Alarming gas prices and painful levels of pollution are pushing people to explore eco-friendly modes of transportation. Issaquah’s Resource Conservation Office is making that easier by hosting Green My Ride Eastside, a fair showcasing alternative ways to get around. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Pickering Barn, as part of the Issaquah Farmers Market.
This event started last year because the city found that transportation was at the root of several local problem areas.
“Reduction in vehicle traffic leads to less polluted storm water in our streams, less air pollution and less pollution due to gasoline use and petroleum use,” said Resource Conservation Coordinator Micah Bonkowski.
But with the recent spike in gas prices, Bonkowski saw an even higher demand for a transportation event.
“A lot of people – I’ve talked to the vendors that are coming – are definitely noticing that people are more interested in changing their commute modes in order to not spend so much money on gas,” Bonkowski said.
All of the vendors will have either a booth or some sort of display to inspire and educate fair-goers about transportation options, such as bicycling or biodiesel fuel.
Jennifer Johnson, marketing director for MC Electric Vehicles, said her company will have electric cars on display to show potential buyers what electric cars are really like.
“A lot of the misconception is that people don’t realize that it’s something that’s here and available,” Johnson said. “It’s a real car.”
She said that her number of customers reflects growing public interest in shrinking carbon footprints.
“With gas prices where they are, business is booming. We’re kind of having a hard time keeping them in stock,” Johnson said. “People who want to make their life feel more green, and this is the big step for them.”
Lisa Quinn, executive director at Feet First, a pedestrian advocacy group, agreed. She said socio-economic causes are encouraging people to look past their petroleum-fueled cars for other options, like simply walking.
“As the external factors – gas prices, obesity rates – are going up, I think more people are looking for transportation investments in walkable communities or pedestrian environments,” Quinn said.
Feet First will talk to fair-goers about what city residents want to see in order to make Issaquah more feet-friendly.
“In doing so, the ripple effect is you’re supporting local businesses, there are more eyes on the street which creates a safer environment and it helps build local economy,” Quinn said.
Other vendors include Veloce Velo, a bike shop, Plug-in America, an advocacy group for electric cars and Northwest Biodiesel Network, and advocacy group for biodiesel.
The Green My Ride Eastside event caters to all city residents motivated to change their transportation habits.
“Gas prices and pollution concerns are changing the way people commute,” Bonkowski said.