Kingston Celebrates Clean Air Day

Clean Air Day, Kingston, OntarioTo help raise awareness and hopefully encourage Kingstonians to participate in Clean Air Day on the 2nd of June, we thought that it would be fitting to focus this week’s poll accordingly. The objective of Clean Air day is simple: utilize alternate modes of transportation to help reduce planet-choking emissions. For commuters who must travel long distances and those who are otherwise unable to carpool, participating in Clean Air day may be more difficult than taking part in Earth Hour, which involves unplugging and living amidst candlelight for 60 minutes. Many will argue, rightfully so, that changing our routines for a single day or hour is simply not enough to make a lasting, positive impact on the environment. Even so, the hope is that when a person commits to changing their habits and participate in initiatives such as Earth Hour, Earth Day, or Clean Air Day they will take it one step further and improve their environmental stewardship the other 364 days of the year. With Clean Air Day less than 2 days away, or a few days ago depending on when you’re reading this, this week’s question is:
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The City of Kingston will be undertaking an anti-idling blitz, as well as offering free bus fare all day long on Clean Air Day – Wednesday, June the 2nd. Both are great initiatives, while the latter makes it easier and more attractive to get re-acquainted with Kingston Transit and the rack and roll system. However, the complementary fare initiative also begs the question, why doesn’t the City offer free transit to more people, more often? Other cities such as Ottawa are considering offering free transit to Veterans, while one of Toronto’s mayoral candidates has proposed free rides for senior citizens during off-peak hours.  While Queen’s students pay for access via their student fees, and kids under 6 years of age get to ride for free, perhaps it’s time to take take it one step further and offer complementary passes to our seniors?

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

17 thoughts on “Kingston Celebrates Clean Air Day

  • Somewhat misguided statement about Queen's students riding the bus system for free. Students pay a subsidized fee with their tuition and ancillary fees which buys them a bus pass for the year. Although they don't pay each time they get on the bus, the student population as a whole spends an awful lot of money to pay for student ridership.

    • You are absolutely correct. Queen's students pay for use of the service via their student fees, and if memory serves me correctly this is one fee that they can't opt out of. It's a great initiative to promote the use of mass transit, and similar deals should be looked at by other community groups.

  • Hmmm…

    Let me see. I have to be at work at 7:15, It's too far to walk, and it takes an hour by bus… Guess it will be the car, then. Oh, well…

    Wouldn't it have made more sense to have had this whole "Clean Air Day" business on a weekend? But I guess if you want to rake in money from the "anti-idling blitz", harassing people out trying to make a living on a weekday is the way to go, isn't it?

  • I don't think this is about "harrassing people" at all. This is about awareness and taking the time to know that you can change things, even just a little bit. So maybe you still have to drive to work but perhaps you also drive to grab lunch when you could just walk or if you normally drive the kids home from school you can walk or ride a bike instead. It's about making little changes that can make a big difference. Having days like this is important to remind people to consider other options when it's feasible.

    And when it comes to the anti-idling law, I'm a big fan and I'd like to see more people get ticketed for that. I can't get over how many people still do it. It's disgusting and smelly and on hot days, it's just bloody awful if you're walking, running or riding by. And, it's completely unnecessary. At the very least, save yourself some gas.

  • Musicgrrl,

    Be assured I am not questioning your motives. Or those of many others.

    What I do question is the motives of city governments who pass assinine laws like this. They are merely combining the chance to garner the "green" vote with the chance to fill the city's coffers with some extra, fine generated payola. If they genuinely wanted to reduce the amount of idling cars in Kingston, they would fix the traffic problems that force Kingstonians to travel at a crawl.

    Not to mention that I find it "smelly and disgusting" to be forced to sit in a car with no A/C running in summer heat to appease the bylaw Nazis. And it's MY gas. MY car. I paid for it. I will use it as I see fit…

    • So…they should bring back smoking in restaurants too? It's your body, you can do what you want. Oh wait, there are OTHER PEOPLE TO CONSIDER. Seriously, don't be so selfish – do something nice for the planet. It's Kingston, a traffic jam lasts 10 minutes in a worst case scenario.

      These "asinine laws" are made to benefit our health and the health of the planet not to make YOUR life miserable. Why do you sit in your car so often anyway? It sounds like you could use some exercise and sunshine. Riding a bike can do wonders for your health and your mood.

  • Dave_T67

    Your last sentence says it all. It seems to suggest that it is all about you. I think yours is indicative of most climate change skeptics out there and people unwilling to alter their daily practices to reduce their footprint. It's not necessarily so much disbelief in the science, but disbelief that someone would have the audacity to limit the excesses that North Americans have worked so hard to create for themselves. In general, your "I paid for it, I will use it as I see fit" comment is not all that flawed, EXCEPT, when that use is detrimental to others around you. In this case, it clearly is.

    If one drives around and sucks on their own tailpipe so everyone else doesn't have to breath the excessive fumes being produced, fair enough. Otherwise, the idling is detrimental our planet and our health. Most people out there seem willing to accept that these initiatives are for the greater good and at least comply with some of these basic initiatives. This was the same principle underlying the eradication of smoking in restaurants and public places (in the end, who cares about the smoker trying to kill himself, at least don't harm anyone else while doing it).

    The obvious answer and best answer is to simply do it already – raise the price of gas to account for the hidden environmental costs.

    Re: the traffic problems? Traffic is a reality of the urban life we choose, and not all that bad in Kingston to begin with. Want to avoid it? Ride around it on a bike. How often do you need to SIT in your car? Are you a cabbie?

