Active Transportation Month promotes alternative commuting

Bike tune-ups, breakfast, scavenger hunts among activities in March and April

​Car Free Month has a new name, but the same goal – to motivate Washington University in St. Louis students, faculty and staff to try new ways to get around town. Now called Active Transportation Month, the annual event features bike tune-ups on both the Danforth and Medical campuses, a breakfast for bikers and a Metro Scavenger Hunt.

Activities kick off Tuesday, March 24, when Big Shark Bicycle Company begins free bike tune-ups from 11 a.m.-3 p.m on the north side of the Danforth University Center on the Danforth Campus. Tune-ups will take place on the Medical Campus March 31 and April 23, and again on the Danforth Campus April 2.

Teams of employees and students also may register for the Active Transportation Challenge, which runs April 1-30. All participants will be eligible for prizes such as iTunes gift cards, umbrellas and water bottles.
A complete schedule of activities can be found on the Active Transportation Month Facebook page.

Andrew Heaslet, alternative transportation coordinator, concedes the name “Active Transportation Month” lacks the linguistic zip of “Car Free Month.” But it is more precise.

“Car-free sounds like a punishment to a lot of people,” Heaslet said. “We know not everyone can leave their car at home, but is there a way you can step up your commitment to a better environment?

“Maybe a daily driver can try public transportation or carpooling once or twice a week,” he said. “And if you already take the bus to campus, think about using public transportation to run your errands.”

Washington University is a recognized regional leader for multiple alternative transportation programs. Fewer cars means better air quality and less congestion for St. Louis and a healthier hearts and fatter pocketbooks for participants.

“What we hear over and over is that people are surprised by the benefits of taking alternative transportation,” Heaslet said. “They really enjoy that time riding their bike or or relaxing on the bus.”