The City of Kingston Sustainability Office has been working hand in hand with the Kingston CAC to address Air Quality in the City.
A sub-committee of the CAC was formed to support the City in it's goals.
The Mission of the Air Quality Sub-Committee is: To ensure the conservation of clean air in the City of Kingston and the enhancement of the protection of clean air while fostering unified action on matters of air quality.
GOALS: As the City of Kingston experiences economic land development and population growth, the CAC Air Quality Sub-Committee seeks to:
1) Assure that clean air is preserved and improved sustainably.
2) Provide equitable access to clean air for all residents protection.
3) Inform City policies and procedures about air quality by examining local, state and federal levels of protection.
Climate Action Plan 2030 Air Quality Initiatives
The 2030 Climate Action Plan continues to advance sustainability strategies for the City, and several of the goals directly benefit air quality including:
- Transition the City Fleet to all electric vehicles
- Expand Public EV Charging Infrastructure
- Expand Bus Routes and Schedules
- Increase Walkability and Bikeability
- Update Zoning Regulations to support Smart Growth
- Implement Dockless Bike and Scooter Program
- Adopt EV Ready Building Codes for Commercial and Multi-Family Buildings
- Preserve and Expand the Urban Forest
For more information, see the FULL 2030 Climate Action Plan.
credit: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
Burning wood is one of the dirtiest ways to heat your home.
It contains tiny particles and toxic chemicals that can seriously affect health.
Based on data gathered from the U.S. Energy Information Administration it was estimated that 1,573.63 tons of wood was used as fuel in the City of Kingston in 2010. This created 193 tonnes of CO2e.
The Kingston Conservation Advisory Council:
- endeavors to educate residents about the health and environmental risks of burning wood.
Listen now to a CAC interview on Wood Smoke Pollution with WAMC
Listen now to a CAC interview on Wood Smoke Pollution with WKNY Radio Kingston's The Source with Hillary Harvey.
Listen now to a CAC interview on Wood Smoke Pollution with Healthy Ulster Radio, Show #167.
- works toward informed enforcement of current Air Pollution and Smoke Control code (http://ecode360.com/12699897) in conjunction with the Kingston Fire Department.
- is examining other municipalities’ regulations and best practices regarding wood burning.
Partnership in Action
The City of Kingston is excited to announce a successful first year of partnership with the Center for the Study of Land, Air and Water at Bard College on the Kingston Air Quality Initiative (KAQI). KAQI began in January of 2020 as a means of protecting the good air quality Kingston residents have come to enjoy. This partnership was announced for the first time in September 2020 for the first annual “Clean Air for Blue Skies Day” [though monitoring began in January, 2020]. This is an initiative of the United Nations Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which focuses on improving air quality to protect human health while addressing climate change. In Kingston, these monitoring efforts have been part of an overarching mission to assure the quality of our air through science and public outreach.
Dr. Eli Dueker installing the MetOne 212-2 particle profiler at our field site atop the Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center in Midtown, Kingston.
The Center for the Environment Sciences and Humanities at Bard College, in collaboration with KAQI, has developed a dashboard that allows Kingston residents to access real-time information about their city’s air quality. The current PM2.5 and PM10 conditions are shown and interpreted, and one can see the air quality sensor’s reading from the past 12 hours. A separate page allows users to explore the hourly readings of particulate matter from the whole Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center dataset.
The dashboard can be found at: https://tributary.shinyapps.io/AMNC_live/
Air quality monitoring and data analysis has been conducted by Kingston residents, students, staff, and faculty of the Bard Community Science Lab in collaboration with the City of Kingston. Through the Community Science Lab, scientists and communities conduct science together with the goal of addressing local priorities. The City of Kingston’s Conservation Advisory Council’s Air Quality Sub-Committee has been working on air quality as part of the CAC’s mission. The primary pollutant of concern with respect to our monitoring is particulate matter, with a particular emphasis on particulate matter 2.5.
Vehicle Idling and Vehicle Emissions REDUCTION
Idling is when the operator of a vehicle leaves the engine running while the vehicle is parked. Idling results in the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributes substantially to air pollution, deteriorates engines, and interferes with traffic conditions.
For every ten minutes of idling, the average car produces one pound of carbon dioxide (CO2), the greenhouse gas with the largest contribution to anthropogenic climate change. Researchers estimate that idling wastes about 6 billion gallons of non-renewable fuel annually, resulting in the emission of 30 million tons of CO2. One-third of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector alone, and studies show that idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and emits more pollution than turning the engine on and off again. Idling regulations are crucial to the climate action process and are a simple way to provide equitable access a clean and healthy environment for all residents in Kingston.
