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Commuting variations

It's "Commuter Challenge" week for GoMaine, the better-transit partnership between the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority. (Yeah, yeah, we know, they're all roads-people, not bike or rail or hang-gliding promoters. They're trying, though, which is better than we might have feared.)

Anyway, from now through Friday is "Commute Another Way" week - in which people can register to win as much as $1000 in US Savings Bonds (how do they differ from stock in AIG?) - and try commuting in ways they don't normally.

Yesterday was "Vanpool Monday." Today is "Transit Tuesday" (no support for "Take the Train Tuesday," huh?) Tomorrow is "Carpool Wednesday" (which seems like a lame cop-out for the alliterative "Walking Wednesday" - but that's saved for "Walk to Work Thursday.") The week ends with "Bike to Work Friday."

The other option that doesn't have its own day is telecommuting.

For me, I'm sticking to walking. It's true that I often drive the two miles in to work, and I can offer any number of valid (or not) reasons for why, whether personal or professional. But many days I don't need to go too far from downtown Portland, and can handle it on my own two feet. (I've also found the South Portland Bus Service startlingly useful - it has three stops within five minutes' walk of my house, as well as one across the street from my office in the Old Port.)

This week looks to be particularly good for alternative transit - yesterday the walks to and from work were beautiful, and this morning was even nicer, with a slightly softer breeze. Tomorrow and Friday are expected to be particularly nice weather, and we'll see if rain materializes either this afternoon or Thursday. (Of course, the weather doesn't affect carpooling, vanpooling, or telecommuting, but it would change the experience of walking, biking, or hang-gliding.)

So give it a shot. Walk, bike, fly, sail, kayak, whatever. Try something new. It's a glorious week, weather-wise, so get out and enjoy it!

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