The Green Streets Initiative is a Cambridge, MA based organization, founded in 2006. We are dedicated to celebrating and promoting the use of sustainable and active transportation in the Boston region and beyond. Our mission is to get people to rethink their commutes through our monthly Walk/Ride Days. For most people, commuting is a thoughtless action, just a repetitive extension to their morning routine. Therefore, people are unaware of the connection between these daily habits and their effects on their health, their wallets and the environment. Walk/Ride Days were started to combat this gap by encouraging people to become more aware of their transportation options and to increase the dialogue about the alternatives.
Walk/Ride Days occur on the last Friday of every month. Walk/ Ride Days are unique for three main reasons. First, the events occur on a monthly basis. On the last Friday of every month, participants are asked to complete a 90 second online “check-in” process, indicating how they commuted to work that day. Checking in just once a month - and every month - is easy enough for people to accomplish and therefore increases the likelihood of participation. The “check-in” process asks what mode of transportation they normally use and the transportation method they used on Walk/Ride day. The “check-in” then offers you alternative options for your specific route and calculates the emissions and calories you could save. Second, Walk/Ride Days accept and encourage participation by users of all modes of transportation. Whether you commute by driving, walking, biking, transit riding, or an array of all of them, or even don't commute because you telecommute, Green Streets wants you involved. This widespread inclusion boosts the number of participants, which in turn raises more awareness. It also creates a more holistic view of the community of commuters. Last, Green Streets is not limited to one geographic location. Largely through word of mouth, Walk/Ride Days have spread to communities all over. It is currently being celebrated throughout the Boston region, including in Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Boston, and other neighboring cities, with participants commuting to work from 200+ communities. It has also inspired similar efforts in Portland, Maine; Concord, NH; West Bridgford, Nottingham, England; and elsewhere.
In 2011 Walk/Ride Days was expanded and formed our now-annual Corporate Challenge. The creation of the Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge heightened awareness and participation exponentially, with thousands of participants checking in each month. The Corporate Challenge invites companies to compete to be the green commuting champion by encouraging their employees to “check-in” on Walk/Ride Days. The sense of competition adds enthusiasm, fun, and commitment. The Corporate Challenge has been a great success in spreading the word and raising awareness.
Green Streets is proud to say that the ball is starting to roll. People who are participating in Walk/Ride Days are showing shifts to more sustainable and healthier transportation methods. People are not only rethinking their commutes but acting to make changes as well. The momentum is here and Green Streets believes that we can push Boston further to become an even healthier, greener, and, maybe even one-day, car-free, city.