  • For anyone that has a beef with the bus service, what is the problem. Please be spicific. I admit that i do not ride the bus. I do work shifs (3 pm – 11pm and 11pm to 7 am ) so that makes it somewhat of a challenge.

  • Kook,

    Who are you to decide what "excesses" of mine to limit? Who actually got any say on the ridiculous, intrusive bylaws that are springing up in this city and others like so many poison mushrooms? Where was the vote? Want to see how small groups are rigging results and getting what they want in this city? Go to the city of Kingston's traffic calming page, and so how decisions regarding installation of speed bumps are made. It's a farce, and more and more of us see through it. It's not selfishness on my part, it's anger at seeing vocal pressure groups subvert the democratic process, time and again…

    Don't kid yourself, the "silent majority" are fed up with the constant intrusions of government busybodies into spheres where they do not belong. The trouble is, many of you don't ever step outside your echo chambers to see it.

    • Where's the vote? Last time I checked we (the people) don't vote on bylaws, rather we leave that up to those we elect into public office. I don't think it's fair for you to criticize people who come out and rally behind a cause such as speed bumps, and then tout the almighty power of the silent majority. Those who remain silent don't get to have their opinions considered when it comes down to decision making time, and those who stand up are at least heard. If this silent majority is truly that disenfranchised and disgusted with the current state of affairs in Kingston, they are going to have to figure out how to stand up.

      • Yes, Harvey, you are absolutely right.

        People DO need to start standing up and making themselves heard. That is where a great deal of the frustration I often express here stems from. People sit in coffee shops, at breaks during work, and at home and complain, but don't actually show up to try to actually influence events. Hence the 20% who do show up get what THEY want, and shove it down everyone else's throats…

        What's the answer to this problem? I don't know. I think most are so busy with daily survival that they don't seem to have time to try to influence events. But I DO believe there is a serious democratic deficit in this and many other cities, and mayors and city coucils have taken advantage of it to enforce their own personal agendas and ideologies.

        Kook, I fail to see how arguing a point is "negativity". I don't agree with you on some things, and that is the way things are. That doesn't mean I am not listening to what you have to say…

  • Musicgrrl,

    As far as smoking in restaraunts goes, give the business owner the choice, since it is HIS business. The market will determine whether he allows smoking or not. Some places will be smoke free, some will not. As it should be in a democratic society…

    But we all know this isn't about choice, is it. It's about control; about those who think they know best for us, saving us from ourselves. And feeding their egos and sense of smug superiority to boot.

  • Interesting. I understand what you are saying to some extent. But, quite clearly, the excesses to limit are those that impact the environment and every one around you. Clear and simple. If those excesses abuse a public resource, then they should be limited. It is a shame they have evolved in the first place, but in some way we all have our excesses, relative to others in this world. Some are more benign than others. Fair game to start widdling away at those that degrade the quality of life of others.

    In this case of the anti-idling bylaw, quite frankly, there should have been no vote. That is just my opinion of course. I would probably say differently on other issues. For example, I was supporting the City whole-heartedly in passing its Pesticide bylaw, but also think that was a given, skip the vote. We put poisons on our lawn, which runs off into our lake, from which we take our water for drinking? How absurd is that. Funny most individuals against that bylaw probably couldn't make that simple connection.

    The problem is being the 'silent majority'. If more people would speak up and become part of the process, then the needs of few would not outweigh the rants of a handful. If you look at the City website you will see they generally have consultation for nearly everything. So be part of it. I bet they had consultation around the idling by-law, and I would have supported it.

  • Kook,

    How do you determine when "there should be no vote"? Who decides that? You? The "rants of a handful" have controlled the path of this city to its detriment.

    As for public resources, I would submit that the most important of these is taxpayer dollars, and we have watched that resource being wasted for years on vanity projects, knee-jerk bylaws to please the few, and enforcing a view of the world that has not been endorsed by the majority of the citizens of this city…

    Consultation… Last time I checked, a majority is the requirement in a democracy. Silence is NOT deemed to be consent. Therefore, any decision made without the opinion of a REAL majority of citizens is not valid. The powers that be have ignored this rule for far too long. Saying "51% must vote, and 60% of those who vote must agree" is NOT democracy. Do the math. That number is 30% of the total…

  • Dave, I don't determine anything. I'm giving you my opinions. My opinions relate back to your disapproval of the idling bylaw, which I obviously fully support. That, to me, should have required NO consultation, NO vote, its a no brainer. Institute common sense by bylaw if people aren't smart enough or considerate enough of others on their own accord. Quite frankly, anyone idling their car without just need is polluting my air, my environment.

    In terms of public resources – I was referring to clean air, clean water and a clean environment. Idling a stationary vehicle for no other reason than to run A/C and clear the air of odours hardly qualifies as a good reason to spew contaminants into everyone's else's air.

    When silence is all that is received, decisions are made (and need to be made) on minimal feedback. There's not going to be an election issue over speed bumps. If people don't participate, they don't get a say – you and I included. Consultation is much different than a democratic election vote. Consultation is about allowing interested parties and stakeholders a say in the matter, and that includes anyone and everyone who are willing to take the time. Those who are passionate, turn up and vote with their comments. Those who are neutral, or apathetic, tend not to do anything, and then complain later.

  • The tone of this has gotten worse and I am not proud of having contributed to the negativity. My apologies. Everyone has different opinions and I respect that. Cheers Dave_T67.

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