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May 28th, 2008
09:45 AM ET

Anything but the car!

What's the best way to commute? Driving, walking, biking, or riding the subway? CNN's Jill Dougherty does them all, for different reasons.
What's the best way to commute? Driving, walking, biking, or riding the subway? CNN's Jill Dougherty does them all, for different reasons.

Jill Dougherty | Bio
U.S. Affairs Correspondent

I know I'm lucky. I live in Washington, D.C. We may not have full voting rights like other Americans but we do have a lot of ways to commute to work. I use four of them – driving, subway, biking and walking – for different reasons.

Driving is my least favorite. I live just three miles from work but it can take me up to 40 minutes door-to-door when the traffic is bad, which it is most of the time. Then there's pollution, the cost of gas, the aggravation with all those suburban drivers (who pay lower taxes, but that's another story) coming into the Capital.

Metro is great, even if there are delays. In spite of recent fare increases, Metro officials tell me ridership on the system is up 6% over last year and it's continuing to grow as gas prices increase.

The subway is good for the environment; Metro says one 8-car train can remove more than 1,000 cars on the street. Metro's General Manager John Catoe Jr. tells me "If we didn't have the Metrorail system, we would have to build 1,500 miles of highways, right in the Washington region. Where would you build those? What impact would that have?"

I also walk. Free, non-polluting, great exercise. But, even more, it's my way of clearing my head. Listening to the birds. Listening to the different languages of tourists peering through the black iron gates at the White House.

Finally, biking. I have a 1967 Raleigh Sports, three speeds. It's all you need. I've worked out a route that I call "say hello to the Presidents." I ride by the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial (if I have more time,) the Washington Monument and on to Capitol Hill.

Just the word "commuting" sounds like a hassle. It doesn't have to be.


Filed under: Commute • Jill Dougherty • Oil
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Tammy, Hamden CT

    I would love to ride my bike to work, I live 7+ miles one way from home to work, but unfortunately hospitals tend to be built in not the greatest of neighborhoods, and the streets in New Haven I would have to take have had a lot of random shootings, last summer alone, there were 6-9 children shot for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time on the route I would have to take. It's too bad because I would at this point prefer to ride and get the exercise at the same time. My other option would be to take the bus instead of driving, but then what is normally a 15-20 minute commute would then turn into a 1-1.5 hr ordeal with the transferring because of the way the routes are set up

    May 28, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  2. Chris - Hemet, Ca.

    Gas prices in my area of California are really hurting people. Because things are pretty spread out here, many people commute quite a distance to work and of course many of these commuters were
    crazy enough to buy one of those six thousand pound mountains of metal called SUVs. I paid $4.27 a gallon last weekend and I'm only two miles from work so I can make that last three to four weeks (I get really good milage..........really good!). I know people who have lost their jobs because they simply couldn't get there, and of course now they about to be evicted for not paying rent/mortgage, which means the children will probably have to change schools and on and on and on.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  3. MANGO

    STOP COMPLANTING ABOUT THE PRICE OF GAS AND DO SOMETHING.
    IT WOULD NOT DO US ANY GOOD IF WE JUST DO SOMETHING FOR A WEEKEND OR A WEEK.
    STOP DRIVING YOUR CAR NOW. ON THE WAY HOME FROM WORK NOTE IF THEIR IS A GROCERY STORE, DRY CLEANERS, DRUG STORE, EXT. ON THE WAY HOME STOP AND BUY WHAT YOU NEED.
    IS YOUR CAR PAID FOR? BUY A MORE FUEL EFFICENT CAR, SELL YOUR CAR, IS THEIR A BUS LINE YOU CAN USE.
    WOULD YOUR EMPLOYER ALLOW YOU TO WORK FROM HOME?
    WOULD HE ALLOW YOU TO WORK 10 HOURS A DAY 4 DAYS A WEEK.
    A LITTLE EXTRA EFFORT ON YOUR PART COULD REDUCED THE PRICE OF GAS. IF NOT DO NOT DRIVE. ARE YOU A STAY AT HOME MOM. CAN YOU DO WITHOUT A CAR? THINK ABOUT THIS AN WHAT THE INSURANCE ON THE CAR WOULD SAY YOU. PROBABLY A VACATION TRIP WITH THE EXTRA MONEY SAVED

    May 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  4. Renee

    Good Morning Jill!

    Congratulations on your commute. Husband rides his bike to work nearly every day and loves it. I gave him a shirt last week that says "Simplify" with a bike on it. It is quite cute.

    Like Sharon said we all need to re-think this "yuppie" thing. I am totally convinced that "things" don't bring you happiness. It is your internal moral compass that brings hope and happiness.

    May 28, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  5. Jay, Denver CO

    Keep up the great commute!

    May 28, 2008 at 11:50 am |
  6. Sharon from Indy

    Jill:
    Yes, you are lucky you live in D.C.

    Living in the city of Indianapolis with a metro population of over 1 million, our city was not built to be mobile other than with automobiles. Presently, we do not have car pool lanes, bike paths, or a convenient mass transit system.

    Fortunately, city planners made a wise decision many years ago that had nothing to do with the gas prices. It is our connecting pathways or trails linking our the city neighborhoods. It may have started out a "Yuppie" thing, but the plans have been made, and the walking or bike paths may be taken more seriously as we face the upcoming $5 per gallon gas prices.

    Also, I believe the "mom and pop" shops of the past are going to come back. The neighborhood drug store and small shopping center will develop because citizens are not going to send hundreds of dollars commuting back and forth to Walmart or the mall.

    Sounds like a pipe dream? Or maybe it is just a reality check.

    May 28, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  7. Annie Kate

    Jill,

    I envy the walking and bike riding; I'd likely get run over down here. I am hoping that we get more light rail systems here in the South to save on gas and pollution and get rid of some of the hassle of getting back and forth to work. Thanks for sharing your options and your description of your bike route – it sounds like the best of all your options with so much to see along the way.
    a
    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 28, 2008 at 10:10 am |