Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Freedom's Just Another Word For: Car-Free
I must be nuts, but I think car-free living is a great idea. I'm tired of maintaining, feeding, and insuring my beast of burden so I can hop in and race off to sit in the fetid, poisonous atmosphere of a traffic jam.

I remember living in a city where transportation was a shared endeavor: I just walked down the block, waited a few minutes, and climbed on a bus or subway. On board, I could open a book, daydream, chat with strangers (not so often, but occasionally), and presto, I would arrive at my destination un-stressed and with my wallet not much lighter than when I started. And the collective energy on the bus or train always jazzed me up to get done whatever I needed to do.

Well, "car-free" is catching on. Here's a story from the venerable NY Times about a couple of towns in Germany that are going for it: "In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars"

If you think this sounds good, ignore the haters that cry that public transport impedes their freedom. Baloney! Public transport expands your freedom -- those narrow-minders have obviously never tried it. No traffic worries (for trains and busses with dedicated lanes at least), no parking worries, no breakdown worries, and best of all: no DWI worries. Ignore the haters and tell your congressional representatives to replace highway funding (currently 80%) with more funding for public transportation (currently 20%) in the 2009 Transportation Reauthorization Bill. This bill is reauthorized every six years, and this is the year, so as they say on TV: Act now!

You can find your representatives here: congress.org

And here's a website devoted to car-free living: CarFree City USA

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