2014 Diamond awards winners announced SANDAG Honors 12 Award Recipients for Embracing Sustainable Commute Choices

The SANDAG iCommute program is honoring ten organizations and two individuals with Diamond Awards for their outstanding contributions to promoting and participating in alternative transportation choices in the San Diego region. These winners help relieve traffic congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve mobility by carpooling, walking, biking, taking transit, teleworking, working a compressed schedule, or a combination of these.

Diamond Awards were presented in eight categories at this morning’s SANDAG Board of Directors meeting:

All-Star Award:
UC San Diego has reduced commute-related greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 16,000 metric tons per year since 2001. The university operates a shuttle system that provides nearly 1.5 million annual rides; offers an online system for bicyclists to find the location of 7,000 bike racks; and sets aside premium parking for carpools.

Program Excellence Award (presented by size category based on number of local employees):

San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) improves bicycling in the region through educational programs. In 2013, SDCBC offered bike valets at more than 20 community events, hosted free safety workshops, and sponsored San Diego’s first open streets celebration, CicloSDias.

Parsons Brinckerhoff employees regularly commute by bike, carpool, and transit. About half of its employees take advantage of compressed workweeks. Employees get tax-free transit passes, and receive help planning transit commutes and finding carpools.

RECON Environmental, Inc.’s employee-driven gREenCON committee promotes company-wide environmental stewardship programs. Fifty-five employees participated in the iCommute 2013 Rideshare Corporate Challenge and logged more than 1,550 alternative commute trips.

Thermo Fisher Scientific increased the number of employees enrolled in its commuter program by 28 percent last year. Its Green Team developed an intranet presence to promote alternative commute benefits, displayed signage in break rooms, and communicated benefits to new hires.

Best New Program Award:
JO Communications made bicycle commuting part of its company culture. The home office has a biking motif, showers, and a kitchen stocked with on-the-go food. Employees have “collapsible offices” so they can easily bike to meetings.

Agency Leadership Award:
The Port of San Diego offers employees reimbursement for carpool, vanpool, and transit commute costs, as well as free bicycle lockers. Forty-two percent of Port staff work an alternative schedule, eliminating more than 20,000 commute trips per year.

Outstanding Educational Institution Award (K-12 and University):
The Encinitas Union School District’s (EUSD) walk and ride to school efforts have been recognized by the City of Encinitas, County of San Diego, and the California State Department of Education. During Wellness Week and Earth Week, each school encourages healthy alternatives to driving to campus.

University of San Diego (USD) was designated a Bike Friendly University in 2013 by the League of American Bicyclists, the only university in San Diego to earn this distinction. About 75 percent of USD students use sustainable transportation.

Community Champion Award:
City Heights Community Development Corporation (CHCDC) has been active in the sustainable transportation movement, working with community members, leaders, and partners to transform City Heights. In 2013, CHCDC installed green and buffered bike lanes on University Avenue, as well as improved pedestrian access to the El Cajon Boulevard Transit Plaza.

Workplace Champion Award:
James Sinclair is an ambassador for Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ alternative commute program, where he volunteers to educate co-workers with clinics such as Advanced Bike Fit and Bicycle Commuting. James cycles 32 miles to and from work. In 2013, he rode 170 days and 5,440 miles.
Commuter of the Year:
Sigurd Kallhovde bikes to work daily, inspiring students and parents at La Jolla Elementary School with a total of 6,000 miles logged in 2013. He funds and manages the sdbikecommuter.com forum where cyclists can communicate and motivate one another.

Diamond Awards receive support from iCommute Annual Partners: Pure Financial Advisors, Metropolitan Transit System, and North County Transit District.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.