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Save the ’Zone: empowering car-lite champions in Lakewood!

Did you know that more than one million (17%) of the Denver region’s daily drive-alone trips are two miles or less? Vehicle emissions are a major contributor to ground-level pollution, and these short trips greatly impact air quality over time. Those one million trips are quick outings that could potentially shift toward public transit, bicycling or even walking. Such a shift would not only reduce pollution to make neighborhoods more pleasant to live in, but it could also help people lead healthier, happier lives.

But we know it can be all too easy to slide into your car for the one-mile trip to buy milk or drop your kids off at school. That’s why we launched Save the ‘Zone (i.e. Ozone) for healthier communities and more connected neighbors. We can help!

What is Save the ’Zone?

Bicycle Colorado, the City of Lakewood and the Regional Air Quality Council have partnered to launch the Save the ’Zone initiative. This pilot program is designed to reduce drive-alone trips and improve air quality through education and encouragement efforts targeting individuals that live or work in Lakewood.

Our goal is to train a troop of multi-modal champions who pledge to shift weekly drive-alone trips to active, public or shared transportation. We believe that this initiative has potential to not only improve Lakewood’s air quality, but also empower participants to increase physical activity, save money and develop community.

Save the ’Zone this summer

Bicycle Colorado will take the lead on programming, which is scheduled to kick off April, 2017. Here is a snapshot of what to expect this summer:

  • Promotion and demos at community events, such as Earth Day, farmer’s markets and music events.
  • Customized workshops to mobilize Metro West Housing Solutions residents.
  • School-based education throughout Lakewood. First up, Green Gables Elementary.
  • Guided group bike and metro rides throughout the city.
  • Workplace trainings for employees of the City of Lakewood and Terumo BCT.
  • Transportation challenges…with the potential for prizes for tracking your progress!

Are you interested in joining the initiative?

Below is an outline of what participation will look like:

  • Participants must live or work in Lakewood.
  • Individuals will complete a survey to evaluate current travel behaviors.
  • Each participant will pledge a number of weekly drive-alone trips to shift to more sustainable modes.
  • We will ask participants to periodically report trips. We recommend using My Way to Go for trip tracking.

But what if…?

…I am new to active or public transportation? We recognize that there are real challenges and barriers to shifting travel behavior, so we want to meet people where they are. The intent of this initiative is to equip and empower individuals to confidently navigate their community more sustainably. In addition to education programs, we will disperse regular e-newsletters with tips and resources, reward participation with incentives and establish a mentoring program to support individuals with less experience with these modes of transportation.

…I already use active or public transportation for the majority of my trips? We’re glad to hear it and need your help! In addition to taking the survey and tracking trips, you can contribute by spreading the word about Save the ’Zone, participating in events, telling your transportation success stories or even mentoring those new to bike commuting, public transit or carpooling.

…I don’t live or work in Lakewood? While this initiative is focused on Lakewood, we know that increasing accessibility to mobility is a growing priority throughout Colorado. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about the philosophy and framework of Save the ’Zone.

Are you up for the challenge? Let’s get creative!

This initiative is only as powerful as its participants – so that’s why we need YOU! Consider trying some of the approaches below to build momentum for Save the Zone and reduce drive-alone trips in Lakewood.

  • Compete with friends, coworkers or neighbors to see who can substitute the most weekly drive-alone trips.
  • Hosting an event in Lakewood? Invite our team out to participate.
  • Walk or bike with your kids to school – and encourage your neighbors to join you.
  • Participate in the group ride leader training and meet members of Lakewood’s Bicycle Advisory Team.
  • Help us recruit donations for challenge incentive prizes.

Stay tuned for Save the ’Zone updates this summer!

Stephanie Leonard

About the Author: Stephanie Leonard

Stephanie oversees the expanding education department, which includes Safe Routes to School, Bike School and multi-modal transportation programs. As a Surly bike commuter, she enjoys seeing Coloradans get excited about bicycling for transportation. Steph can be found hiking, skiing or climbing across the state every chance that she gets.


John - Reply

This sounds good and I would be interested in helping but there are a few points that keep me from doing so. Light rail costs for multiple zones are more expensive than any other major city in the US. I live less than 7 miles from work and taking public transportation would take me 90 minutes instead of 10 minutes driving. I don’t ride my bike because there aren’t bike paths and I don’t feel safe riding on the road. I wish I could help but the options are too limited.

    Stephanie Leonard - Reply

    Hi John, thanks for your honest comment – we really value your input and have heard similar feedback from other interested community members. We recognize that there are current barriers, including limited bike networks and bus routes, that may make it challenging to replace current trips with these modes. A few things we’d like to share… First of all, we want to point out that Save the ’Zone is about shifting any trips within Lakewood or your community (if you are an employee living outside of Lakewood), not just your work commute. We encourage you to participate and track those local car trips in your neighborhood or the City that you are able to substitute. There may also be a more efficient way to link modes, for example, biking to a bus stop that will get you to work or busing to a good biking point. Even challenging yourself to doing this once a week would be a fun adventure and have an impact. Carpooling sounds like another good option for you; we suggest finding others looking to carpool in your area through DRCOG’s waytogo.org. Finally, we hope to support and provide opportunities for residents to advocate for more complete bike infrastructure and bus routes. With many residents speaking up about the need for safer and more efficient active and public transportation options in Lakewood, we expect to see these changes over time. Thank you again for your concerns and we hope you might reconsider joining the initiative!


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