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18378Introduction: Kate

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  • Kathryn
    Nov 30, 2007
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      *1. Which of the following best describes you? Please check one.*
      _*X I own a car but use other forms of transport frequently
      *
      *2. How long have you been either car-free or used non-automotive transport
      as your principle means of transportation?*
      I'm pretty new to the idea of living car-free or car-lite. It's only been
      this fall that I've started reducing my driving significantly.
      *
      3. What inspired your decision to reduce or end your reliance on the
      automobile?*
      In October, my car broke down, and I was without a car for a week. I was
      determined not to let this stop me from doing what I normally do, and I
      learned that with a few minor exceptions, I had no trouble at all. In fact,
      it was easier to be without the car in most circumstances. I felt lighter,
      without having a huge hunk of metal parked somewhere, waiting for me.
      *
      4. What factors have either impeded or inspired your decision to reduce your
      reliance on automotive transport?*
      I've been inspired by the difference going car-free can make on my carbon
      footprint and on my sense of community (I'll explain below). One thing that
      has challenged me is having to work at night several times a week. In my
      city (and at my workplace), public transit is not quite so reliable or
      predictable at night. A wait at a bus stop can be 45 minutes -- which
      doesn't feel so good on isolated streets late at night. I'm working on
      getting comfortable with night biking, so I have more predictable car-free
      transportation at night.
      *
      5. Have your transportational choices had any discernible effect on your
      family and friends?*
      Not yet. I think it's too soon to know for sure, but I'm guessing it's a
      good sign that no one has noticed much difference.
      *
      6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being car-free and/or
      getting around without using a car?*
      One advantage is not having to drive. I never liked the stress of driving --
      and of having to pay to have my car fixed, for gas, etc. Another advantage
      is that, when I'm getting around without my car, I feel more a part of my
      community. Little things like seeing that the bus driver recognizes me or
      watching someone help someone else with extra change make me feel more a
      part of my city -- and happier about living here. One disadvantage is the
      convenience/safety factor -- especially at night.
      *
      7. Do you typically feel comfortable recommending car-free living to your
      friends and/or relatives? Why or why not?*
      I don't think I know enough to recommend it to anyone just yet. Also, I
      think it's such a personal decision, requiring commitment, to find creative
      ways to get around in a pinch. However, I am quick to tell friends and
      family that getting around without a car is much easier and more convenient
      than we often assume.
      *
      8. Have you experienced any adverse consequences of reducing or eliminating
      your automotive dependency with regard to time and finances?*
      Especially when I first started using public transportation, things
      sometimes took extra time. If I got on the wrong bus or failed to notice
      that a certain line ran only every hour, I would spend lots of extra time
      waiting in frustration. Once I got the hang of my most common routes,
      though, I actually don't notice too much of a difference. You could say that
      I actually gained time, since I get to read or get work done while on the
      bus.
      *
      9. Have there been any benefits?*
      Yes! See above...
      *
      10. In an ideal world, what role should the car play in the general
      transportation system?*
      I think, in an ideal world, most families (at least those living in
      relatively populated areas) would use a car sharing program like Flexcar to
      use cars every so often, like when hauling large loads or traveling under
      special circumstances. At the very least, there would be diversity in the
      ways people traveled, with cars being only one of many common modes of
      transportation, instead of the assumed method of getting around.
      *
      11. Do you have any other personal or general thoughts you've care to share
      on this topic?*
      I'm excited to be part of this group -- and to learn what others are doing
      to live car-free.
      *
      12. Where do you live (city, state, country)?*
      Los Angeles


      Thanks!
      Kate


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