It’s once again time to start shifting the way you get from point A to B in Peterborough. The annual Shifting Gears Challenge kicked off last week, encouraging you to leave the car at home and use greener modes of transportation.
Until this year, Shifting Gears was a month-long commuter challenge for workplaces, that encouraged employees to walk, cycle, take transit, carpool, and telework. Now, it’s a community challenge, so you can participate if you’re a student or a community member that does not have a workplace. All transportation trips made during the month of May will count — including errands, walks to school, social trips, and appointments.
“Shifting Gears has had a significant impact on the way people commute to work in our city” says Susan Sauvé, Transportation Demand Management Planner at the City of Peterborough. “We’re excited to expand the program to engage students, older adults, and people who need their car for work.”
There are many reasons to participate in Shifting Gears with the benefits ranging from better physical and mental health to improved air quality to lower family transportation costs and reduced demand on parking spaces.
Leaving the car at home also has many great community benefits as well. These include:
- Decreased traffic congestion and the potential for vehicle collisions
- More “eyes on the street,” improving street safety
- Reduced necessity of road maintenance and construction due to excess use
- Showcases our community as being a steward of our environment.
All people living or working in Peterborough can participate in Shifting Gears by signing up at peterboroughmoves.com.
The workplace challenge will continue to be a component of the new community program, and workplaces will still be able to compete against each other to have the highest number of participating employees and sustainable trips.
Trips that are logged as ‘work’ trips will count toward your workplace totals. Employers will be competing in size categories: Micro (1-10 employees), Small (11-25), Medium (26-250), and Large (251+).
This year there will continue to be a Master’s Class category as part of the challenge. These are workplaces that have been ranked as top two in their category two or more times. This year will be the third year they’ll complete against each other.
All workplaces are recognized for participation, while the best of each category will be awarded the coveted “Travel-Wise Employer” award.
All participants will also have the opportunity to win a number of exciting weekly prizes, giveaways, and a grand prize of $750 for Resorts of Ontario. And, the Shifting Gears team will be at the Wednesday Farmers’ Market each week during the month of May doing free bike check-ups.
Beyond helping the environment, there are also many great prizes available to be won! To qualify for a weekly prize, you must have entered at least one trip that week that is a non-drive trip. You must enter your trips by 12 p.m. on the Monday following the week for which a prize is being drawn. There is one prize drawn each week for a $75 pre-paid VISA card.
The Grand Prize of a $750 Ontario Resort Gift Certificate will be selected through a random draw from all participants who have tracked at least four non-drive trips during the Shifting Gears Challenge. All tracking forms must be submitted by workplace coordinators to the Shifting Gears Ambassador, Brianna Salmon, by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3rd.
This year, Shifting Gears will giving away prizes to participants that they see walking, biking, riding transit, or carpooling throughout the month of May. You could receive a bike light or a gift card for ice cream, coffee, or juice. Watch for Brianna on the trails, streets, and perhaps even at your workplace.
Signing up for Shifting Gears is easy. All you have to do is go to peterboroughmoves.com. New participants enter some basic information to sign up and those who participated in past years can log in to update their information for 2015.
The challenge runs the entire month of May and is supported by GreenUP, the City of Peterborough, the Peterborough County-City Health Unit and Wild Rock Outfitters. For more information, email email@example.com or call her at 705-745-3238 ext 203.