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Alternative transport event begins.

Byline: SUSAN PALMER The Register-Guard

Step out of the vehicle, please.

Eugene's third annual People Powered Fridays begins this month, wherein the city offers a mix of friendly encouragement and outright bribes to ease people away from fuel-powered travel one day a week in favor of feet, bikes and anything else powered by human energy.

The three-month program is designed to help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, said Diane Bishop, who oversees cycling programs for the city.

But it has obvious health benefits for those who participate as well as something less tangible - a greater sense of community connection - she said.

People in air-conditioned cars driving along with their music playing are isolated, and often lose touch with the people walking and biking around them, Bishop said.

Getting out of the car one day a week puts people back in the real world, she said, meaning, "We're more in communication with each other."

People Powered Fridays runs through the summer months when the weather is less threatening, Bishop said. Its promoters hope that besides getting people out of the their cars one day a week, it also helps them start thinking about how often they really need to jump in the car and go. "Some people forget they have other options," she said.

Local businesses step in with incentives for registered participants in the way of prizes that include a bike from Paul's Bicycle Way of Life, bicycle accessories from Collins and clothing from REI, not to mention T-shirts that are given out at drawings the third Friday of each month.

The past two years have drawn about 500 registered participants, Bishop said. This year, she's hoping 1,000 people will find a way to leave their cars behind one day a week.

Registration forms are available at all three Eugene Public Library branches; at Amazon, Hilyard, Sheldon and Petersen Barn community centers; the Sheldon, Amazon and Echo Hollow pools; and at the prize donors' stores.

Free coffee and pastries will be available at the third Friday celebrations, the first set for 8:30 a.m. June 21 on the southeast side of the Ferry Street Bridge.

For more information, call Cindy Clarke at 682-5285.
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Title Annotation:Environment
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 2, 2002
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