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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Taking It to the Streets: Southwest Florida’s Transportation Transformation

Apr 03, 2011 08:31PM ● By Marjorie Levine

In 1976, the Doobie Brothers rock band topped the music charts big with their hit studio album, Takin’ It to the Streets. Looking to make a big hit in an entirely different way, but with an equal amount of fun and rockin’ and rollin’, is a local alliance of individuals, advocacy groups and government agencies that are spearheading a multi-modal transportation awareness-to-action campaign for Southwest Florida.

Taking It to the Streets—nine days of transportation transformation events and activities—takes place April 15 through 23 among neighboring counties in Southwest Florida. “During this time, we’re asking organizations to sponsor and participate in one or more activities that promote various modes of green transport, with the goal of moving people towards permanent changes in transportation choices,” says Lauren Lane, outreach coordinator for Commuter Services, a free program of the Florida Department of Transportation. “The purpose of these activities is to get people to move beyond talking and into doing—walking, running, biking, busing, vanpooling and carpooling—and of course, having fun.”

Learn About Commuter Services

Lane educates businesses, organizations and residents in the 12-country region of Southwest Florida about how to use Commuter Services, and encourages, inspires and motivates them to utilize the program. Developing custom plans, she helps commuters find a better way. Two popular options are the Emergency Ride Home Program, so that no one gets stranded without a ride, and the Trip Track program, which helps individuals measure how their alternative commute saves money and shrinks their carbon footprint. Monthly prize drawings make tallying up miles and savings even more fun.

Higher gas prices are leading commuters to appreciate that carpooling can save them $100 per month or more. “One commuter, whose ankle surgery prevented her from riding the bus, called to say that driving her car was costing $50 week,” notes Lane.

Be Part of Taking It to the Streets

Pick an activity from a list of 15 possibilities that range from Lunch and Learn, to finding your nearest neighbor and arranging a trial carpool, or purchasing bus passes and giving them away as incentives to employees or as gifts to guests. Rally a few friends or co-workers, track it, prove it and get credit.

Commuter Services personnel will assist participating organizations with a needs assessment onsite, at no cost, and will work to help make your event successful. This opportunity to participate with hundreds of others promotes healthier and less costly transportation alternatives, while bringing focus to improving mobility choices in Southwest Florida. With everyone’s commitment, we can move forward together, unified as a region.


For assistance or more information about Commuter Services’ Trip Track, RideShare and Emergency Ride Home programs, call 866-585-RIDE or visit CommuterServicesFL.com. To stay informed about events and activities, visit UGottaGoGreen.com, TakingItToTheStreetsSWFL.wordpress.com and SustainableSouthwestFlorida.org.

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