Cheaper, Faster, Greener Commutes on Tap in Suite 400

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Pruning stop and go bumper to bumper line ups on I-287 in New York will take time, but the ASC team stepped up to help make those commutes cheaper, faster, easier—and greener—for small business tenants and their employees in downtown White Plains this week.

While State transportation officials announced plans for two meetings in October to improve reliability and travel times along the heavily traveled I-287 corridor, the ASC conference room buzzed with talk of tax benefits, buses, biking, and carpooling. ASC invited 511NY Rideshare and the Westchester County Department of Transportation to share greener travel alternatives with employees of small businesses located at the ArtsWestchester office building.

This week ASC walked its own talk, moving its communications work on programs and campaigns that help lower emissions, reduce gridlock, and improve air quality right into the ASC conference room to offer employees new, alternative ways to travel.

To take a line from an ASC campaign for the Federal Highway Administration, It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air!

Want to know more? 511NYRideshare.org, transportation.westchestergov.com/programs-and-services

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The “Can Do” Intern

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In late April, Shaquana Chaneyfield walked into my office, next in a line of applicants for a summer internship. Shaquana was unlike the others-their college resumes near bursting with rosters of leadership in clubs, social activism and travel abroad. They were all deserving, but Shaquana swept them aside in an interview I was sad to see end. She had a smile that lit up the room, enthusiasm that could not be contained, and a curiosity that was boundless and unapologetic. I could tell her life was neither simple nor easy, but I never heard much about that from Shaquana. She asked about everything—about how we do things, what’s important to us as a team, and what we need from the ideal intern. And “why” and “how” seemed to be favorite words. By the end, she knew more about my little company than had any applicant—for any job—before her.

Shaquana arrived at ASC with sleeves rolled up, curiosity amped and a can-do attitude that is indefatigable. We watched her take on task after task, researching nuances of each assignment to make sure what she delivered was more than what was asked. Whether it was a mailing list, helping at an event, or rethinking a media management system, Shaquana’s answer was always, “Sure, I can do that.”

Shaquana will start a fall internship soon, and we couldn’t be more proud. We sent her off today with her hopes and dreams tucked into a Kate Spade bag for her big entrance.

We expect every ASC intern will leave with more skill, more knowledge, and more understanding than when they arrived. The surprise is always in what they leave with us. Thanks, Shaquana.

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Summer Travel Tips: Work Zone Safety

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Across the country it is construction season, and this month, as schools close for summer break more drivers, especially younger ones, will be on the road during the day. In our home state of New York, bridge and highway projects are now in full swing. ASC’s transportation infrastructure clients, for example, are currently rehabilitating or reconstructing 12 bridges across Westchester, Rockland and Ulster counties, and working on Interstate 84 in Connecticut, among others.

More than 7 million people are employed in transportation construction across the country. Unfortunately, about 20,000 of those workers will be injured each year in collisions—but the good news is, those injuries are preventable.

As communications specialists, proudly working with the US Department of Transportation, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Departments of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, among many other transportation-focused agencies, we advance important messages about safety that reach the public in a clear, concise manner.

Work zones can change by the minute, so staying focused on driving is essential. Be part of the safety message by following these simple tips, and sharing them with friends and co-workers. When you approach a work zone:

Slow down: Look for reduced speed limits in active work zones and keep to those limits—speeding contributes to 29% of the fatal crashes in work zones

Pay attention: Keep your eyes on the road and watch for signs, cones, barriers and flaggers

Stay off your phone: Distracted driving helped cause 16% of fatal crashes in work zones

Driving safely in a work zone means you, other drivers and the construction crews get home safely. And that’s a message we can all get behind!

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Ready to Roll: 5 Tips to Prepare for Bike to Work Day

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Friday, May 20, is Bike to Work Day. It is a chance to showcase the many benefits of cycling—and encourage more folks to give biking a try. The annual event, celebrated coast to coast, has become a soapbox for increased interest in cycling. In the metropolitan Washington region, participation in Bike to Work Day has increased every year since its inception, beginning with only a few hundred registrants and swelling to more than 17,500 in 2015.

