Ready to Roll: 5 Tips to Prepare for Bike to Work Day

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Friday, May 20, is Bike to Work Day. It is a chance to showcase the many benefits of cycling—and encourage more folks to give biking a try. The annual event, celebrated coast to coast, has become a soapbox for increased interest in cycling. In the metropolitan Washington region, participation in Bike to Work Day has increased every year since its inception, beginning with only a few hundred registrants and swelling to more than 17,500 in 2015.

Celebrated in May each year, the event supports cycling as a healthy commuting option that saves money, reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality. Here are tips to help you prepare and make the most of Bike to Work Day in your area:

1) Get involved.

More than half of the largest US cities host Bike to Work Day events. It’s a once-a-year opportunity to measure the level of ridership in the region, data that can be used throughout the year to advocate for better bicycling and bicycling infrastructure. So make sure you’re counted by registering for your local event. If there are no events in your community, promote your support for bike commuting by posting on social media using #BikeToWorkDay2016.

2) Plan your route.

Make sure you know the best way to get to work and how long it will take to get there. Google Maps‘ handy bicycling directions tool allows you to plug in your beginning and ending locations as well as any pit stops you might want to hit up on the way to work.

3) Check your bike.

Get your bike in tip-top shape before you take to the streets. Check air pressure, brakes, chains and cranks. An easy way to make sure your bike is in good working order is to do an ABC Quick Check.

4) Dress for success.

Wear what makes you comfortable and visible to traffic. If that’s not your business clothes, fold them into your backpack or bike rack and change before going to your desk. If rain’s in the forecast protect yourself with a rain jacket or poncho and clear-lens glasses to shield your eyes from heavy rain and help with visibility.

5) Ride with a buddy or join a convoy.

Biking to work can be intimidating for a novice. Ask a friend, neighbor or co-worker to ride together, or consider joining a convoy to ride in a larger group. That way you have someone to help navigate and enjoy the journey.

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Movers and Shapers of Transit Oriented Development

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Millennials: Are they taking over? A lot of urban planners hope so. Defined by the Pew Research Center as those born after 1980, ranging in age from 18 – 34, this approximately 75-million-strong demographic is renowned for being markedly different from previous generations in ways that are affecting the landscape of the country. One of those ways is where they choose to live, which is firmly tied to how they choose to move from place to place.

Increasingly, millennials are “voting with their feet” by living and working car-free in urban settings close to transit centers. This population trend is a groundswell of support for Transit Oriented Development (TOD)—a “smart growth” strategy that promotes compact, mixed-use environments near transit hubs where people enjoy easy access to jobs, services, parks and residences. At its best, TOD creates walkable, bikable, amenity-rich communities around multi-modal transportation centers in a planning strategy that packs a dynamic multiplier effect that is good for the planet, good for the economy—and really good for quality of life.

As the nation embraces the need for urban revitalization in cities across America, TOD is clearly top of mind at the federal level. Earlier this month, when the Federal Transit Administration announced that nine cities would receive technical assistance to encourage economic development around transportation centers, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “Helping local leaders leverage their transit investments to attract more affordable housing, commercial development and jobs is a critical priority for the Department.”

With several millennials working among us, ASC is proud to be helping our very own City of White Plains re-imagine its transit center as part of the Multimodal Transportation Center Redevelopment Project. The planning phase of the project is backed by a $1 million grant from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Program administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Working with design and engineering firm WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, ASC supports and facilitates Mayor Tom Roach’s Project Stakeholder Task Force with communications and outreach to solicit public input from a diverse population to help move the project from design to reality. It’s a critical first step in reshaping the future of a great city. It’s exciting, forward-thinking work—energizing and inspiring. It’s enough to make you feel young again!

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