Below we feature “Rockstar Commuters”: Matt Pierce, Valeri Craigle, and Zach Williams. Let their stories and advice inspire you to reduce solo car trips during the inversion season.
- Matt Pierce—metadata specialist and scanning technician at the Library—rides his bike or takes the bus to work everyday. He says, “Try biking at least once. The experience might offer a different perspective on transit, urban design, and the centrality of the automobile to our way of life. It may be just as important to voice support for larger social programs and incentives that are class-aware and culturally engaged as it is to focus on individual culpability and relinquishing one’s personal transportation privileges.”
Matt decided to sell his car in 2013 to offset the rising cost of living, student loan debt, and a downturn in the economy. Matt holds BA in Film Studies and a Master’s in Library Science from UCLA. His interests include archival science, critical theory, social justice issues and avant-garde film, music, and art.
- Valeri Craigle—head of technical services and digital initiatives at the library—didn’t buy a parking pass and is committed to riding her bike everyday because “parking and traffic at the U is a fiasco.” She says, “you just have to force yourself at first. It’s so worth it. The initial pain is worth the energy and sense of accomplishment you feel when you’ve made it up the hill. I get to work feeling energized and that energy lasts throughout the day.”
She recommends you “Silence those conversations you’re having with yourself about how it’s too hard, or you’ll get too sweaty for your work clothes, or whatever. You can find a way.” Valeri has biked to work off and on for 20+ years which led her to try mountain biking—now her favorite sport. “Get on a bike and you’ll discover passions you never knew existed. I guarantee it.”
- Zach Williams—a 2L–was one of the winners of last year’s summer Challenge for logging 3,008 miles. He lives in Provo and commuted to and from work and school using Front Runner. “It was a long summer, but being able to commute on public transportation made life a lot easier. I did projects while traveling instead of driving, never looked for parking, saved a lot of money, limited my carbon footprint, and improved Utah’s air quality. Using public transportation is a small way we as students can stop being part of the problem, and become a part of the solution.”
“My advice is use your time effectively on public transit. If you just sit there and wait for your stop, you’ll feel like you’re wasting time. But if you do things that you would otherwise do at home or school, like homework or sending emails, you’ll feel like you’re being productive. Consider selecting a ‘commuting task’ like always doing your Con Law II reading. Then studying on Trax can become a habit.”