Our Happy Hour on April 15 explored sustainable transportation in San Mateo County. We were excited to have Carlos Moreno from Peninsula Clean Energy, Mary Thomasmeyer from Commute.org and Emma Shales from Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) as guest speakers.

Carlos, the Community Outreach Specialist for Peninsula Clean Energy, explained that since Peninsula Clean Energy launched in 2016, it has been providing electricity to the area from clean energy sources. Customers can choose between going with 50 percent or 100 percent of their electricity coming from renewables. Both options are 100% carbon-free.

So far, Peninsula Clean Energy has had a huge impact on the community, saving 144,660 metric tons of carbon emissions annually (the equivalent of removing 30,713 gas-powered cars from the road in a year). Carlos discussed how community reinvestment is important to the agency and said Peninsula Clean Energy invests in a variety of programs to reduce emissions, including EV incentives, a new e-bike discount, and EV charging ports.

Commute.org seeks to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions promoting the use of sustainable transportation and commuter alternatives. Mary, the Commuter Programs Specialist at Commute.org, primarily manages the agency’s bike and carpool reward programs. These programs include an annual carpool award of $100, a bike-to-work program, and a Try Transit program to help people take their first trips via public transit. Learn more on Commute.org’s STAR platform here (https://my.commute.org/#/). Commute.org also offers information about a personal commute planning service and a Guaranteed Ride Home program.

Emma, Deputy Director of SVBC, oversees the nonprofit’s advocacy and programs team and works on regional policy issues. During the Happy Hour, she said the No. 1 reason people choose a specific transportation mode is speed), while ease of use and safety are other key decision factors. To make biking a more popular transportation choice, she said we need to focus on making biking a faster, safer and easier to use.

There are many advocacy initiatives currently taking place in San Mateo County, including Biketivist Forums, infrastructure rides advocacy training and bike-related programs including “Safe Routes to School,” biking workshops, “Bike to Wherever Days” in collaboration with Commute.org, and a partnership with Peninsula Clean Energy to promote e-bikes via rebates.

After hearing these three wonderful speakers, I was inspired by all the sustainable transportation efforts going on in San Mateo County! There is so much we can do to work toward more sustainable transportation, from using Peninsula Clean Energy’s e-bike discount to purchase our first e-bike, to creating an account on and planning public transportation routes with Commute.org‘s STAR platform, to participating in “Bike to Wherever Day” on May 21, 2021.

Author: Megan King