Week 4: What to do with my $324.03

Miles driven alone this week: 185
Weight lost this week: 2lb

Total miles driven alone: 458
Total weigh loss: 3lb

OK, I’ve found a trend here.  If I need to travel anywhere within a five mile radius of the State Capitol, are car is completely unnecessary.  There are caveats: this statement is true but a real pain to execute on Weekends and after 9:30 at night and to make it all come together you have to be familiar with three bus systems: CAT, Triangle Transit and NCSU Wolfline…once you get a knack for how to navigate those systems, you’re golden.

Here’s how I do it: crosstown or to and from downtown from my neighborhood (Westover/Fairgrounds) to downtown: Triangle Transit.  Getting to  and around Hillsborough street/ NCSU campus: Wolfline.  Getting from Downtown to pretty much anywhere else in Raleigh: CAT.  Although after you hit about 5 miles outside of downtown on CAT the convenience of the city bus goes down and the hassle in wait times sky rockets.  The city of Raleigh has a combined CAT Triangle Transit map here: CAT System Wide Map (PDF) Wolfline has a great locate a bus service here: http://ncsu.transloc.com/

So my miles this week came from a meeting in Greenville.  No way around it, travel to Eastern Carolina and west of High Point (and north and south of I-85 for that matter) is just impossible without a car.  Of course there’s the bus, but the time commitment for that makes no sense.  I’ve heard talks of extending Amtrak to Wilimington through Goldsboro, but we’ll see how that goes!

Finally, my $324.03!  Triangle Transit has a great calculator on savings for different modes of transportation.  $324.03 over the course of a year is what I save from riding my bike just two days a week instead of taking our Civic around town.  Great savings that does add up and gives me a reason to commit to riding nearly everyday…That could potentially save around $800 a year!   They also give you a rundown for savings in carpool, vanpool and busing it to work.  See where you stack up: http://www.gotriangle.org/go-info/commute-savings-calculator/

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Week Three: Fighting a cold and going to the end of the earth

Miles driven alone this week: 33 (thanks Briar Creek)
Weight lost this week: 0lb (thanks cold and going out drinking)

Total miles driven alone: 273
Total weigh loss: 1lb

So we’re in the process of swim lessons for our little one, every Saturday at 10 am. As I approach the seventh day a of a pretty nasty chest cold, I thought that pulling the bike trailer for 3.5 miles would be a stretch, so I looked at the bus schedule. While the bus went where I needed to go, it only did so an hour before or a half hour after I needed to be at the Y. Luckily we caught a ride with mom who needed to go to the grocery. However, I can only imagine the incredible inconvenience that folks who don’t have the choices I do and need to get around on Saturdays must go through.

Moving on, everything else this week was normal. Bike to and from work every day except Tuesday. I had dropped off our game system to be repaired while out at Briar Creek. I figured I’d just hit the bus during lunch one day to pick it up.

Well, that didn’t turn out to be true. The bus only runs in the mornings and afternoons as an express. There is no actual way to get from Downtown where I work to Briar Creek during the middle of the day. So I had to drive. Oh, and Tuesday was international car free day. Good grief!

Oh well, rain in the forecast for a couple of days this week, as well as travel for work three days. Let’s see what I can figure out!

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Transit Try-Athon is Coming!

Be sure to check out Transit Try-Athon!  http://www.gotriangle.org/go-info/try-transit  tons of prizes and incentives to get out of your car!

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Week One and Two: Needs Improvement

Miles driven in a car alone: 240
Weight loss: 1lb

Total miles driven in a car lone: 240
Total Weight loss: 1lb

OK, so the numbers don’t speak so well for me. I had two work events that took me 240 miles in a car alone. Here’s the kicker, I could have totally avoided it.

First, a trip to Wallace for a work dinner was 180 miles round trip. What should happen when I step out of the car: two co-workers enter the building. Granted they work in Greensboro so I didn’t know they were coming, but I could have sent out a work wide email to see who else was attending. Of course their first comment was: “We could have picked you up!”

Second was just laziness. I had an event in Durham that would have taken two hours total transit time…it involved two bus changes from my office. Taken into account traffic, I drove for an hour and a half. So for fifteen minutes more each way I could have left the car at home.

However, there was progress. I rode my bike to work everyday, except for Monday, a cold put me in bed all day. Tuesday I threw my bike on the bus because I’m still a little under the weather, and I’ll probably do the same tomorrow.

Outside of that, I took two bike trips to the grocery and I found reasons/excuses to not run other errands. I combined errands on the days I did drive…Now I just have to figure out how to transport my dry-cleaning on a bike!

Until next week.

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Going Without

Raleigh is a great place to live and work and it’s attractiveness for jobs, education, affordability and amenities keeps the Raleigh area growing. As a near life-long resident of the Triangle I, along with many other North Carolina natives, have seen the tremendous and great changes that have happened over the past few decades to our area.

One issue however has been that growth has drastically outgrown the pace of infrastructure development, especially when it comes to getting around. We now find ourselves in a burgeoning world-class city, one that boasts the highest concentration of PHd’s in the US, yet for all those smarties to get around, most get in their car and sit in traffic.

The Triangle’s traffic problem is worsening and transit options are limited. I hope that this site will help document some of the trial’s and triumphs of trying to go without driving or driving alone for a year in North Carolina’s Capital City.

Ground rules:

Being that I am a father to an 18 month old, life is quite unpredictable. Couple that with a job that requires travel, I’ll have to get creative and have some caveats in my methods.

First – Daily trips to work will be in one of several methods. I hope to primarily get to work by bike, my most favorite mode of transportation. Beyond that I will deploy the uses of the bus system or carpooling.

Second – If work requires that I travel I will explore/exhaust all alternative options to driving alone. First, is there a tele-commuting alternative…web meetings/phone. Then I’ll ask myself Does the train go to my destination? Does its schedule match mine? Is another co-worker going? Can we carpool? If those options: necessity/train/carpool are exhausted then I will drive alone and document the reasons that put me in a car alone.

Third – While this experiment is intended to document giving up a car, there will be times where driving is necessary. I’ll apply my personal travel with the same constraints as work: necessity/train/carpool restrictions in full effect.

Documentation and goals

I plan to document my actions week by week, most likely on Wednesdays. I plan to record travel costs (either costs incurred or saved), weight fluctuation (I have a theory that this may be a great weight loss plan) and miles traveled and mode.

My ultimate goal is to create a lifestyle that shows others around me that driving alone (or driving at all) is not our only option. Many folks, I feel, are aching to break out of their cars. I hope to document how that can happen.

We’ll see!

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