Today I am car-free.
My husband and I have been working on being car-free for a long time. Ever since I started biking around L.A., the idea has been floating around in my head. Once I started exploring all of the alternative transit options available, naturally, my driving decreased. With biking, buses, trains, and the subway in L.A., along with the car-share we belong to, the only times we've taken the car out lately have been to make sure its battery doesn't die.
Getting rid of the car means no paying for gas, no paying for insurance, no paying for maintenance, no looking for a parking space, no paying for parking, no sitting in a line of cars in traffic. It means a less stressful commute. It means structuring my life so it has a lighter footprint on the planet.
True, there are some cases where a car comes in handy. But that outing to the desert or the ski resort a few hours away can be made with a rented car. Trips to the grocery store are easily made by bike (or by walking from our new place.) The doctor's is walking distance, or taxi distance if I'm not feeling up to it. If it's truly an emergency, an ambulance would be called.
While the decision makes perfect sense to me now, I didn't always see being car-free as possible. I used to commute an hour to work each way. That's 10 hours per week stuck in traffic. When my husband and I were dating, we lived an hour away from each other. He sold his car and would ride his bike 45 minutes each way to visit me. I was shocked that he could make it faster on bike than in the car. Since then, we've had my one car between us. But since we got married last year and I left my far-away job, we haven't needed it.
I'll be honest, I've had mixed feelings in the past month about whether to sell it or store it. All the hype about how "nobody walks in L.A." got to my head. But after another month of it sitting under a tarp in the car-port, I decided it was time.
I'm very excited about having one less thing to worry about and pay for.