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Wrapping Up #CarlessMarch

March 30, 2015

My Final #CarlessMarch Thoughts

 

Photo of Eleanor "thinking" with text saying "Oh, Snap!"

If you’ve been following my journey during Carless March then you know it’s been a really interesting and challenging experience that will forever change the way I travel.

I could share a ton of thoughts from this month like how I kinda missed driving and that I’m developing thighs that could crush you from all the biking I’ve been doing. But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I have one takeaway that I think overshadows any other statements I can make.

A pros and cons list of reasons to use public transit instead of driving just isn’t going to cut it. 

Choosing public transit or environmentally sustainable methods of travel become something that make sense when you realize the larger implications of travel on where you live and the people who share that space and community with you. There has to be a bit of selflessness in your decision to go carless because, at the end of the day, it’s going to be a sacrifice.

It’s going to rain.

The bus is going to be late and you’re going to miss your connection.

Your sister is going to live somewhere that’s not accessible by public transit.

A stranger WILL sneeze on you.

The list goes on and on.

In most places, choosing public transit is something we have to dedicate ourselves to because we recognize its value on a larger scale than our own, little lives.

I hope you will.

Eleanor


And now for some fun (because, let’s face it, I can’t ever just be serious)

A video of a bike messenger who’s really gonna make you want to hit the streets

A way to make your commute pay off

Try this instead when you travel

A Locally Grown, Locally Owned… bus?

My ride

If you’re visual like me

Where to go if you’re super serious about it

A way to support better transportation

A killer app for anyone using transit

How you feel when you can finally climb that hill on your bike

Transit Thursday – When You Don’t Commute At All

March 19, 2015

Telework Week has been a great reason to discuss the pros & cons of alternative working styles and methods, but telework is something that’s discussed all the time in our offices.

GoTriangle is one of those great employers that encourages people to work from home if it suits them. I am one of those lucky employees. On Tuesdays and Fridays you can find me on my couch, in a coffee shop, and occasionally even a college library. (Shhh. Don’t rat me out!)

WHY I LOVE TELEWORKING AND THINK YOU MIGHT, TOO

Slow mornings:

When you don’t have to use mornings to get ready for the office you can replace that time with some pretty good stuff. Slow breakfasts, waking up with some loud music, yoga, 3o minutes of extra sleep,  or coffee with a friend. It’s time during the week that I can use to pump other joys into my day and makes me a feel a little more… me. (*Bonus: getting to dress however you want. HELLO sneakers and flannel.)

A picture of what I wear on telework days: flannel, jeans, and sneakers.

A Schedule Change-Up

I’m NOT a morning person so I have to work out after I leave the office. Sometimes this can be difficult. On telework days, I can go to the gym during lunch. It’s less busy, gives me a jolt of energy for my afternoon hours, and leaves my evenings (which are commute-free) open for fun things.

I Eat Better

When I can cook a big breakfast or make a super fresh salad without having to think about packing it up for the office I end up making better, tastier food choices.A big breakfast with bacon, eggs, fruit, yogurt, and coffee that I cooked on a telework day.

Fresh Extroversion Outlets

I am an EXTREME extrovert. (Sorry if you’re an introvert. I have no advice for you.) Lucky for me, some of my coworkers have also become great friends over the last 6 months and make the office really enjoyable. So while teleworking can be lonely for me, I offset the loneliness by working from a coffee shop when I’m feeling stir crazy. It gives me the sense of being around people while also giving me the ability to work distraction-free which is a huge benefit of teleworking. *Bonus: A coffee here or a lunch there is a great way to support local businesses.

An image of my laptop and coffee at Cocoa Cinnamon while looking onto Geer St.

Personalization

Is your office a boring space? Don’t feel bad. Mine is too. When I’m working at home I have to capitalize on developing a creatively stimulating environment that’s built JUST FOR ME. It’s amazing how little details can make your surroundings conducive to knocking it out of the park during your workday.

Check out my “Work Work Work” Pinterest board for some workspace inspiration.

 

Did we convince you to give teleworking a shot? Are you a pro at getting the most out of your telework days? Share your comments, photos, and stories in the comments!

#CarlessMarch – Week 2

March 18, 2015

If you read last week’s recap you already know that #CarlessMarch has been just as hard if not harder than I expected. I was surprised at how easily I handled long distances. Getting to my office or between cities in the Triangle was a breeze and I have really begun to enjoy those 20-30 minutes of downtime I have to catch up on things or just clear my head. The distances that have proved to be most challenging are those medium-length distances that are a little too far to walk but just aren’t convenient to reach via the bus.

