As traffic congestion and lack of adequate parking continues to grow at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo County aims to ease the overcrowding this week. Today marks the beginning of Rideshare Week – the county’s annual campaign to promote carpooling and alternative means of transportation. In conjunction with Cal Poly, SLO Regional Rideshare and the Air Pollution Control District of San Luis Obispo, Rideshare Week (Oct. 16 to 20) is the county’s attempt to encourage both students and workers to carpool, ride the bus, bicycle, or walk to school or work in order to alleviate city-wide traffic congestion and air pollution.

“Rideshare Week is a great time for our community to explore the road less traveled,” said Lisa Quinn, program coordinator for SLO Rideshare, in a press release. “With gas prices at an all-time high, it is important for us to get creative about how we use our limited resources.”

As an incentive to encourage faculty and student participation, Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo County will also provide prizes, including a grand prize-a trip around the world – and several smaller prizes for those who pledge to participate during Rideshare Week.

However, some Cal Poly students say Rideshare Week is a meaningful exercise that will help reduce highway and intercity traffic as well as environmental stress regardless of the incentives.

“I think it’s (Rideshare Week) a good idea if it helps promote alternative modes of transportation, especially those that don’t have any adverse effects on the environment,” said Christy Bedayan, a biological sciences junior who rides her bike to Cal Poly. “But for those that have no choice, carpooling or using the bus should be something that every student tries to takes advantage of, regardless of Rideshare Week,” she said.

According to an online poll conducted on the Mustang Daily Web site, it would appear that students are doing just that.

When asked, “What do you use for alternative transportation?” 17 percent responded that they use a skateboard to get to school, 25 percent ride the bus, 25 percent walk to school and 33 percent ride a bicycle. Information concerning how many people take advantage of carpooling was not included in the poll.

Yet it is very apparent, by the early morning traffic congestion at Foothill Boulevard, California Street, and Grand Avenue, that there is large portion of the student and faculty population that still drive to Cal Poly. And though many say they would prefer to participate during Rideshare Week, many students and faculty simply live too far away to ride a bicycle or ride the bus, while others say they can’t find anyone to carpool with.

“I would definitely like to help out by carpooling with my roommates or friends, but there isn’t an opportunity to because we all go to class at different times,” said Patrick Trautman, a mechanical engineering senior who drives to Cal Poly. “I ride a bike to school every once in a while though, and I would definitely like to do that instead of driving to class because parking is becoming such a bitch,” said Trautman.

In any event, if any students and faculty can and would like to participate to help reduce the load of traffic and emissions during Rideshare Week, check out Rideshare’s Web site at www.rideshare.org to learn more about the campaign and available prizes. The deadline to pledge is Oct. 20.

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