People with long commutes can carpool or vanpool, but I’ve been braving SafeTrack on Metro so far. Granted, the effects of SafeTrack have been pretty unnoticeable for me in the mornings until recently with Surge 10.
While it takes the rest of the team about 25 minutes to commute to work, I have the longest morning commute, averaging about 50 minutes by carpool and Metro. I never thought I'd have a commute this long on public transit, but it’s better than being stuck on the road in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I appreciate the time I have to myself on my commute, and it's always a treat when a new train slides onto the platform first thing in the morning.
I start my commute with a short carpool to Grosvenor Metro Station and catch the Red Line towards Glenmont until my transfer point at either Farragut North or Metro Center. It's the longest portion of my morning commute, so I usually finish a few chapters of a book, read the morning Express or take a nap. It’s also a good time for me to make to-do lists using the Asana app on my phone.
I get off at Farragut North and walk over to Farragut West, to transfer for free onto the Blue, Orange or Silver Lines towards Rosslyn. When the weather's cold or overall unpleasant, I go down to Metro Center to transfer indoors.
A common self-inflicted barrier to taking transit for many people is the fear of getting lost. With numerous transportation apps, you'll find a way to your destination. If you get desperate, you can always use an on-demand ride hailing service and take uberPOOL or Lyft Line. Are you afraid of missing your stop while being engrossed in your reading? Trust me, after a few rides along the same route, your body will just know when it’s your stop. Testing out a new commute is also a good way to get comfortable with your mode of choice and give you peace of mind.
Due to my long commute, I had set a goal of reading one book a week as my 2016 New Year’s resolution. While that turned out to be more like one book a month, I read more than I would have if I hadn’t set a goal. Here are some of my favorite picks that display the benefits of sustainable transportation and the importance of urban design.
Happy City by Charles Montgomery
The book shows the effects that urban planning has on communities and the environment versus areas with large sprawl. It puts into perspective that when cities are designed with the focus of people rather than cars, it drastically changes how people interact with their surroundings and each other. After reading this, I became increasingly aware of how people’s behaviors are largely defined by the walkability and density of the areas they live, work and visit.
How to Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish
Chris Balish calculates the true costs of owning a car, which is much more expensive than you would initially think. The book goes over sustainable alternatives and the benefits of biking, with stories straight from people who are car-lite or car-free and how they use alternative modes to fit their lifestyles.
Everyday Bicycling by Elly Blue
This is the go-to guide for biking in any situation comfortably. Elly Blue goes over common missteps she took when she first started biking so you can avoid them. The book covers the basics, like the many different types of bikes, to the more advanced like moving to a new place without renting a moving van and just by biking.
Taking bus and metro allows you to appreciate all the transit options that are available along your way. I’ve noticed vanpool signage, bike trail signs and Capital Bikeshare stations that I never noticed before while driving. You can always advocate for more options, suggest more Capital Bikeshare stations and make a difference for your community.
Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com