At its meeting on July 6, the Board of Selectmen unanimously signed a resolution presented by Peg Koellmer, president of Wilton Go Green, that “supports the adoption of a strong anti-idling policy by government agencies, schools, businesses and other organizations.”
The board’s approval was an official recognition of a pre-existing Connecticut statute, Section 22a-174-18, that prohibits vehicles from idling for periods longer than three minutes.
Because the state can only enforce the law on school buses, several nearby municipalities have attempted to reduce idling by educating other drivers on the road.
Ridgefield, for example, has put up signs; the first selectman signed a pledge, and the town has implemented an awareness campaign.
Wilton will now join Ridgefield, Norwalk, Norwich, Bethlehem and Stamford in their efforts to reduce idling and spread awareness.
Eve Silverman, board member with Wilton Go Green, is heading the campaign.
“Some of the research,” said Silverman, “is now showing that as many as a third of Connecticut children have some form of asthma or respiratory illness.
“The toxic pollutants that come from our vehicles idling, particularly in school zones, no doubt are contributors to that.”
She said most idling takes place at schools in the various pick-up lines, but she has seen it all over town.
“You see it everywhere: people leaving their cars on to run into a pharmacy and pick up a prescription, or dashing into the supermarket to buy one item,” Silverman said.
According to Silverman, anti-idling in Wilton has beginnings that date back 10 years, to a Cider Mill School third-grade project started by her son, Alex Scaperotta, another board member on Wilton Go Green and rising senior at Wilton High School.
For his project, Scaperotta created “Little People, Big Changes” (LPBC) with the help of a classmate. LPBC is now an ongoing organization for green initiatives that began as an anti-idling awareness campaign.
Their slogan was, “If you’re stopped for more than 10 (seconds), turn it off and on again!”