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On Car Free Day, commuters around the world are encouraged to find alternative ways to get to work. Choosing not to travel alone in a car reduces carbon emissions, traffic congestion, and gasoline demand. Today is the day to team up in a carpool, try public transit like the bus or subway, take an active approach such as biking or walking, or skip the commute altogether and telework.
If you decide to try a new mode of transportation, you may find yourself going car free every day like these NNSA team members!
NNSA leadership takes advantage of public transit. Brig. Gen. Michael Lutton, Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application for NNSA, comes in from Quantico, Virginia, each morning on a commuter bus. He beats the traffic by getting in at 5:45 a.m., allowing him to hit the gym before he starts his busy workday. “Taking the bus gives me an easy, direct commute, since my stop is the first in the District. It takes about 35 minutes each way.”
Nina Rodriquez is an Engineer for the Office of Acquisitions and Project Management and most days she takes the bus to the Ballston Metro station in Arlington, Virginia, and then rides the subway to Smithsonian station. Her car broke down in 2007, she explains, and “I decided to completely get rid of it and never looked back. I’ve chosen this for several reasons. D.C. is very accessible. Besides the bus and train, there are bike lanes, car-sharing programs and taxis all over. It’s more economical as well. You don’t have to pay for the car itself, gas, insurance, or parking. Besides keeping a few extra dollars in your pocket, you lower your carbon footprint and help save Mother Earth.”
Makesi Harford is an active duty service member in the U.S. Navy supporting NNSA’s Defense Programs. Living about 35 miles north of NNSA headquarters, Harford makes use of the Metro for his commute. “Each afternoon, I take a train from the Smithsonian station to Metro Center,” says Harford. “From there, I take the Red Line all the way home. It takes me about 30 minutes to get back to Rockville, Maryland.”
Bicycling is the commute of choice for Tyler Wean, Project Integrator for Acquisitions and Project Management. “My ride is just under seven miles one way, depending upon which route I take, and lasts about 30 minutes. I began commuting by bike in April of this year, when the new locker rooms opened (at NNSA headquarters). Prior to that, I was commuting by bus. I chose to ride my bike to work because I really enjoy the fresh air and exercise! Another benefit is that I don’t have to stress about sitting in traffic, as there are many pathways and bike lanes that I can take.”
As a member of the NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program, Brittany Atkinson recently joined NNSA and now supports Major Modernization Programs in the Office of Defense Programs. She relocated to the D.C. area from the United Kingdom. “Part of the draw to living in an urban area for me was being able to ditch the car,” Atkinson explains, “I rarely drive anymore at all, except for weekend excursions.” Atkinson lives in Maryland, just north of the D.C. border. It takes her about 40 minutes to travel to the office each morning, but that’s not a problem. “I look forward to my commute time each day, because I get a chance to read a great book and unplug.”
Miriam D’Onofrio, Foreign Affairs Specialist for the NNSA Office of Radiological Security commutes every day on her bicycle and encourages her colleagues to try it out. “Biking within the city is by far the fastest method of transportation, and there is a strong community of women cyclists who are dedicated to supporting and advocating for one another. It’s a great way for anyone to reduce carbon emissions in their daily life!”