I was surprised at how easily I handled long distances. Getting to my office or between cities in the Triangle was a breeze and I’ve really enjoyed those 20-30 minutes of downtime I have to catch up on things or just clear my head. The trips that have proved to be most challenging are those medium-length distances that are a little too far to walk but just aren’t convenient to reach via the bus.

My solution?

I bought a bike.

I ended up cheating a few times before it really hit me that this was the necessary piece for going carless successfully and painlessly (if you disregard how much pain my quads and glutes are in right now).

Picture of Eleanor in front of her new bike with the hashtag #CarlessMarch

Not only is this a great opportunity to show some love to local businesses but small, local bike shops are going to make this process as simple as possible. Folks in these shops know the area, the roads you’ll be traveling, and obstacles you may face. They’re also committed to getting people on bikes in their community which means you’re going to get way more help than at a huge store, online site, or someone on craigslist (which I’ve done but would only recommend if you have a decent amount of bicycle knowledge).

I chose to buy my Raleigh Rush Hour from Cycle Logic in downtown Raleigh. I’m familiar with the shop and knew they would get me set up on something awesome and within my budget. You can check out their website which lists all the new, sale, and used or antique bikes they have in stock before heading over to their eclectic shop.

I live in Durham so had to show some support here as well. I picked up some accessories at Bullseye Bicycle over on Morris and Chapel Hill Rd. I’d never set foot in the shop before but Rob was super helpful and even invited me to join their monthly casual ride.

The ride is going down next week on Thursday, March 27th! According to Rob, it’s not only a great way to meet people in the community but also to gain some road-riding confidence and learn best biking practices and routes. I, for one, can’t wait.

Route 105 Operator, Nate, stands in front of my bike on the bus' rack.

Once you get comfortable on your bike, pair it up with your bus route to really capitalize on some multimodal transportation. I put my bike on the Triangle Transit Route 105 out of Raleigh just minutes after purchasing it. I’d never used the rack before but my operator, Nate, hopped off and gave me the quick tutorial (after which he teased me for working for Triangle Transit and being such an amateur).

I can’t wait to see you on the road!

Share your biking and multimodal stories in the comments!

Eleanor

 

Two Link Tuesday – Telework Week Resources

March 17, 2015

It’s Telework Week and we couldn’t be more excited! Much of the staff here gets to enjoy the benefits of teleworking so talking about it for a week is easy for us.

In case that’s not the situation where you work, we wanted to give you some ammunition when approaching your boss with a request to telework.

Convincing the Man of the Benefits of Telework

From increased productivity to a higher level of job satisfaction, there’s a myriad of benefits for employers who allow their staff to telework, but the biggest incentive: money.

For example, the winter of 2014 saw huge storms hit a large part of the U.S. While many of us were buried underneath all of that snow, the employees who had the ability to telework did just that. They kept on working.

This article from Nextgov talks about the $32 million dollars saved during one of these four-day periods. The shocking part, that’s the amount saved by the federal government in D.C. alone. This doesn’t even include the private companies that face the same struggles during inclement weather.

We know. It’s shocking that this kind of benefit hasn’t turned teleworking into a standard as opposed to a perk.

 How to Get the Most Out of Your Recently Won Telework Days

Productivity during telework days is all about preparation. Make sure you have all the tools you need to get the job done and create an environment that sets you up for success.

Fast Company has a great article of tips on making your home office your dream office so you can impress the pants off your boss when you suddenly become a productivity machine.

What are your telework secrets? Tell us how you convinced your boss that you NEEDED telework days. Share in the comments!

Celebrating Telework Week

March 13, 2015

We’re celebrating Telework Week!

From March 16th to 20th we’ll be giving you our thoughts, tips, and takeaways from being an office full of telework-addicted folks.

If you have questions or want to share your telework stories make sure to post them in the comments and we’ll talk about them throughout the week.

Keep an eye out here, our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for a week of content dedicated to the art of telework.

We can’t wait to celebrate telework with you!

Have an awesome weekend and we’ll see you here on Monday!

5 Findings From Going Carless – Week 1

March 10, 2015

It’s been a little over a week since I committed to going carless for the month of March.

So, obviously, I thought it best to put these discoveries in a super digestible list for you. 

