Inaugural “Week Without Driving” includes Community Transit participants
Masks mandatory on all bus service

Inaugural “Week Without Driving” includes Community Transit participants



Last week Disability Rights Washington and the Disability Mobility Initiative hosted the inaugural Week Without Driving challenge. The aim of the week-long event was to include elected leaders and transportation professionals, “to have this experience so you can start to understand the barriers non-drivers experience in accessing your (and our) communities.”

From Community Transit, we’re sharing experiences from three of our employees who participated::
  • Roland Behee, Director of Planning and Development
  • Christina Strand, Administrative Assistant II, Transportation
  • Luke Distelhorst, Outreach and Public Engagement Specialist

So how did these Community Transit employees access work, essential needs, recreation and other transportation needs?

Christina

I took a lot of creative bus and bike trips, including some that were completely new to me. Especially challenging were grocery trips carrying a lot of food and a bus-bike trip to the dentist, where I had to store my bike in their mail room. A lack of secure bike parking was a challenge.

I spoke to quite a few people about the experience and three people said they want to start bike riding more for transportation! 
 

Luke

Planning is really key for me, especially with the weather we had. I really enjoy pairing my bike with bus riding, especially on the Swift Blue line, because that gives me options to ride my bike home (12 miles) or take the bus if the weather is bad. Some days I also just took two buses to work, or when I had to go to downtown Seattle took a bus to Northgate, and then light rail to downtown.

I also used my e-cargo bike to commute one day and for all my food shopping trips and errands. 
 

Roland

For me, this was an extension of my normal travel behavior, but with some added discipline. I typically rely on walking, biking, and riding the bus for at least half of my travel needs. What the week reinforced for me was that I can choose to not use my car but for those who don’t have access to a car, it’s a requirement.

I used my bike for things like running to the post office or shopping and added a bus ride to go to work during the rain and wind. Usually, I’m less likely to ride my bike in stormy weather. This week I just powered through, with the challenge providing that incentive.
 

Noted experiences

inaccessible sidewalk 2Part of the challenge is also identifying barriers, whether those are physical, financial, or related to travel times.

Some of the items noted by the participants included:
  • Lack of bike lanes, safe bike infrastructure, and bike route signage
  • Certain areas have inaccessible sidewalks, no sidewalks, or there were obstructions on sidewalks or in bike lanes
  • Bus frequencies vary depending on route, which can mean longer waits for some connections
  • Not all bus stops have shelters, which means more exposure to bad weather
  • Need for increased focus on clothing choices for rain, allowing extra time for travel, and details of how to transport goods or other items when running errands
  • Limited access to regional recreational areas, like hiking destinations
  • Overall, participation in the Week Without Driving helps highlight the current state of transit and active transportation options, and deficiencies as well. 
Community Transit CEO Ric Ilgenfritz commended employees for their participation.

“Congratulations to our staff for getting out there to walk in our customers’ shoes and experience mobility from different perspectives. Efforts like this give us insight into how we can better serve our communities.”
 

Tags: 2021, week-without-driving