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Posts Tagged ‘Transportation’

I got an email a few weeks ago now about a new tradition in Ithaca. The concept was borrowed from the Cyclovia in the country of Columbia, where streets are blocked off for use by pedestrians, bicyclists, and any other non-motorized transportation. Cars can use other roads during these times, but this gives bikers and pedestrians much more access to safe roads that they can use without worrying about cars flying past.

So Ithaca’s Cyclovia is a much smaller scale version of this. Each Saturday at 10:00am, bikers meet at DeWitt park downtown and as a group, they bike to the farmer’s market. This week I joined in among the small crowd for an easy going bike ride to the market. While it was a lot slower than my general pace (there were small children biking with us so we went slow), it was fun to take over one small piece of Ithaca and ride safely. I really hope that this group grows every week, and reaches a mass large enough that cars have to just drive slowly behind the bikers.

The problem with cars and bikes coexisting, is that in most places, there are not adequate bike paths. A real bike path needs to allow for bikers to move swiftly along a road, while not interfering with traffic, but still able to turn onto other roads when they need to. Ithaca doesn’t have bike paths that allow that though. This causes a problem because most people bike much slower than cars want to go. In the city, it is really pointless for a car to scoot past a bike, because it usually results in waiting at the next red light or stop sign anyway – but that is how it happens.

But lately with the price of gas rising, people are talking about other ways of getting around, and riding bicycles as a group to also support the farmer’s market will help push Ithaca towards a more sustainable lifestyle. So, please, join the group and bike to the farmer’s market next week!

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Ithaca Carshare
On Tuesday, Ithaca Carshare started accepting membership to their program, which should be running in June. Members can borrow Ithaca Carshare vehicles by logging into the website www.ithacacarshare.org and see the availability and placement of the vehicles. For getting around when a car is needed, this looks to be a great alternative to owning a car and paying for all of the associated costs. Considering the cost of ownership with repairs, maintenance, gasoline and insurance, this service might be a well needed relief to those who own cars currently but don’t drive them often enough to make the costs economical.
Ithaca Carshare is starting with two plans: “It’s my car” is $20 per month and $4.95 per hour of usage, and “Just in case” is $50 a year plus $7.95 per hour. Both plans charge 20 cents per mile driven also. I did the math, and if you plan on using this service for more than 63 hours in a year, than the “It’s my car” plan becomes cheaper. The application fee is regularly $30, but there is a reduced price of $15 if you sign up before May 5th.
According to the website, every shared car is equivalent to taking 15 personal vehicles off the road. With the economy in a bit of a slump and gasoline prices increasing, it becomes more viable to not own cars – or get rid of the second car at least – when a service like this can help support your travel needs. Of course walking and biking still use less resources and energy, but for those times when a car is needed, Ithaca Carshare is a great option.

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