bridge sz

What’s on your list of life goals? Spend more time with family, save money, create a more satisfying career? For years, my husband spent way too much time on the road commuting to offices all over the Bay Area. It’s hard to be home in time for dinner when you’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, again!

Then one day we stopped to add it up:


  • 3 hours of lost time (out of an already too busy day)
  • $44 of gas and auto maintenance (54.5 cents per mile – IRS reimbursement)
  • $7.75 bridge toll
  • $20 parking fee (if you find a cheap spot)

That’s $71.75 per day! Multiply that by five days a week and in one month you’re talking about $1,506.75 in car costs! WOW! Plus 63 hours of precious time spent sitting the car with nothing but back pain and high blood pressure to show for it.

Throw on top of that the enormous carbon footprint (did you know that 60% of Sonoma County’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation!):

  • Each day of traveling 80 miles in a car getting 30 miles/gallon = 2.7 gallons x 20 lbs CO2 per gallon = 54 pounds CO2 (the equivalent of eating two pounds of beef or leaving a 100 watt light bulb on for 257 hours!)
  • In one month, that equals 1,134 pounds of CO2 (the equivalent of leaving a 100 watt light bulb on for 5,397 hours!)

Plus, we chose to live in the small city of Petaluma because we love it. So why love it and leave it? We have a beautiful historic downtown with amazing shops, restaurants and services most of which are locally owned. So when you step out for a lunch break or your afternoon mocha, you know your hard earned dollars are helping your neighbor and your community thrive.

How much of your work actually requires you to be in the office? With the invention of a laptops and a cell phones, many people are finding that at least some of their days can be spent working from home. Ditching the commute even one day a week can make a huge difference, improving your quality of life and reducing your environmental impact.

While many jobs will allow you to work remotely, the home office is not for everyone. Distractions abound – kids, pets, chores, refrigerator! And the isolation can be downright depressing. Enter, the growing industry called coworking. It’s basically a gym membership for your office. A shared workspace provides all of the equipment you need (desks, WiFi, copiers, meeting rooms, coffee!) and you just drop in to use it when needed. What we love about coworking is that you can have a flexible workspace on an hourly, daily, or monthly basis with all of the benefits of a downtown office without the high overhead, plus you get an eclectic group of inspiring coworkers without the office politics. Google can help you find a coworking space near you.

So get off the road as much as you can and enjoy a good day of work in your own neighborhood. Your family, pocketbook, and planet will thank you!

Natasha Juliana and Matt Moller opened WORK in July 2012 and have been happily walking downtown and enjoying their new commute every since. Curious? Stop by and check it out 9-5 Monday through Friday at 10 Fourth Street (at B next to the museum) or on line at