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Can idling cars be stopped by young citizens? Logan leaders hope so

car exhaustBy Matilyn Mortensen | Feb. 8, 2017

Logan city leaders and volunteers are working to improve air quality by educating residents about the effects of idling — and they’re starting by taking small steps with young allies.

“Early on we were looking for this silver bullet or this grand thing that’s going to improve our air quality,” said Paul Rogers, a community volunteer. “Well, it’s now become clear, I think to all parties, that it’s going to take a lot of little fixes to improve our air quality.”

One “fix” is the 2014 amendment to the Logan anti-idling ordinance. This made it illegal to idle a vehicle for longer than two minutes in temperatures above zero degrees — something that tends to happen a lot around schools as parents wait to pick up their children.

To combat this, Rogers is working with the Logan City School District, and alongside other volunteers, to put up signs informing drivers of the anti-idling ordinance.

Educational programs and materials will be available as well.

Ideally the anti-idling awareness will extend beyond parents driving children to and from school to other areas of the community, Rogers said.

“Immediately the impact is the school — clean up the air right outside the school,” Rogers said. “But there are sort of secondary spinoffs. One would hope that education goes home with the parents.”

Logan Councilman Herm Olsen is hoping children will help encourage their parents to think about the pollution caused by idling.

When school kids catch on “that cars running, running, burning, burning, exhausting, exhausting, day after day in the pick-up zones really will affect them,” Olsen said, “I think the kids then become the motivating factor to say, ‘Mom, if we’re going to be here five minutes, turn it off.’”

Ending idling in school parking lots may not change the air quality from a red day to a green day, Olsen acknowledged. However, he said this is one of many small changes that can add up to improving the air.

“If we start riding the buses more, and driving our cars less, that helps,” Olsen said. “If we carpool, that helps. If we handle five errands in one trip, instead of five separate trips, that helps. There just isn’t one thing.”