You Can Be Car Free

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More and more Americans are coming to understand that a car-free lifestyle isn't just possible. It may also be a desirable way to live.

For example, this post from Iowa's Des Moines Register tells the story of 32 year old Adam Hammes, manager of sustainability at Kum and Go. Hammes, though quite successful, has chosen to live a car-free lifestyle, describing it as "a stress-free way for me to travel."

Hammes is one of many who has abandoned the car as a status symbol, and who has chosen to focus on the benefits of doing without. One of those benefits is his ability to put more money in his own pocket.

"Hammes estimates he saves more than $304 a month living without a car--money that would otherwise have gone to pay for parking tickets, oil checks, insurance, and gas, expenses that counterbalance the ease owning a car affords."

Hammes also described getting to avoid the winter morning routine of scraping ice and snow off of the car. He doesn't miss the traffic, either.

Admittedly, there are still plenty of places here in Idaho where car-free living just would not be an option. Creating the option to embrace such a lifestyle would rely on the ability to run a broad mix of transportation options throughout the state. 

We'd also need to offer mass transit options that arrive and leave at regular intervals (between 10 to 20 minutes each day). We'd need additional bike lanes. We'd need continual education on the feasibility and benefits of a car-free or car-light lifestyle.

We would also have to vastly improve the public transportation service area grid. We'd have to include more streets and offer services to more people.

Supporting these efforts means that someday you could be $300 to $800 richer every month. You could sip lattes on a heated bus while letting someone else worry about traffic and road conditions. 

If public transit is given the resources to do this just right, taking on such a lifestyle wouldn't even inconvenience you.

As Hammes demonstrates, it's a dream worth fighting for.