Tuesday, April 27, 2010


In my last post, I wrote about 30/30 in April.
In May, we have 31/31. At least, that is what I'm calling the Commuter Challenge, because there are 30 days in April, but 31 in May.
During the Commuter Challenge, the goal is to get to work by biking, bussing, carpooling, or walking.

The program is sponsored by the Chamber's Get Downtown program and their real interest is in freeing up parking downtown, which--as you know, if you read or the Ann Arbor Chronicle, is a HOT topic. And personally, I find the downtown aspect of the Commuter Challenge a little short-sighted. I don't work downtown, so if it were just about getting downtown, a Commuter Challenge would not have too much meaning for me. And in my daily life, if I'm not in the habit of hopping on my bicycle or walking, I am not going to make it a habit when I do occasionally go downtown. I mean, this should be about the environment, right? And not just about parking spaces.
So I'm hoping that in coming years, the program (which is sponsored by the DDA, hence the downtown focus) will really expand the way they think about this.
BUT--those of us who don't work downtown are still invited to participate.
AND--I'm really interested in the sustainable commute. Last year, I put 500 miles on my bicycle between May and November (that's when I had the bicycle odometer tracking my mileage), and this year my goal is 1000 miles.
AND--Sustainable commuting is all about getting from Point X to Point Y. I am thinking that if I get in the habit, it will be easier to keep up the habit.
AND--if you bicycle one way, and it turns out that the weather is crummy on the way home, you can put your bicycle on the bus! Find bus routes here.
Last year I wrote about the Commuter Challenge, and I noted that only two schools were signed up for the Commuter Challenge. (Those two? Pioneer and Clague.) This, despite the fact that most of the schools have easy access to bus routes--yes, Ypsilanti High School and Tappan Middle School, I'm talking to you. I personally know teachers who live walking distance to Slauson and Pioneer, and there is even limited bus service to Rudolph Steiner School!
If you don't work at a school? I'm talking to you too--you can sign up your own workplace.
OK, so enough said about that. There is one more thing that I should mention. Every person who logs at least one sustainable commute (One. Measly. Commute. And that includes carpooling.) gets a coupon for a Washtenaw Dairy ice cream cone. That alone makes it worth it for me. Plus there are other prizes too.
I hope you sign up today. 
Here is the link to the Commuter Challenge web site. If your school or workplace has not signed up yet, then you can sign up the building--just let your coworkers know, and then they can sign themselves up.
My goal this year: one bicycle commute each week, and a couple of carpools as well. And for me, that is 24 miles round trip. I'm hoping to continue that throughout the summer. I will let you know if I make it.

By the way, if you commute Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor, well--Bike Ypsi might be able to provide you some company. They have a festival coming up on May 2nd, and Mark Maynard interviews some of the organizers here.

P.S. Riding? Wear your bicycle helmet!

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