It's easy to dwell on the problems facing metro Atlanta with respect to gridlock and air pollution, but there are lots of things going right … and some of the best work being done anywhere to beat back traffic and tame smog is happening right here. The Clean Air Campaign and its partners recognized the region's best workplaces for commuters on Tuesday, celebrating the 10th annual PACE Awards along with a crowd of about 200 guests.
The PACE Awards program is the good news about traffic and air quality. It is among the most tangible examples of the shared responsibility that exists between the public and private sector to take actions that improve the way we commute and the air we breathe. And in this tight economy, where everybody must find creative ways to do more with less, commute options programs have become a frontline strategy to create stronger workplaces.
When the curtain fell on the 2008 PACE Awards last October, nobody predicted the budget ax would fall at the same time. But the bleak economy and the ripple effect of shortfalls in the state budget in the months that ensued made the PACE program impossible to sustain financially.
Still, when it became clear in early-2009 that the recession was going to make it tough for the business community to have enough good stories to rally around, The Clean Air Campaign and the local Transportation Management Associations responded with a scaled-down PACE Awards program built on sweat equity that has successfully kept the torch lit for recognizing the region's best commute options programs.
From a terrific field of more than 50 applicants, four employers (small, medium, large, public sector) and a property manager were recognized for their great programs to make it easier for commuters heading to their worksites to choose alternatives to driving alone. Get the scoop on the winners and finalists here. One employer led a commute options essay contest during President's Week in February, asking commuters which U.S. President they'd like to share a ride with and why. Another employer rolled out an innovative bike share program that has been well received.
In addition, the accomplishments of a handful of commuters whose long term individual efforts at clean commuting have kept 50,000 pounds of pollution out of the skies were recognized at the PACE Awards.
Many thanks to Midtown Alliance and AT&T for the donated venue, Aramark for catering services, WABE-90.1 FM for being a media sponsor, Perimeter Transportation Coalition for contributing the trophies, a great stable of PACE Awards judges from a cross-section of organizations with an interest in the issues we follow and all the employer, property manager, agency and funding partners who work to promote commute options in Georgia. Looking forward to next year's program, and hope you can be part of it!