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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 (41-50):
SalmonBerry87
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 5:54 PM
I rely on my car a lot. We live too far out of town to use transit. And its not safe to walk on our road. Its windy and narrow and people go way too fast.. its the only thing I miss about living IN town.
Jerichos_Mommy
by Member on Apr. 6, 2012 at 6:48 PM

There are definite advantages to living in town

Quoting SalmonBerry87:

I rely on my car a lot. We live too far out of town to use transit. And its not safe to walk on our road. Its windy and narrow and people go way too fast.. its the only thing I miss about living IN town.



LancesMom
by Member on Apr. 6, 2012 at 7:48 PM

I do have to say! I do love driving to just drive. Hubby and I take the long way around to go places on lazy days! Take a bunch of coffee and drive!

goddess99
by Michelle on Apr. 6, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Most of my dh's family can say the same thing. His mom or grandparents have never owned a car. No one even has a drivers license. I taught my dh to drive when he moved here.

Quoting Wish2Be:

 

Quoting goddess99:

I 100% rely on my car but my dh from England Never had a car until he moved to America. There is just no need for 1 there which is interesting and saves alot of money, Wish it was like that here.

 I am from Germany and we didnt need a car ever either. Infact my Oma is 70 and never had a car in her life.


Janet
by Ruby Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 9:14 AM

 I live in the city. I am a SAHM that doesn't drive. There is a restaurant and a Family Dollar store by us and that's it. We are close to the bus stop, but I rarely use it.

MommeeTo4
by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 3:14 PM
Everyday
We live 20 from anything, not walkable with 5 kids
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
LancesMom
by Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 9:52 PM


Quoting MommeeTo4:

Everyday
We live 20 from anything, not walkable with 5 kids

Yup we are 20 mins from everything too! Except the beautiful horses our neighbors have!

MamaBear2cubs
by Bronze Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:26 PM

I am so glad we moved back to the city,We were living a 30 min drive away from any stores and it really was hard on our car!

KristinRox
by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 11:08 PM

We depend on our car quite a bit. We live quite a distance to walk to the city. It would take me a couple of hours to walk there. maybe a little less, but thats not ideal. We live in a subdivision outside of the city limits. We have a nice neighbourhood to hang out in though. We go outside, and play on the bikes and walk to the park in the next subdivision. I have a lightweight stroller and a wagon that work out perfectly. 

KristinRox
by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 11:08 PM

I can imagine how much youd depend on the car living that far from stores. 

Quoting MamaBear2cubs:

I am so glad we moved back to the city,We were living a 30 min drive away from any stores and it really was hard on our car!


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