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Trains, Planes and Automobiles – What About Buses and Bikes?

Spokane Transit Authority

We all have to get to work somehow, but what options do we have? Well, there’s our own car, the bus, our bike, or we could hoof it if we work close enough to our homes. With an average commute time of 20 minutes, it’s easy to hop in our cars and drive. But do you really know about the other options?

First off, there’s the always reliable Spokane Transit Authority (STA). With 40 different routes and 151 buses (22 hybrid), chances are you’ll be able to catch a ride. Bring your $1.25 ($1.50 starting in January) and you’ve got yourself some wheels. Buses go to Cheney, Mead, Liberty Lake and Spokane Valley, so there’s no excuse for not having a ride.

You could also take advantage of Vanpool, STA’s 7- or 15-passengar vans. Think of it as carpooling with a few extra people.

Another option is to grab your bike and ride to work. 20 minute commutes mean maybe a 30 or 35 minute ride. Saves gas, it’s good exercise and you’re not muddying up our precious air. Convincing argument, no? Plus, it’s another way to help Spokane become greener – just look at the news of local businesses going green.

Anyway, Spokane has just recently added bike lanes on some of its downtown streets, making it easier for you to maneuver your Specialized. In fact, we’ve been named a Bike Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists for 2010.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “But it’s getting cold out. Why would I want to wait in the cold for the bus, or even ride in the morning chill?” Dress in layers. Wear gloves. Trust me – you’ll be rejuvenated and ready to start your work day.

Bike to Work Spokane
is a big advocate of, well, biking to work. This group hosts lots of events, and is a good source of information if you’re thinking of hopping on the saddle.

Barb Chamberlain, Co-Chair of the group, sends these considerations on biking to work:

“Think for a minute about how you feel during and after your daily commute in your car. Meditate for a minute on the way you grind your teeth at delays, tap your fingers on the steering wheel impatiently, try to remember where you parked your car when it’s time to leave. Don’t forget the part where you reach deep, deep into your wallet to pay for gas, tires, oil changes, insurance and every other cost of operating your vehicle (estimated at over $7000 per year by AAA—when gas was $2.30/gallon, and that’s for cars, not SUVs).”

Well said.

(Later in the day, Barb emailed to say, “Had an epiphany while riding home….do you describe your daily commute as “fun”? I do.”)

These alternatives to driving to work make Spokane great. I would love to see statistics on who drives and who doesn’t drive to work. So, if I may ask, how do you get to work each day?

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