Long Islanders seeking to raise awareness for cleaner, greener transportation options biked and walked around Hempstead Village Saturday to kick off Long Island Mobility Week.
The 4th annual Bike-to-Work Parade, hosted by the Long Island Transportation Alliance, saw nearly 30 people both walk and ride their bicycles around a 2-mile loop starting from Denton Green Park on Nichols Court. The event was the kick-off to a week of activities and events across Long Island designed to test and inform the public on alternative transportation strategies and consider how they can be applied islandwide.
Morton Welch, 51, of Elmont, said he enjoyed spending the day riding his bicycle along with his son Makaio Welch , 7, and his wife, Natasha Welch , 44. Welch said he began to seek better transportation alternatives to driving in an effort to save time getting to work in Brooklyn. Now, Morton said, he takes the train to work and was able to cut his commute time by 30 minutes instead of sitting in traffic.
“A lot of people think it’s more convenient to drive, but if people start to investigate a little further, they’ll see there’s so many options than just driving,” Morton said. “There’s a better way.”
Bret Bennington, of West Hempstead, and his wife Gail Bennington also took part in the bicycling event. Bret Bennington, a professor of geology at Hofstra University, said he likes to bike the five miles to work on good weather days.
“It’s fun, it’s great exercise, it’s very relaxing and if it’s not too hot, I don’t get to work too sweaty. I wish I could do it every day,” Bret Bennington said. “It’s a win-win. You’re not dumping CO2 into the atmosphere, you’re getting exercise and you’re making the environment healthier.”
It was the need to promote such transportation options that prompted event organizers to hold the event in Hempstead Village this year instead of their normal venue at Hofstra University, where the campus is already walkable, said Sylvia Silberger , the transportation alliance’s president.
“Climate change is one of the issues that is coming down hard on us. We need better ways to get around,” Silberger said. “We want to see people on Long Island supporting clean transportation options.”
More information on Long Island Mobility Week events can be found at longislandmobility.org.