Green Machines: Air-Friendly Ways to Get Around Denver

Protecting Denver’s air quality is a priority for government officials, who have come up with some creative ways to help Denver’s “brown cloud,” which is caused mostly from motor vehicles. Denver is more prone to the pollution because of its thinner air and its location in a valley.

Here are some ways you can take part in traveling green.

Denver has recently developed an extensive bicycle program. This includes shared-use paths, bike lanes, sharrows (or shared arrows) and 258 miles of signed bike paths.

Denver Bike Sharing station

Another segment of the plan is Denver Bike Sharing or B-cycle. Denver Bike Sharing is an organization that works to “promote health, quality of life and preservation of the environment” in Denver. Members pay to rent a bike from one station and ride it to another station.

Membership ranges from $5 for a day and $65 yearly. Members are also charged for the time the bike is used. Rides are free for the first 30 minutes, then fees are $1.10 for 30-60 minutes to $6.60 for 91-120 minutes. Riders are charged $4.40 for every 30 minutes after that. The goal is to keep rides short and for bikes to be ready for the next rider to use, therefore the longer you ride, the more the 30-minute segment costs.

The goal of the program is to place 40 to 50 stations throughout Denver in 2010. Several stations may already be found throughout downtown. The program is funded through riders’ fees, government grants and corporate sponsorships. More information can be found at

For those who choose not to own a car and need a ride farther than their legs can peddle them, there is also a car-sharing company called OccasionalCar. OccasionalCar offers affordable rental cars charged by the hour and by the mile. This is a great option for those who only need minimal use of a vehicle.

Renters are charged $3.49 per hour and 24 cents per mile. Cars may be reserved at the last minute or as far in advance as 90 days. If the gas tank drops below one-fourth full, the renter is responsible for refilling the tank. Several different cars and rental plans are available as well. More information may be found at

RTD offers bus and light rail transportation.

Denver’s Regional Transportation District, or RTD, also offers cheap and convenient public transportation on the bus and light rail. Downtown Denverites especially know that getting around Denver is hassle-free via public transit. No parking fees, no gas, no insurance, and no added pollution when riders hop on a bus or train. Monthly passes for frequent riders are the most economic option. More information can be found at

Aside from the obvious options of hybrid vehicles, walking and car pooling, these are just a few alternate options to consider. Anyone can take pride in living a green lifestyle, and minimizing air pollution in the Mile High City is an impactful way to start.