Think outside the car challenge launched

riding bus during transit challenge

Riding the bus during last Spring’s transit challenge

The city has launched the Think Outside the Car Challenge to encourage Burlington residents to leave the car at home and choose active and alternative transportation. The challenge runs Sept. 15 – Oct. 30.

According to Vito Tolone, acting director of transportation at the City of Burlington, 90% of all trips within our city are made with an automobile.

To participate in the challenge:

  1. Ask a friend or family member to take a photo or video of you using alternative transportation when you would have normally taken your vehicle. Share on social media using #ThinkOutsidetheCar.
  2. Challenge three friends, family members or co-workers to choose alternative transportation instead of using their vehicle.
  3. Be part of the change.

To learn more about the Think Outside the Car Challenge and how you can get involved, visit or connect on Facebook, on Twitter and on Instagram

My Take:

It’s always worthwhile to think of ways to reduce our reliance on the car – carpooling with friends; running multiple errands to reduce our number of trips; walking, cycling or taking transit when we can.

These steps will help in the short run, but will ultimately make only a marginal impact on auto use in Burlington because of why our residents use cars and how our community is designed. People drive long distances to work; use the car for transporting heavy items or in bad weather; to transport children; to get from A to B quickly when transit won’t; and more.

What will help curb auto use in the long term is the “un-big-boxing” of our communities, designing neighbourhoods where daily amenities are within walking distance, and most importantly, jobs are close by.

Burlington has developed as a commuter suburban big box heaven. Until we build mixed use communities (including on some of our employment lands); attract good local jobs; keep neighbourhood schools in our neighbourhoods; and develop a fast, cheap reliable transit system (preferably regional), alternative transportation will remain a challenge for us.

These larger issues are for various levels of government to tackle. So as we challenge residents to see what you can do to ditch the car, we have our own work cut out for us.

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