To the editor:
Once again I’ve talked with a receptionist who instructed me on coming to an office that I had not visited before. Again, as is almost always the case, I was given directions for driving and where to park my car. Why do so few of these helpful workers mention transit or bike options? I don’t think I’ve ever been told by office staff which bus will come to their location or where I might lock my bike. Why not? If you’re thinking “because almost everyone drives a car” then you’re being circular and perpetuating the status quo. The first step toward getting people out of their cars is raising awareness that there are options.
We should all be aware by now of the many benefits of lower-carbon transportation choices: Reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lower levels of air pollution, more exercise, and lower cost. I’ve been told “I don’t have the time to take the bus.” I concede that it often takes longer, but which is a more efficient use of time in getting to Coupeville: spend 35 minutes with your hands on the wheel, or spend 50 minutes reading, knitting, checking email, or chatting on your phone safely?
If your trip involves a ferry, remember that buses and bicycles don’t need to wait in line. When I was traveling to Providence Medical Center in Everett every day this winter, I found that even a one-boat wait made driving my car slower than riding my bike.
I encourage you to take the next step and replace an individual car trip now and then with a lower-carbon option, whether walking, public transit, bicycling or carpooling. If you have the occasion to give someone directions, explore how to get there without using a car, and offer that information. Maybe someone will be inspired to use it.