Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Car-Lite Lifestyle

I was dorking around on and found an interesting interview from a few years back with Chris Balish, author of a book entitled How to Live Well Without Owning a Car, something that I will probably pick up in coming weeks when I'm done reading George Orwell's 1984.

In this interview, I appreciated that the author stressed enough along the lines of living without a car of one's own. Because anywhere you go, a car is going to sometimes be necessary. I mean, why else are there taxis in New York City?

Me, I love taxis, but only based on experiences in New York. Elsewhere, especially in LA, they're far too costly for the average person - a gauge I can understand due to the need versus the accessibility. (How many people have vehicles in NYC/Brooklyn as opposed to Los Angeles? That and everyone's got to make their dollar somehow.) Also, renting a car for the day can be expensive, but thankfully there are by-the-hour options such as Zipcar, for running around on errands or an evening out or something. (The only real con at the moment is that Zipcars aren't really located in or near the Valley, but at least it's proactive enough of a start.)

Also, living close to the Orange or Red Lines can prove to be a good option in a mass transit sense, however dependent upon the proximity of things one likes to do, or must do and everything in between, and the time of day or night in which they are to be done.

Local service would also do well to prove itself a Point A to Point B option. It is, in a lot of respects, but it could be better.

I'm more than aware that I'm beating a dead horse, but whoever's doing transportation planning - in the Valley, in Burbank, in Glendale and beyond - is not taking into account just how many people could benefit from local service seeing a bump in frequency and extended hours. If translated into dollars, making an investment in local service could stand to see Metro not having to cut jobs or lines as drastically as they have previously, and blah blah blah blah....

Suffice it to say, I'm not looking forward to taking 30 pounds of cat litter home from the store sometime tomorrow. I promise I will stop snarking on things soon enough and instead highlight the benefits of reading on the bus (about bicycle repair, perhaps) or the awesomeness of even the slightest headwinds when you haven't done your strength training for the day (or month).

Happy cycling/busing/walking/running for it~

1 comment:

  1. One of the things I really miss about riding the city bus (it doesn't come out to where I live in Flagstaff) is how urbain it made me feel. Really, truly, when I road TARC in Louisville I felt like the most sophisticated woman on Earth, especially when I wore the suede, camel colored trench coat purchased at Margaret's Consignment for $20. I could sip my coffee, read my latest issue of The Nation or whatever book I happened to be absorbed in and just totally relax before and after work.

    I never as a bus rider (I had a car that I chose to leave in my garage) did I ever feel deprived. Complete strangers used to stop and offer me a ride in to town out of concern and I really couldn't figure out WHY.

    My strongly held belief is that public transit needs a huge PR makeover focused on not only the cost savings of leaving the car at home or just not having one but on how it benefits quality of life on the personal and community level. Riding public transit can be glamorous and sexy. Contrast that with screaming in one's car while waiting in endless rush hour traffic jams.