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Groups roll out one-stop resource center to promote biking, walking, less car use

Frank Wefering, left, director of sustainability at Greenman-Pedersen,

Frank Wefering, left, director of sustainability at Greenman-Pedersen, and Rosemary Mascali, co-chair of the U.S. Green Building Council's Long Island chapter's Sustainable Transportation committee, at the Pedal Share Bike station in Babylon on Friday. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Several groups dedicated to biking, walking and public transportation use have teamed up to create a website aimed at getting Long Islanders out and about.

The Let’s Move LI active transportation initiative is a collaboration between municipalities, schools, businesses and other organizations to promote more activity and less car use. The letsmoveli.com website, which launched at the end of June, has three goals: to promote walking and biking, whether alone or connected to public transit; to encourage bike and pedestrian safety education for students; and to support safe walkability and biking infrastructure.

The initiative is the brainchild of the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council’s Long Island chapter’s Sustainable Transportation committee.

"What we found in our research is there are a lot of resources on Long Island that are promoting active transportation," said committee co-chair Rosemary Mascali. "But a lot of them are working in silos and if we can pull them all together . . . we can be one-stop shopping under that umbrella."

Working with Sustainable Transportation is Suffolk County Community College, the MTA/LIRR program Transit Solutions and Babylon Village-based engineering firm Greenman-Pedersen, Inc, or GPI.

The website lists resources — which range from the NY Bicycling Coalition to the Regional Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center at Stony Book Southampton Hospital — as well as walking and biking events and related webinars. Each month the site spotlights communities and businesses that are promoting sustainable mobility.

"When things work well in one place, you learn from that and want to replicate it," said Frank Wefering, GPI’s director of sustainability. "We think this initiative is good for that and just having people talk to each other who haven’t talked to each other before and make these connections that otherwise would not have happened."

The website also lists the many benefits to walking and cycling, which Mascali said include not only health, social and safety advantages, but also economic boosts to local businesses.

"Getting people to walk or bike in the downtown creates a sense of community and people go into the restaurants or go shopping," she said.

Beyond getting people to engage in more physical activity, the initiative seeks to have communities think of ways in which they can build bike and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. Plans are also in the works to add tools for communities to use in helping create events or their own active transportation committees.

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