DISTRICT 7 CELEBRATES THE PLANET ON EARTH DAY
New products and technology make it easier to be green.
Caltrans 'got its green on' at District 7 first Annual Earth Day celebration on April 22.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., approximately 35 vendors and government agencies displayed products and practices designed to be kind to the planet. Opening the event, District Director Doug Failing said, 'Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism here in Los Angeles County.'
Caltrans is working to protect the environment every day, he added. The Environmental Division ensures freeway projects have the fewest possible impacts while also safeguarding the watershed through the Stormwater Program, looking out for animals by developing wildlife corridors, and preserving flora, among its many Earth-saving activities.
Additionally, the Legal Division has specialists in issues of environmental law; the Maintenance Divisions Adopt-a-Highway program helps keep cigarette butts and other debris out of stormdrains, among the program’s many functions; the Bike-to-Work program promotes cycling to reduce carbon emissions (not to mention improving physical fitness); and the Department has built its transportation policy around encouraging use of public transit and building High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV, or carpool) lanes wherever possible on the freeway system.
In terms of ridesharing, Caltrans puts it people where its HOV lanes are. The Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has requested that employers have a 1.75 Average Vehicle Ridership (AVR), or numbers of persons in a vehicle. Caltrans has an AVR of 2.27, considerably above the recommended number. The Department even has its own internal recycling program for paper, bottles, cans and batteries, as well as a fleet of hybrid vehicles. And District 7 headquarters is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in Los Angeles.
Failing also pointed out 11 new trees in the Plaza that were donated by the City of Los Angeles. 'Because of the excellent partnership that Caltrans enjoys with the City, the trees are here to be enjoyed by everyone in the downtown Los Angeles area.'
In case anyone missed this event, next year will be another opportunity to discover new ways to keep the planet healthy. And remember, the Earth you save could be your own.