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City Program Urges Queens Locals to Choose Bikes and Mass Transit Over Cars

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | June 19, 2015 9:56am | Updated on June 22, 2015 8:50am
 The city hopes to encourage Queens residents to bike more as part of a new program: Go Smart NYC.
The city hopes to encourage Queens residents to bike more as part of a new program: Go Smart NYC.
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DNAinfo/Danielle Tcholakian

QUEENS — The city wants Queens residents to drive less and walk and bike more instead.

Pilot program Go Smart NYC launched this week in Community Board 5, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, in order to “reduce the traffic congestion and emissions caused” by cars, the Department of Transportation announced in a statement.

The city launched a new website, where residents can sign up and find bus schedules, bike maps and tips on pedestrian safety. They can also order a free kit with maps and information.

The program is meant to encourage residents to use more public transportation and carpooling, according to the agency.

“From walking, biking, carpooling, to public transit, Go Smart NYC will help residents ... make smart, sustainable transportation choices that can save them time and money,” Polly Trottenberg, DOT Commissioner, said in a statement.

In addition, residents who sign up will be able to earn discount rewards at more than 20 local businesses.

“This is a win-win: increase of residents’ use of public transit, biking, carpooling or just plain walking will reduce traffic congestion," said Theodore Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District. "At the same time, it will encourage people to shop locally and support our merchants.”

Locals will also be able to use the website to review data on their travel spending, physical activity and environmental impact, the DOT said.

As part of the project, additional benches and bike racks will also be installed in the area, according to the agency.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who represents the area, said in a statement that she hopes the program will help alleviate “the congestion and traffic in our communities” that “can sometimes be unbearable.”

The program will run through November, but the city hopes to expand it to other areas in 2016, the DOT said.