Source: Denver Post – Letter to the Editor

Waking up to the reality that our air quality is unhealthy for more than half the year is a great reason to want positive change in how we manage our air. Sue McMillan makes a good point in that the basis for creating positive change comes from “political will, an engaged citizenry, and business and industry support,” but how those changes are converted into actions is where it gets difficult.

Our region has rightfully focused on refineries for several years. Further restricting these facilities will offer the immediate gains we need for cleaner air, but further gains must engage businesses in addressing how employees commute. Local experience has shown that employers who support an array of commute options such as biking, transit, carpooling, vanpooling and teleworking can reduce single person car travel by as much as 15%.

The state of Washington saw employer engagement as an opportunity for positive change in cleaning their environment and reducing congestion. The state developed the Commute Trip Reduction program that asks more than 1,000 businesses with 100 or more employees to make more travel choices available to employees. Some employers began by offering transit passes in lieu of free parking for employees who wanted to use the train or bus; other employers created preferential parking for carpoolers; and some formalized telework programs reducing the need to commute altogether. The effort removed 34,500 cars from the roads in 2017 and that number is growing.

We should consider commute trip reduction programs here. There is no doubt we need it.

Kendra Black and Stuart Anderson,

Denver Editor’s note: Black is a Denver city councilwoman from District 4; Stuart Anderson is chief executive director of Transportation Solutions.