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Hey Long Island, time to leave the car at home and walk it/bike it/train it

The centerpiece of Mobility Week is Car Free

The centerpiece of Mobility Week is Car Free Day, on Sept. 22 this year, which encourages residents to leave their vehicles home for the day and instead walk, bike or take mass transportation. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A series of activities encouraging sustainable transportation will kick off Sunday during the fourth annual Long Island Mobility Week.

The event, started by the Long Island chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council’s sustainable transportation committee, is centered on Car Free Day, which takes place Sept. 22 and encourages residents to leave their cars home for the day and instead walk, bike or take mass transportation. A coalition of sustainable travel advocates will hold a rally in support of Car Free Day at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Farmingdale State College.

In addition to encouraging independence from cars, the goals of Mobility Week are to take stock of existing transportation challenges, measure progress toward more sustainable options and highlight other strategies, said Rosemary Mascali, co-chair of the committee, which this year helped launch the Let’s Move LI website to promote active transportation.

"These ideas are happening all over the world, so we’re just tapping into those and saying ‘that’s a great idea, let’s try it here’ and bringing Long Island along," she said.

Though Car Free Day — observed in more than 3,100 cities in 50 countries — is a center point of Long Island Mobility Week, advocates use the week to highlight related activities and topics of discussion, such as electric vehicles.

"There’s just so many things that over the years that we’ve been doing this have been blossoming as options to talk about," Mascali said.

When the pandemic hit, the group turned to Zoom events and it will continue with online discussions this year, including a Sept. 23 webinar about the benefits and costs of having a workplace electric vehicle charging station.

Other events are more physical in nature and are being hosted by local municipalities. There will be two walks — one Wednesday in Glen Cove and another Sept. 25 in Wyandanch — and a bike parade in Babylon Village, also on the 25th. This is the second year for the latter event, which has been expanded to 3 miles due to its popularity.

A full list of Long Island Mobility Week events is at longislandmobilityweek.org.

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