontDrivesElectric.org

Presentation: Kick Gas with Electric Vehicles

Wednesday, March 2
7 – 9 PM
Assembly Room, Belmont Public Library

Join us for a panel discussion with Belmont residents who have recently gone electric with their cars. Learn about the financial and environmental benefits and some of the challenges. Four different cars will be in the parking lot for viewing.

In MA, about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the transportation sector. By transitioning away from petroleum to cleaner electric vehicles, emissions can be dramatically reduced. Learn how rooftop solar works with electric vehicle charging – charging and operating costs; financial and emissions benefits.

Come see how easy it is to kick gas!
2013 nissan leaf

Learn about: General costs of operating an electric vehicle; Charging options; What’s cool about this technology; How EV’s lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Action Plan – 2016 Updates

Sustainable Belmont Meeting: Climate Action Plan Updated

Wednesday, April 6
7 PM
Assembly Room, Belmont Public Library

Join us for an overview of the recent updates to the Climate Action Plan based on the previous year’s work of the Town Energy Committee. Presenters include Energy Committee members, Ian Todreas, James Booth and Jan Kruse.

Free and open to the public.

Belmont Begins Crosswalk Flag Pilot Program to Increase Pedestrian Safety

To increase the safety of pedestrians in Belmont, especially near our schools, Belmont is starting a crosswalk flag pilot program at four locations along popular school walking routes.

The project is being launched by Belmont Safe Routes to School Community Working Group, in collaboration with the Town of Belmont, including Belmont Public Schools, Belmont Office of Community Development, Belmont Police Department, and Belmont Department of Public Works.

Flags mounted to poleThe crosswalk flag program is a low-cost, low-tech tool designed to help increase pedestrian visibility and driver awareness in Belmont. Here’s how the flags work: A pedestrian picks up a brightly colored flag from a canister located near one end of a crosswalk and holds it in front of them, clearly signaling their desire to cross the street. When traffic has stopped, the pedestrian crosses the street while holding the flag, then places it in the bucket at the other end of the crosswalk. The use of flags does not eliminate a pedestrian’s responsibility to take all normal safety precautions. And the flags are not intended to replace crossing guards.

The pilot program is scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 21st at each of the four crosswalks. Volunteers will demonstrate how to use the flags at the following locations:

  • On Gale Road at Watson Road
  • On Lexington Street at Sycamore Street
  • On Cross Street at Broad Street
  • On Payson Road at Oakley Road

The crosswalk flag pilot program is funded with a generous grant from Be Well Belmont, a project of the Belmont Food Collaborative. Be Well Belmont LogoBe Well Belmont is a coalition of leaders in the Belmont community dedicated to the promotion of healthy lifestyles. The Belmont Safe Routes to School Working Group will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the program over the coming months.

Belmont joins other communities with crosswalk flag programs, including Seattle, Salt Lake City, Lexington, and Arlington, which has been a helpful adviser. Formal studies and anecdotal evidence support the idea that crosswalk flags are effective in encouraging pedestrian safety. A report, available through the Transportation Research Board, describes research that shows flags to be an effective tool in prompting motorists to yield to pedestrians.

Special thanks goes to Abby Klingbeil (SRTS, Winn Brook) for initiating and developing this pilot program via the Belmont Safe Routes to School Community Working Group.

Questions about the pilot should be directed to Abby at  belmontcrosswalkflags@gmail.com

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About the Belmont SRTS Community Working Group

Safe Routes to School logo, a division of Mass Department of TransportationThe Working Group convenes community stakeholders to share best practices and to improve both safety and participation of student walking and cycling. It is co-organized by Kate Bowen (Chair, Sustainable Belmont) and Melissa Green (Regional Coordinator, SRTS). Representatives of each elementary school, Chenery, Belmont Police Department, the Office of Community Development, Belmont Health Department, School Committee, Traffic Advisory Committee, and Sustainable Belmont participate. Please contact Kate Bowen for more information about this community group. 

How to Use a Crosswalk Flag

To increase the safety of pedestrians in Belmont, especially near our schools, Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.34.42 PMBelmont is starting a crosswalk flag pilot program at four locations along popular school walking routes. The crosswalk flag program is a low-cost, low-tech tool designed to help increase pedestrian visibility and driver awareness in Belmont.

