Step away from the keys

A sentence I hear a lot around downtown is that Winnipeg is a city of drivers – that we don’t like to take public transit, or bike to work. And the people saying this probably have a point – I don’t know exactly how we stack up against other cities, but lots of us still get to work by driving, and driving solo.

But most people who say this also seem a little bit disappointed that we don’t jump on alternative transportation all that much. And I think it’s kind of a shame too – I don’t think anything stresses me out more than sitting in traffic for 20 minutes to get to work. By the time I get there, I’m already frazzled, and my workday hasn’t even begun.

So I’m doing the Commuter Challenge again this year, starting tomorrow! If you haven’t heard about it yet, here’s the rundown: for one week, there’s a challenge to try getting to work in some way that DOESN’T include driving there by ourselves. You can walk, cycle, unicycle (no kidding, I saw one of these last year!), take the bus, use a car share – even telecommute if your office lets you! (that’s one of my favourite options – when else do you get extra credit for working in your PJs? 😀 ) Workplaces sign up and keep tallies for their employees, or you can post what you did individually online here and results get tracked – and you catch watch the totals for your whole city.

If enough Winnipeggers take part, I’d like to see if we can actually notice a difference around downtown’s streets. I was pretty amazed when I saw how many workplaces in Manitoba signed up for the Challenge last year – 628! To put that in perspective, that’s more participating workplaces than Ontario and BC(!) combined! If enough of us from all those Winnipeg workplaces put down the keys, I’m betting we’ll be able to notice a difference. I’m going to track things very unscientifically myself.

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