Time to Ditch Your Car: Walktober is Here

By Jillian Kweller

OutKast may have said, “git up, git out and git something,” in 1994, but goNewHavengo (goNHgo) is saying get up, get out and walk somewhere in October 2016.

GoNHgo, a local coalition supporting environment-friendly transportation, is encouraging the New Haven community to participate in Walktober, a series of scheduled events promoting a more resourceful commuter system.

There will be plenty of walking, talking, yoga sessions, taco truck pit stops, new friends and prizes involved with Walktober, so if you like having a great time with great people, chances are you’ll be a fan.

The purpose of goNHgo is to find transportation substitutes for commuters and help them think outside the car. Whether it’s walking, running, biking or skateboarding, Walktober is simply shedding light on how easy it is to get around in New Haven.

“It’s one more way to engage people to get out walking and meet people,” says Krysia Solheim, program manager of goNHgo. “It gives people a glimpse of New Haven they don’t usually see and makes people more aware they can get to places without a car.”

There are health and monetary benefits that come along with Walktober, but Solheim says the initiative is more about informing parents, schools, employees and businesses of transportation options they may not usually explore.

“It’s mostly about getting people to try it out,” Solheim says. “The main goal is to encourage and make people more comfortable with commuting and show it’s sustainable.”

People of all ages are welcome to join the movement. The daily activities take place around lunchtime with the earliest starting at 11:30 a.m. and the latest starting at 1 p.m., meaning people will hopefully get involved during lunch breaks or around class times. A full list of Walktober events can be found here.

Along with the local partners providing the event locations, goNHgo has notable Walktober sponsors: SeeClickFix, Denali, Yale New Haven Hospital and Being Well at Yale, all who support wellness or clean air transportation alternatives.

This is the first Walktober series, but going forward, goNHgo plans to make it an annual occurrence.

“Last year we spoke of it, but we didn’t have capacity,” Solheim says. “We reached out to the different organizations [this year] and they were really into it, so it worked out really well.

As goNHgo continuously creates general advocacy at the city level, the organization also hosts similar events throughout the year, like the Clean Air Run and a guest speaker series called Transportation on Top.

Plus, goNHgo just wrapped up its third-annual CarFree September, which had an impressive turnout of almost 700 participants.

CarFree September was a chance for businesses and individuals to think outside the car and be rewarded for it. Participants racked up points using the NuRide app to track their trips and redeemed points at local shops in New Haven. A company ice cream party, show tickets, gift cards to Zipcar, various cafes and bike shops were just a few of the prizes given away to the winners.

Much like CarFree September, Walktober is set to be a big hit.

“Each trip doesn’t make too much of a difference,” says Solheim. “But a year’s worth will.”

Lead image via Facebook.

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