Try it! Go Car Lite!

logoFor the 8th year, Keep Middlesex Moving, (KMM), Middlesex County’s commuter services organization, is joining a worldwide movement to support Car Free Day on September 22, 2013.  Car Free Day started in Iceland, England, and France in 1995 to raise awareness about the negative impacts motor vehicles have on our environment.

KMM will kick off this initiative on September 19, 2013 at Jimmy John’s located at 8 Easton Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick.  WCTC 1410AM’s very own Tommy G will be broadcasting live from Jimmy John’s between 12pm and 3pm.  Prizes will be given away to those who stop by the location during the program run time!

On Car Free Day (9/22/13) or any day during the week of September 15th to September 28th, KMM urges commuters to take the Car Free Pledge and recommends the following alternatives:

 

Use public transportation – a train, a bus, or light rail

Ride a bike or take a walk

Carpool or Vanpool

Bring a brown bag lunch or walk to grab a bite to eat

Work from home

 

Commuters who pledge to go Car Free or Car Lite can register at www.kmm.org.  They will be entered into a drawing to win host of prizes including a $50 gift card from Magyar Bank or a Heldrich Spa Gift Certificate or State Theater New Brunswick Tickets or Rutgers Football Ticket Basket or Fragrance Basket from Firmenich Inc.!   For more information or to register for the event, log on to www.kmm.org .   Deadline for registrations is September 21, 2013.

 

 

 

Pay Attention

Pay-attention1I turned into the street and moved into the right lane.  The light was in my favor and I signaled my intention to turn right.  But, I slammed on my brakes as I made the turn because a bicyclist who ran his red light almost ran into me.  I sat there fuming as he pedaled away totally oblivious to the accident he almost caused.

But there’s more.  A few blocks later, I put on my left turn blinker.  The driver of a car approaching in the opposite direction signaled that he was turning to his left.  Thank goodness I paused a moment before taking the turn.  If I had not, the car left would have crashed into mine because the driver didn’t turn left at all.  He drove straight ahead even as his left turn signal blinked.

If we’re on the road as motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists, we all have to be careful and watch what we’re doing.  Stop lights are for everybody, those who are driving, walking or bicycling.  Turn signals mean the motorist or bicyclist (who should know hand signals) intends to turn. 

 It’s real simple.  Pay attention. 

The Shore Attitude – Beyond Summer

Beach%20Pic%201The bright sun streaming through your window wakes you up – it’s going to be another hot day on the Jersey Shore. You and your family put on bathing suits, t-shirts and sandals, and walk a couple blocks to that breakfast place for pancakes. Later, you load up the cart for the three block walk to the beach while your eldest rides off on a cruiser bike to meet her friends on the boardwalk. On the walk, you wave hello to your neighbors for the week and stop to chat, while your youngest tugs at your shirt to keep going – the waves are waiting.

Summer vacation is great time to experience the joys of living “car-lite” by walking and biking where you need to go, but why can’t we bring some of that lifestyle and attitude with us when it’s time to return to work and school? Here are some ideas.
Group your walkable errands.

Got places to go near your home or office? Instead of stopping there in your car on your way to/from someplace else, plan ahead and save those errands for an evening or weekend walk. You’ll get things done, and some exercise, too!

Meet the neighbors

While you’re out, take a moment to say hello. Pet the dogs, sniff the flowers, and take a moment to enjoy your neighborhood.

Encourage your children

Show your children how to get around their neighborhood on foot and by bike, then encourage them to make that choice. Don’t just drive them because you can, or because “it’s hottttt,” “it’s colllld,” “it’s raining,” or “I have a backpack.” Make sure they’ve learned and practiced crossing the street and bicycling safely.

Ride slow.

Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you have to be racing your bike. Where would you ride at a leisurely pace? To the coffee shop? The pool? A friend’s barbecue?

Any clothing is bike clothing.

If you can ride to the beach in a bathing suit and flip-flops, you can ride at home in, well, anything that works for the weather. Wear a helmet, and use lights at night (a front white light and a red rear light).

 

Ferry-ly We Go Along – Changes in Latitudes

When I was a kid, my Dad would take us for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  At 5 cents per passenger, it was a true bargain for a family of six.  We’d ride to Manhattan and turn around and come back.  Sometimes, he’d take the car on the ferry and we’d drive in the City.  Great times!

That was the start of my affection for ferries.  Here are a few others I’ve ridden.

Cape May, NJ – Lewes, DE

The Cape May to Lewes Ferry held 2 attractions for a friend and me – water and crab cakes.  The combo fare for ferry and shuttle service got us close to Lewes’ downtown area.  After dinner, we’d stroll to King’s for homemade ice cream before hopping the shuttle for the “cruise” back to NJ.

Oxford, MD – Bellevue, MD

Started in 1683, the Oxford – Bellevue Ferry is more modest than most carrying just 9 cars.  The pleasant 7 minute ride covers about ¾ of a mile as it crosses the TredAvonRiver on the way to St. Michaels, MD, the “town that fooled the British.”   During the War of 1812, knowing the British were poised to attack, the residents hung lanterns high in the trees.  At night, aiming for the lights, the British gunboats overshot and the town was saved.

Port Kent, NY- Burlington, VT

One of the best ways to start Vermont leaf-peeping is aboard the Port Kent-Burlington Ferry, operating since 1826.  With the Adirondacks to the west and the Green Mountains to the east, this is truly the “scenic route” of the Lake Champlain service.

Hyannis, MA – Nantucket, MA Lawrence

In the 1830s, Nantucket was one of the busiest whaling ports in the world.  Today, she still welcomes travelers arriving by sea, including by ferry.  The Steamship Authority runs service to the island regularly from Hyannis.  Passengers who “walk on” can chose the high speed which takes about 60 minutes.  Those with vehicles or a little more time, might prefer a more leisurely 2 ¼ hour cruise.

Levis, Quebec, Canada to Quebec   City, Quebec, Canada

As the Empress dominates Vancouver, so does her sister hotel the Chateau Frontenac loom high above Quebec City. Travelers crossing the St. Lawrence via ferry at Levis enjoy a 10 minute trip and some spectacular views of this 400 year old city.

Seattle, WA – Victoria, BC, Canada

Reigning over Vancouver Island’s Inner Harbor with grace and majesty, the Empress, a magnificent hotel from another age, awes visitors arriving by ferry from Seattle.  Built in 1809, she has welcomed royalty, rogues, and regular people like my Mother, sister, and me.  After visiting the Royal BC Museum, Parliament, and Butchart Gardens, we indulged in that time honored ritual known as Afternoon Tea.

Tea at the Empress

Tea at the Empress