STAMFORD, Conn. — Stamford Mayor David Martin kicked off his week with a change in his routine: He biked to a Monday morning event. And the ride went without a hitch.
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“I didn't have any problems,” Martin said, holding a bike helmet and sporting a reflective vest Monday morning. “It was refreshing. It was wonderful. And if you’re visible and obey the traffic laws, then the traffic avoids you, too.”
Martin was on hand for the kick off of CTrides Week, which runs through May 20. A special initiative of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the program is intended to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
Since the program’s inception, 36,000 commuters joined the ride share program. And those in the program have saved more than $83 million in commuting costs, too. “That’s a direct benefit,” Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said.
A representative from Fairfield-based Bigelow Tea was also on hand to offer his support for the program. Redeker encouraged other employers to have their employees consider not using their cars to commute to work.
“I would like to challenge all of employers … to encourage your employees to find an alternative means to get to work,” Redeker said. “Give the bus a try. Give the train a try.”
Redeker said that alternatives to driving can save commuters money and help the environment. Some alternatives can relieve stress and be a form of exercise, too, he said.
Stamford 2030 District Executive Director Megan Saunders, whose organization works to make Stamford more sustainable, also encouraged commuters to ditch the drive to work.
“Traffic is bad here, so that’s definitely one reason to think about getting out of your car,” Saunders said. “It’s not as uncomfortable as people think. Just give it a try.”
For those thinking of commuting to work without driving alone, CTrides offers incentives. Participants can track their miles and earn rewards.
In addition to the kickoff event, CTrides said several events are scheduled during the week to recognize and thank commuters at worksites and in public.
For more information on CTrides, visit its website here or call 877-CTrides.