Upper Arlington continues to undertake initiatives that enhance its reputation as an environmentally-conscious community, and organizers of the Labor Day Arts Festival have jumped on the "green" bandwagon.

Upper Arlington continues to undertake initiatives that enhance its reputation as an environmentally-conscious community, and organizers of the Labor Day Arts Festival have jumped on the "green" bandwagon.

Festival organizers have incorporated a number of green initiatives, in keeping with Upper Arlington being the first central Ohio community to participate this year in a free program offered through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission that measures the city government's carbon footprint.

This year, the Labor Day Arts Festival will feature Pedal Instead, a free valet bicycle parking service in the southeast area of Northam Park. The service is designed to encourage festival goers to ride their bicycles instead of driving to the event, said Emily Cable, arts coordinator with the city of Upper Arlington.

"We're encouraging visitors to bike," she said. "It's a wonderful neighborhood park."

The Pedal Instead service is on loan from Columbus Recreation and Parks as part of a larger program under Mayor Michael Coleman's Get Green Columbus initiative. Through Pedal Instead, Labor Day Arts Festival goers can park their bicycles free of charge in a fenced bike corral on bike racks managed by volunteers.

"It will encourage people to feel safe about riding their bikes to the park, and somebody's going to be monitoring their bikes," Cable said. "It will be under the watchful eyes of volunteers and they can feel great about not spending money or gas getting to the park and trying to find a place to park. We're hoping that people will take advantage of that option."

Another green initiative festival organizers have undertaken is an online submission process for artists, which saves paper that would normally be used for hundreds of printed submission forms, written correspondence and envelopes.

"We're definitely going more green because we've saved a lot of trees through the digital jurying process. We're communicating with artists by e-mail as well," Cable said. "That's saving a lot of postage."

The Labor Day Arts Festival's green initiatives are part of a growing community trend. Upper Arlington was one of the first municipalities to sign on to the Central Ohio Green Pact last year and the city is also working with a citizen organization called Cool UA that formed last year to encourage green initiatives.

For more information about Pedal Instead and other features of the Labor Day Arts Festival, call (614) 583-5310 or visit www.ua-ohio.net.

cbournea@thisweeknews.com