Are you ever stuck in traffic and wonder if there are other alternatives for your daily commute? Are you eagerly awaiting the opening of the Triangle Parkway at the end of this year?
While recent infrastructure improvements have made RTP more accessible to commuters and decreased commute times, as the region continues to grow and as development patterns evolve, regional leaders continue to look for ways to improve our transportation infrastructure.
Be part of the conversation on possible transit and extended bus route options by attending a public workshop this Thursday evening. Stop by the RTP HQ anytime between 4:00 – 7:00 PM on March 31 and learn about the Triangle Regional Transit Program. Representatives from the Program and the Triangle Transit Authority will be on hand to show the evaluation process, criteria, and plans to date and to solicit input from RTP employees and the public as the Program seeks to select a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) and compete for Federal Funding.
The Triangle Regional Transit Program is based upon work of the region’s two planning organizations. In 2009, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization MPO (CAMPO) and the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO (DCHC MPO) completed work on the 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan. The plan recommends a high-quality, regional transit system to serve the Triangle, promoting closer connections and providing more travel choices for our growing population. The vision includes increased bus service throughout the region, and rail transit service connecting Chapel Hill, Durham, the Research Triangle Park, Morrisville, Cary, Raleigh, Garner, Clayton and Wake Forest.
Visit the Program’s website at http://www.ourtransitfuture.com/ for materials that will provide background to Thursday’s workshop. For a map of the Durham-Wake corridor – the corridor that would directly impact RTP, click here. If you can’t make it to the session Thursday, you can still post comments on this form.
Want more ideas on how to make commuting easier? Take the SmartCommute Challenge. Try alternative commuting options between April 1 and June 1 and be entered to win prizes — and learn new commuting habits.
Kermit the Frog was wrong. It is easy being green.
And it’s popular.
Over a hundred people gathered Wednesday in Bay 7, American Tobacco Campus for The Golden Modes: 2010 Annual Triangle Commuter and SmartCommute Challenge Awards. The event, sponsored by GoTriangle.org and The Research Triangle Park, honored regional workers who found alternate means of transportation to and from work during the six weeks of the SmartCommute Challenge, April 15 – May 30. During the six weeks of the Challenge, 79 separate SmartCommute events were held throughout the Triangle.
The SmartCommute@rtp Challenge, held annually, helps raise awareness for environmental harm caused by traditional one-to-a-car commuting and encourages more in the Triangle area to start thinking of greener ways to get to work. Major alternatives include walking, cycling, ridesharing, telecommuting, or taking the bus.
The event was emceed by Shelly Epps, employer outreach coordinator for Wake County. Blackwell Street Management VP Michael Goodman gave the opening remarks.
“Twenty-five percent of all trips within US are less than one mile,” Epps said. Fifty percent are less than five miles. “It’s time to consider lacing up instead of buckling up.”
Half-way through handing out the trophies, a special “musical” guest took the stage. Randy “Dr. RJ” Johnson, a.k.a. Rappin’ Randy usurped the mic—dressed in a white lab coat, an Indiana Jones hat, and light-up glasses—and delivered a baller [sic] freestyle entitled “Vanpool Rap” about the bounties of the rideshare program:
The crowd of SmartCommuters
‘The rideshare program is where it’s at/
You’re saving lots of gas and we like it like that.
Riding in vans is a great way to get to work/
You don’t have to deal with traffic, or that road rage jerk.’
Finally, award-winning journalist, TV host, and author Chris Balish joined the fun live via Skype to give the keynote address: “How to Live Well Without Owning a Car”. Balish has survived in St. Louis and Los Angeles without a car for the last six years. He offered some sage advice on how to make your workplace more SmartCommute-friendly, including establishing rideshare bulletin boards, converting parking garage space into bike parking, and allowing employees to keep bikes at their desk or in their office. Balish said it’s not only advantageous to the employee, but also to the employer. Benefits to company owners include: healthier employees (less sick days), more productivity, less parking spaces used, more environmentally friendly workplace, and less traffic congestion.
The following is the list of awards and winners, in order of announcement:
1. The Wired Award (telecommuting) – The UNC-CH Faculty, Red Hat @NCSU’s Centennial Campus, IBM in RTP. Honorable Mention: Center for Self-Help in Durham.
