MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow today kicked-off a host of festivities throughout Grand Central Terminal to celebrate Earth Day. He was joined by Pamela Lippe, Executive Director of Earth Day New York.
Earth Day is an annual event that helps to raise awareness about environmental issues while providing tips for protecting resources at work, at play, and at home.
"Public transportation has always been good for the environment," said Mr. Kalikow. "And at the MTA, every day is Earth Day because every full bus removes 40 cars from traffic. Every full rail car keeps 75 to 125 cars off the road. Every railroad track can carry as many people in one hour as eight lanes of traffic. And every commuter who uses mass transit instead of a car saves about 400 gallons of gas a year."
The "Pollution Solution" video, which aired throughout the day, detailed other environmental initiatives the MTA is taking, as well as showing how using public transportation reduces pollution and improves air quality.
Earth Day New York illuminated the two north columns of the main concourse with more than 200 30-foot-tall ecological "Giant Earth Images."
Vanderbilt Avenue turned into a pedestrian mall for the day with an exhibit of alternative fuel vehicles including the MTA's fleet of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), hybrid-electric, and clean diesel buses, the New York Power Authority's TH!NK electric car, and Toyota's Prius hybrid vehicle. The hybrid-electric bus, battery-powered by fuel-efficient engines, emits 50-90% fewer particulates, 30-60% fewer smog-producing emissions, and 20-40% fewer greenhouse gases than standard buses. The CNG bus emits 50-90% fewer particulates and 30-60% fewer smog-producing emissions than standard buses.
Other major corporate sponsors included the Durst Organization, The New York Times, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Ben and Jerry's.