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Find another way and be a winner

Jeremy Heiman

Free bagels and cream cheese, free doughnuts, free orange juice and coffee! Free flying disks, water bottles and key chains! Chances to win lunches for two, dinners for two and a trip to Mexico!

All of the above could fall in your hands by simply finding a way to get to work other than behind the wheel of an automobile.

Aspen’s fifth annual Find Another Way Day is next Wednesday, July 12. People who come to work without their automobile can stop by Paepcke Park for a shot at the prizes and plenty of freebies.

According to Aspen city officials, if you drive to work alone every day and want to get out of that habit, Find Another Way Day is an opportunity to try alternative transportation. And if you always take the bus or bike to work, it’s is a way for people to get a little recognition for their efforts.

“The reason we have Find Another Way Day is to thank all the people who have already been using alternative transportation,” said Lysa Usher, the city of Aspen’s transportation coordinator. “It’s also a chance for those who have been driving every day to see that it’s not so bad.”

Anyone who leaves the car at home and rides the bus, carpools, walks, bikes or uses any other creative means to get to work is welcome to join in the festivities. If you drive, then head straight to work.

The festivities at Paepcke Park will run from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. There will be free breakfast food and live music by the Flying Dog Bluegrass Band.

To be eligible for prizes, commuters must register when they arrive, but don’t have to be present to win.

The theme of this year’s Find Another Way Day is, “I commute with a little help from my friends.”

Usher said the typical means of transportation chosen during past Find Another Way Days have been RFTA buses or bicycles. But she said an enterprising commuter kayaked to work during the first year.

“I don’t know how they did it,” she said.

One year, she said, a group from the Rocky Mountain Institute, near Old Snowmass, rode bikes to Aspen for the celebration, and then returned to work by bicycle.

The Aspen Parks Department will have a table with information on bike trails available. Also at the park will be information tables manned by people from Aspen’s Transportation Options Department and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The Aspen Police Department will be registering bikes, and several Aspen bike shops will offer bicycle safety checks and perhaps some minor tuning, Usher said.

She said though celebrating Find Another Way Day is a lot of fun, the city of Aspen hopes it will achieve a reduction in the number of people who drive, for a number of reasons.

“Traffic congestion in the summer can be really horrendous,” she said. “Alternative transportation relieves congestion, helps keep air pollution down, and makes our valley a place where people like to live.”

Usher said she’s been asked why the event only lasts until 9 a.m. by people who would like to participate later in the day. “The reason we have it from seven to nine is it’s geared for commuters,” she said.

The city of Aspen, RFTA, CDOT and M. K. Centennial are financial sponsors. The sponsors are providing the breakfast goodies and the prizes, including the grand prize trip to Mexico.


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