Exhaust from idling gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles has been classified as a likely carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous studies link exposure to fine particles to severe adverse health effects. This includes premature death, and increased incidents of asthma, allergies, and other breathing disorders especially prevalent in children and the elderly. Vehicle idling usually occurs in heavily trafficked locations (e.g. school grounds, parking lots, retail areas, construction sites, etc.) where people can be exposed to concentrated sources of air pollutants in short periods of time. Anti-idling policies are shown to increase air quality, directly impacting the health and wellness of a municipality.
Vehicle idling slows the flow of traffic; and blocks emergency stopping lanes, bus stops, and parking spaces. Metered parking spaces provide valuable income to be reinvested into City infrastructure, and should not be taken up by idling vehicles. Stopping lanes and road shoulders are critical in the event of an emergency and should remain clear at all times. Vehicle idling while the driver is double-parked increases congestion and interferes with the flow of traffic by creating unnecessary obstacles for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers to navigate. Anti-idling legislation is proven to prevent these and other traffic-related occurrences, and will have a positive impact on road conditions in the City of Kingston.
Anti-idling legislation is gaining momentum across the country, as more and more municipalities recognize its necessity in climate planning, air quality control, and traffic regulation. Currently, idling is partially regulated by New York State, with laws in place prohibiting the idling of heavy-duty vehicles for more than 5 minutes. This includes vehicles such as tractor trailers, tankers, and packers but does not extend to passenger vehicles. However, over 20 municipalities across New York State have introduced anti-idling policies more stringent than that of the State Code.
According to Kingston's first Climate Action Plan (September 2012), idling an internal combustion engine can burn a half gallon to one gallon of fuel per hour, depending on the engine size and air conditioner (AC) use.
Recommendations from the Climate Action Plan to reduce transportation related emissions:
- Adopt local anti-idling ordinance.
- Work with local institutions and businesses such as Health Alliance to reduce vehicle idling.
- Work with delivery services to reduce vehicle idling.
- Work with Kingston City School District to reduce school bus idling by creating idle-free zones around schools.
- Investigate clean diesel technologies to reduce diesel emissions and their impact on human health.
- Replace old equipment with clean diesel equipment.
- Retrofit existing equipment to reduce diesel emissions.
- Examine and consider the use of bio-diesel in City equipment.
- Require any contractors within the City of use clean diesel equipment.
In 2021, City Staff, with support from the CAC, developed an Anti-Idling Policy, which was adopted by the Common Council as Resolution 160 of 2021. This policy states that:
No person shall allow, cause, or permit the engine of any motor vehicle to run for more than ten consecutive minutes while parking, standing, or stopping in the City of Kingston, as those terms are defined in New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.
Final Adopted Anti-Idling Policy
NYS Environmental Conservation Law also prohibits heavy duty vehicles, including diesel trucks and buses, from idling for more than five (5) minutes at a time.
To support this policy, the City has erected more than 2 dozens road signs around the City reminding the community that idling is not permitted.
Simple tips to remember:
Drive at the speed limit
Avoid sudden stops or starts
Resist topping off the fuel tank
Check tire pressure monthly
Keep your vehicle well-maintained
A PROGRAM FOR CITY OF KINGSTON EMPLOYEES!
Introducing New Programs to
Reduce Stress, Save Money, and Have Fun!
511NY Rideshare has partnered with the City of Kingston to provide its employees with commuter services that includes ridematching for carpools, resources for transit, biking, walking and Park & Ride lots. Discover the many benefits of sharing the ride…
- Save money
- Reduce stress
- Improve air quality
Getting started is quick, easy, and FREE. Click here to be directed to the City of Kingston’s personalized rideshare portal and connect with other city employees who share either part of or your whole commute. You’ll also have access to New York State’s 511NY network for real-time travel, transit and traffic updates.
Plus, there’s more! If you carpool, use transit, or bike or walk to work, 511NY Rideshare ensures a guaranteed ride from work when an emergency happens at no cost to you. We’ll pay for you to get to your destination by taxi or designated service provider. To find out more and to register for the Hudson Valley Guaranteed Ride Program click here.
If you have any questions about this program please feel to contact Caroline Stupple, the Ulster County Outreach Manager for 511NY Rideshare, at [email protected].
511NY Rideshare is sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation to provide free commuter and traveler services.