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Car Free Day opens horizons

Mark Berman

Figuring out how to get around isn't an ideology. I always recommend that people figure out what method of going about works best for them, and then follow that course. I urge governments to provide people with choices.

So to me, Wednesday's Car Free Day is about raising consciousness concerning choice, not about pushing people out of their cars. So I hope people who usually drive will consider options that could save them money and stress. You don't have to take a sudden and lasting plunge into a completely different commuting style. But do think through the alternatives of transit, biking, walking or telecommuting -- even once in a while. As Nicholas Ramfos of the Commuter Connections program says, "Just try it."

Getting started
Figure out how much your commute is costing you. I stopped driving to The Post newsroom in downtown Washington when I figured out the cost of warehousing my car for nine hours each day. I could have used the advice offered by the Cost of Commuting calculator at, or Arlington County's Car Free Diet calculator.

Exploring options
Maybe you started your job five or 10 years ago. You checked out the commuting options then and settled on driving because you saw no alternative. There are some new options. And your frustration level with the drive may have increased to the point where it's worth trying your luck again with a long-standing alternative.

But where to begin? Think about bus routes -- not only Metrobus but also the suburban lines, which offer some pretty good services. Think about vanpools and carpools. Think about the exercise you could get using one of the new bike routes. Think about how technology and the enlightening of bosses have made it easier to telecommute.

There's a good list of links to get you started on this page of the Car Free Day Web site.

Car Free Day events
Maybe you want to get in the spirit of things by going Car Free or Car Lite on Wednesday. Check out this page of car-free activities and note that many of them are not limited to Wednesday events.

Commuter Connections
If you aren't finding the information you need, contact your bosses and get them working on it. Many employers in the Washington region have realized that they have a lot to gain by making it easier for their employees to get to work or to telecommute. The most powerful guide to your options and your employer's options is at Commuter Connections.

-- Robert Thomson

[This post has been republished from an earlier post]

By Robert Thomson  | September 22, 2010; 7:31 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Metro  | Tags:  dr. gridlock, metro  
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Next: Penn. Ave. NW reopens


Best bet is driving, pure and simple.

Posted by: charlotte7 | September 22, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

driving is neither pure nor simple

Posted by: jiji1 | September 22, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

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