Get inspired by Baltimore’s green transportation ideas and consider trying a different and greener way to get from point A to point B.
Today’s electric cars are affordable and great to drive. The 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF® is as low as $21,300 and with no tailpipe emissions. The GM Volt leases for an affordable price per month and is a hybrid gas and electric vehicle. Ford’s C-MAX plug-in hybrid seats five and gets 108 MPG in the city and 92 on the highway.
Once you have your electric car, you will find plenty of car charging stations in Baltimore with 119 chargers around town and 437 in Maryland overall.
Switching to an electric vehicle doesn’t help the environment if your electricity is fueled by polluting coal, so remember to switch your home’s electric supplier to one of the many zero-emission green electricity suppliers which are now priced on par with conventional.
Charm City Circulator
Operated by Veolia Transportation, this free shuttle service has been a big hit with more than 1 million riders. Twenty-one cleaner hybrid electric buses shuttle around Baltimore’s core area with four routes. Not only is the Circulator widely used by downtown residents and tourists, but it solved the plaguing “last mile” issue for many using public transportation. Often, MTA buses or Light Rail get a suburban user close to their destination, yet still too far to hoof it. Since the Circulator is reliable, it’s a viable way to maximize the public transportation system and get to a downtown destination.
With Baltimore’s public transportation system, you may not even need to own a car. Zipcar® is a car sharing program where members can reserve a variety of car types from different Baltimore locations online or through a mobile device. Each Zipcar takes 15 personally-owned vehicles off the road, making a dent in lowering Baltimore’s greenhouse gas emissions. Check out Zipcar’s Baltimore rates for zipping around.
Baltimore City and the non-profit Bike Maryland have made huge strides in making biking accessible and safe in Baltimore. The City has expanded the number of safe biking lanes and is completing its Bike Safety Master Plan. Better signage, stronger safety laws, the “Sunday Streets” program creating car-free streets to ride on Sundays and bike racks on all public buses means that biking is a real and safe option to scoot around Baltimore. A major force in urging people to have one less car is the non-profit and advocacy group Bike Maryland. Bike Maryland advocates for better biking legislation, hosts the Tour du Port ride and educates thousands of Baltimore kids about bike safety.
Bike Maryland’s executive director Carol Silldorf has big news for Baltimore, “In the near future, Bikeshare will be coming to Baltimore. Tourists and residents can rent a bike for a few dollars, bike around and return the bike to various locations.” Bike share programs have sprouted in most major cities, with DC’s Capital Bikeshare being a great model.
MTA’s Bus, Commuter Bus, Light Rail and Metro Subway
Given a town of our size, Baltimore’s public transportation is extensive. According to Baltimore’s Office of Sustainability, 35 percent of Baltimoreans don’t have access to a car. With 57 bus routes, commuter buses to DC, a large Light Rail system and a 14-station underground metro subway, residents can get around safely and cheaply by using Maryland Transit’s Administration’s offerings.
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Laurel Peltier is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.