I got rid of my last car the summer of 1990. I live in downtown Seattle, so I can do this. I mostly walk or take the bus. I’ll get a cab from time to time. I’ll rent a car if I need one for certain trips. But, that’s only maybe once a year. I know a lot of people who are just like me. We could easily own a car, but we choose not to.
This country was built for cars. And while it's great kids these days don't know how to drive (like my friend's 21 year old daughter who refuses to learn how to drive), they aren't taking public transportation or walking - they are having their parents or other people drive them around. And in this country if you don't live in a city, the likelihood of there being any public transportation at all is nil.
I have never owned a car. I did, however, learn how to drive and used a car regularly for my first job after college (provided by employer) and rented cars (or used FlexCar when I lived in Seattle). In high school my best friend had a car so I was always in her car. I used the bus to get to and from work and to and from high school.
When I lived in NJ and NYC I used the trains, PATH, and subways (and once in a rare while a bus) to get around when I wasn't able to walk where I needed to go. When I moved to Seattle I walked everywhere or took the bus (which was an awful and miserable experience every time after living in NYC). I left Seattle before there was any real light rail to go anywhere (other than the airport).
At the age of 35 I became physically disabled and unable to drive. I have to be driven everywhere. When I first moved home to live with my mom (my primary caregiver) she was still working so I relied on paratransit (which is limited as you must live within 1/2 a mile of a regular bus route, apply and be approved to use it, and it's a mini-bus that drives you and other disabled people around). It must be scheduled a day in advance and you are at their mercy (they always showed up late and took forever to get me where I needed to go - so much so that we had to stop using them for my medical appointments and my mom would have to take time off of work to take me to my appointments), and it costs twice as much as regular public transportation.
Now we live somewhere where there is nearly no public transportation and while paratransit exists it can't take me anywhere I need to go (since I live in a rural town and all of my medical care is in cities east of where I live). There is no way for me to get to where I need to go unless I am driven there in a car. Do I like this? Absolutely not. Would I be able to live without my mom having a car and me being driven everywhere? Absolutely not. When she is of an age where she can no longer drive, if I am still alive, we will need someone else to drive us both around.
It's a wonderful dream, an American without cars. And it will remain a dream until there is fully accessible public transportation EVERYWHERE. And in this country the likelihood of that ever happening is absolutely never gonna happen.
The folks that can pull off a no-drive week as a “special event” are more likely to live in walkable neighborhoods with good public transportation/bike infrastructure. Everyone else will shrug and say yep, I need my car. It’s kind of a silly exercise.
@3, you’re underestimating how few people even think about what car-centric transportation infrastructure means to people who can’t drive. It’s meant to build empathy, not reiterate the obvious.
"A future where you don’t
need to worry that your car pay-
ment eats one-third of your paycheck... "
including insurance fuel upkeep parking
god forbid you happen to Crash it
nope. we've been Socially Engineered
by Big Oil, Big Car and Big Highway
and they're Elated at the Chunk of
Pie they're getting and will
continue to get.
so how do we
Engineer ourselves Out
of this massive hole in the ground?
this is a good Start.
thank you Anna.
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