By Leanora Minai
June/July, 2013 Issue
A New Commute
After racking up about 100,000 miles driving to work since 2005, I'm giving up my Duke parking permit.
When my permit expires Aug. 15, I'll try trading in my daily car commute on most work days for walking, biking or riding the free Bull City Connector. I'll drive in inclement weather and on certain meeting days, and after 90 days, I'll reassess.
This change is possible because I sold my house in Raleigh and moved to Durham to be closer to work and the burgeoning culture of the city. My daily round-trip commute dropped from nearly 60 miles to just under four miles.
As a result of moving closer to work, I've cut my annual contribution to Duke's carbon footprint from 9.85 metric tons of carbon dioxide to 1.96, according to Duke's carbon calculator.
I've also drastically cut my fuel bill. I spent about $3,000 a year on fuel to commute from Raleigh to Durham and have gone from filling up once a week to once a month. And I'll save $444 this year on parking.
According to Sustainable Duke's 2012 progress report, 74 percent of Duke staff and faculty drive to work alone, with carpooling (10 percent) and the bus (6 percent) as the other most popular choices for employees.
Not everyone can take the steps I did, but I encourage you to consider Duke's alternative transportation options to see what may work for you. For example, did you know parking is free in a preferred Duke lot for a four-member carpool, or that Duke can help you organize a vanpool that comes with free fuel, insurance and parking?
Parking permit renewal begins June 10, and rates are set to rise between 75 cents to $10.50 per month, depending on permit type. Be sure to check out the Q&A with Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration, on page 9 to learn more about the future of parking at Duke and plans for a new rate structure.
So how about you? Are you planning any changes to your commute? If so, send a note to email@example.com or call me at (919) 681-4533. I'll share highlights I receive from readers, as well as an update on my experience in a few months.
Learn more about transit options at parking.duke.edu/alternative.