Global warming concerns and climate-change are among the major objectives that drive the activities of the Transportation Committee. In accordance with National Sierra Club policy, the Transportation Committee believes that promoting mass transit use, expansion and improvement will cause commuters to choose to use mass transit, rather than drive. This reduces the number of vehicle-miles-traveled by single-occupant, private vehicles, which is our area’s number one source of traffic congestion, air pollution, and green house gasses. The Sierra Club supports Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC2030 Transportation and Air Quality Plans, including a pilot program to demonstrate congestion pricing in Manhattan
The Transportation Committee has been responsible for the Sierra Club’s support of such projects as the Second Avenue Subway and the MTA/Long Island Rail Road Extension to Grand Central Terminal. The Transportation Committee has worked with other Sierra Club organizations in the region to advance such projects as the New Jersey Transit Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel and the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel. The Transportation Committee regularly reviews Environmental Impact Statements and other Environmental documents in order to make informed recommendations to the Executive Committee. As a result, the Sierra Club has supported new project studies for the MTA/Long Island Rail Road Extension to Lower Manhattan and the Gowanus Tunnel.
The Transportation Committee also works together with other environmental and transportation organizations such as The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Environmental Defense, and Transportation Alternatives in order to improve our quality of life and our environment. These joint efforts resulted in many positive results, such as getting the government to build the Yankee Stadium MTA/Metro North Station and blocking government funding of one of the proposed Yankee Stadium Parking Garages.
The Transportation Committee worked with the American Lung Association, the National Resources Defense Council, as well as LCV, to get the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission to approve the use of hybrid taxi cabs in our city. As a result of the positive experience from the use hybrid vehicles as taxis, the Mayor has ordered that all new taxis will be hybrid vehicles. There are now over 500 hybrid taxis in service in our city, including such models as the Lexus RX400h, the Toyota Hybrid Highlander and the Ford Hybrid Escape SUVs, as well as the Toyota Camry and the Prius hybrid sedans.
In order to reduce the emissions from commercial vehicles, the Transportation Committee worked with MTA/New York City Transit to increase the use of hybrid transit buses. The Transportation Committee regularly works with various companies in our area to increase the use of hybrid or electric delivery vehicles and shuttle buses.