Amanda Jones was the force behind the downtown Berkeley BART station’s bike station, which opened last year.
Wednesday, Jones received one of two 2000 Clean Air Champions Awards given by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
The bike station, run by the Bicycle Friendly Berkeley Coalition, provides free, supervised bicycle parking for between 65 and 80 commuters a day, according to bike station employee Van Taylor.
Space constraints prevented the bike station’s expansion, said Joe Carroll, a member of BART’s Bicycle Task Force.
Having opened in October 1999, the station, funded by the BAAQMD, is still in its 18-month trial period .
As commute coordinator for Palo Alto, Jones was also the driving force behind the bike station that opened in April at the Palo Alto CalTrans station, the first of its kind in the Bay Area. In addition to a full time security attendant, local businesses in Palo Alto offer concessions, bike repair, parts sales and rentals.
“It’s great because people can leave their bikes all day and not have to worry about whether they will be there when they get back,” said Jones. The additional services help pay for the free parking. At the Palo Alto bike station, commuters can even leave their bikes there overnight.
Bike station plans are under way in San Francisco and at the Fruitvale BART station, as they are nationwide.
The Bikestation Coalition offers guidance and technical expertise to local organizations setting up their own bike stations.
Jones was selected for the Clean Air Champion Award by a committee which included the American Lung Association, Rides for Bay Area Commuters, KCBS, the Environmental Protection Agency, and BAAQMD.
The award, now in its ninth year, is part of the Spare the Air Campaign, a program spearheaded by BAAQMD that issues ozone alerts to the public, and encourages them to leave their cars at home on days when the ozone levels exceed federal standards.
The Clean Air Award is given in part to draw media attention to that effort, said Karen Licavoli of the American Lung Association.
In the past, the yearly award has been presented to a seventh grade class that built an electrical car, a girl scout troupe, and even a tap dancer. “We look for people who have done something unique and beyond their job,” said Licavoli. “Regular people who have done something exemplary.”
John Ruzek of Walnut Creek was also named Clean Air Champion this year. A former senior electrical engineer at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in Berkeley and BART engineer, Ruzek is devoted to improving bicycle and pedestrian safety “on the other side of the hills” through overpasses, bike lanes, and wider streets.
Nominated by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, he is an activist in the community who successfully lobbies city councils and transportation agencies like CalTrans to make transportation more accessible.
“CalTrans is more than a department of highways,” said Ruzek, “and sometimes they need help focusing on that.”