Houstonis getting national attention this Earth Day. Our great city has beennamed one of the ten greenest cities in the country. Part of the reason causes.com named Houston as number ten on the list isthe on-going effort to make the city more environmentally friendly.
Withplenty of pedal power and pedestrians pounding the pavement, it seemsHoustonians are happy to have an alternative to automobiles.
"Imoved here in 1999 and there was no walking around but now everybody's gettingout and walking. I'm actually walking. It's a great thing,"smiles Jennifer Grimes Miles.
The City of Houston has made a number ofimprovements, adding sidewalks, hundreds of miles of bike trails and evencoming up with the bike share program. "We've gone from three kiosksand eighteen bikes to twenty-one kiosks and two hundred bikes in downtown,midtown, museum district, Dynamo Stadium," explains City of HoustonSustainability Director Laura Spanjian.
"Ijust use it at lunch for exercise," says Houstonian James Gibson who wasreturning one of the bicycles to the bike share kiosk after he got in a goodlunchtime workout. In fact, 1,000 people per week are now using the bikeshare bicycles.
"We'regiving people options to get to work, for recreation without having to get intheir car. One of our biggest sources of greenhouse gas emission isemission from cars. So we're tying to do everything we can to reducethat," says Spanjian.
We're also seeing more communities such as theUpper Kirby District where you can get to restaurants, shops and even home allon your two feet, no wheels needed. There's also the Bayou GreenwayInitiative where 300 miles are being added to Houston's bayou hike and biketrails.
"Which will put these new trails along eleven of our bayousthat go through the heart of Houston. These are amazing amenities andwill draw tourists. All of our bayous will be opened up to recreationalactivities such as canoeing," explains Spanjian.
By the way, you canbecome a member of Houston's bike share program for $65 a year or you can pay$5 to use a bike for up to 24 hours. Find out more by visiting http://houston.bcycle.com.
Here'sa complete list of causes.com top U.S. greencities:
1. New York, NY
2. Oakland, CA
3. Austin, TX
4. Concord, CA
5. Brooklyn, NY
6. SanFrancisco, CA
7. MountainView, CA
8. Dallas, TX
9. Fremont, CA
10. Houston, TX
11. Portland, OR
12. Richmond, CA
13. Bedford, MA
14. Springfield, MO
15. Atlanta, GA