I've biked to work over 40 times this year and I received $100 in Amazon gift cards from the Commute.org Bicycle Rewards Program. East Palo Alto residents who bike to work can also get these rewards!
Yesterday I met a fellow East Palo Alto biker on the Bay Trail while biking back home from work. I asked him if he knew about the $100 Commute.org bike-to-work incentive, and he didn't know about it. I have also talked to other East Palo Alto neighbors who bike and it seems like nobody really knows about it.
Commute.org is a program run by and funded by San Mateo County which incentivizes people to take alternative forms of transportation, not limited to just biking as it also includes incentives for vanpooling, taking shuttles, etc.
I learned about the Commute.org incentive when I was reading through a TDM (traffic demand management) document for one of the proposed developments in the city. For background information, East Palo Alto has a progressive ordinance which requires new development to take measures to decrease single vehicle trips by 40% from baseline.
I signed up for an account on Commute.org and I also signed up for an account on Strava. On Commute.org, I set my home and work destination, and anytime I record a bike ride via Strava it will synchronize with Commute.org and update my number of trips. For every 10 trips I make, I get a $25 gift card, with up to a $100 maximum for the year. How cool?!
I have actually already biked over 40 times to work this year, and I have maxed out my $100 Amazon gift cards. Only either home or work needs to be in San Mateo County, so a bike ride that goes from East Palo Alto (San Mateo County) to Palo Alto (Santa Clara County) qualifies as a rewardable ride.
The next question you might wonder is how many East Palo Alto residents can take advantage of this offer? Based on statistics from the East Palo Alto 2017 Bicycle Transportation Plan on page 33, of the East Palo Alto residents who work, 4% in 2007-2011 biked to work.
If we assume that this percentage held steady until today (which in my opinion is a conservative estimate since more people probably bike today due to better bike infrastructure since 2011), that amounts to 4% of 29,448 residents (per 2020 U.S. Census), and assuming half of the residents work, that multiplies out to 588 people biking to work. 588 is a pretty sizeable number considering that according to the 2020 East Palo Alto Mobility Study page 5, University Ave south of SR 84 gets around 2,100 single vehicle trips going each way. Of course, not all 588 bikers are taking University, but if they had driven instead to work and taken University, traffic on University could have increased by up to 25%.
Another cool stat is that the county average of bikers is only 1% and East Palo Alto is quadruple that at 4%!
There is a lot more investigation I can go to, but I think I will leave it here for today. The summary is that there are some great bike incentive programs in San Mateo County, and one of them is the Commute.org program. Please sign up and encourage your friends and family to sign up!