Event promotes

by Michelle Moriarity

The Bike, Bus or Pool Coalition looked for ways to reduce local pollution, traffic congestion and headaches when they brainstormed for this year’s B-BOP Day activities.
Officials marked Wednesday as the eighth annual B-BOP Day, a statewide event promoting energy-efficient transit, with several organized bike commutes and thousands of reduced-fare bus passes, courtesy of the Metropolitan Council.
Robin Bellamy, co-chairman of the coalition, said the greatest local participation this year came from businesses that organized car-pooling and busing for their employees.
University Parking and Transportation Services also played a significant role in the event by purchasing several hundred discounted bus passes and selling them on the Twin Cities campus.
Roger Huss, assistant director of parking and transportation, said the University’s participation is only a small part of a year-long effort to promote Earth-friendly transit alternatives.
One obstacle officials face is promoting new routines for commuters who already have established habits.
Officials host a transportation fair every fall in which they promote transit alternatives and introduce new students to the University’s busing system.
Huss said though budget limitations prevented the University from participating extensively in B-BOP Day events, he thought the program made a difference to some commuters.
B-BOP Day planners said by biking, busing or carpooling to work commuters can significantly reduce the amount of pollution released into the atmosphere.
“We address the issue from a conservation approach,” said Cord Morgan, transportation demand consultant for Metro Commuter Services. With freeway congestion growing, people must find alternatives to driving, he said.
Vehicle miles traveled in the Twin Cities metro area increased 70 percent between 1980 and 1994. Officials expect metropolitan traffic to increase another 40 percent in the next 20 years.
Officials said they were encouraged by this year’s increased participation in B-BOP Day. Bellamy said the bus passes were a welcome addition.
“One of the biggest benefits is reduced commuting stress,” she said. “Why not let someone else do the driving?”
The Minnesota Department of Transportation introduced the event in 1990 to promote biking to work as an alternative to driving. In 1991, participation branched statewide to several transportation organizations. Officials changed the event’s name and purpose to include promotion of busing and carpooling as energy-saving transportation alternatives.
The B-BOP Coalition includes members from local transit organizations such as the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Council. The group organizes events each year, such as commuter bike rides from suburbs to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul and public rallies, to raise awareness about transit issues.