Category Archives: My Transportation Diary

We Want To Hear Your Stories. Write For Curbing Cars

We've had student written stories from all over the country. Join our stable of writers,

We’ve had student written stories from all over the country. Join our stable of writers.

Curbing Cars is telling stories of how people are rethinking the way they get around. And who better to tell those stories than you?

We offer these opportunities for you to write for us. Send your ideas to curbingcars@gmail.com. All submissions should be 500 words or less. We welcome photos and video. Include a phone number in case we have questions.

Before you pitch us a story, read the Columbia Journalism Review cover story about us.  Also, take a look at our site so that you don’t duplicate a story we’ve already written. We also do not accept stories that you have written for other publications, except your own blog.

Here are the categories where you can write for us. (Note: we only pay for student-written stories.) Continue reading

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Filed under Bike Share Review, My Transportation Diary, student stories

My Transportation Diary: A Convert From Cars

By Micheline Maynard

Rob Meyer is from Ann Arbor, Mich., where he didn’t think public transportation was extensive enough to be a full replacement for a car. (Editor’s note: some people might disagree.) And when he headed west after college, the first thing he did was buy one. But then he moved to the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, and a car became less important.

Here’s his Transportation Diary, in prose and data.

“I grew up in Michigan (Ann Arbor) where there was a big car culture and where public transit wasn’t extensive enough to be a full replacement for a car. When I moved to Bellevue, WA after college, it seemed like a no-brainer to get myself a car. The east side [of Lake Washington] is much more suburban and spread-out than Seattle proper, so having my own car was quite convenient, but not as necessary as it had been back in Michigan.

I later moved into Capitol Hill, Seattle, and fell in love its higher density of bars, restaurants, and entertainment options. Not only did Capitol Hill have more available within walking distance than Bellevue had in 20-minute driving distance, but plentiful bus routes made venturing to more distant parts of Seattle easy. Plus, you never have to worry about a parking or a designated driver when you’re walking/busing everywhere.

And if that weren’t enough, the 545 Metro bus would get me most of the way to work while Microsoft (my employer) also has a private bus system to help get employees to and from work.

It didn’t take long before I realized that my car wasn’t providing enough value to warrant the cost of the lease, insurance, gas, maintenance. I added up all my car-related expenses and realized that if I simply allocated some of that pile of money to cabs & rental cars, I would come out far ahead in the long term. Continue reading

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My Transportation Diary: Living Without A Car In Houston

By Micheline Maynard

How often do you see cows on your commute?

How often do you see cows on your commute?

When you think of Texas, you think of pickup trucks and Cadillacs, right? David Lippert doesn’t. He, his wife and his child are managing to get along without a car.

Dave is able to fill his transportation needs by walking and riding the bus. He goes to work, shops at Walmart, and handles everything else car free. He even gets to see livestock during his commute.

Here’s Dave’s diary.

“Monday – Friday.  7:30 am – walk to West Road and Greens Crossing, 66 bus south, transfer to 108 downtown at Shepherd Park and Ride.  Get off at Jefferson Street.  ~50 minutes. $1.25

 5:00 pm – 108 north to West Mt. Houston.  Fiesta grocery store, Walgreens and taco truck at transfer point and used occasionally as needed.  Bus 66 N to West Road and Greens Crossing.  1.5 hours $1.25

Cross busy street carefully.  Walk to apartments. Continue reading

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Filed under My Transportation Diary, public transportation, walking

My Transportation Diary: Parking And Walking In Ohio

By Micheline Maynard

Even though a lot of us own cars, we’ve made a resolution to walk more. Brian Goodman, of Circleville, Ohio, has put that resolution into action. Here’s his Transportation Diary, which involves parking and walking.

Brian's lonely car.

Brian’s lonely car.

Says Brian,

“Until recently, I was commuting 40 miles each way, which took an hour in the morning, and sometimes up to two hours to get home in the evenings. Living in a small town, there are only a couple employers large enough to need the type of work I do so commuting or moving were the only options.

I finally got a job at one of the local employers, I started two weeks ago. I took a pay cut and gave up some very nice benefits in the process. Even after only two weeks I’m sure this was the right move.