1. I’m a total CHEAT

I’ve never considered myself a cheater but I am now. I might as well be Coach (John Candy) in Cool Runnings, putting weights in my sled to win Olympic gold.

That’s right. It’s only been a week and I’ve already cheated during my #CarlessMarch challenge. Looking back, I don’t even remember why. It was probably due to a donut emergency or something equally idiotic.

It’s made me realize that having access to a car is definitely a luxury and choosing to go without is a sacrifice. But more importantly, this points us towards one of the biggest challenges facing public transit: people value their own convenience far and above the greater impact of their actions. Some people may choose to take public transit because of its benefits, but the rest are going to have to be convinced by having well-planned transit and-let’s be honest-some good ol’ public shaming of driving cars solo.

2. Sometimes transit is going to fit my life, my life has to fit transit

I live about half a mile from the Downtown Durham YMCA but I’ve started going to the gym on the American Tobacco Campus since beginning this challenge. Why, you ask?

The Downtown Durham YMCA is about a half mile walk from my house so I’ve started going to the ATC YMCA before I transfer from my TTA bus to my DATA bus at Durham Station. Before you start thinking of me as some gym rat… I’m switching because if I walked to the gym and back my workout would basically be complete so there’d be no point.

So far, this has been the first life change that I’ve made in order to fit around my transit schedule.

3. Getting between cities is shockingly easy

The Regional Transit Center bathed in sunlight

So I may be a little biased when talking about Triangle Transit but even still… this particular bus system makes it super easy to get between cities in the Triangle. I live and work in Durham but a lot of things in my social life take me into downtown Raleigh. My trip isn’t much longer than driving there, I’m not wasting gas, & it’s incredibly convenient.

4. Owning a bike seems imperative

One thing I’ve realized is how some distances are too long or not safe to walk but don’t make sense to get on a bus to manage. It seems like having a bike to get around town is imperative if I want to keep a good schedule and be able to get places quickly and safely.

It’s easier for me to get to downtown Raleigh using public transit than it is to get to some places just a few miles from my house.

(If you’re curious why this is then you should check out Jarrett Walker’s blog, Human Transit. Jarrett is one of the consultants working on the Wake County Transit Strategy. His work is an awesome resource for understanding the planning side of public transit.)

5. I got mad respectHan Solo Salutes

For anyone who chooses to or is dependent upon public transit for all of their travel, you’ve got all my respect. Just a week into my #CarlessMarch challenge and there are things I’m already finding to be a struggle. It’s a total shift in how I plan my day and what commitments I feel I can make.

 

Do you include a bike in your alternative commuting? If not, how do you manage those medium length distances? 

What changes have you had to make since choosing to commit to public transportation?

Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

-Eleanor

Thoughts on the Student Commute Challenge from this Year’s Winner

March 6, 2015

Congratulations, students! We were so impressed and excited with the miles that you logged during our Student Commute Challenge this year. Whether you walked, biked, carpooled, or took the bus we’re super proud!

This year’s challenge winner, Gregory Cooper, totally summed up our goals for this event in his testimonial. No matter how you choose to commute, we hope the benefits of choosing to leave your car at home are super clear.

Gregory Cooper

Winner | Student Commute Challenge

Photo of Gregory, the winner of the Student Commute Challenge.

I participated in the GoTriangle Student Commute Challenge because I believe in minimizing my Carbon Footprint. Leaving my car at home not only saves me on gas and parking but also helps me to lead a greener lifestyle and to keep myself in good physical shape.

My main method of commuting to class is generally to ride my bike from my off-campus house, or if conditions are bad, a shorter bike ride to east campus where I catch a campus bus to west campus. I have been using this mode of transportation ever since I started at the Nicholas School of the Environment in the fall. It has been fun to ride my bike in a variety of conditions like snow flurries and rain. Having the right gear makes this more enjoyable but the added challenge really makes me enjoy the commute.

Participating in the challenge helped me to realize just how far I have been commuting and how inefficient it would be to do the same trip driving. I would tell other students that there are many modes of alternative transportation to get to class, the campus bus service is excellent but biking and walking are also a really fun way to enjoy the city of Durham and meet a few people you may not have otherwise. Not to mention that it is a great way to get a quick workout into our increasingly busy schedules.

Thanks for your participation, Gregory! We can’t wait to see the miles you log next year and how your experience can encourage others on your campus to choose smart commuting habits. 

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