Today’s news:

A greener way for borough hall to commute

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz joined New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Transportation Alternatives to unveil Brooklyn Borough Hall’s new environmentally-friendly bicycle program.

Two bicycles have been added to Borough Hall’s existing hybrid vehicle fleet, giving staff members even more “green” transportation choices when conducting official business. Brooklyn becomes the first Borough President’s Office — and is one of the first City agencies — to provide bicycles for staff use.

“Being ‘green’ starts at home — and that includes the home of city government,” said Markowitz. “By biking, Borough Hall staff can conserve energy, enjoy the beauty of Brooklyn and — let’s not forget — burn off calories. From now on at Borough Hall, the ‘wheels are in motion.’”

Markowitz is also encouraging other city agencies and private businesses to encourage bicycle use, and to provide secure places for staff to store their bikes during the work day.

The Jamis Citizen bicycles were purchased for $1,020 at The Bike Shop on Union Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District, and come equipped with helmets, locks, bells and flashing safety lights. Any staff member who uses the bikes to conduct routine business during working hours will be required to learn the bicycle “rules of the road” and wear proper safety equipment. Mileage logs will also be maintained in an effort to track usage and determine the impact on reducing emissions and Borough Hall’s “carbon footprint.”

“Brooklyn is home to some of the most devoted bicyclists in New York and I applaud Borough President Markowitz for his commitment to cycling and to environmentally responsible government,” said Sadik-Khan. “At DOT, we are working hard to bring world class cycling infrastructure to the streets of Brooklyn and in the last year alone we have built almost 20 miles of new bike lanes in the borough, begun work on the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and installed one of the city’s first sheltered bike parking structures at the DeKalb Avenue subway station.”

“Availing bikes to staff will not only help Borough Hall employees get around in a greener, more spatially-efficient way, it will help reduce congestion in a part of Brooklyn overwhelmed by cars every work day,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “We congratulate the borough president on encouraging his staff to get on two wheels.”

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