Every month is Earth Month here at Sound Transit, but April 2020 feels a bit different.
While we’re all staying home to stop the spread of COVID-19, it has become even more clear how much we all value fresh air, clear skies and time spent outside – even if it’s just in our own neighborhoods and backyards. Surely you’ve also noticed the clearer views of the Cascades, Olympics and Rainier the past few weeks.
There are a lot of things we can do to help the earth, even after we all go back to our regular routines.
Providing clean alternatives to driving is one of the most important things we can do to help slow climate change.
Taking transit, even a couple days a week, helps reduce tho greenhouse gases that contribute to melting the glaciers at Mt. Rainier and changing the beautiful landscapes we’re lucky to call home.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. While the COVID-19 pandemic does not allow us to hold any in-person events, we still want to recognize this milestone and look toward the future.
Sound Transit is committed to providing those clean transportation options while minimizing environmental impacts as we expand the system to serve millions of riders. We have a Sustainability Plan to help guide this work, which sets long and short term goals.
Even though providing public transportation is the most impactful thing we’re doing for the environment, it’s not the only one:
- Link light rail is powered with 100 percent clean energy. Agency-wide, about 84 percent of our electricity comes from clean and renewable sources.
- We’re constantly looking for new ways to make our day-to-day work more sustainable and climate friendly. Check out our 2020 sustainability goals here.
- We are committed to reducing impacts on natural resources while we build. Check out our work at Sweyolocken in Bellevue and Ronald Bog in Shoreline, and at Thorton Creek by Northgate Station:
- We are a national leader in sustainability among transit agencies as a platinum member of the American Public Transit Association’s (APTA's) Sustainability Commitment (and one of its founding signatories). Our own Amy Shatzkin is the Vice Chair of the APTA Sustainability Committee.
- Our Environmental and Sustainability Management System has been internationally certified for over 12 years now.
- We love a good creative and green solution. Watch how we enlisted the help of some four-legged friends to clear a huge piece of land without burning a single gallon of fuel:
- Our transit-oriented development team is committed to providing ample and affordable opportunities so people can live close to stations and forgo car ownership.
- We’re providing $100 million to the communities we serve to improve biking and walking connections to transit with our System Access Fund.
- Saving money and helping the environment can be as easy as changing the lightbulbs. Last year, we upgraded old and inefficient light bulbs at our stations, maintenance bases and on board Link light rail trains. Check out a similar project at Union Station:
- Passengers taking Sound Transit help divert nearly 375,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually -- equivalent to 42 million gallons of gasoline!
- Our tribal relations director is committed to sustainability, and helps to support and enhance the environmental stewardship of our tribal partners.
- We joined West Coast Electric Fleets in September 2019 and pledged to take action to expand the use of zero-emission fleet vehicles. We pledged as a Diamond Lane Partner, which is the highest commitment level available.
- After making some changes to how we power our Sounder trains, we were able to improve the air and save fuel:
- As part of our Lynnwood City Center Station LEED Silver certification efforts, we’re using a different type of cement that’s cleaner to produce than standard cement.
- We have a bike program that sponsors many projects, from on-demand bike lockers to a buddy system for our employees who cycle to work.