Greater New Haven Clean Cities celebrated and spoke at a 5/3/22 Bike Month event announcing a new financing program for e-bikes to supplement a new state subsidy through the CHEAPR board, on which we sit. GNHCCC was on the New Haven, CT historic green as a validator for the emissions reductions value of e-bikes; we drew from the National Renewable Energy Lab‘s (NREL) research to validate both the sustainability and equity benefits. We recognized Connex Credit Union for the financing program and Park New Haven for its cargo e-bike share program with Connecticut Clean Community Leaders (temporary) plaques, which, according to a Connex board member who was present, helps them continue to push for more of this kind of activity. We highlighted the importance of these programs in achieving the Department of Energy’s Justice40 goals, including decreasing environment exposure and burdens and increasing access to low-cost capital in disadvantaged communities. For more on the event, see:
- New Haven Register article
- New Haven Independent article. (The comments range all over the place!) PDF
- City of New Haven press release
- Connex E-bike flyer
- Video of GNHCCC comments and plaque presentations
Comments by Paul Wessel, Greater New Haven Clean Cities, at 5/3/22 City of New Haven – Connex E-Bike event
Engineer and futurist Buckminster Fuller once famously said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Today we celebrate innovators – past, present, and future, our local bikes stores – The Devil’s Gear and College Street Cycles, Connex Credit Union, our wonderful elected leaders, and supportive organizations for building and promoting a new option for more sustainable transportation.
156 years ago, a mechanic named PIerre Lallement living here in Greater New Haven, patented central elements of the bikes we ride today. Just last week, CT’s legislature voted to make electric bikes, cars and school buses more accessible to all of us and to encourage the adoption of cleaner fueled trucks. And today, Connex Bank and Park New Haven help make ELECTRIC bikes available to everyone, through generous financing for individual ownership and through a shared cargo bike program. …..”Build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete…”
New Haven is, yet again, leading the way. Author/Educator/Environmentalist Bill McKibben pointed out a decade and a half ago that there are no silver bullets only silver buckshot to solving the climate crisis. And that given the scale of the problem, the cheapest solutions may make the most sense. E-bikes are really interesting addition to the mix of silver buckshot. They’re cool. Our colleagues at the National Renewal Energy Lab point out that they make you feel superhuman – with a little bit of energy input, you can go far and fast. NREL is in the middle of a two-year study of e-bikes in Denver, and their preliminary analysis for low-income essential workers in the heat of COVID found that e-bikes
- reduce travel time, increase productivity;
- are an affordable entry into electric mobility, and
- can go a long way towards supporting both equity and sustainability.
So for all these reasons and more, Greater New Haven Clean Cities, as recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy, is honored to recognize Connex Credit Union and Park New Haven as Connecticut Clean Communities Leaders for their leadership in cleaning Connecticut’s air, protecting our shoreline, and reducing respiratory disease through the advancement of 21st-century electric transportation.