Center: $4 gas? There is a greener way

If the idea of paying more than $4 a gallon for gas isn't appealing but the idea of taking the bus is frightening, head to the Environmental Nature Center for tips on how to get around with public transportation.

The Newport Beach center is hosting "Getting There, Greener," a presentation by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) at 6 p.m. March 1 to explain how to use the train and bus systems, safe bike riding and ride share.

The presentation will go over what public transportation options are available and the basics of using them, including safety.

Each resident who completes a short survey at the end will receive an all-day bus pass that doesn't expire, said Sarah Serdienis, OCTA marking specialist.

"We're trying to get the public aware of more transportation options," she said. "I think it's easy to just drop in your car and go somewhere ... we don't really think about the consequences that occur when we drive our gas-guzzling SUVs."

Lori Whalen, executive director of the center, said her experiences riding her bike around the community and seeing so many parents dropping their children off in cars inspired her to contact OCTA.

"I thought of it long ago and I just wanted to give people more information, not just about riding your bikes — which is my kind of thing, I love to do that — but also people are intimidated by the idea of riding in a car with strangers," she said. "I know a lot of people are intimated by riding the bus. .. [OCTA] will clarify all these things. People do it all the time, so it can't be that complicated."

Using alternative forms of transportation is also better for the environment, and residents don't have to give up their cars to do good, she said.

Plus, it just feels better to ditch the car and ride a bike, she said.

"It feels good emotionally to know you just transported yourself and ran your errand using no gas, you're getting exercise and your endorphins are going," she said. "You're in a great mood and you've done something great for the environment."

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

If You Go

What: "Getting There, Greener" program on using buses, trains, ride sharing and bikes.

When: 6 p.m. March 1

Where: Environmental Nature Center, 1601 16th St., Newport Beach

Cost: Free, plus a free all-day bus ticket for taking a short survey

Reservation: Required. Call (949) 645-8489 or go to

Information: For more information on bus and train routes, and ride sharing go to

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