When the EPA discusses footprints, they are talking about more than impressions of feet. Established by President Richard Nixon in 1970, the EPA protects human health and safeguards the country’s air, water and land. The EPA sets and enforces environmental standards for industry and individuals to reduce their environmental footprints. Pedestrian, biking, and transit-friendly development are part of the EPA sustainability culture.
According to Brenda Mirasol, employee transportation coordinator, over 10% (76) of Region 10 (Seattle) EPA employees are on its bikers email list. The EPA has fielded teams annually in the Group Health Bike Commute Challenge since its inception in 2003. In 2007, four teams with 35 participants logged over 6,100 miles bike-commuting. About a dozen EPA volunteers have also pitched in over the years to operate the Bike To Work Day station at Myrtle-Edwards Park.
EPA cyclists can shower in their on-site gym facility, and they receive priority access to locker spaces. In the summer, 35 – 50 bikes are secured in locker rooms and outside racks. In the winter, up to 20 bikes can be found. Although they are eligible for free bus and ferry passes, these six featured employees still choose to commute by bike.
Sean Sheldrake is often in the dark in his job. As a dive safety officer for the Superfund program, Sean works under Puget Sound in near-zero visibility conditions. It explains his love for the 60-watt equivalent HID helmet light that illuminates his seven-mile commute from Crown Hill to downtown. With a daily close-up view of pollution in the Sound, Sean bikes as much to reduce his environmental impact as to stay in shape and save money. His family bikes to soccer practice, the Aquarium and the PCC. Sean has even been known to haul 90-pound pony kegs of Hales Mongoose IPA home on the family Chariot Caddie trailer.
Brooks Stanfield converted to cycle commuting in 2003, after living in Ecuador. With a newborn baby, Brooks appreciated the quiet time and the exercise that was built into his schedule. Today, his Marin Muir Woods mountain bike with street slicks helps him climb the hills between White Center and downtown during his 18.5 mile round trip commute. Brooks is also a cycling evangelist. He’s educating his daughter by biking her to preschool in his trailer, and, together with Cascade Bicycle Club member, Gerry Grimm, Brooks has already reformed a few fellow Metro 113 riders into bike commuting believers.
John Keenan has been an avid bike commuter for over a decade, since he completed graduate school at UW in 1993. In 2000, he started biking to work year-round, 6.5 miles from Ballard to downtown on the lugged-steel frame that he custom built at a two-week United Bicycle Institute class in Ashland, Oregon. Now he bikes regularly to the grocery store and drug store, and Hardwick’s hardware on Roosevelt is his second home. Cycling home from a friend’s house on Bainbridge Island once, John carried a three-pound package of honey bees in his bike trailer. The worst day on a bike stings John less than the best day in a vehicle.
Cami Grandinetti received her graduate degree from UW in 1987. She has been cycle commuting ever since. On her 14-mile round-trip commute from Ballard to downtown, Cami navigates Dexter Ave. on a Marin hybrid. Although she dislikes the traffic congestion that creates altercations with irate drivers, she loves flying past cars’ red taillights as she cruises via bike. Her favorite safety accessory is a pair of valve stem lights. Trained as a civil engineer, Cami deals with mines in the Superfund program and would love to unearth more dedicated bike paths and lanes.
Jeff Rodin has been bike commuting since 1988 when he moved to Seattle from Detroit. Since 1997, he has been a multi-modal commuter, biking from Poulsbo to the Bainbridge Island ferry. The 21-mile commute is a long ride on his cyclocross bike, but it’s not stressful. Jeff enjoys the camaraderie of his ferry boat cycling community, and the daily exercise that keeps him sane and full of energy. His commute could only be better if more people stopped to offer assistance when he flats! Outside of his commute, Jeff has enjoyed the American Lung Association Trek Tri Island and the Kitsap Color Classic. As an emergency response worker, Jeff also loves his HID headlamp and his collection of taillights that keep him safe on the two-lane highway home.
Jonathan Freedman doesn’t prefer boxers or briefs; he prefers panniers over messenger bags. Jonathan attracts attention during his eight-mile commute from Wedgwood by riding a rare Rivendell Romulus. His daily bike commute regimen grew from a healthy habit of cycling to summer school classes. A long-time Cascade Bike Club member and Group Health STP alumnus, Jonathan spearheaded the EPA’s inaugural Bike To Work Day station at Myrtle-Edwards Park and EPA’s participation in the Commute Challenge in 2003. Working in the EPA’s Aquatic Resources Unit, Jonathan naturally rides through Seattle rain. As a sediment specialist, he prefers Simple Green cleaner for keeping chains grit-free.
If you are interested in learning more about your personal environmental footprint, you can find six different carbon footprint calculators at www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/individual.html.
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