Making the Most of an Atlanta Commute
Thursday, May 17th 2012
Virginia-Highland resident Tom Tomaka bikes to work in Downtown Atlanta
Each morning, Virginia-Highland resident Tom Tomaka gears up for his four-mile commute to work.
But instead of grabbing his car keys on his way out the door, Tomaka throws on his bicycle gear.
Tomaka, 52, bikes to and from his office at the Clean Air Campaign in Downtown Atlanta daily.
"Sometimes when the traffic is heavy, I can get there faster on a bike, especially the way the traffic backs up on the downtown end of Freedom Parkway," Tomaka said.
He saves about $52 a week by riding a bike to work, but also saves his family the cost of buying another car.
Though the cost saving is great, Tomaka said it’s not about the money.
"Bicycling is part of my DNA," he said. "Bicycling empowers me to move on my own, to break an honest sweat, to interact with my community with all its joggers, trees, potholes in a way that would be impossible from the confines of a glass-and-steel-and-plastic can."
Tomaka is long-time bicyclist and has "always preferred cycling to other modes of transportation."
Before settling in Virginia-Highland in 1990, he lived in New York and Philadelphia, where he also relied on his bicycle to get around town.
He said Atlanta is by no means a bike-friendly city, but he feels safe riding on the streets.
“I don’t feel any more at risk than I would in an automobile,” he said.
It takes him about 20 to 25 minutes to ride from his home on Lanier Boulevard to his downtown office across the street from Woodruff Park.
In a car, the drive is about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
"I just love arriving at work in the morning feeling like I’ve had a bit of a workout," he said. "I’m not stressed out. I also feel good because I save money and I did something to help the environment."