Group urges residents to curb driving 

Getting around the Peninsula by bike or public transit can be a challenge with budget cuts and increased congestion, but citizen groups are daring residents to get out of their cars and reduce the carbon footprint as part of the second Drive Less Challenge.

Founded in 2009 by the Menlo Park Green Ribbon Citizens’ Committee, the challenge urges participants to get from place to place by walking, biking, car-pooling or taking public transportation instead of driving alone.

Participants who sign up online can track their miles online and set goals for green travel, according to the committee’s

In its first year, the challenge had 120 participants. This year, the group is looking to grow, and in doing so has expanded outside Menlo Park’s borders to include the communities of Mountain View, Palo Alto and Burlingame to encourage residents to get out of their cars.

The challenge started on Earth Day and continues through Wednesday.

The group said it hopes 2,500 people will participate. Roughly 127 people are listed as “fans” on its Facebook page.

At the end of the challenge, prizes will be awarded for the most green travel, the greenest group, the person who drove the least and the person with the greatest year-over-year improvement in using green travel.

Residents have taken to the challenge.

Kim Osborn, 40, of San Mateo said she signed up for the program and, though it only just begun, she hasn’t logged many alternative miles.

“I’ll have to get back in there,” she said.

Osborn, who works from home, said she has, however, cut her solo car trips to three days a week. She said she takes her car for larger family errands or trips to the supermarket.

“It’s not easy to ride the bus when you go to Costco,” she said.

But Osborn said she does support public transit. Also, she has volunteered as part of SamTrans’ ambassador program, where she teaches senior citizens and first-time passengers how to ride the bus, where to wait at stops and how to pay.

Osborn said as a Peninsula native, she has been riding public transportation since she was in junior high school.

“As we grow and the population grows and ages, I think it's imperative to have public transportation available, but also as a service for those who have no other options,” Osborn said.

Drive less and win

Prizes will be awarded for:

  • Most green travel (biking, walking, public transit, car-pooling — most miles and trips)
  • Greenest group (workplace, school, faith community, et al.)
  • Least driving (you need to log every day to be eligible)
  • Greatest green improvement (you need to add your baseline to be eligible for prize)


For the environment: The Drive Less Challenge encourages walking, biking, car-pooling or taking public transit to get around and reduce one’s carbon footprint.

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