Will it Take a Village to Stop Vehicle Idling In Rye?

On a recent cold and windy Friday evening, close to 200 people took time out of their busy lives to watch a movie and join in a post-film discussion about motor vehicle emission pollution.

Published February 5, 2016 9:54 PM
4 min read

0:00

page-5-George-Packenham THOn a recent cold and windy Friday evening, close to 200 people took time out of their busy lives to watch a movie and join in a post-film discussion about motor vehicle emission pollution.

By Bill Lawyer   

page-5-George-PackenhamOn a recent cold and windy Friday evening, close to 200 people took time out of their busy lives to watch a movie and join in a post-film discussion about motor vehicle emission pollution.

If you’ve read this far, you probably know what’s going to come next, and you probably know what needs to be done. And if you don’t, you probably have already started turning the pages to see what else is going on around Rye.  

That’s because, as was discussed at the program held at Rye Country Day School’s Performing Arts Center, large numbers of people seem oblivious to the dangers that arise from letting their car or truck engine idle when not in use — and a large percent don’t want to know.  

The film and program, co-sponsored by Rye’s Sustainability Committee and Rye Country Day, was highly motivating for the people who watched. “IDLETHREAT: Man on Emission,” and its creator and star George Packenham, who led the Q&A, made you want to go out and do something about idling and idlers.

The film recounts how Packenham went from grumbling to himself about all the idling vehicles in his New York City neighborhood to becoming a citywide leader in the movement to enforce the City’s long-ignored law against idling for more than three minutes. He even succeeded in getting an amendment to the law on the table, bill 717, that if passed will enable regular citizens to write tickets and share in the fines imposed.

Why did Packenham decide to tackle the issue? He said there were a number of reasons, but pointed to studies by The American Cancer Society, listing six reasons why vehicle idling should not be tolerated: it’s hazardous to human health; it’s a waste of fossil fuel; it’s a major contributor to particulate matter pollution; unattended idling vehicles can be stolen  —sometimes with children inside; idling more than tens seconds burns more gas than it takes to re-start the engine; and, today’s electronic engines do not need idling to be warmed up before being operated.  

“IDLETHREAT” took more than five years to complete, and involved Packenham “politely confronting’’ over 3,000 motorists in idling vehicles with the fact that what they were doing was illegal and dangerous.

In several scenes in the film, you see vehicles idling right next to a no-idling sign. You also see Packenham being ignored, yelled at, cursed at, accused of harassment, and lied to. In each situation, he used a timer to show that before speaking to a driver he waited more than three minutes.

As news spread throughout the media, including The New Yorker, about Packenham’s mission, he joined forces with the Environmental Defense Fund, which was working to reduce the dangerous levels of pollutants and greenhouse gases in New York City. This led to getting widespread support from the City Council to set up a system whereby the police issuing parking tickets would be able to ticket vehicle idling as well.

Despite the successes in New York City, problems remain. After two years of greatly increased ticket issuances, the number of tickets has declined significantly.  

Here in Rye, Acting Police Commissioner Scott Craig recently told the paper, “As far as vehicle idling tickets we do not track that category of summons. They are not issued frequently… Enforcement comes with some challenges. In order for an officer to issue a summons, he/she would need to witness the violation and it would need to exceed the three-minute time period. This would require the officer to get out of the patrol vehicle and walk up to the target vehicle just to see if it is in fact running.”

Officer Craig thinks that the best approach is education, and he agrees that more signage at locations where illegal idling occurs would serve “as a reminder to drivers.”

So what’s the take-away? George Packenham strongly believes in enforcement. He provides statistics showing the sizable revenue that could be generated if tickets were issued and fines were collected, which would more than cover the extra time and personnel that would be assigned to the task. Now, it’s up to those who recognize that idling needs to be reduced to become “politely confrontative,” too.

 

Filed Under:
Subscribe and get freshly baked articles. Join the community!
Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.

rajbet app

rajbet india

lottoland asia

lottoland india

dafabet login

dafabet app

4rabet login

khelo24bet login

rummy gold

rummy glee

teen patti

teen patti gold

teen patti joy

teen patti master

rummy modern

andar bahar

dafabet

bonus new member

gullybet

IPLWin

IPLWin

tk88

tk88

thienhabet

thienhabet

Dbbet

Nagad88

Babu88

Six6s

Bhaggo

Elonbet