In June, Mecklenburg County launched a weeklong incentive encouraging people in the Charlotte area to move around without using cars.
That's something we love to see at Sustain Charlotte. Reducing our area's over-reliance on cars is vital to creating a safer, healthier, more equitable, and more environmentally friendly future. That's why we promoted the challenge — and offered tickets to Biketoberfest as one of the prizes.
Matt Parker won those tickets in a drawing on Day 4 of the challenge. We asked Matt about the experience.
Sustain Charlotte: What new mode of transportation did you try because of this, if any?
Matt Parker: I took my bike to the light rail stop instead of driving and parking.
Sustain Charlotte: What was most surprising to you about your trip-reduction experience?
Matt Parker: The most surprising thing was how easy it was to combine my bike with the light rail. Each light rail car had a dedicated place where I could rack my bike, so I could take my bike on the train without taking up additional space. I was also surprised at how many stops would drop me at a location close to a greenway or bike path that made it easy to get to many of the most popular areas of the city.
Sustain Charlotte: How has this shaped your approach to getting around our city moving forward?
Matt Parker: I will look at other ways to be multi-modal to reduce the number of car trips I need. I will also start to explore the map to find stops that will allow me to explore the city more and find areas that I haven't yet visited.
Sustain Charlotte: What tips would you share with anyone looking to reduce the number of trips they take regularly?
Matt Parker: First off, just try it. Try taking the train or bus to areas where you regularly travel on a day or time when you are not time-crunched. This will give you time to see where the stops are and how to easily navigate the system.
If you would like to use a bike for trips, start small. Head to the store to pick up a small number of groceries to see how it goes. The more you go, you will start to get more and more comfortable.
Look for ways to combine public transport with the existing and expanding greenways and bikeways in the city.
Combine errands with getting some exercise.
Use resources to find people that are ready to help. (Matt suggested the following):
Just what is Biketoberfest, anyway?
Biketoberfest is an annual fundraiser for Sustain Charlotte. It's also an absolute blast. The urban adventure showcases how our city can be navigated by bike, with a route that takes participants through town and also benefits local businesses!
We're still hammering out the details of this year's event, but we have set a date: Sunday, Oct. 30 (and a rain date of Nov. 13). You can learn more here.