CSI Becomes a Clean Air Champion

The College of Staten Island recently announced that it has signed on to be the latest Champion of the New York State Department of Transportation’s Clean Air NY initiative. Clean Air NY is a dynamic collaboration of organizations and individuals in the New York metro area who are taking action to improve air quality and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which the EPA recently deemed a threat to public health and welfare.

CSI advocates alternative transportation use through a carpool matching service and free shuttle bus. The College also provides pre-tax transit benefits to employees and even gave away free metro cards at an alternative transportation fair in November.

The College’s participation in Clean Air NY is one of a number of initiatives that CSI has launched as an active participant in CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s University Sustainability Council, which is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all campus buildings by 30 percent over the next decade. Other campus projects including recycling, LEED-certified buildings, biodiesel production, and working toward the development of an undergraduate program in sustainability, will help the campus and Staten Island to create a sustainable energy environment and reduce the College’s carbon footprint.

About 90 percent of New York residents live in areas that do not meet Environmental Protection Agency air quality standards. Every mile driven in a car drops the equivalent of a one-pound brick of carbon dioxide into the air. If just one in ten commuters in the New York metro area carpooled, worked from home, or used public transit just once a week, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by about 5,100 tons each week–that’s the weight equivalent of 720 elephants.

CSI is the third organization to sign on as a Clean Air NY Champion in FY 2010. Voila Bakery and the Grand Hyatt Hotel are also uniting with Clean Air NY in the fight to improve New York’s air quality.

Clean Air NY is an initiative sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation in support of region-wide air quality efforts. Clean Air NY’s network of individuals and businesses believes that every person has the power to help make New York’s air healthier and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Clean Air NY educates the public on simple everyday changes that reduce driving and provides real-time updates on Air Quality Action Days via text messaging, email, and media notifications. Click Here to learn more.

CSI has signed on to be the latest Champion of the New York State DOT's Clean Air NY Initiative.

CSI Named to Presidential Honor Roll For Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service honored the College of Staten Island (CSI) with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.

“The College of Staten Island is continuing to strengthen its longstanding tradition of public service. The latest national recognition is a reflection of the great work that CSI students, faculty, and staff do every day in service to their community,” said Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of The City University of New York.

“We are honored by this prestigious distinction,” said Dr. Tomás Morales, President of CSI, “and I am proud of the hard work and dedication of our students, as well as the visionary leadership of our student support professionals who helped make this possible. As a senior college of The City University of New York, and the only institution of public higher education on Staten Island, CSI is committed to serving the rich diversity of our community and city.”

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition that a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award are chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

CSI’s Emerging Leaders Program earned the College high ranks, especially the student participation in the New York City Department of Homeless Services’ Project HOPE survey. The HOPE survey is conducted annually in January of each year to produce an accurate estimate of the total number of unsheltered individuals on the streets and in the subway system.

CSI students also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to help build the interiors of several housing units for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. Habitat is known throughout the world for its unique building model, in which volunteers work alongside the families who will own the completed homes. In this exciting project, CSI students partnered with members of other colleges in the NYC area as well as community volunteers during a holiday break. As the first large-scale building undertaken by Habitat, this project will house 41 families in need — double the number of homes they produce in a typical year. CSI has started conversations with executives at Habitat to be their official college partner when they enter the Staten Island housing market in early 2009.

“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. “We salute the College of Staten Island for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”

Overall, the Corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 635 schools were recognized. A full list is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

“I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day – as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others,” said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad.

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service-learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the Corporation’s Volunteering in America 2007 study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by college students in the U.S. The Corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations. For more information, go to www.nationalservice.gov.

College of Staten Island students volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to help New Yorkers in need.

CSI/CUNY Named a "Traffic Buster" in the New York Metropolitan Region

The annual Regional Commuter Choice Awards program recognized the College of Staten Island’s regional leadership in traffic and transportation issues by awarding the College a 2008 Regional Commuter Choice Innovator Award and the prestigious Leadership Award during their annual ceremony on June 27 in the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan.

CSI “has been selected as a recipient… for offering commuter benefits options that provide employees with alternatives to the high price of gas, enhance the community, reduce traffic congestion and improve the air we breathe,” wrote Joel Ettinger, executive director of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Council and John Galgano, president of CommuterLink, Inc.

“CSI is involved in improving transportation in the Southern Corridor of New York State in many ways,” commented Jonathan Peters, an associate professor of finance at CSI and a noted regional expert in transportation issues. “As a major employer and trip destination in the region, CSI is actively involved in identifying and providing effective mass transit alternatives to allow students and staff to travel without the use of private automobile. The College is also a center of transportation research that has both theoretical as well as applied uses in the community, and we are engaged in ongoing outreach efforts with community groups, public agencies, and political leaders to provide technology transfer of the best practices in transportation systems and urban planning to the community.”

These significant contributions to reducing traffic and congestion at a regional level as well as the College’s significant progress in reducing its dependency on private automobile travel, helped earn them this top award.

“Our work on regional traffic modeling, as well as our work on regional planning through the Center for the Study of Staten Island, was seen as significant contributions to the region and the economy,” Peters added.

