Commute decisions

constructionThis picture pretty much is one of the reasons why I decided at the beginning of the year to commute by public transport and bike instead of taking the car. This construction site used to be the parking lot I frequented most but UC Berkeley decided to build yet another new building (and of course did not provide additional parking options that were in a reasonable distance). If I need to walk 20 minutes to get from parking to work after driving to work for 20 minutes I might as well take the bike (or BART) for 30 minutes. And I am doing something good for me and the environment along the way! The University actually has some incentives for people who want to switch to public transport like discounted ticket prices for BART and the bus system (AC transit). You can also sign up for a program that guaranties you a free ride home in an emergency by taxi or rental car (Guaranteed Ride Home). Since I have school aged kids that sometimes need to be picked up short notice I thought  this was pretty clever. Luckily I did not have to use it yet.
It has all been really good actually. I already rode a little over 1000 miles by bike this year. One of the stereotypes that always comes up when talking about the US is certainly not true in the Bay Area: Everyone takes the car everywhere and nobody walks or takes their bikes. So not true! If you drive somewhere on the weekends in the hills around here you always have to watch out for bikes and the cities are pretty walk-able. Public transport might not quite compare with German standards but you can’t have everything. A couple of years ago there were so many people using the BART system that they actually were discussing to raise the ticket prices so less people were going to use it. What a ridiculous idea to maybe have more trains running.
How do you get to work or around in the US, Europe or other places?



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