Not to mention, much cheaper. With gas prices approaching $4 a gallon – here’s our top five suggestions for easing the pain at the pump.
1. Bike to Work
Biking as a transportation option—to get to work or to run errands—is low-tech, fun, healthy and easy on the environment. Check out the Minnesota Bike Commuter blog for some local inspiration and the Zen Habits blog for some attitude adjustment.
Walking to work is even simpler than biking. It’s a fabulous, no-tech way to stay healthy and save money on commuting costs. For the price of a decent pair of shoes, you can enjoy the natural beauty of this place that we love and reap numerous health benefits. It just takes a little planning to make it work for you.
Also, check out the Duluth Sidewalk Inventory the MIC will conduct during the summer of 2011, to improve the pedestrian environment around town.
Finally, check out the cool tools on the Walkscore.com website to map out your walking distance to restaurants, bars, parks, book stores, coffee shops and more. Figure out what really is within walking distance, hills included.
3. Get on the bus – for free.
Did you know the DTA began running its West Mainline express service again? During the I-35 construction season, people commuting into downtown from the West now have an opportunity to ride round-trip for free from now until October.
Check out this cool Google mapping application to find DTA routes and schedules for your destination.
4. Drive partway
If you’re driving in from a distance, try parking at one of the DTA’s Park and Ride lots and ride a bus to work from there. There are three Park and Ride locations in Duluth and one in Cloquet to ride via LCS Coaches. Parking is free and fares are reasonable.
5. Trip chain
Remember when you got your chores done all at once so you could go out and play? Trip chaining is the same idea. Here are some trip chaining facts to consider:
- Shopping and errands account for about 45% of all trips, according to the Census.
- Combining three separate short trips (such as to a bank, post office, and grocery store) into one trip every week could eliminate about 200 miles on your vehicle, and save you 10 hours and 10 gallons of gas every year.
- Eliminating five separate 1-mile trips reduces about the same amount of ozone-related pollution as eliminating one 15-mile trip.
This is because emissions are highest when a vehicle is started “cold.” Starting a 5-mile trip when the engine is cold generates about 17% more nitrogen oxides and 50% more volatile organic compounds than the same trip when the car is started warm.
So pick your best option, and try something besides driving. Tell us how it went!
Photo credit: MnBicycleCommuter