May 26, 2013

Central Mainers take alternative transportation in stride

By Amy Calder
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Gina Colombatto, 57, of Waterville, walks along Mayflower Hill Road at Colby College enroute to a friend's home on Thursday. Colombatto has traded in her automobile for walking shoes.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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Bill Basford, 67, of Benton, left, Gina Colombatto, 57, of Waterville, center, and Matthew Archibald, 56,of Waterville, have traded in their automobiles for walking shoes.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Archibald recently rented a car to go to Boston and noticed, after a couple of hours of being in the car, that he was just like the other drivers — trying to go too fast and getting impatient in traffic.

"I thought, 'Wow — what if I was like this all the time? I'd be a different person. I'd be all stressed out,'" he said.

Colombatto gave up her car whe she moved from California to Waterville three years ago to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren. She sometimes rents a car to visit an aunt in Kennebunkport, but when she gets there, she leaves the car in the driveway and walks everywhere, she said.

In Waterville, she shops at both Barrels on Main Street downtown and at Uncle Dean's Good Groceries about a mile away on Grove Street. She said walking is an adventure.

"I get very distracted on walks. I meet people. There's so much going on in a walk," she said. "It's kind of a creative walk. I love not having a car. To me, it just adds so much. It gives you more free time and more spontaneity."

Aside from the health benefits of walking or biking, Basford also notes the environmental benefits. His public talks focus on the benefits of "de-motorization."

He is part of a bicycling group that is planning an event for this summer in which participants will be shown how to bike to specific locations via routes that are safe and efficient.

Colombatto said the same can be done for people who walk a lot. She said she has noticed that walking to Gifford's Famous Ice Cream on Silver Street is tricky, because there is no crosswalk. That strikes her as odd, particularly because ice cream, children and summer go together.

"There's no place to cross to get into Gifford's," she said. "Shouldn't there be kids walking for ice cream?"

She, Archibald and Basford say giving up driving to walk and bicycle requires changing one's habits and that is a difficult thing to do.

"And I don't think it's risk-free," Colombatto said. "You have to be more aware of where you are."

Amy Calder — 861-9247


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