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July 26, 2011 > Wonderopolis(r)

Wonderopolis(r)

The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) has chosen Fremont as a summer Wonderopolis(r) encouraging families to explore their own neighborhoods, finding wonder-ful places that often escape notice during the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

This is the sixth and last in a series of weekly challenges that focuses on unique community "wonders." Fremont challenges are posted at WonderopolisChallenge.org. Families are encouraged to register and begin as soon as possible but can do so any time within the six-week period that ends this week.

Participating families who successfully complete at least three of the six weekly challenges will be entered to win a five-day all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. To be eligible, the winning family must be available to travel between Aug. 21 and 28.

In addition, Wonderopolis(r) posts a national "Wonder of the Day(r)" at its website. Wonderopolis(r) can be found on Twitter and Facebook; a video is posted on YouTube and vimeo.

Wonderopolis(r) Challenge #6
It's the last week of the Wonderopolis(r) Fremont Challenge! This week, we're taking a look at how you get from here to there... in Fremont!

Have you ever stopped to wonder about the many ways you can get from one point to another in Fremont? Located near busy areas like the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, Fremont residents go in many different directions each day. Let's take a look at how people get around Fremont.

The Nimitz Freeway (Interstate 880) and the Sinclair Freeway (Interstate 680) provide convenient access for automobiles in Fremont. The two busy freeways are connected in the Warm Springs district by a busy one-mile section of Mission Boulevard (State Road 262). Fremont's drivers are also served by State Roads 84 and 238, as well as the Dumbarton Bridge.

Many people prefer to avoid traffic, get some exercise and do their part to help the environment by reducing fossil-fuel use. For these people, Fremont has an impressive Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. The program's goal is to provide cyclists and walkers with safe, convenient routes to all areas served by roads, trails and public transportation in and around Fremont.

Fremont also promotes accessibility and mobility for those with special needs, such as the elderly or disabled. The City of Fremont Paratransit Program assists these persons with their transportation needs.

For those who need reliable transportation to and from work, school or shopping areas, Fremont offers several public transportation options. Taking public transportation as often as possible can help you avoid traffic delays and improve the environment.

Locally, the Alameda-Contra Costa Transportation District (AC Transit) provides bus service. Express bus service to Silicon Valley is available via Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).

In addition to public buses, Fremont has several regional rail transportation options. The Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) travels from Stockton to San Jose on weekdays. It stops in Fremont at the Centerville Depot along the way. Amtrak's Capitol Corridor line also makes several daily stops there.

Fremont is currently the end of the line for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. BART offers rail service to much of the San Francisco Bay Area. Construction has begun on the Warm Springs Extension - a 5.4-mile project that will extend the BART system to Warm Springs. Eventually, BART may be extended to San Jose.

Scheduled to open in late 2015, the extension will include a new station at Warm Springs. Between the current Fremont station and the new Warm Springs station, part of the extension will be a subway beneath Fremont Central Park and Lake Elizabeth. Can you imagine floating on Lake Elizabeth knowing that subway cars full of passengers are traveling below you? How cool is that?

While the Warm Springs Extension represents the future of rail transportation in Fremont, you can also learn a lot about the history of the railroads by visiting the Niles Canyon Railway. The Pacific Locomotive Association operates the Niles Canyon Railway as a "living history museum."

By using historic railroad equipment and practices from the old days, the Niles Canyon Railway teaches visitors about the importance of railroads to the development of California.

If you want to take a step back in time, enjoy a scenic ride on the Niles Canyon Railway. Open most weekends year-round, you can take a historic train ride from Niles Station in Fremont to a 19th-century depot in Sunol.

Another historic railroad is located at Ardenwood Farm (an East Bay Regional Park) in Fremont. This was once part of a rail connection between farms and ships that sailed in the San Francisco Bay. A horse-drawn railroad and museum operated by the Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources is located on the farm (there is an entrance fee to Ardenwood Historic Farm).

Try it out!

Wondering about what progress has been made on the construction of the BART Warm Springs Extension? Check out BART's Warm Springs Extension Construction Updates website to get the latest news and see construction photos!

How many different modes of transportation have you used to travel in and around Fremont? Car? Bike? Feet? Train? Bus?

Discuss the different modes of transportation available with your family. Why do you use the types of transportation you use? Do you take advantage of public transportation? Why or why not?

Talk about the environmental advantages of using public transportation. Try to think of ways that you could use public transportation more often.


Take the Challenge!

Here are some suggestions:
Take a historic train ride on the Niles Canyon Railway. How many cars were in the train you took? How long did it take to travel between the stations? What sights did you see along the way? What facts did you learn about how railroads shaped the history of the area? Note: A fee of $5 to $10 applies, depending on the number and age of passengers.

Think of an upcoming trip you have planned. It could be a trip to a park, a store... anywhere! Figure out how to get there using public transportation. Can you get there on a bus? What about a walking or bicycle trail? Can BART take you there? Plan your trip and then enjoy public transportation as a family. How much did it cost to take public transportation? How long did the trip take? How did the cost and time compare to other modes of transportation? Note: Fees will apply based on what type of public transportation you take.

Get some exercise as a family with an outing on one of Fremont's walking or bicycle trails. How many people did you see on the trail? Where did you go? Did you see anything interesting on your trip? How far did you travel? Can you compute the distance you traveled in both miles and kilometers?

Remember: You'll need to log in and upload something about your family's challenge - it could be a photo, a video, a poem, an essay or whatever inspires you! As soon as you've completed three of the weekly Fremont Wonderopolis Challenges, you'll be eligible to win a free family trip to Washington, D.C.!

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