Who is Ready for a (Green) Challenge?

In efforts to encourage awareness for green commuting, the Big Green Commute is a challenge, set for organizations, in hope to make employees adopt a more eco-friendly mode of traveling to work.  For several years, ZGF Architects has sponsored an internal competition among its five offices (Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC) to see who has the greenest commute. This competition was then suitably named the Big Green Commute (BGC). The challenge has evolved over the years into a week-long effort that now includes other DC firms and organizations.

How does the challenge work you may ask? Each employee records his/her commute to and from the office and a score is based on their efforts.  Scoring ranges from a 10 (Walking, Biking, etc.) to a 00 (no response). Below are some rules to follow (we all play fair!):

  • Each staff member in every office is factored into the scoring regardless of individual participation
  • The final score for each office is determined by the total point score for that office divided by the total number of the staff’s Eligible Commutes
  • The total point score for each office is the total number of points accumulated by the staff through the week, as calculated from the scoring matrix for the commute method.
  • People using multiple modes of transportation in their commute will be asked to estimate how much of their commute (by mileage) is in each mode.
  • The survey will ask participants to enter the mileage of their daily commute.
  • The base number of Eligible Commutes is determined by the number of people in the office time’s two commutes per day times five commuting days.
  • Survey responses of “Not in the Office this Day (sick, vacation, meetings, working from home, etc.)” will be subtracted from the office’s number of Eligible Commutes.
  • People who do not respond to the survey will be scored as zero points for each commute.
  • The survey will be distributed via email link to each office’s Point of Contact on Friday, May 17th. The online survey will remain open through Tuesday, May 21st.
  • Remember, the goal of the Big Green Commute is to encourage change through positive behavior, so no public shaming!

Need ideas on eco-friendly (and cost friendly) transit? Ride a bike from one of the multiple Capital Bikeshare locations around the district – especially May 17th (National Bike to Work Day!) or hop on the DC Circulator – only $1 to ride (a deal to great to pass up!).  For more eco- friendly transit ideas visit goDCgo!

**Don’t wait to register- go now!  This year’s Big Green Commute challenge will be held May 13-17. For more information, visit the Big Green Commute website.



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Filed under Biking, Capital Bikeshare, Commuting, Uncategorized, Walking

Lace Up Those Sneakers for National Walking Day!

Tomorrow is National Walking Day, organized by the American Heart Association and held on the first Wednesday in April every year. Even if your company hasn’t officially signed up or organized it, it’s not too late for you to participate. All you have to do is grab your comfiest walking shoes and put one foot in front of the other to go to work or anywhere else!

Don’t delay – tell your friends and coworkers today and maybe you can even score a walking buddy! Depending on your destination, you can plan to walk all or part of the way, but 30 minutes total going to and from your work is recommended as a minimum goal for walking. If you usually drive to work, try taking a little stroll to your nearest public transportation. If you already take public transportation regularly, maybe aim to walk a little further to the next bus stop or Metro station or exit early and walk the rest of the way.

Tomorrow promises to be another gloriously sunny day with highs reaching the low 50’s, so dress in layers in case you get too warm and need to shed some.  And please, please be alert and safe by sticking to sidewalks and obeying cross signals!

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Filed under Events, Walking

The Silver Line-ing of Winter

As any veteran of DC knows, it can get bitterly cold here during the winter months, but there is a bright spot for commuters this coming winter–Phase I of the Silver Line is set to open and be operational this December 2013! In order to address concerns and questions about changes that would occur with a new track, WMATA had not one, not two, but THREE open houses earlier this month.

The Silver line seeks to extend the Metro and convenience of public transportation 23-miles into Virginia and provide Metro access to Washington Dulles International Airport in Phase II (Yay!) with Phase I stations at McLean, Tyson’s Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill, and Wiehle-Reston East. During peak hours, Silver Line trains will run every six minutes; reducing the number of Blue Line trains to one every 12 minutes during rush hour. The number of Orange Line trains are also expected to decrease as WMATA expects many of these passengers to shift over to the Silver Line. Operation of the new Silver Line will also make some changes to the bus system. The popular Metrobus 5A route (which services Washington Dulles International Airport) will continue to operate as it is now, serving Dulles, Herndon Monroe Park & Ride, Rosslyn and L’Enfant Plaza, but the Silver Line effects on the Fairfax Connector are still being assessed and finalized.

