'Car-Free Fridays' Kicks off as Workers Ride Transit, Pedal Bikes

By Santoni, Matthew | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 13, 2009 | Go to article overview

'Car-Free Fridays' Kicks off as Workers Ride Transit, Pedal Bikes


Santoni, Matthew, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Bike Pittsburgh kicked off its first "Car-Free Fridays" yesterday, hoping that the city's recent accolades for livability, walkability and bicycle-friendliness might encourage more commuters to leave their vehicles at home and find other ways to work.

Fifteen "bikepool" leaders fanned out across the city in the morning to show first-time bicycle commuters the safest routes between such places as Downtown, Oakland and the South Side. Meanwhile, free food and demonstrations drew people to Schenley Plaza in Oakland for some back-slapping and talk of Pittsburgh's ascendance in alternatives to automobiles.

"Pittsburgh's been in the news a lot lately: 'Prevention' magazine called us among the 'most walkable' cities; 'Good' magazine rated us as a burgeoning bike scene; and 'The Economist' called us the most livable city in the U.S.," said Lou Fineberg, program manager for Bike Pittsburgh.

The goal of "Car-Free Fridays" is to encourage commuters to take carpools, trains, buses, bikes and even kayaks to work at least once a week -- emphasizing traffic, environmental and health benefits.

At least once a week whenever it is warm, Tom Walker, a 57-year- old multimedia designer at "Car-Free Fridays" sponsor Mullen Advertising, carries his kayak a quarter-mile from his home in Millvale to the Allegheny River. He then paddles downstream and lands just outside his office in the Strip District.

"When I come into the office, I'm ready to work," Walker said. …

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