CSI’s new Ferry Shuttle service, which provides a direct link between the Willowbrook campus and the St. George Ferry Terminal, as well as the S-93 express bus that connect the campus with Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, were also noted as key initiatives of direct importance.

“Receiving this distinguished award would not be possible without the hard work and dedicated vision of our faculty and staff,” commented CSI President Tomás Morales. “And we are proud of Jon Peters and Interim Provost Mike Kress for helping make this extraordinary achievement possible.”

STATEN ISLAND BACKGROUND

Staten Islanders currently face the worst commute in the nation. With an average journey to work of 41.3 Minutes (statistically tied with Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Prince William County, VA), an average mass transit commute of 68.6 minutes – the longest in New York City, and the highest percentage of extreme commuters – 11.8% (90+ minutes each way) in the nation, Staten Islanders suffer extensively during their daily commuting.

The College of Staten Island, based upon its strategic plan for 2000-2006, set out in 2000 to create a center of study for the social problems facing Staten Island. The Center for the Study of Staten Island was established in 2002 for this purpose. High on the priority list of problems was transportation and in 2004 the Center held its first conference: Transportation on Staten Island. Out of that conference came a call from local business leaders to study transportation issues in greater detail. Based upon this significant need, a research study was funded through the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. This report has helped focus the community and political support for transportation improvements on Staten Island and has provided some of the core issues of the Mayor’s Staten Island Transportation Task Force.

With the largest campus in New York City (204 acres), the College continues to work to provide innovations in transportation systems to create better on- and off-campus mobility. Current plans call for strategic partnerships with GoLoco to provide car sharing alternatives, reconfiguration of the on-campus shuttle bus system, improved linkages to New York City Transit Bus routes, and identification of student home locations for transit route planning.

CSI TRANSPORATION INITIATIVES OVERVIEW:

S-93 Bus: The College of Staten Island launched limited stop service between Brooklyn and CSI in 2004. Current average daily ridership on the limited service line is currently over 1,300 people. Usage grew by 58% in 2007 versus 2006.

CSI Ferry Shuttle: In spring 2008, CSI President Tomás Morales instituted a pilot direct Staten Island Ferry shuttle for College of Staten Island students and staff. This shuttle is able to reduce travel time for students from about 45 minutes on the S-62 to about 25 minutes on the shuttle. Ridership was about 15,000 riders for the one-month (about 700 riders per day) pilot ending March 28, 2008. The Shuttle enters full-time service for the fall 2008 semester

S-89 Bus: The College of Staten Island through the CSI – Staten Island Project provided extensive analysis and also support to community groups and political leaders as to the value of the S-89 route to the Hudson Bergen Light Rail. Successful establishment of this route has allowed over 800 people per day to utilize this limited service line. Current ridership on the route is reported to include 20% outbound ridership from New Jersey to Staten Island in the morning.

GEM Cars: The College of Staten Island operates a fleet of 25 electric Daimler-Chrysler GEM cars on campus to provided enhanced mobility for staff members. This fleet currently provides 92% of the electric vehicle miles provided by the New York Power Authority in Richmond County.

CSI REGIONAL EFFORTS:

Toll Plaza Flow Modeling: Acting Provost Michael Kress and Associate Professor Jonathan Peters have developed a number of traffic flow models to evaluate the flow characteristics of the regional toll bridges and roads. Models developed to date include the Outerbridge Crossing, The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and the Raritan Toll Plaza on the Garden State Parkway. Using the Transmodeler and the GPSS Simulators, they are able to estimate the flow conditions, congestion, and air pollution caused by toll plaza performance. Results of these models have been requested by the Borough President of Staten Island and state/city elected officials.

Transit Route Identification: The College, through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, has been a leader in the identification and analysis of transportation-ready and transit-oriented development sites on Staten Island. Jonathan Peters, Alan Benimoff, Michael Kress, and Nora Santiago of the CSI GIS Group have analyzed the potential location of light rail stations on the West Shore of Staten Island and Bus Rapid Transit routes on the North Shore and Central Core of Staten Island. In addition, the team has identified possible sites for additional stations on the Staten Island Rapid Transit and sites for transit-oriented development in the community.

Participation in Studies and Projects: The College serves as a community resource, and members of the faculty serve on numerous transportation community panels. For example, CSI staff members serve as resources for the following studies:

SIEDC Comprehensive Development Strategy: SI Economic Development Corporation
Staten Island 2020 Study: Center for an Urban Future
Staten Island Social Capital Survey: The College of Staten Island
Staten Island Transportation Survey: The College of Staten Island
New Jersey Road Monetization Analysis: New Jersey State Assembly
New York City Congestion Pricing Zone: Comparisons to London: National Academies of Science — Transportation Research Board
Staten Island Housing Study: New York State Assembly
Population Estimates Challenges: New York City Planning
West Shore Study: New York City Planning

CUNY High-Performance Computational Center (CUNY-HPC): The College of Staten Island is home to the CUNY HPC and is developing a suite of modeling techniques that will be applied to regional development and transportation modeling. In particular, Jonathan Peters, through the University Transportation Research Center — Region II is working on a study of economic competitiveness for the State of New York Department of Transportation. One goal of the study is to identify the ability of the transportation system to serve the economic needs of the community. As such, we are working to develop a comprehensive set of metrics of system performance that can be measured in close to real time for the transportation system.