Think outside the car challenge launched

riding bus during transit challenge
Riding the bus during last Spring’s transit challenge

The city has launched the Think Outside the Car Challenge to encourage Burlington residents to leave the car at home and choose active and alternative transportation. The challenge runs Sept. 15 – Oct. 30.

According to Vito Tolone, acting director of transportation at the City of Burlington, 90% of all trips within our city are made with an automobile.

To participate in the challenge:

  1. Ask a friend or family member to take a photo or video of you using alternative transportation when you would have normally taken your vehicle. Share on social media using #ThinkOutsidetheCar.
  2. Challenge three friends, family members or co-workers to choose alternative transportation instead of using their vehicle.
  3. Be part of the change.

To learn more about the Think Outside the Car Challenge and how you can get involved, visit or connect on Facebook, on Twitter and on Instagram

My Take:

It’s always worthwhile to think of ways to reduce our reliance on the car – carpooling with friends; running multiple errands to reduce our number of trips; walking, cycling or taking transit when we can.

These steps will help in the short run, but will ultimately make only a marginal impact on auto use in Burlington because of why our residents use cars and how our community is designed. People drive long distances to work; use the car for transporting heavy items or in bad weather; to transport children; to get from A to B quickly when transit won’t; and more.

What will help curb auto use in the long term is the “un-big-boxing” of our communities, designing neighbourhoods where daily amenities are within walking distance, and most importantly, jobs are close by.

Burlington has developed as a commuter suburban big box heaven. Until we build mixed use communities (including on some of our employment lands); attract good local jobs; keep neighbourhood schools in our neighbourhoods; and develop a fast, cheap reliable transit system (preferably regional), alternative transportation will remain a challenge for us.

These larger issues are for various levels of government to tackle. So as we challenge residents to see what you can do to ditch the car, we have our own work cut out for us.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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  1. I already ride my bike to and from work, from the Burlington core to McMaster University. I have no problem except maybe the city should do something about the poor conditions I have to ride on. The bike lanes along Plains Road are awful. In some places they are a hazard to cyclists. The section from King Road to Francis Road is the worst. If you want people to ride bikes then maybe the city could ensure that where they ride is safe. I follow the rules of the road, I ride on the road…I am not a pedestrian, I am a vehicle and as such do not use sidewalks. When we have to ride through pot holes big enough to swallow us, this is a hazard. In some cases you can’t ride around these hazards without a car driver honking their horn because they feel you are taking over their lane. Take care of the lanes we ride in and maybe you’ll find that more people are interested in riding to work.

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