Commute Options promotes transportation options for commuters year round. But every year in June, Commute Options coordinates a week of special events called Commute Options Week (COW) to get more people involved in reducing drive alone trips. For the 21st annual Commute Options Week, from June 11–18, a variety of events will replace the commuter challenge that was central to past years’ events.
Of particular note, Commute Options is bringing Dan Burden, an internationally recognized authority on bicycle and pedestrian facilities and programs, livability, sustainability and Smart Growth, to Bend. Burden brings together many disciplines and issues – street design, traffic calming, living streets, public safety, bicycling, and greenways – into a holistic vision for creating healthy, livable, sustainable and prosperous communities.
Touted by Time Magazine (in 2001) as one of the six most important Civic Innovators in the World, Burden has spent the last thirty-eight years developing, promoting, and evaluating active, equitable and balanced transportation systems and sustainable communities at national, regional, state, and local levels. Along with his wife, Lys, Burden is a co-founder of Walkable Communities, www.walkable.org.
“We are very excited and proud to host Dan Burden in Central Oregon this summer,” said Kim Curley, coordinator of Commute Options Week. “He is a foremost speaker on the subject of health and community design and we hope that a variety of community members and leaders will benefit from his expertise,” she said.
Over the last 40 years, a direct correlation has been found between the vehicle miles traveled (VMP) and obesity rates of Americans. Educating citizens on how walkable communities can improve our health is an especially important message for Commute Options this year, as they have partnered with Kids @ Heart, a program funded by St. Charles Medical Center to fight childhood obesity and promote heart health in children.
Opportunities for business community members to see and hear Dan Burden speak are on June 16 during the City Club or Central Oregon (12 noon at SCMC) and later at the Healthy Community Summit (6-8 pm, also at SCMC).
Businesses can also become sponsors of these events and others during COW with a financial contribution that will help to implement a strong media campaign and create a wide variety of activities throughout the week.
Sponsorship opportunities range from contributions of $500 to $3,000 with varying levels of exposure on local television and radio stations, newspapers and zines.
“Whether you’re already a Commute Options Partner or not, becoming a sponsor for Commute Options Week offers local businesses a great amount of exposure for their dollars,” said Jeff Monson, executive director of Commute Options. “This year’s sponsors will have the exceptional experience of bringing a big-name speaker who will introduce policies and trends utilized nationwide to help our community become a better place for living, biking and walking.”
Other events coming to Commute Options Week include a Ride the Bus Free Day. All day on Monday, June 13, Central Oregonians will be able to ride Cascades East Transit (CET) and Bend Area Transit (BAT) for free. From Madras to La Pine (and everywhere in between) commuters can try out Central Oregon’s new and improved bus system at no cost.
To cap off Commute Options Week, a 21st Birthday Open House will be held at Lahaina Gallery in the Old Mill District on Friday June 17 from 6-8 pm for sponsors, Partners and attendees of Commute Options’ Walk + Bike Retreat. Catered by Twist Cocktail Catering and with live music by One Hot Mess and electric bike demos, this will be a party not to missed by those supporting transportation options in our community.
“For those who will miss the commuter challenge, we are excited to be unveiling a new technology this summer that will enable commuters to track their trips year round, not just during Commute Options Week,” said Curley. Called Rideshare Online, the new innovative, web-based software application will help to accomplish measurable trip reduction by making ridesharing easier to coordinate for commutes and other regular trips.
For more information about how to participate in, or become a sponsor of, Commute Options Week, visit www.commuteoptions.org or call Kim Curley at 541-408-6111.
Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information about Commute Options, contact Jeff Monson, Executive Director of Commute Options at 541-330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org.
Annissa Anderson is a freelance writer and PR consultant in Bend.