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B-BOPP week urges area motorists to leave the driving to someone else

Will gasoline prices rising toward $2 for regular unleaded and the increasing number of road construction projects finally persuade Toledo area residents it's time to change the way they commute to work and school?

Will orange construction barrels persuade Toledoans to let somebody else do the driving for a change, or walk or ride a bike to work?

For the eighth straight May, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments is holding B-BOPP week to remind motorists that there are other ways to get around than driving solo in the family car, truck, or van.

Special events planned for B-BOPP week - which stands for Bike, Bus, Or Pool, Pedestrian - are designed to promote taking the bus, car pooling, train travel, riding a bike, and walking as ways to reduce gasoline and exhaust emissions.

“We've got gas prices climbing off the charts, and construction everywhere that makes driving a real hassle,” said Diane Reamer-Evans, a transportation planner with the council of governments.

B-BOPP, she said, offers “a whole week of alternatives for people to consider.”

Ordinarily, Toledo's relatively unclogged roads and inexpensive downtown parking make luring local commuters out of their cars a tough sell. But in recent weeks the cheapest grades of gasoline have soared into the mid-$1.80s per gallon, and construction has made I-75 into a study of frustration between I-475 and I-280.

The council of governments' Share-A-Ride program, which will be promoted tomorrow, arranges car pools and provides guaranteed rides home for workers who, for whatever reason, are unable to get home with their pool. In addition, anyone who registers with Share-A-Ride before the end of May is entered into a drawing for one of five $20 gasoline certificates.

Other B-BOPP promotions include bicycling events Tuesday in Bowling Green and Toledo, discount TARTA fares Wednesday, and group Amtrak trips to Cleveland Friday and Sandusky on Saturday.

At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner will issue a Bicycle Day proclamation at Walbridge Park, followed by a bike-to-work downtown. At 11:45 a.m., a group led by Bowling Green Mayor John Quinn will bike from city hall to a picnic at City Park.

On Wednesday, the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority will reduce its regular 85-cent fare to a quarter and offer 50-cent rides to paratransit patrons. Bicyclists who use the new TARTA bus bike racks may ride for 25 cents all week.

Pete Gozza, president and chief executive of Downtown Toledo, Inc., and Theresa Pollick, promotions coordinator for WTWB TV-5, are among those scheduled to join in a Celebrity Walk stepping off at 11:30 a.m. Thursday from the downtown Radisson Hotel on Summit Street between Monroe Street and Jefferson Avenue.

Reservations for the train trips, which leave at 11:10 a.m. each day, must be made through Amtrak. The Cleveland trip Friday costs $34 per person and is scheduled to return at 8:15 p.m., while those on the Sandusky trip Saturday will return by chartered TARTA bus after a stop at the Toft Dairy in Sandusky.

Also Saturday, the Safe Kids Coalition will offer free helmets to the first 20 children who participate in a bicycle safety program from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Westgate Village Shopping Center.

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