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Commuter Challenge inspires and motivates Energy Works Michigan staff

Posted by Kendal Kuneman on 05 Jul 2011
Original article posted by getDowntown on May 26, 2011

Green commuting should come easy to an organization like Energy Works Michigan, right? I mean, they work with schools across Michigan to make schools more green in every way–from curriculum to solar panel installation.

But like most organizations in downtown Ann Arbor, they faced a couple of obstacles to becoming green commuting gurus. Many of their employees live in Ypsilanti, which is just far enough away to make green commuting tricky. Some folks hadn’t done a green commute before so they needed a little extra motivation and support. Enter the Commuter Challenge! Energy Works Staff member Kendal shared with me some success stories.

How is the Commuter Challenge inspiring people at Energy Works to try a green commute?
  • We have convinced the most unlikely person in our office to participate in the Commuter Challenge by agreeing to do one green commute!
  • Several people in the office live in Ypsilanti, and one lives in Taylor. It has been difficult for the employee from Taylor to participate in the challenge as much as she would like to. So she decided to join us Friday for Bike to Work Day from Ypsilanti, meeting at the B-24 Cafe and ending at the Bike to Work Day Rally in Ann Arbor!
  • Several people in the office live in Ypsilanti and often commute together by bike, bus or carpool. It works out great.
  • Despite the dreary weather, there have been many bike commutes between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.
  • We use our go!passes to ride the bus to work!
  • On days when we bike or bus to work and need to travel outside of the office during the day, we use a Zipcar.

Energy Works Project Managers Kelly Weger and Kendal Kuneman enjoy their green
commute to work by bike from Ypsilanti.

What fun or interesting things have happened so far during the Challenge?
  • There is nothing better than walking out of the office at 5 pm on a warm sunny day and leaving to ride home on your bike.
  • I now do a green commute on the weekends too! It’s a great ride from Ypsilanti to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market on Saturday morning along the Border to Border Trail.
  • What have your learned seen or heard during the Commuter Challenge?
  • I probably speak for most of us in the office when I say that my green commuting now feels more like a routine and that I will likely continue once the Commuter Challenge ends.
  • The greatest part about the challenge is getting over your fear of green commuting. It can be scary to ride your bike or bus if you were previously not familiar with commuting by bike or bus. The Commuter Challenge encourages people to try green commuting and become comfortable with it.
  • It feels great to get your workout in when you bike to and from work.
  • The 8 mile commute from Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor takes roughly 45 minutes by bus (enough time roundtrip to read two chapters from a book), 35 minutes by bike, and 1 hour-ish to run. I used to spend 25 irritating minutes driving and then 10-15 additional irritating minutes looking for parking and walk to my office.

By: Nancy Shore

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