An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Review: Alternative Transportation Expo

First, the seeming irony: I drove alone to the Alternative Transportation Expo.

So why is it not necessarily ironic/hypocritical? Alternative transportation is not about never driving anywhere. We all have to drive sometimes. Alternative transportation is about making good transportation choices to maximize convenience and cost savings.

The Alternative Transportation Expo, held at the Walter Reed Community Center and sponsored by ACE, made me realize I wasn't taking advantage of some opportunities right under my nose. For example, I'm a big fan of Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse and the nightlife of Shirlington, but I hate driving there, because I'm also a big fan of drinking. So why haven't I been taking the bus, whose stop is probably 150 feet from my front door?

I talked about different bus options with the Mobile Commuter Store consultant, and it seemed like the best advice was to plan trips using Metro's website. Why? Many bus routes are geared towards commuters, and many cut off long before the projector stops at the Drafthouse. can sort out the different routes and schedules for me.

Since I just started a new job in Reston, I also checked out, a ride share matching service. I'd love to find someone else who lived in Ballston and worked in Reston so I wouldn't have to be the one behind the wheel on I66 every day. But I signed up and so far it doesn't seem like many people have joined for NuRide -- my only ride share options live way up on Lee Highway or out in Alexandria.

There are lots of features to tailor your potential carpool to your needs -- distance, nonsmoking, even limits on people deemed sketchy by fellow carpoolers -- so if you're open to the idea of splitting a ride, sign up!

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