Celebrated in May each year, the event supports cycling as a healthy commuting option that saves money, reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality. Here are tips to help you prepare and make the most of Bike to Work Day in your area:

1) Get involved.

More than half of the largest US cities host Bike to Work Day events. It’s a once-a-year opportunity to measure the level of ridership in the region, data that can be used throughout the year to advocate for better bicycling and bicycling infrastructure. So make sure you’re counted by registering for your local event. If there are no events in your community, promote your support for bike commuting by posting on social media using #BikeToWorkDay2016.

2) Plan your route.

Make sure you know the best way to get to work and how long it will take to get there. Google Maps‘ handy bicycling directions tool allows you to plug in your beginning and ending locations as well as any pit stops you might want to hit up on the way to work.

3) Check your bike.

Get your bike in tip-top shape before you take to the streets. Check air pressure, brakes, chains and cranks. An easy way to make sure your bike is in good working order is to do an ABC Quick Check.

4) Dress for success.

Wear what makes you comfortable and visible to traffic. If that’s not your business clothes, fold them into your backpack or bike rack and change before going to your desk. If rain’s in the forecast protect yourself with a rain jacket or poncho and clear-lens glasses to shield your eyes from heavy rain and help with visibility.

5) Ride with a buddy or join a convoy.

Biking to work can be intimidating for a novice. Ask a friend, neighbor or co-worker to ride together, or consider joining a convoy to ride in a larger group. That way you have someone to help navigate and enjoy the journey.

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Movers and Shapers of Transit Oriented Development

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Millennials: Are they taking over? A lot of urban planners hope so. Defined by the Pew Research Center as those born after 1980, ranging in age from 18 – 34, this approximately 75-million-strong demographic is renowned for being markedly different from previous generations in ways that are affecting the landscape of the country. One of those ways is where they choose to live, which is firmly tied to how they choose to move from place to place.

Increasingly, millennials are “voting with their feet” by living and working car-free in urban settings close to transit centers. This population trend is a groundswell of support for Transit Oriented Development (TOD)—a “smart growth” strategy that promotes compact, mixed-use environments near transit hubs where people enjoy easy access to jobs, services, parks and residences. At its best, TOD creates walkable, bikable, amenity-rich communities around multi-modal transportation centers in a planning strategy that packs a dynamic multiplier effect that is good for the planet, good for the economy—and really good for quality of life.

As the nation embraces the need for urban revitalization in cities across America, TOD is clearly top of mind at the federal level. Earlier this month, when the Federal Transit Administration announced that nine cities would receive technical assistance to encourage economic development around transportation centers, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “Helping local leaders leverage their transit investments to attract more affordable housing, commercial development and jobs is a critical priority for the Department.”

With several millennials working among us, ASC is proud to be helping our very own City of White Plains re-imagine its transit center as part of the Multimodal Transportation Center Redevelopment Project. The planning phase of the project is backed by a $1 million grant from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Program administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Working with design and engineering firm WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, ASC supports and facilitates Mayor Tom Roach’s Project Stakeholder Task Force with communications and outreach to solicit public input from a diverse population to help move the project from design to reality. It’s a critical first step in reshaping the future of a great city. It’s exciting, forward-thinking work—energizing and inspiring. It’s enough to make you feel young again!

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Got a plan to save the planet?

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We know that actions—big and small—can make a difference in the health of our environment. That’s why ASC has put in place in-house procedures to reduce waste, improve air quality and keep us thinking green:

By doing much of our work using online webinar and screen-sharing programs, we have dramatically reduced the amount of travel time to client locations—saving gas and reducing carbon emissions.

With the advent of digital technology and cell phones, printing is becoming a thing of the past. We have dramatically reduced the amount of ink and paper used over the past five years.

60% of ASC’s staff uses alternatives to driving to work, including public transit, walking and teleworking.

We recycle daily, and when we relocated last year to our new location in White Plains, NY, we donated to individuals and local charities countless items that were put to good re-use and thus did not end up in a landfill.

