Guest Post: Car Free Day

In celebration of Car Free Day(s) coming up September 20-22, the GU Office of Sustainability offers tips and resources on living well while leaving your car behind, contributing to personal and planetary wellness.

The changing season brings colorful foliage, pumpkin-y treats…. and, to those who cherish their two wheels: prime bicycling weather! Yes, an end to summer’s sticky days brings respite for walkers, cyclists and transit riders who can enter a cool-weather cruising mode for the next few months.

The cool weather sets in just in time for Car-Free Day(s), the star of this post and a global event celebrated this year from September 20th to September 22nd in the DC region. poster2013

As readers may know, Car-Free Day(s) is an international event raising  awareness for alternative transportation.  Commuters are encouraged to ride a train, bus, bicycle, carpool, vanpool, subway, or simply walk to their destinations, trying out a “car free” day and reaping the benefits of this choice.

On campus, GUWellness and the Office of Sustainability will mark the occasion by providing free, light breakfast items at the Main Gates on Friday, September 20th for those taking alternative transportation to work.

We also encourage campus members to pledge your Car Free Day(s) participation online with Commuter Connections, qualifying for prizes!

Participating in Car Free Day(s) is less a “car boycott” and more about discovering the how we can live well while using cars less often.  Imagine, for example, enjoying an extra hour of reading each day on a train. Or completing your daily workout and your commute at the same time, on a bike!  How about catching up with friends on Facebook each morning, while your bus driver navigates the traffic? Or saving over $3,000 in avoided parking fees each year?

Sound tempting?  If so, check out our top-5 list of alternative transportation resources available at GU for even more encouragement and tips. campus bikes

5. Free shower facilities for Bicycle Commuters available at Yates Field House

Free showers for cyclists at Yates are back this fall! Faculty and staff who commute to Georgetown by bike are eligible for free access to locker rooms and showers, and discounted access to towel service ($15/mo) and 1/2 locker rentals ($23/mo, with towel service).  To sign up, visit the main office of Yates during business hours and for more information, contact Judy Harvey, Yates’ Membership Director.

georgetown app4. NextGUTS helps riders track their bus

As of spring 2013, the days of wondering when the bus is coming are over! Through the Georgetown Mobile App, NextGUTS maps the location of the next available shuttle in real time, allowing anyone with a mobile device to view exactly where each bus is and estimate times of arrival.

3. GU’s new bicycling webpage offers a one-stop-shop on campus bicycling resources

Curious which recreational trails are closest to campus, or how to participate in discounted Bikeshare Memberships for GU faculty and staff?  Look no further! The information is a mouse click away on the new GU Bicycling Webpage, a one-stop resource for students, staff and faculty.


2. GU’s carpool program can save you thousands of dollars each year:

Georgetown offers significantly discounted parking permits for carpoolers who travel in groups of 2 or 3, and offers *free* parking for carpools with 4 or more people. To make it easier to find a match, members of the University community can log in to the carpool program with a NetID and search for others with similar starting/ending destinations.

1.   Did we mention Prizes??

Anyone living in the Washington DC metropolitan area is eligible to win free prizes from Commuter Connections by pledging your participation in Metro DC’s Car Free Day(s).  Register by the evening of Sunday, September 22nd to be entered in the drawing! A list of prizes is available here. Also, those who stop by our table at the front gates of the University will be entered into a raffle to win one of three free bike helmets.

Here are more useful resources for a car-free or car-free experience:

Walking Motivation!: A lucky few live close enough to campus to walk to work, and for the rest of us, there’s the well-loved Weekly Walks with Charles DeSantis for the best motivation around!  For even more motivation and longer treks, our sustainability interns also recommend exploring Theodore Roosevelt Island and the National Cathedral for starters.

Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) – Employee Discounts:  This regional program offers over 1,800 bicycles at 200+ docking locations throughout the region, making it easy to get from point A to point B.  The Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits offers discounted annual memberships for faculty and staff. For details, email

Zipcar: We get it – sometimes, you just need a set of wheels. (Four wheels!) There are now eight Zipcars on campus, available for use by Zipcar members. For more information, including a map, visit

For even more resources, visit

Thank you for perusing our guest post on Car Free Day! We hope you found a useful tip or two, and whether you pursue a Car Free Day(s), or a car free lifestyle, be healthy, happy in your endeavors!

Contributed by Audrey Stewart, Sustainability Director and Joe Koech (C’14), Outreach and Engagement Intern, with GU’s newly-launched Office of Sustainability

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