The truth is, I’m pretty lucky. My wife and I are able to afford a vehicle and have a wonderfully supportive family who are more than willing to lend us an extra ride from time to time. Driving offers convenience, flexibility and a sense of safety.
But driving is also expensive. It can be isolating and can make transportation more about the destination and less about the journey. Walking, riding the bus, biking, skateboarding (if only I was that cool) offer an entirely different experience and have the potential to be just as effective, efficient and safe. Options such as car-sharing and car-pooling also have significant potential in our city to help us get around. The choice to not own a car, or even just to not own the second car could be very significant to our well-being and our wallet.
A well designed system of transportation offers an array of choices that all function to help keep people and things moving.
It’s about diversifying how we get around to the betterment of our health, our wallets, our social interactions, our businesses, and the environment. I’m curious about how well our city enables this way of getting around; so I’ve decided to give it a shot.
For the next 7 days, I’ll be ditching my car (as much as possible). From running errands to getting to meetings; from grocery shopping to managing my business - I’ll be walking, biking or riding the bus as much as possible. In the end, I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of our city and its transportation system.
I encourage you to follow along on Twitter (@IanFroude) and Facebook (facebook.com/IanSFroude) and send me any insights you have on this topic. At the end of the week, I’ll be sharing a summary of my experience. Specifically, I’m hoping to capture:
- How much money I saved
- How much longer (if longer) it took to do things
- Any places or moments that made me feel unsafe
- Any places or moments that were frustrating
- Any changes in my mood or physical health
- Any unexpected challenges that came up
- Any unexpected experiences I had
- How easy or hard it was to try something like this
- At what times I resorted back to driving because alternative transport wasn’t going to work for that occasion
Going into this, I’m thinking about: sidewalk maintenance; road maintenance; snow clearing; the design and location of our parks and other shops and services; vehicle speed; the bus system; potholes; bike lanes; and street lighting. These factors all have a significant impact on how we get around and how we see our neighbourhoods.
Ultimately, I believe that whether you’re trying to get to work, go to the park, or just grabbing a cup of coffee - our city should be built with transportation choices that are safe, convenient, accessible, diverse and encourage us to be active.
If you see me in your neighbourhood or elsewhere in the city this week, please say hello!