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Reverse commuter flips the script using bike, Metra

This post was authored by Research Assistant Melanie Truhn.

Recent Miami transplant Jeremy Davit has turned to a new type of commute to save time and get some exercise. The Chicago Botanic Garden’s corporate relations manager lives in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood and commutes daily to the garden in Glencoe, Ill. Davit was driving alone each day, until he spoke with me at a corporate roundtable on sustainability. Davit was feeling the psychological, financial and physical effects of driving to and from work each day, and my presentation at the garden's roundtable made him think about the other options available to him.

Davit looked at his commute and realized both his home and office were about a mile from Metra stations. He began by walking to and from the train each day. Now, Davit covers the eight blocks between his home and the Ravenswood Metra station on bike. Because he making a reverse commute – going the opposite direction of rush hour traffic – he may take his bike on the Metra train. After a 33-minute ride, Davit hops off the train at the Braeside station in Highland Park and bikes a quick mile to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s offices. On his way home in the evening, Davit bypasses the train completely and bikes the entire way, covering most of the distance on the Green Bay Trail.

Davit enjoys his new commute so much that he was inspired to create this short video of his ride. Here he shares the highlights of the trail through the North Shore, which runs from Wilmette to Lake Bluff and offers riders almost 18 miles of car-free cycling. According to Google, Davit’s cycle trip home is 18 miles long and takes roughly 90 minutes. He says the new commute saves 20 minutes round trip compared to driving. It also saves about $100 on transportation costs, eliminates daily trips to the gym, and gives him time to process and think about his day while biking home.

The Chicago Botanic Garden hopes to encourage both employees and visitors to ride from the Braeside Metra stop in the future. The first phase of their Hundred Acre Wood plan calls for a multi use path connecting the station to the garden along Lake Cook Road. The plan states, “The path’s construction is a critical part of local, regional, and statewide plans to provide greater and safer access for bicyclists and pedestrians, while encouraging alternative “green” transportation.”

Perhaps more will be inspired by Davit’s efforts and begin the bicycle journey from Chicago to the garden, for work or pleasure.

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