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SANDAG announces Diamond Award winners

A dozen organizations have been recognized by the San Diego Association of Governments' iCommute program, which promotes alternatives to driving vehicles or driving them alone.

According to SANDAG, the goal of the iCommute program is to reduce traffic congestion in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental pollutants that result from driving alone. On Friday, the regional association announced the winners of its iCommute Diamond Awards, dividing them into eight categories.

The All-Star Award was taken by the University of California, San Diego for estimated reduction in commute-related greenhouse gas emissions of 16,000 metric tons per year since 2001. A 1.5 million-rider-per-year shuttle system, premium parking for carpools and an online system for locating one of 7,000 offered bike racks are a few ways SANDAG reports UC San Diego achieved the reduction. Program excellence awards went to San Diego County Bike Coalition, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Recon Environmental Inc. and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

JO Communications took the prize for best new program, after making bicycle commuting part of its company culture. Other award winners included the Port of San Diego for agency leadership, Encinitas Union School District and the University of San Diego in the educational institutions category and the City Heights Community Development Corp. as the community champion. James Sinclair of Vertex Pharmaceuticals was named the individual workplace champion. Sigurd Kallhovde, who is reported to bike to work daily — inspiring students and parents at La Jolla Elementary School, was called Commuter of the Year with his 6,000 miles of biking logged in 2013.

Annual partners in the iCommute program include Pure Financial Advisors, Metropolitan Transit System, and the North County Transit District.

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