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date22 Sep 2009 00:15 CDT
placeMilwaukee, WI, USA
tagstransit, mobility, places, resources, people
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previous[Previous Post] Enhance Our Parks, Not Our Parking Lots

Live Car Free

September 22 is World Carfree Day, a celebration of the freedom available to everyone who woud like to experience a life less centered around automobile use. With demonstrations during the 1970's oil crisis as precedents, the World Carfree Network organized a World Carfree Day by the last year of the 20th century. Today, a world carfree day offers you a chance to explore your options for car freedom or car dependency. By raising your awareness now, you may be able to be more flexible--and even carfree by choice--in the future.

Plan Your Carfree Day

If you bike, walk, or take transit to your planned destinations for September 22nd, you may already be carfree. If not, you may want to explore alternatives to all of your trips. In general, you are going to find being carfree easier if:

  1. You live close to where you need to go.
  2. You live in an area that already supports some forms of public or mass transit.
  3. You are willing to be personally mobile (walking with your stuff in a pack or bag) rather than depending on a vehicle to store and transport all your stuff.
Parked parked
If you've chosen to live far from transit and far from centers of your own activities, you may not have many options for being carfree. In that case, look at the rest of this blog entry for ideas about what modes of transit might work for you, and perhaps you can make long-term plans for locating yourself closer to your destinations and transit alternatives.

Here are some transit ideas for World Carfree Day and supporting Web sites that you can use to figure out your options.

Walk it! A safe walking route that you can accomplish based on your fitness and time available may be the best way to get exercise and reach your destination. Check out walkinginfo.org to learn about and advocate for walkability where you live.

Ride a bike! Save your health and the environment at the same time. Own your bike or use SmartBike stations to use a bicycle when you need it. Check out bicyclinginfo.org. If you don't have a bike, see if your area has a community bicycle program.

Google Maps
Check out transit routes. You can enter your origin and destination on Google Maps and see your alternatives for either walking or public transportation (where available).

Use public transportation. Save all the overhead costs and hassles of paying for and maintaining a vehicle dedicated solely to yourself--see if your area has bus, train, or other mass transit service. Transit can save time, money, hassle, the environment, and your health. Check out PublicTransportation.org.

If you lived closer to where you need to go, you could walk instead--saving energy and increasing your physical fitness. Do such walkable places exist? Yes--try out WalkScore.com to discover one near you.

Shop online for items you can't easily buy locally. Rather than going out to the big-box stores in the burbs and having to haul large items to your place, see if you can shop online and have the items delivered. Also, if you have a local grocer who is willing to make regular deliveries of needed items, you can get big or bulky items transported right to your home.

Pay only for when you need a car and be carfree otherwise. Registered users can rent a car easily by the hour or day and pick up and return the vehicles at stations throughout a metro area. Look to see if you area has a Zipcar.com or participates in CarSharing.net and rent a car (or take a taxi) only for the time you need one.

Seek a Carfree Life

In the long-term, there are some ideas for a carfree city in the US. And cars do not have to be built-in to urban living arrangements--there are ideas for housing without parking costs.

Regardless of what you do on September 22nd or afterwards, you can support the option of urbanism in living arrangements so that the choice to be carfree can be available to everyone. [End of Post]

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