steorra: Part of Saturn in the shade of its rings (Default)
[personal profile] steorra posting in [community profile] carfree
Hi. I just joined, but it seems like it's up to me to make the first post. I am wondering if anyone can point me to good resources on living car-free, and how to make that work well in a society that's quite car-dependent, as most of North America is.

Also, I would be interested to know about cities that are particularly good for living car-free. I have lived in three cities in adulthood - Vancouver, BC, Canada; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Columbus, Ohio, USA. My experience of them is that Vancouver has good public transit and is fairly easy to live car-free in; Columbus has barely adequate public transit, and it's been awkward but possible to live car-free in it; and Calgary is somewhere in between.

Date: 2011-01-07 05:00 pm (UTC)
damerell: (brains)
From: [personal profile] damerell
Good luck. I can't really help you, because I live in the UK, which is considerably more civilised, but I started three years ago (having never taken a driving test let alone held a license) by saying to myself that I'd never travel by car under any circumstances. I think that's key; otherwise it's like being a little bit pregnant. It's always going to be hard to refrain from doing something that externalises costs on others unless you have an iron rule never to do it at all.

Date: 2011-01-10 05:49 pm (UTC)
damerell: (brains)
From: [personal profile] damerell
By externalising costs on others, I am referring to the way that some activities impose costs on people who aren't doing the activity. I don't drive, but I can still be killed by a car, be injured by one, suffer respiratory disease (and I do), find local shops and facilities replaced by vast out-of-town retail monoliths, have half the country's railway network disassembled in the 1960s, find that bus services are a bad joke...

An activity that externalises costs looks more attractive than it should. If drivers bore the full cost of driving - and not-drivers could live somewhere car-free, without the danger and inconvenience - many fewer people would drive. As it is, we get to live in a world blighted by the damn things whether we use them or not.

I certainly mean that I don't accept lifts. Since I've never had a licence, resolving not to drive myself would not be much of a decision. :-)

The only private motor vehicle I've been in in the last three years was a removal van when I was moving house.

Date: 2011-01-10 05:56 am (UTC)
youngsoulrebel: (Breakfast of Champions)
From: [personal profile] youngsoulrebel
Chicago and Philadelphia are both really good cities to live without a car in; 24-hour public transportation, and everything one could possibly need actually within the city. I currently live in Ann Arbor, MI (fighting my way back to Chicago), and this is one of the worst public transportation systems I've encountered — especially when one considers that the city's entire economy and culture is directly tied to the University of Michigan, you can't get a bus between 10pm and 6am, Monday-Friday, and not on the weekends between 6pm and 8am.

Los Angeles public transit isn't as good as Chicago or Phila, but it's still no-where near as bad as Ann Arbor's -- the trains may stop at 2am(??? -- yep, before the bars close), but the major lines in LA proper and all through to Long Beach run 24-hours. It flabbergasts me that people claim you can't "survive" Los Angeles car-free, but I managed to.

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