Here’s how the flags work:

  1. Take a flag to increase your visibility
  2. Stop at the curb or edge of the street
  3. Look left, right, left (and behind you and in front of you, if at an intersection)
  4. Wait until traffic is stopped, or there’s no traffic coming, before you step into the crosswalk.
  5. Hold the flag in front of you as you cross.
  6. Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
  7. Walk, don’t run across the street.
  8. Place the flag in the container on the other side.

If you see that a container is empty, please move a few extra flags from the opposite bucket to the empty container next time you cross. Always practice caution when crossing the road, with or without a flag.

The project is being launched on Tuesday, September 22nd by Belmont Safe Routes to School Community Working Group, in collaboration with the Town of Belmont, including Belmont Public Schools, Belmont Office of Community Development, Belmont Police Department, and Belmont Department of Public Works, with generous support from Be Well Belmont, a project of the Belmont Food Collaborative.

Logo of the Be Well Belmont program, a division of the Belmont Food CollaborativeLogo of the Safe Routes to School program, a division of Mass Department of Transportation

Green Alliance among the Belmont Schools

Members of our various green teams and parents involved in sustainability activities at the public schools in Belmont have come together this past year to address concerns about sustainability. They are the newly formed “Belmont PTA/PTO Green Alliance”.

The Belmont PTA/PTO Green Team Alliance seeks to share and advocate best practices in sustainability for the Belmont Public Schools.

Participants in the alliance are currently coordinating on issues such as reducing waste, educating on and monitoring recycling, behavior changes to reduce energy consumptions, and fostering walking and biking to schools. By sharing best practices and addressing issues with municipal employees and elected officials, they endeavor to make our schools healthier along with our local environment.

If you would like to learn more about the alliance or participate, please contact Amanda Mujica at amanda [at] amandamujicadesign.com

Safe Routes to Schools Community Working Group

Sustainable Belmont is pleased to support and participate in Belmont’s first Safe Routes to Schools Community Working Group. Kate Bowen (SB), Heather Ross (SRTS) and Heather Drake (SRTS) have connected with stakeholders in the community to create this collaborative group. We are pleased that representative members from the Department of Public Works, the Department of Community Development, the Police Department, the Traffic Advisory Committee, Burbank Elementary School, and Daniel Butler Elementary School have made a commitment to meet and coordinate support of the SRTS program. We look forward to including representatives from the Chenery, Wellington and Winn Brook schools. We also appreciate the support from the School Committee, as members are able to participate.

Safe Routes to School Massachusetts (logo)Safe Routes to Schools is an organization of the Department of Transportation. They foster improved walking and cycling transportation to school-aged children through education, awareness, research and community organizing. They also provide competitive infrastructure grants. Currently, the SRTS program is active to varying degrees in Belmont, with the Burbank School exceptionally engaged due to its status as a ‘walking’ school, i.e., bus transit is not available to this district. SRTS sponsors ‘National Walk to School Day’ every fall.

Belmont, like many Massachusetts towns, is a small, walkable community with school districts created by proximity to schools. As such, families benefit from short commutes to and from school. Despite short distances, Belmont still faces challenges. The Safe Routes to Schools Community Working Group will work to identify and address these challenges with positive solutions that foster safe walking and cycling to and from schools. While SRTS is a school-focused program, its goals can only be reached with broad community support and in turn, the broad community may benefit from improved pedestrian and cyclist travel outside of the school commuting hours.

SRTS helps increase the numbers of students safely walking or biking to schools and improving the health and environment of the communities served. SRTS recently reported positive outcomes, including that the percentage of parents who reported that their child’s school supported walking and bicycling for the school commute rose from 24.9% to 33% [between 2007 and 2012]. Still, the need for increasing walking and cycling grows due to health and environmental concerns. The global population health burden of physical inactivity is said to be nearing that of cigarette smoking.

Even a short, daily 2-mile commute to drop off and pick up children at schools with an average vehicle can cost up to $2700 / yr (incl. maintenance). The carbon footprint of this small commute for the school year can result in up to 320 lb of CO2 exhausted into the environment (results vary with vehicle). Sustainable Belmont supports environmentally-sustainable modes of transportation.