How to Ditch Driving in Dane County

July 9, 2015 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

How to

Happy happy summer! Nothing like beautiful weather to get those eco-friendly practices going! This season is a great opportunity to renew and kick start the plans and practices that we all have been wanting to achieve. A great way to begin reducing your carbon footprint is to ditch driving around town and start exploring new places to shop and new ways to get around.

Taking the Bus, Biking & Walking

Mother and child cycling on a summer trip.

Life is about the journey not the destination! Once you start to enjoy the trip the walk or bus ride to your destination won’t seem so long. It is a great time to contemplate and be outside. Dane County has a plethora of bus routes to accommodate travelers from all directions as well as many walking and biking paths. Connecting all of these paths and routes it is easy to maneuver yourself around. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. A feature on the Google Maps App on your phone will give you exact walking directions and stop times to take the bus, making it that much more accessible.
  2. Check with your employer to see if they offer Metro Commuter Cards, which can give you an unlimited bus pass through your workplace.
  3. Around Madison there are rentable bikes called B-cycle, they are hard to miss as they are all bright red! Using them is cheap and easy giving you the possibility to bike and park all around the city.
  4. If you don’t live in Madison that is no problem either! Dane County has an interactive bike map that gives you all the information you need to bike anywhere in the county.
  5. Need a little more encouragement? With a Bike Benefits sticker on your helmet, you get discounts at participating businesses to bikers with a sticker on their helmet.

Still thinking biking or walking isn’t for you? Just try it out for 10 minutes and you’ll be surprised!

Community & Local Businesses 

small-business

Start shopping at businesses near your home to cut down on length of trips but also to support your local community. Madison has many main streets that are packed with mom and pop stores with everything you need from pharmacy to clothing. Start making local shopping a priority and you will be able to find a store that matches your need. Shopping local helps the environment, allows you to meet your neighbors as well as keeps money in your community.   Win-Win-Win!

  1. The classic example for eating local in Dane County is the Farmers Market, it’s the perfect event to bike to and grab all your groceries and maybe some extra treats.
  2. A few easy stores to switch from chain to local is your grocery store, pharmacy, and hardware store. Next time you are headed to one of these do a quick Google search to see if there is a local store near you.
  3. Dane Buy Local is a great resource to find out the special deals on all small, local businesses. Become a member, save money and support your community.

Location of Home

directories2

Finally, a more long-term commitment to driving less is to move. The next time you are moving it is a great idea to look for a location that has bus stops and is in walking distance to some of the places and stores you go to often. Dane County has many places to live that offer these perks, from downtown to the suburbs there will  be a place that works best for you and your needs! Moving with location in mind is preparing you perfectly to decrease your dependence on oil.

  1. Downtown & State Street: Not only packed with small businesses and bus lines, Downtown is completely walkable! Anywhere you need to go is a walk away, no need to find a parking spot.
  2. Monroe Street: Another small hub in Madison, it is a main street lined with local business and surrounded by a lovely neighborhood (close to the Henry Vilas Zoo!)
  3. Williamson Street: Willy St. is a great small gem in Madison with many local stores, bus lines and great neighbors.
  4. Cannery Square, Sun Prairie: Best of both worlds! Get out of the city but at the same time have a small downtown to meet all of your needs.
  5. Downtown Middleton: Close to the action of Madison but still gives a more suburban feel. Great place to take advantage of the bus lines that’ll take you all over Middleton and Madison.

Driving less saves you gas money as well as  having many personal benefits. It gives you the opportunity to meet new people, be outside more and exercise a bit! Now it is time to go out and enjoy this beautiful weather!

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