We are also proud of the work we do every day to support the success of our clients’ programs in reducing emissions that harm the environment. We’ve helped boost participation in Commuter Connections’ Bike to Work Day in metro DC to a record 17,500 in 2015. Our work with the Federal Highway Administration’s It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air national air quality awareness campaign increased community partners from 14 to more than 100. And for the New York State Department of Transportation’s Go Smart NYC alternative travel pilot program we secured dozens of sponsors, surpassing goals by 440%.

When you work for a company that cares about the environment as much as ASC, every day is Earth Day. Spread the word!

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Public Relations & Outreach Intern Wanted

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Arch Street Communications (ASC) has an immediate opportunity for a Public Relations & Outreach Intern in White Plains, NY, assisting busy Project Managers on public awareness campaigns and public engagement programs for federal, state and regional government agencies with a focus on transportation, energy, environment and safety. Join us – a team of great people that work and play well together!

DURATION: May 1-open

View our website to learn more about Arch Street Communications.

DESIRED SKILLS

The selected candidate will have editing, proofreading, organizational and research skills. Must be able to work independently and on a team, supporting Associate and Senior Project Managers. Candidate must have a solid command of Microsoft Office Suite and strong social media capabilities. Desire to learn and assist in event and workshop planning. Must be self-motivated, able to multitask and work under deadline pressure.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Responsibilities will include assigned projects working under the supervision of a Project Manager.

ARCH STREET COMMUNICATIONS

Arch Street Communications (ASC) has delivered strategic communications and public engagement support to Federal and State agencies since 1992. We’re the bold, nimble, women-owned small business discreetly supporting many successful strategic communications, public outreach, and public relations programs for government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. We seek out work that is meaningful: that changes, saves, and improves lives. We help clients communicate about issues that matter to Americans—transportation, safety, air quality, energy, and the environment. No matter how complicated a problem may appear, we search for the compelling “simple truth” solution to deliver important messages in plain language to achieve lasting understanding and advance calls to action. Giving back ASC is a socially responsible company—we reduce our impact on the environment through commuter benefits, including telework and staggered work hours, and give back to our community with pro-bono programs and volunteer days. We encourage our suppliers to engage in sustainable practices and join our commitment to environmental stewardship.

Send resumes to Linda-Ann Schmidt, Office Manager, at laschmidt@asc-pr.com.

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Web Design Intern Wanted

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Arch Street Communications (ASC) has an immediate opportunity for a Web Design Intern in White Plains, NY, to work under the supervision of the Creative Director on projects for federal, state and regional government agencies with a focus on transportation, energy, environment and safety.

Join a creative team of communicators who put customer service, quality design products, and innovative thinking at the top of the priority list. Bring your ideas, your skills, and your facility in design software, website development, and social media platforms. Working under the supervision of the Creative Director, you will have the unique opportunity to join the ASC think tank of customer solutions with Project Managers. We welcome your out-of-the box thinking and creativity.

View our website to learn more about Arch Street Communications.

DESIRED SKILLS
We are looking for someone who is:

– A creative thinker

– Solutions oriented

– Self-motivated, able to multitask and work independently under timeline pressure

– A supportive team member

– Committed to excellence and bringing your very best making you fiercely ambitious

– Able to learn and understand new technologies and software quickly and efficiently

You should have working knowledge in the following:

– UX and UI design principles

– CSS/HTML

– PHP

– JavaScript

– Photoshop and/or Sketch

– Adobe Creative Suite

– Typography for the web and print

– Responsive design

– Microsoft Office Suite (basic programs)

– Content management systems and a basic understanding of back-end technologies

– Prototyping tools (not a requirement, but a plus)

– Understanding of web accessibility (not a requirement, but a plus)

– Managing of web content

ARCH STREET COMMUNICATIONS

Arch Street Communications (ASC) has delivered strategic communications and public engagement support to Federal and State agencies since 1992. We’re the bold, nimble, women-owned small business discreetly supporting many successful strategic communications, public outreach, and public relations programs for government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. We seek out work that is meaningful: that changes, saves, and improves lives. We help clients communicate about issues that matter to Americans—transportation, safety, air quality, energy, and the environment. No matter how complicated a problem may appear, we search for the compelling “simple truth” solution to deliver important messages in plain language to achieve lasting understanding and advance calls to action. Giving back ASC is a socially responsible company—we reduce our impact on the environment through commuter benefits, including telework and staggered work hours, and give back to our community with pro-bono programs and volunteer days. We encourage our suppliers to engage in sustainable practices and join our commitment to environmental stewardship.

