It would seem that the town of Bristol offering free Wi-Fi access is a win-win for everyone (“Bristol soars into digital era with free Wi-Fi”, April 26). But there is a downside. This will allow people to gain access with their mobile devices and laptops while sitting in their parked vehicles, which on many occasions will be idling to run air-conditioning or heat.
What is the harm in vehicles idling excessively while parked? Exhaust emissions negatively impact the air we all breathe (idling emissions are significantly more toxic than traveling emissions), waste energy, contribute to climate change, and can cost individuals hundreds of dollars a year in fuel waste and engine wear.
The problem of Wi-Fi access and vehicle idling has already been demonstrated in Bristol since Wi-Fi has been offered by the Lawrence Memorial Library. Librarian director Nancy Wilson, observing idling vehicles around the library taking advantage of the access, had no-idling signs installed last summer which has lessened but not eliminated the problem.
Is growing Wi-Fi access in Bristol and other Vermont towns a step forward in allowing us to go online wherever we are? Or is it actually a step backward in encouraging the harm and waste of excessive vehicle idling?
Wayne Michaud is director of Idle-Free VT Inc.
To learn more, visit: idlefreevt.org
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