San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District officials are asking Valley residents to change several behaviors that cause smog-forming emissions, including driving automobiles, due to an Air Alert that was issued Tuesday and will continue through Sunday.
Some Turlock residents have already chosen to ride bikes over driving cars. They say that the switch takes some adjustment and planning, but that it is not impossible to get around by bicycle in Turlock.
Amy Rodrigues and her family moved to Turlock from Delhi because it was more convenient to live in Turlock and bike everywhere. Rodrigues is a graduate student at California State University, Stanislaus and three of her four children attend school in Turlock. She was making around four car trips a day between Delhi and Turlock.
“We chose to move to Turlock to make less of a carbon footprint. It seemed like most of our life was within one block in Turlock. We try to be really eco-conscious, so moved to some place where we could ride our bikes everywhere,” Rodrigues said.
Chris Dunne also rides his bike around town, but he was more reluctant to leave his car at home. Dunne relied on his car to get to his paid internship until it broke down several weeks ago. He said that he didn’t realize how easy it was to get around town on his bicycle until he was forced to try it.
“I’ve actually been riding a friend’s bike. But I really enjoy it, and I think I’ll get my own bike and keep riding to work even after my car is fixed,” he said.
The Rodrigues family, all six of them, manage to get around Turlock by riding bikes and taking the bus. Amy Rodrigues even rode her bike across town to the farmers market, but it took some planning. She wasn’t sure at first if she could get all of her produce back on a bicycle. She has also noticed that many areas of town are not accessible by bicycle, especially Geer Road and Golden State Boulevard, two main cross-town arteries.
“I think that people want this kind of lifestyle, but this town was not designed for bike transportation. I think it can be done, but there are opportunities for improvement,” Rodrigues said.
She made it to the market by taking a combination of bike lanes and busses. Rodrigues said that using the bicycle rack on the bus was easy, the hard part was getting between bus stops when there was no bike lane.
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