Snohomish County PUD Shares their Week Without Driving Experiences

Week Without Driving Challenge right around the corner

By Snohomish County Public Utility District

Getting in our car is a daily part of life for most of us. But not everyone has that same luxury.

The Week Without Driving Challenge, which takes place from October 2 – 8, seeks to encourage us to consider what options we have other than a car for transportation. It also helps show what life is like for those who don’t own a car due to inaccessibility, unaffordability, a physical disability or other reason.

Now in its third year, the event aims to help us address barriers that non-drivers experience when trying to move through our communities. You can participate by using alternative means of transportation for a single day (or more) during the challenge week. You can do this on your own or sign up to join the challenge

A year ago, Jason Cummings, Assistant Environmental Specialist at the Snohomish County PUD, participated in the challenge and learned a lot about local transportation. Jason, one of the PUD’s Employee Transit Coordinators, felt like he should participate if he was asking other members of Team PUD to as well.

“It was really hard for me to find ways of finding alternative means of transportation, especially because I have a son in sports,” said Jason. “We both took the bus to his practice one night and there was a lot of effort and time involved in getting there. It was good to explain to my son why we were doing it and the importance to think about those barriers and obstacles others might face daily. It’s easy to take for granted the opportunity to just get in a car and go somewhere.

“Finding ways like this Week Without Driving Challenge where we, as Team PUD, can be involved and participate in minimizing our environmental impact, is something I’m passionate about and find very important.”

So how does it work? You can get around however you want, except for driving a car. This applies to all activities – not just your work commute. If you ask someone else to drive you, make a note of how much you “owe” this person for their time. At the end of the week, you will be invited to participate in a voluntary survey to share what you learned.

Hopping in a car to drive is something many of us take for granted, but nearly a quarter of people in Washington state are unable to afford the cost of vehicle ownership. The challenge encourages you to leave your car parked and find other ways to get around, including taking the bus, carpooling or ride shares, riding a bike and walking.

The PUD also offers a ride share option available to employees as part of its Commute Trip Reduction initiative.

To help you or someone you know experiencing inaccessibility to transportation, see Snotrac’s Mobility Map/Guide for door-to-door services in Snohomish County (below). In addition, you can utilize the trip planners to find bus schedules for Community Transit and Everett Transit, the latter of which is hosted by King County Metro and can help you navigate the entire Puget Sound region.

Laura Zorick, Communications and Marketing Consultant and the PUD’s other Employee Transit Coordinator, is planning on making Week Without Driving an international challenge this year. Laura will be on vacation visiting Machu Picchu over the week of the challenge but has pledged to utilize public transit to get around Peru as well.

“I’m not sure how it’s going to go in South America, but the Week Without Driving Challenge is a great way to learn about alternative methods of travel in our communities,” Laura said. “It’s so beneficial to find alternative methods of travel – and it’s a great way to get out of our comfort zones and explore our service area.”

Sign up for the National Week Without Driving Challenge here!

Snohomish PUD is a public utility agency that serves residents of Snohomish County and Camano Island, Washington.