The recent Earth Day celebrations across Santa Monica marked an important time to consider our impact on this verdant, life-sustaining planet.

One of the main sources of air pollution is emissions from passenger vehicles and trucks. Vehicles create smog-forming emissions such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, among other pollutants, which increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses like asthma, bronchitis and even cancer.

Decreasing the use of your personal vehicle is a small way to help have a big impact on air pollution. Fortunately, Santa Monica, always at the forefront on environmental matters, is easy to navigate without a car – the city is bike-friendly, offers beautiful, safe areas for strolling, and has good public transportation.

This ability to explore without a vehicle is one of the top reasons why hotel guests in Santa Monica chose to stay in our beachside city. In fact, 81 percent of overnight visitors to Santa Monica do not use a car once they arrive in the city. There’s just no need when a wide variety of shops, restaurants and attractions can be reached within a short walk or through the wealth of public transportation services offered. Or, did you know you can even catch a free ride?

So this Earth Day and beyond, consider keeping your car in the garage with these car-free alternatives to getting around. As a Santa Monica resident which ones have you tried?

 

Bike

With 113 miles of bikeways and relatively few hills, cycling is a great option for getting around Santa Monica. Santa Monica offers many options for two-wheeled transport. Use your own bicycle or rent one from one of several affordable bike share stations placed conveniently around town. You can also go electric to make tackling the roads even easier. Santa Monica’s Breeze Share Bike Program is a citywide, public bike share program that boasts over 500 bikes available at various locations around town. Along with a bright- green paint job, each ride is equipped with a load of cushy features like chainless transmission. a “smart bike” system lets users use GPS software to locate the nearest set of wheels and download a mobile app to pay fares.

 

Motorized Scooters

Motorized scooters may be driven only by those with a valid driver’s license or instruction permit. Helmets are required and taking a passenger is prohibited. Motorized scooters must be driven on the road, never on the sidewalk, and cannot be parked on the sidewalk in the way of pedestrian traffic. Night use of motorized scooters lacking proper lighting equipment is illegal.

 

Big Blue Bus

Santa Monica’s own bus line, The Big Blue Bus, is an inexpensive and comfortable way to get all over town and the greater Los Angeles area. The bus line’s multitude of routes cover 58 square miles. Heading out of town? Big Blue Bus Route 3 and Rapid 3 go from downtown Santa Monica to LAX in under an hour for just $1.25 per single trip.

Catching a ride on the Big Blue Bus is also good for the planet. The entire fleet of buses exceed all California Air Resources Board emission-lowering regulations. Buses also have specialized exhaust systems that filter and remove particles.

 

Metro Expo Line

The Metro Expo Line provides a quick and easy way to experience Santa Monica and beyond. There are three Expo Line stations in Santa Monica: 26th St/Bergamot, 17th St/SMC and Downtown Santa Monica.

Downtown Los Angeles is accessible in under 50 minutes. Additionally, with the ability to connect to Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, South Bay, Long Beach and dozens of points in between, passengers can travel around or Santa Monica easily.

 

Free Ride Shuttle

One of the coolest ways to get around town is the Free Ride Shuttle, a complimentary service that takes pedestrians to and from local destinations. For a relaxing car-free afternoon, pamper yourself at one of the city’s renowned hotel spas and then hail a shuttle to one of the many acclaimed restaurants located by the beach for a memorable meal.

Pedestrians can also hail the Santa Monica Free Ride by texting or calling (310) 895-9204. The service area runs between Wilshire Boulevard and Main Street, and from Ocean Avenue to Fifth Street. The Free Ride Shuttle operates from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with later hours on weekends.

 

Do Your Part

We all need to do our part to keep and maintain our healthy sustainable lifestyle. We live in such a special place – let’s protect it!

 

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