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Living Car-Free In The City

Technically we aren't car-free, we're more like car-light.  We do own a car that my partner uses for work - and we do take advantage of it for larger outings on the weekend.  Still, my day to day reality at home with Leo, our toddler, is without a car.  My partner leaves for work as we are beginning our day and doesn't return home until a couple hours before Leo's bedtime.  So we spend our days without a car - and for the most part, we don't miss it. 

Knowing we were going to be without a car for the most part was a major factor in choosing to live in an urban area.  Not having a car would be a lot harder if we couldn't walk to coffee shops, grocery stores, playgrounds, libraries, restaurants, a post office, and a several types of public transportation.  


What are my favorite benefits of being car-light?

  1. I get a lot more exercise
  2. I support more local businesses
  3. I really get to know my neighbors as we are out and about in our neighborhood
  4. It's great for the environment
  5. It saves money
  6. I think it's a great example to set for our kids

Is it a bit more challenging sometimes?  Absolutely, but it is worth the extra hassle.  Here are some of my best tips for going car-free; even if just a few days a week.

  • Plan your route.  Try and make a circle to loop back home - and try and schedule errands that require carrying heavy things - like the library, post office, or groceries - for first or last (depending if you are picking up or dropping off). 
  • Pack a fantastic diaper bag.  Snacks, umbrella, water, and a change of clothes accompany the typical diapers and wipes in our bag.  You do not want to get stranded across the city without a key item.
  • Invest in a light stroller with some undercarriage storage, a good carrier and/or in some reusable bags that zip-up small to throw in the diaper bag.  For most of Leo's life I primarily wore him in a carrier and resigned myself to being a glorified pack-mule on library/grocery days.  Now that he's over 25 lbs and I've got a third trimester belly brewing I am using the stroller more and more - which has been nice for holding the diaper bag and items we pick up along the way - but I do miss the ease of wearing him.
  • Explore public transit.  When trying a new route either allow yourself plenty of time or test it out without a hard timeline (like an appointment you can't be late for).  Make sure to walk around near the transit stops - it's a great way to discover new areas of your city.
  • Invest in some good walking shoes and cold weather gear.  Both you and your little one(s) need to stay warm in colder weather and if your feet are going to be the main transportation - they deserve to be comfy!

How much do you rely on your car?  Do you live in a walkable area? 




by on Apr. 3, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-30):
carolina_gal
by Member on Apr. 4, 2012 at 1:31 PM

 We couldn't survive wihout our car.  We're pretty far from town.

carolina_gal
by Member on Apr. 4, 2012 at 1:32 PM

 Wow. That's a long way.

Quoting amy7243:

 We live in the middle of no where so we depend on it alot. 20 miles from the closest grocery store.

 

Jerichos_Mommy
by Member on Apr. 4, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Mine either, of course I am still on a learners permit so have to have someone with me.  We filled my car for $40 Friday or Sat it was just below a quarter and I still have over 3/4 of a tank.

Quoting Rushn311:

We do not live in an area where we can walk-so I rely on my car everywhere. I don't drive much tho, and my car is a 4 cylinder Honda Civic so I don't think I am harming the environment as those with 8 cylinders etc.



Rushn311
by on Apr. 5, 2012 at 1:03 AM

Yeah I tested out how many miles I can get and my car has a 12 gallon tank-I drove 300 miles and probably a little more but I filled it before it went on E haha

Quoting Jerichos_Mommy:

Mine either, of course I am still on a learners permit so have to have someone with me.  We filled my car for $40 Friday or Sat it was just below a quarter and I still have over 3/4 of a tank.

Quoting Rushn311:

We do not live in an area where we can walk-so I rely on my car everywhere. I don't drive much tho, and my car is a 4 cylinder Honda Civic so I don't think I am harming the environment as those with 8 cylinders etc.




daerca574
by on Apr. 5, 2012 at 8:08 AM

 I live 25 minutes from work.  I would love to be able to walk to work.  We depend greatly on our car.

MamaBear2cubs
by Bronze Member on Apr. 5, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Me and the kids walk everywhere!!! It's great exercise!

gacgbaker
by on Apr. 5, 2012 at 1:40 PM

We need our car to go to most places we would travel to- but if I really, really had to, we could figure out how to get around without it.  

jessicasmom1
by Member on Apr. 5, 2012 at 7:37 PM

I tried it before, I disliked not having a car .. even in those "just in case days! "  

LancesMom
by Member on Apr. 5, 2012 at 8:21 PM

We do not live in a walkable are. (I wish we did) But I need my car to get a lot of running done and use it almost daily!

babyboxfish
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 12:50 AM

We only got a car this year, and although I fully support a car-less life, it really is much easier to have a car considering most towns just aren't laid out to accommodate those on foot.

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