Friday, February 6, 2009

Daily Commuter Takes Train and Rides Bicycle

Rails & Trails: One Commuter Shares Her Multi-Modal Experience

Monday through Friday Sally Robertson rises at dawn to begin her daily commute into downtown Nashville. Sally’s commute is a multi-modal experience, a story set on rails and trails.

She rides her bike one and a half miles to the station in Mount Juliet where she boards the Music City Star. When the commuter train arrives at the Downtown Station, Sally straps her helmet back on, takes her bike off the train, rolls up her pant leg, and starts peddling down Demonbreun towards Music Row. From there, Sally bikes another seven miles to Nashville State Tech Community College where she is a librarian.

With gas prices at all time highs, Sally Robertson is one of many Nashville-area residents looking to alternative modes of transportation. In fact, the Music City Star has seen a 27 percent increase in ridership since May 2007; 700 to 800 passengers are now aboard each day. For Sally, the combination of commuter rail and bicycling makes the ride into work not only more affordable, but much more enjoyable.

“I do it for more than just the savings,” Robertson states. “I ride because it is fun, and is good for my health and the environment. The money I save is an added bonus. ”

Sally, age 52, has been getting to work through different means of public transportation since she moved here from Chicago. She and her bike have been riding the Music City Star since it first began service in 2006. Before using the train, she and her bike rode MTA buses. Her favorite mode of transportation, however, is her bicycle.

“Riding my bike to work gives me the opportunity to really experience Nashville,” Robertson claims. “Instead of staring at the car’s bumper in front of me, I’m seeing, smelling and breathing Nashville. I’m interacting with my city.”

“The last two miles of my ride are my favorite part,” Robertson explains. “Riding on the Richland Creek Greenway is very relaxing.”

Multi-modal commuting is working well for Sally and for many other people whose daily travel combines the Music City Star, bus, walking and bikes, of course. Sally is convinced that she will soon have more company on the rails and trails as more commuters recognize the convenience, savings and fun of traveling the multi-modal way.

From Star Tracks Newsletter, Courtesy of Varallo Public Relations