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Long Islanders Looking For Green Alternatives Going Car Free For A Day After Study Says Counties' Traffic Delays Could Double

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A new report says traffic on Long Island wastes billion of dollars and millions of hours every year.

But, there is something you can do about it, at least for one day, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.

They're jumping on a global bandwagon and ditching their cars for just one day.

"I'll be staying home... It's important to keep cars off the road," said Carol Battaglia, who works for Northwell Health Human Resources.

Employees of Northwell Health are going car free on Friday, joining a movement that encourages greener, cleaner options.

"I think we all need to really think every time we get in that vehicle. Is there a better way? Can I be more efficient?" said Paul Power. "Do I have to drive to that meeting?"

NASA satellite images showed the impact the coronavirus shutdown had on emissions, and how pollution levels dropped in the Northeast with fewer cars on the roads.

nasa satellite images air pollution
(credit: CBS2)

"Car Free Day is meant to take a pause and to think about how much of an impact the emissions from cars are having on the climate," said organizer Mindy Germain.

It has an impact on our time and wallets, too.

AAA's Robert Sinclair said even though many people are still telecommuting, traffic is back with a vengeance.

"We've seen vehicle sales go up. We've seen used vehicle sales go up and we've seen the use of mass transit, Long Island Railroad in particular, go down," Sinclair said.

The future of traffic on Long Island is not moving in the right direction. According to a study by "Trip," a national research non-profit, Long Islanders are stuck in traffic an average of 81 hours per year - costing each driver $1,684 in wasted time and fuel.

There are 93-million hours of delays annually across Nassau and Suffolk, with 41-million gallons of fuel wasted.

Rush hour delays will increase 57% in the next two decades with population growth, according to the study.

It concluded investments in infrastructure and alternatives are urgently needed.

READ THE STUDY: Keeping Long Island Mobile: Accomplishments and Challenges in Improving Accessibility on Long Island to Support Quality of Life and a Strong Economy

"Addressing these transportation challenges on Long Island are really going to be vital to maintaining the high quality of life on Long Island," said research director Rocky Moretti.

So, Long Islanders are going car free, and hoping others join them to drive home the point that everyone can make a difference.

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