Fourth Annual Car-Free Day Wraps Up Two-Week Challenge

Car-Free HandsStateline, NV—What started as a way to get more staff members of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) to participate in the Tahoe Bike Challenge has become a hallmark event for planners at the bi-state agency, according to TRPA. This is the fourth year that the agency has made an environmental improvement by essentially closing its parking lot to motorized staff vehicles for one car-free day today.

Empty Lot

“We all recognize that reliance on the private automobile has a major impact on Lake Tahoe, but we often put up barriers to changing our daily habits on how we get around,” TRPA Public Information Officer Jeff Cowen said. “So our staff has really embraced this event as a way to break through those barriers and they have a lot of fun doing it.”

To wrap up the 2014 Tahoe Bike Challenge that ended today, over 60 staff members of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and adjoining offices at its lower-Kingsbury office building biked, walked, used transit, or a combination of these to get to work.

“It is fun, but also an eye-opener for some of us,” he said.

Some staff members have mixed commutes where they drop off kids in bike trailers, leave the trailer, get on a bus with a bike rack, then bike the rest of the way to the office. Others, including one staff member who lives in Reno, are able to link bus routes all the way and walk up from the transit center at Lower Kingsbury, according to Cowen.

“TRPA and many others are working to make Lake Tahoe more bikeable and walkable and to improve transportation,” Cowen said. “We know there are gaps in the system and Car-Free Day keeps our heads in the game.”

Employees from the TRPA, the Tahoe Transportation District, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other tenants in the building including Design Workshop, Ascent Environmental, Inc., and the Tahoe Rim Trail participated in Car-Free Day today.

The Tahoe Bike Challenge, annually hosted by the Tahoe Bike Coalition and its sponsors, is a fun way to get more people out using alternative transportation and instantly seeing the results to Lake Tahoe’s environment. When you record your trips at tahoebikechallenge.org, a calculator will convert green miles into carbon dioxide emission kept out of the air, number of calories burned, and amount of gasoline saved. Participants also earn Green Achievement Pins and have an opportunity to win prizes for photo submissions.

Although the 2014 results are not final, so far the Tahoe Bike Challenge has resulted in 15,940 green miles and 17,188 pounds of carbon dioxide kept out of the Tahoe watershed. About 55 percent of the nitrogen going into Lake Tahoe and feeding harmful algae comes from in-Basin sources of air emissions.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, call Jeff Cowen at (775) 589-5278 or email him at jcowen@trpa.org.

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