Send resumes to Linda-Ann Schmidt, Office Manager, at laschmidt@asc-pr.com.

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It’s easier to choose transit when your wheels are an app away

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I’m now a believer: There’s an app for everything. My epiphany came in the form of a little-known app called DropCar and since signing up three months ago, I’ve used my car fewer times than I have fingers, and having my car out of sight is also keeping it—and cars in general—out of mind. I find myself opting for public transit more and more often. Before DropCar, I would have been likely to use my car when I visit a client, navigating traffic in a new city and coughing an ever-increasing share of emissions into the air. No more.

So here’s how this brilliant business idea works—you download the app, choose monthly parking, and for one flat monthly fee have your own personal valet service up to 10 times at your beck and call. DropCar sends someone to pick up your car—wherever you are in NYC, and whenever you want—and that’s about it. They park it somewhere safe and store it until you want your car back. Now get this—not only do they always arrive on time, but they send you a text when they’re a few minutes away with the name and photo of the driver, and if you need the car parked for a short time nearby, they’ll do that, too.

DropCar was probably developed to compete against costly in-city garages, but the unintended consequence is real behavior change. For now, I’m going car-lite over car-less, but each day I don’t use my car I become less reliant on my wheels, so much so that I’m starting to think of joining all those millennials out there and jumping on the car-free bandwagon.

Part of our work at Arch Street Communications is helping public agencies and private companies advance programs that help reduce emissions to improve air quality, and one thing we know for certain: it’s not easy to get people to change the way they feel or act about certain things, like our love affair with our cars.

New ideas, like DropCar, challenge the status quo. The target market for a service like DropCar is clearly city-dwellers in transit-blessed locations. But air quality programs across the country can gain much from DropCar’s success in helping the market see a new behavior as having a higher value than their current one. It may just be the ideal air quality marketing equation: a system that allows you to store, not give up, your car, letting the customer hang onto that four-wheeled lifeline as they learn to swap driving alone for new behaviors that hand over rich rewards, like cleaner air and a healthier lifestyle.

Anyone looking for a good used car?

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The Shamrock Effect: 3 Ways to Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patrick’s Day is a grand occasion, and one of my personal favorites. It’s a day when everyone in America can adopt the Irish heritage. Of course green is the signature color for a holiday that celebrates the Emerald Isle, so thinking green for the day makes even more sense! With March 17th around the corner, here are some tips to help you live a little greener on St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the rest of the year.

Go Green by Saving Blue

It may rain a lot in Ireland, but that’s not so elsewhere, and whether inspired by a water shortage or a soaring water bill, saving water does a lot o’good. Fortunately, there are plenty of quick and easy ways to cut back on water:

– Install a low flow shower head (prices start around $13) and stem the tide of water waste.

– Fill the sink and turn off the faucet—and if you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher, wait till it’s full to run it—both the environment and your bank account will thank you.

– This may shamrock your world, but if you’re using a conventional toilet, you’re probably flushing 12,500 gallons of water per year! Retrofit and save the blue with these easy steps.

Help Your Car—and the Air

Ring in the spring with a once-over on your wheels.  Not only can regular maintenance and tune-ups such as changing the oil and checking tire inflation improve gas mileage and reduce traffic congestion caused by preventable breakdowns—they can cut your car’s emissions in half! If you recall our blog from November, AAA is an excellent resource for seasonal maintenance tips.

Choose a Different Kind of Greenhouse

If you crave corned beef & cabbage, soda bread and a pint next Thursday, buy local or regionally-produced goods for your St. Pat’s spread. You’ll be supporting the local economy and enjoying the freshest products—but you’ll also help reduce the need for long-distance food distribution that now accounts for up 17 times more greenhouse gas than local or regionally produced food.

Going green does not have to be as challenging as finding gold at the end of a rainbow, a few small tweaks and you are well on your way to a healthy, cleaner lifestyle – Sláinte!

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