Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Park ‘N’ Bike sites are a hassle free way to get to work

It’s 7 a.m.

Gripping a coffee and some work folders in one hand, you struggle to unlock the car door with the other. Once inside, you start the engine and pull out onto your street. Within a couple blocks you’ve joined a line of traffic leaving your community.

A few kilometres later, the car ahead of you stops quickly, causing you to spill coffee on your newly pressed pants. After dabbing at the stain with a piece of Kleenex, you look up to find the gas light is on again and you think “already?”

Arriving downtown, you circle the block looking for parking. Once, twice, three times. Finally, you throw the car into park in the lot and fumble for your credit card to pay the meter. Gathering your folders, keys and coffee mug you scramble across the street to the office.

Like that reoccurring dream where you’re making a presentation in your underwear, mornings can be a nightmare. According to Transportation Planner Ron Schafer it doesn’t have to be this way.

To combat the terrible morning commute, The City encourages Calgarians to consider alternatives to driving to reduce traffic congestion and emissions.

“We’d like to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicle trips,” explains Schafer. “We promote all commuting alternatives that decrease the amount of traffic in the core.”

Cycling is one option. A 2006 cyclist survey showed that there are over 3,000 cyclists travelling to the core on a weekday morning. That's the equivalent to the number of vehicles that enter downtown via the Centre Street Bridge during the morning rush hour.

“Doubling that number could have a significant impact,” says Schafer.

The City’s Park ‘N’ Bike sites are a system of free parking lots located close to downtown along Calgary’s pathway system. They’re located 5 – 8 kilometres from downtown on a reasonably flat route – so you don’t need to be as fit as Lance Armstrong.

“We understand that some barriers to cycling to work may be the distance or the difficulty of the route, but the Park ‘N’ Bike sites are located close enough to downtown for a comfortable ride into the core,” says Schafer.

There are seven Park ‘N’ Bike sites in all different quadrants of the city, accessible via major roads. And now, planning your trip is easier than ever using the interactive Pathways and Bikeways map.

Cycling to work not only helps you bypass traffic, it also saves you from having to pay for parking while incorporating exercise into your daily commute. Whether you’re looking to make a lifestyle change, or just looking to change it up – The City’s Park ‘N’ Bike sites can help you get from A to B.

To plan your trip, or for more information, visit calgary.ca.

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