On April 11, 2019, Cambridge-based Green Streets Initiative celebrated the accomplishments of the 2018 Commuter Challenge workplaces and kicked off its 8th annual Commuter Challenge.
The event was hosted by Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern at Cambridge City Hall. Mayor McGovern spoke about Green Streets Initiative's important role in helping the City of Cambridge move forward on policies and infrastructure changes to improve commuting for all people and modes of transportation. He then handed out awards to the three 2018 Challenge winners with the largest staff participation: Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Enel X NA, and Miller Dyer Spears Architects.
Mayor McGovern was joined by Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone. Mayor Curtatone jokingly warned Mayor McGovern that Somerville would be giving Cambridge tough competition in this year's Challenge. Somerville already has a larger share of cyclists than Cambridge among Green Streets participants as per 2018 data.
Also sharing remarks and congratulating 2018 Challenge winners were Bill Kane, EVP of BioMed Realty and Jim Aloisi, former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation. Bill spoke about the many ways he commutes from Marblehead to Kendall Square, including by bike, ferry and commuter rail. Jim Aloisi shared that transportation is shifting towards sustainable mobility. He explained that sustainable mobility is not just the latest buzz word but a moral attitude towards mobility that gives everyone safe, efficient and reliable access to critical destinations such as jobs and family. He commended Green Streets for helping to normalize and socialize sustainable mobility decisions. His talk is accessible here on YouTube.
The event also included a panel discussion with Green Streets coordinators from Takeda, Enel X and Miller Dyer Spears. The coordinators shared how the Challenge impacts their office culture and individuals' commuting choices. Beth Eisenhower, coordinator at Miller Dyer Spear noted that the Challenge is a fun way to engage all colleagues because everyone can talk about their commute. Miller Dyer Spears has won numerous ice cream parties from the Green Streets Initiative over the last few years to catalyze conversations.
The 2019 Challenge officially kicked off during the last week of April and will run during the last week of every month through the end of October. It unites approximately 30 workplaces in an effort to spread the word to all colleagues and commuters about the impact of commuting on body, mind and environment. For those who already adopt sustainable modes of transportation and/or who are satisfied with their commute, the Challenge provides the opportunity to start a dialog with colleagues about healthy transportation choices. For those with little to no commuting options outside of driving to work, the Challenge helps them reflect on what their ideal commute could look like and to inquire with their employer and colleagues about existing and new options such as vanpooling, carpooling, shuttle service and other pooled modes.