How to go Car-Free or Car-LiteAugust 8th, 2011
My goal last year was to break my car driving habit and rely solely on my bike, public transport, or my own two feet. Minus a couple of exceptions when I had to haul a large amount of supplies or big models to the studio, I’ve done it.
As of this week, I’ve successfully gone a whole year without driving to work/university. And this past year I lived further away from my office and campus than I ever have before.
Here’s how I did it.
#1: Bike it
My bicycle became my default mode of transportation. It was hard at first; some days you just want to hit the snooze and drive to work in 5 mins rather than biking there in 20. In the beginning, I had to trick myself into thinking that my morning bike ride was something to look forward to. I was getting exercise, I told myself, and fresh air and sunlight. After awhile, I really did start to enjoy it! In fact, I was kinda bummed on the bad-weather days when I had to take public transportation.
#2: Bus it
When the weather was bad, or when I had to lug a lot of stuff with me, I would take public transportation. In Columbus, Ohio, that means the bus. I envy ‘real’ cities with their trams and metros! But the bus wasn’t soo bad. Once I got used to the schedule and timing, I started to enjoy it as well. It was like someone gave me an extra 40 minutes everyday to read, study, play my DS, or just think. Plus, once you get the hang of it, you seem like a real hip urbanite with the skillz navigate the bus system. Not to mention the weird/crazy/awesome people you can encounter.
#3: Hoof it
Sometimes, I would just miss the bus home. Or some nights I might stay in the studio a little too late and miss the last bus. Sometimes the way the bus schedule synced up meant that I could actually walk there faster, rather than waiting for another bus and riding it. It was a nice time for reflection and catching up with my podcasts, or having a chat on the phone while I walked. Some mornings it was so pleasant outside that I would opt to walk anyway-even though I could have biked. It’s great to slow down and get to know your neighborhood, take different paths. I took to collecting photos of interesting building as I explored.
The benefits of this year-long experiment were great!
- I got daily cardio exercise
- Lower carbon footprint
- Had extra time to read (when I took the bus)
- Saved a bundle of money (gas, parking passes, etc)
- Explored my neighborhood and discovered new restaurants
- Enjoyed the fresh air and sunlight (things architecture students don’t get enough of!)
If you can swing it, I highly recommend going car-free or car-lite. Try combining modes of transportation too. You could take your bike on public transport, take it close to your destination and bike once there, or bike to a destination hub, park it, and walk everywhere else.
Have you tried going car-free or car-lite? Tell me about your experiences!
Now it’s time for me to come up with my next big experiment :)
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