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County employees paddle to work in kayaks

County Planning Director Brian Smith, front, arrives in Clearwater from his morning commute by kayak. Behind him, David Walker helps Abby Bryant while Mahshid Arasteh paddles in.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

County Planning Director Brian Smith, front, arrives in Clearwater from his morning commute by kayak. Behind him, David Walker helps Abby Bryant while Mahshid Arasteh paddles in.

As planning section manager for Pinellas County, David Walker commutes from New Port Richey to downtown Clearwater Monday through Friday. Twice a week, he drives his own car. Three times a week, he carpools. In recognition of Commuter Choices Week, on Wednesday Walker joined his boss, Brian Smith, Pinellas County planning director, in a different commute — by kayak.

"It was probably the most enjoyable commute I've had,'' said Walker, an 18-year county employee. "It was a nice change of pace.''

Walker, who described the journey as dark and peaceful, met fellow planning department workers at Dunedin Causeway at 6 a.m. "We followed the lights along the shoreline, and we used leisurely strokes,'' he said.

Smith, a weekend kayaker, has participated in Commuter Choices Week for four years in a row. Walker hopes to join him again next year.

Piper Castillo

County employees paddle to work in kayaks 10/08/08 [Last modified: Sunday, October 12, 2008 6:09pm]

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