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Planning Your New Commute

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Whether you’re in the process of unpacking boxes in your new home, or you’re still looking at listings, finding the shortest and most economical route to and from work is a high priority. Luckily, Southern Utah has many options for commuters of all kinds. First, look at your options for your daily commute. Then, you can begin developing an efficient commuting plan.

Public Transportation

If your commute takes you to Provo or farther north, you may be able to catch a FrontRunner or TRAX train. The trains don’t run farther south than Provo. However, even if you aren’t near the tracks, you may still be able to catch a bus or streetcar. Many Southern Utah cities have their own public transportation system. For short distances from the bus or streetcar station, consider bringing your bike or skateboard along to complete the commute.

If you decide that the bus, train, or streetcar is your best commuting choice, consider purchasing a bus pass. These passes need only be scanned as you step onto the streetcar platform or enter the bus, which can save you time and inconvenience.

Visit the Utah Department of Transportation website to begin planning your public transit route.

Cycling

Most cities in Utah have sidewalks and bike lanes to accommodate cyclists. Biking to and from work is not only environmentally friendly, but it’s also a great way to get familiar with a new neighborhood while getting some exercise.

If you decide to make biking part of your commute, be sure to follow these rules of the road:

  • Wear reflective and light-colored clothing to ensure you are visible to motorists.
  • Always wear protective gear (a bike helmet and knee or elbow pads if needed).
  • Fit your bike with proper lights and reflectors, especially if you will be riding at dawn, dusk, or in the dark.
  • Travel with the flow of traffic and stay as far right as possible except when passing a car or other cyclist, turning left or avoiding unsafe conditions.
  • Travel in the bike lane when possible. If riding on the sidewalk, yield to pedestrians, wheelchairs, and skaters.

For the complete list of Utah-specific cycling guidelines, visit www.UtahBike.org.

Pedestrians

If your workplace is within a comfortable walking distance to your home, consider walking to work at least a few times a week. Walking is great exercise and commuting on foot will save you money on gas. Southern Utah has many beautiful paved walking trails for use by pedestrians and cyclists. Most routes will be equipped sidewalks, even if there are no walking trails.

Planning Your Route

No matter which method of transportation works best with your schedule and location, it is important to establish a daily plan and backup plan. Here are some steps for developing your plan:

  1. Get a time estimate. Use a program like Google Maps to calculate the time length of your commute. Estimate the time commitment more than once, spaced throughout the day, so that you can get an idea of how traffic conditions will affect your commute.
  2. Perform a trial run. Choose a day when you don’t have to be at work (or anywhere else) at a specific time. Then hop on your chosen bus or pull out your bike and test your route. Time yourself.
  3. Consider how inclement weather conditions will affect the route. Will you have enough visibility to bike in the rain? Could snow or ice make walking the route dangerous or impractical? If inclement weather would make your chosen commuting method difficult or unsafe, come up with a backup plan so you’ll be prepared.
  4. Be conscious of changing road conditions. Many roadways in Southern Utah will be under construction within the next few years. Stay aware of plans for construction in your area and plan alternate routes to avoid unsafe road conditions.

If you aren’t sure where to start with your commuting plan, talk to your new neighbors or your coworkers who are Utah natives. With a little strategic preparation, you can take advantage of Utah’s public transportation system or extensive walking routes. Use these tips to plan a commute that will get you to and from work safely (and inexpensively).

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