MILTON, Ga. — About a year ago, Milton Deputy Fire Chief Mark Stephens and Training Chief Jason Baswell, who travel to Milton from Newnan and Hogansville, respectively, changed the way they commute.
“We decided we were going to give up the rat race and use public transportation,” said Stephens.
Five mornings each week, the two leave Newnan, drive to the College Park MARTA station, ride to the North Springs station, get in the city of Milton vehicle they left there the day before and drive to Milton. The exception is Friday afternoons and Monday mornings, when to avoid paying for parking at the North Springs MARTA station over the weekend, they leave their city vehicle at the Mansell Road park-and-ride lot and take the bus to the station and back.
During the summers when traffic is lighter, they carpool from Newnan, which takes one hour and 10 minutes to get to work and up to two hours to get back, compared to the hour and 45 minutes it takes using MARTA.
“It saves me frustration and the city fuel,” Stephens explained. “By the time I get off the train, I’ve read all my emails.” Then, he says, he feels ready to start his work day.
Efforts like Stephens’ and Baswell’s are what helped Milton recently win a PACE Award from the Clean Air Campaign as a government champion and local employer.
“The awareness of the campaign came from our work on the Green Communities Certification,” explained Cindy Eade, Milton’s sustainability coordinator.
In October 2011, 12 employees committed to commute alternatives such as a compressed workweek, carpooling, using public transportation or working from home one day each week. Participants entered their information into the Clean Air Campaign’s website, www.logyourcommute.org, which calculates miles, gas, maintenance and emissions saved.
“People were surprised how easy it was,” Eade said.
The Clean Air Campaign’s program is statewide, and Milton was deemed the winner of the 2011-12 campaign through an application process and a panel of judges. Decatur and Norcross were also in the running for the award.
“We’re just thrilled to have Milton the recipient of this award,” said Brian Carr, a public relations representative for the Clean Air Campaign.
Dan Weaver, the employer program manager for the Clean Air Campaign, manages programs such as Milton’s.
“The things the city of Milton has been able to do in a year’s time…is worth sharing with the rest of the region,” Weaver said.
He and Carr hope this award will encourage other small and medium-sized businesses in Milton to participate. So far, about 400 other Milton residents or area employees are registered with the Clean Air Campaign.
“All of our programs and services are free for employees to sign on and partner with us,” Weaver explained.
Stephens is happy Milton received the Clean Air Award.
“It shows the city of Milton cares about its environment,” he said. “It just shows a commitment.”