by Cortney Schmidt
Two things that are receiving a lot of media attention these days are the price of fuel and the state of the environment.
One thing that I think everyone in town could do, that would help both problems just a little bit, is to shut off their engines while they are waiting for the Charlevoix bridge to be lowered. Without creating an overly complex math problem, consider the following scenario:
Assume that 25 cars are stopped for the bridge on each the north and south sides, 16 times per day in the summer.
Now assume that each car has its engine shut off for 5 minutes while the bridge is up.
An idling car is known to use 0.5 gallons of gas in 60 minutes (a USEPA website number).
Under these conditions, if each car were to shut their engine off, 33 gallons of gas would be saved each day.
If for just one week we all cooperate and shut off our idling engines at the bridge this would save about 231 gallons. This would amount of gas would take me and my minivan for a ride down the highway from Charlevoix to Detroit and then over to Toronto and then up to Montreal. Then we could go to Boston, check out the Alantic, swing over and check out New York and the big lady, go past Pittsburgh and stop in Cincinnati, continue through Atlanta and see the Gulf in Tallahassee, Florida. While we are at it let’s go up and over and check out Graceland in Memphis, plus Dallas, and Albuquerque. Just to say we were there. Go north, to Denver and mountains would be nice, driving through Lincoln, Des Moines and Chicago on the way Home. Speaking of home, I forgot to get some milk, but that’s OK, I will still have plenty of gas to make this milk run too, as long as I don’t forget to turn my engine off while I am idling at the Bridge.
WATCH’s Idle-Free Initiative
This summer we and the City of Charlevoix will celebrate “Idle-Free Charlevoix.” Signs, banners, bumper stickers, and media announcements will encourage people to turn off their engines while they wait at the bridge. We also hope to be able to paint the idle-free logo on the sidewalk of the bridge, so that when it is raised, motorists will be reminded to “turn your key.” Keep this initiative in mind as well at the Ironton Ferry. Consider the people who live near there and that they would like to be free of your fumes!
The Charlevoix City Council has unanimously approved the Idle-Free initiative, and recommended that it be treated as an Idle-Free season instead of an Idle-Free week. Permanent vertical banners reminding people to turn their keys will be hung along US 31 on the approaches to the bridge.