2. The Golden Sneaker (pedestrians) – Fleet Feet in Chapel Hill, Reed Huegerich of the Town of Apex, Terry Rekeweg of Triangle Transit. Honorable Mention: Julia-Borbely-Brown, Center for Self Help.
3. The Golden Spoke (bicycling) – Bell Leadership Institute, Spencer Quick with Affiliated Computer Systems, REI of North Hills, Peter Schubert of US EPA, Margaret Schubert of CATO Research in RTP, Lanier Blum of Durham’s Center for Self Help. Honorable Mention: Ken Kaye, Steve Saltzman, Malcolm White, Norman Keul.
4. The Pool Party Award (ridesharing) – UNC Center for School Leadership Development, Pfizer in Sanford, Arne Johnson of SAS, Diglio Simoni of RTI, Ian Wilson of Burt’s Bees.
5. The Golden Bus (busing) – Chapel Hill Transit Operators, Bonnie Baurle of Capital Area Transit (CAT), Mansur Wilson of NCSU’s Wolfline, Annette Whitley of Cary Transit (C-Tran), Durham City Transit Company, Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA), Robin Hockaday of Triangle Transit.
6. The Golden Ticket (transit awareness) – Silverback Asset Management, Dr. Richard Bernhardt of NCSU, The Wake County Government, Rebecca Switzer with RTI, Deshawnda Worsley of AICPA. Honorable Mention: Liz Seaborn of Durham’s Center for Self-Help.
Grand prize winner checks
Grand Prize Winners ($1500 each) – Tara Hart of BASF, Cam Cao of IBM
– 2000-4999 Employees: RTI International (9% participation)
– 5000+ Employees: IBM (13% participation)
Thanks to all who participated in the 2010 SmartCommute Challenge. According to Balish, car and truck emissions are responsible for 70% of air pollution in North Carolina. Together, we can help preserve our planet and engage in healthier workweek lifestyles.
Newcomers to the region provided the feedback the tool was built around. People who move to the RTP region from an area with convenient mass-transit want to learn about how to get around the Triangle in an environmentally sustainable, cost effective way. This new map provides an opportunity to view the resources available. The page also features details such as landmarks and things to do around each transit stop featured in the map.
Check it out and let Triangle Transit know how helpful it is to your SmartCommute efforts in and around RTP.
North Carolina’s Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti and Deputy Director Sheila Holman from the Division of Air Quality of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental and Natural Resources will take the Challenge – the SmartCommute Challenge. During this year’s kick-off event “Curb Your Congestion” on April 15th at 9:00a.m., Secretary Conti and Deputy Director Holman will give remarks on the importance of using alternative modes of transit in relation to the growth of the Triangle, the state of transportation in the Triangle and how the SmartCommute Challenge is a great way change commuting habits and improve the Triangle’s air quality.
The 2010 SmartCommute Challenge, an annual non-profit public service campaign aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in the Triangle, encourages commuters who work or live in Durham, Orange or Wake counties to pledge to ride the bus, carpool, join a vanpool, telework, bike or walk to work at least once between April 15 and May 15.
“Events like the SmartCommute Challenge can increase the number of people on those buses, on bikes or in vanpools and take even more cars off the road,” says Secretary Conti.
AAA of the Carolinas recently reported that the cost of driving in North Carolina is on the rise. The average cost of driving a sedan is up to $9,098 from $8399 in 2008 which is an increase to 61 cents a mile. With the economy still recovering, Triangle residents can mitigate the price hike by finding different ways to commute. Choosing sustainable transportation can save a driver up to $25/day for a 40-mile commute to and from work.
This year’s kick-off event is a transportation and air quality press conference and fair featuring:
Alternate fuel vehicles displays provided by Triangle Alternate Fuel,
Triangle Transit bus display to demonstrate how to use the bike rack and riding the bus,
A chance to meet the Triangle’s air quality mascots, Clair and CAM, the Clean Air Maniac
Sponsor and partner organization display tables with information and give-aways.
“With gas prices at their highest in months, many commuters are still looking for ways to save in this economy,” said David King, general manager of Triangle Transit, a member of the GoTriangle family of services and partner of the SmartCommute Challenge. “The SmartCommute Challenge gives Triangle commuters a chance to look at how they currently get to work and assess where they can make environmentally-friendly and budget-friendly changes.”
“Curb Your Congestion” the SmartCommute Challenge and Air Quality Awareness kick-off will be April 15th at 9:00a.m. at the Research Triangle Park Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive inRTP.