Rolling into green commutes


A grant from the Colorado Energy Office and local organizations are providing local restaurant workers with eBikes in exchange for participating in a pilot program that is designed to help, in part, with reducing emissions during daily commutes. By Hannah Robertson. Sponsored by Tile and Light Art of Durango and San Juan Basin Public Health

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Five restaurant workers do their part to reduce carbon emissions this summer when they ride their new electric bikes provided by 4CORE and the Colorado Energy Office. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Tile & Light Art and San Juan Basin Public Health. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. The Colorado Energy Office launched the Can Do Colorado eBike pilot program last year to give eBikes to essential workers in the Denver area to help offset costs of transportation and emissions. The program then offered grants to entice other Colorado communities to provide eBikes to essential workers and Durango landed one. The Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency, 4CORE, partnered with several local restaurants and organizations around town to create the Roll to Restaurants program, which eventually will put 16 restaurant workers on eBikes in the community.

We developed this model called Roll to Restaurants and we figured, you know, during the pandemic, our restaurants, six of which closed over the course of the pandemic, we figured that supporting that industry, which is so important to our tourist industry in Durango, how could we support the workers who were, you know, really affected? So we created this model around restaurant workers.

4CORE partnered with Roll eBike & Paddle Board, a local eBike rental company, to provide training and support during the program.

I know Laurie very well from the Four Corners Office of Resource Efficiency and she reached out to me and said, "You know, there's this great possibility that we could go for some funding to help more people get on electric bikes, and especially help low-income folks, help our restaurant community," since COVID, it's really been suffering, and really kind of spurn that education around how to commute by bike. My hope is, with my business and with this program, that we're really taking it to the everyday person and helping them understand, A, the fun that it is to ride a bike again. I just thought it would be fantastic to help Roll get more into kind of the social side of sustainability and helping more people in our community to fall in love with bikes and learn more about their carbon footprint.

Local restaurant workers can apply to participate in the pilot program. Selection is based on income. If participants keep a log of their eBike trips during the program, they will get to keep their bikes at the end of the test period.

This is big because what I'd been doing in the past is getting dropped off at the north end of the river trail at Oxbow or up at 29th Street and then taking the trail all the way down here. But now I don't even have to, you know, catch a ride halfway. I'll be able to do the whole distance with this.

Participants are encouraged to use their eBikes to run errands, go to work, or visit friends rather than drive cars. Each bike comes equipped with a helmet, bike lock, panniers, and water bottles.

I think it'll bring maybe some, like, reduced stress for maybe some of us who work restaurants who aren't earning the top tier in money, maybe can't afford transportation, period, whether it be a bike or a car.

To learn more about the Roll to Restaurant program, visit Applications to participate in the program are still available, but slots likely will go fast. Be sure to keep your eyes out for the recipients on your next trip to the grocery store, your favorite local restaurant, or along the river trail. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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