Phase II of the Silver Line is projected to be operational by 2018—which includes stations at Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Route 606, and Route 772. Check out the map here.

The project is headed by the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) under the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). You can learn more about each of the stations and the entire project here.

Have you seen the new Silver Line trains being tested? How do you think this will affect your commute? Leave a comment below!

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St. Patrick’s Day in D.C.

With the popularity of happy hour in DC, it’s no surprise that people are already gearing up for this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. You don’t have to follow a rainbow to hit the jackpot of St. Patrick’s Day festivities, just take Metrorail to Federal Triangle or the Smithsonian on the Blue and Orange line or to Archives-Navy Memorial on the Yellow and Green line for the annual Washington D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade this Sunday at 12pm. For program information on the parade, click here. D.C.’s not one to skimp out on the festivities, so there’s also the National ShamrockFest this Saturday at the RFK Stadium (accessible by Metrorail: Stadium Armory on the Blue and Orange lines) from 1pm-9pm, which is family friendly and free for children under 12. Not sure how to use the Metro system, see the map or use the WMATA trip planner to plan your trip to the parade and back home (or somewhere else around DC if you want to keep up the festivities). For other transportation options including carsharing and Capital Bikeshare, check out goDCgo’s Map.

** If you are coming down to DC from the Glenmont area and planning to use the Red line, also keep in mind that the Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland, and Fort Totten Stations will be closed this weekend due to track maintenance, but will have free shuttle service. Find out more about weekend track maintenance here.

Washington D.C. is also a city that wants its denizens and visitors to stay safe this holiday weekend. For those who wish to partake in the adult merriment and liquid fun of this holiday, DC also offers the SoberRide Taxi starting this Sunday  at 4pm to Monday at 4am for those 21+. SoberRide Taxis offer free transportation services for those in the DC area and a limited number of other counties up to $30 (you’ll be responsible for anything over that). Simply call 1-800-200-8294 (TAXI) when you are done for the night and ready to go home and you will be redirected to the participating company in your area. Be responsible and cautious this weekend and Have fun!

Planning on going anywhere fun for St. Patrick’s Day? Do you plan to attend one (or both!) of these events? Have you used SoberRide before? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Need a Ride? There’s An App For That!

Don’t have a car, but need to get somewhere? There are many options today that enable people to travel without having to own their own cars, and many even have apps for them. Ridesharing isn’t like a taxi, but more of a friend giving another friend a lift somewhere (with a small donation). With so many options out there, it’s hard to choose which one to use. But never fear – we’re here to help!

Increasingly more companies are giving the D.C. Taxicab Commission a run for their money, offering competitive “rates” and convenience in an app (you may be wondering why rates is in quotations, but read on and you’ll soon understand).

Tickengo is a ridesharing app that allows you to schedule a ride, either on demand or for a later time. Anyone can sign up to be a driver and enjoy the freedom of being able to  choose which ride requests to accept and which to decline. Although drivers can get donations from passengers, there is a cap of $8,776 that a driver can receive per year because this program operates as a donation-based ridesharing program, not a cab service. Tickengo has become a popular program in other major cities. However, there are only a few people signed up in the DC region (and they look super nice!), so we hope to see this grow.

Another carsharing program set to premier in the District later this spring is SideCar. With this app, drivers can work whenever and wherever and choose which passengers they wish to pick up. Likewise, passengers can request a ride to wherever and whenever and decide the amount of their donation; the app will give the passenger a suggested donation, but the passenger can choose to ignore this. Sidecar also allows drivers to rate passengers and vice versa, adding extra incentive for each person to be respectful and timely.

Have more trust in your neighbors than a car company when renting a car? Tickengo and SideCar are just two programs that connect drivers and riders in the DC area. You can also check for cars to rent from people in your community on RelayRides. Another option to look at for ridesharing, if considering a longer distance trip, is Zimride.

Have you used one of these programs before? What did you think? Would you use one of these ride-sharing services? Let us know in the comments below!

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