Options Newsletter Summer 2011
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For three years, City of Portland Safe Routes to School staff, along with two interns, has been leading summer bike camps through the SUN Service System at several East Portland schools. SUN stands for Schools Uniting Neighborhoods.
Managed through Multnomah County, SUN provides a network of social and support services for youth, families and community members.
This summer, Gilbert Heights, Gilbert Park, Earl Boyles and Shaver schools have participated in the two week camps that include instruction on flat tire repair, map reading, route planning, and bike safety skills for riding on the streets.
The camp curriculum follows the same bike safety curriculum of ten hours offered in Safe Routes schools. With the additional six hours of camp time the kids get to experience more riding, which means they get out and get active, riding on all kinds of streets to destinations in their neighborhoods such as parks.
Campers use the same bikes that are used for the Safe Routes to School bike safety programs during the school year, and Trauma Nurses Talk Tough provide bike helmets and a demonstration on the importance of bike helmets.
The two-week camp includes a ride at Powell Butte and campers especially look forward to a ride to get ice cream on the last day of camp.
To learn more about Portland Safe Routes to School, go to www.SafeRoutesPortland.org .
There is a new and improved regional rideshare website in town! The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Metro’s Drive Less Save More have launched a new rideshare website that replaces the CarpoolMatchNW website of yore. The new site, RideshareOnline Powered by Drive Less Save More, was launched on June 27th and has many resources to help commuters in the region save money and cut down on their stressful commutes.
The site has tools to help community and work groups’ pair carpool matches through their own networks, set up and manage carpools for kids or for special events, log trips and track savings. It also allows for participants to use their facebook and twitter account networks, and other mobile apps are to be coming soon.
The Trip Calendar measures your alternative commute activities (not just rideshare activities) and their financial and environmental savings. Participants log their commute trips on a daily or weekly basis and can watch their positive impacts, and savings, grow. You can even track multiple modes per trip. Employers can use the site to reward employees for their cleaner activities using their own customized incentive programs.
To learn more about the new rideshare site in Oregon, or to register, go to www.rideshareonline.com.
You already know that carpooling is cost effective, and eco-friendly, but what about the social awkwardness of finding the right carpool partner and the uneasiness factor of scrutinizing a potential carpool partner who is may be a stranger?
While it is good to remember that not everyone can be trusted, and to trust your initial feelings and not travel with someone you do not trust, it is also good to know that there are already many successful carpools and vanpools out there where the members considering the carpool one of the best parts of their day.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about joining a carpool with someone you don’t know:
- Be sure to include any preferences in your profile, preferences such as smoking or eating in the vehicle, wearing of scents, etc. Discussing these preferences will help you find a compatible carpool buddy.
- Before you begin carpooling, it's always a good idea to meet each other in person, in a public, well lit place to discuss the agreement.
- Determine a route and schedule. Establish the morning pick up point(s) and designate a place to meet for the trip home and time of arrival at the final destination.
- Establish a schedule for driving responsibilities and establish an appropriate cost sharing arrangement.
- Establish ground rules around smoking, food, drink, talking on cell phones, music (both type and volume). Discuss any irritants or allergies among the group, some people may be sensitive to strong colognes, perfumes or other scents, or may like quiet in the morning.
- Set up a line of communication if a driver is ill or not going to work one day. Be sure everyone has a copy of current home, work or cell phone numbers.
- Have a back up plan.
- Exchange emergency contact information before traveling.
- Be sure to tell someone close to you all the details of your carpool. Include people involved, route and schedule.
- Be punctual. Decide as a group how long the pool will wait for a passenger. A common waiting time is 5 minutes. Decide on consequences for those who are chronically late.
- Avoid side trips on the way home.
- Check for preferential, free or reduced-rate parking at your worksite.
- Give your carpool some time to work. It usually takes a few weeks to arrange everyone’s routine into a harmonious pattern. Most carpoolers discover they really enjoy the company of their fellow carpoolers and find it a benefit they had not anticipated.