Now, my weekly commute consists of driving my old commuter car on Monday morning, and leaving it sit at work all week in case I need quick transportation. Monday evening, I walk the mile and a half home from work. The rest of the week I walk, except Friday afternoon when I bring my car home. Continue reading

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Filed under Driving, My Transportation Diary, walking

My Transportation Diary: A Detailed Commute In Queens

By Micheline Maynard

Some people grow up driving, and find they change their ways once they move to the big city. Jason Reese, the director of strategic media at ArkNet Media in Garden City, New York, is one of them.

Here’s his contribution to My Transportation Diary. Check out his great photos and be sure to read all the way through for his detailed account.

Jason writes, “I am originally from rural eastern Tennessee, where the only way to reliably get anywhere is by car. Two years ago, I moved to Nassau County, Long Island to pursue graduate school. The town of Hempstead and its surrounding suburbs fall just outside of the borough of Queens and as such the NYC subway system.

The only reliable public transit option for local travel is the N.I.C.E. bus system, which is generally not so nice. As such, I kept my car for regular commutes to work and school, but often took the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) for trips into Manhattan.

Last week, I moved to Forest Hills in Queens, where I have a plethora of transit options available. Three blocks from my apartment are the E/F/M/R subway lines and a LIRR stop for Forest Hills, as well as several MTA bus connections. I still have my car, but to park in the garage around the block would be $300/month.

Parking around my apartment is metered 25 cents per 15 min from 9am-7pm and is very competitive outside those times, so I park free in a residential area about five blocks away.  Continue reading

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Filed under Curbing Cars, Driving, My Transportation Diary, public transportation, walking

My Transportation Diary: A Hodge-Podge Of Travel Habits

Up in Wisconsin, a fine ride.

Up in Wisconsin, a fine ride.

By Micheline Maynard

Aubrey Burleson-Sanford relies on a mix of transportation: he drives, is driven and relies on his bike.

Aubrey, a student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, checked in from Door County, Wisconsin, to share his transportation diary for last week. (That’s the Toyota Sienna he took to get to Wisconsin’s vacation land.)

Here’s how Aubrey puts it:

“My own car, a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor is broken (busted transmission), so I have to use a hodgepodge of family and friends’ cars when I need a car.

I didn’t work or have class at all this weekend, so there’s not any sort of commuting pattern, but there are a few other patterns. I have a couple unusual key locations I go to and from, but it would be interesting to see how someone interprets this without knowing those.

(Editor’s note: We aren’t going to tell you what Aubrey is doing at some of these hours. We’ll let you guess.)

Looking at this, I wish I had biked more, but most of my traveling, since I didn’t really have any obligations, happened because I had a car and decided to go do such-and-such thing, instead of I needed to get to a thing and therefore got a car.  Continue reading

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Filed under bicycling, Driving, My Transportation Diary, walking

My Transportation Diary: Driving And Cycling In North Carolina

By Micheline Maynard

We’ve launched a regular feature called My Transportation Diary, asking you to tell us how you get around. My Transportation Diary

It’s a great way to compare notes, see transportation trends in different parts of the country, and hear thoughts from people who are mixing up their transportation options.

In this episode, Dan Leinbach, who lives in North Carolina, shares his diary. He came to us through Jalopnik, the automotive enthusiast site, where Curbing Cars has a Kinja page. You’re welcome to read our posts and take part in the conversation. Dan’s Jalopnik screen name is Thunder.

Here’s Dan’s diary:

I work from home full-time.  I think the nearest office of my company is maybe Richmond, VA.  I’m in Apex, a suburb of Raleigh, NC.  My normal day consists of taking my daughter to school (about 2 miles each way); mid afternoon, she’s dropped back off at home.  Most evenings she has some kind of activity to attend, all very local.  Continue reading

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My Transportation Diary: A Unique Point Of View

By Micheline Maynard

We’re kicking off a regular feature at Curbing Cars called My Transportation Diary. My Transportation Diary

We asked you to send us a week’s worth of your regular transportation use. It’s a great way to see how you’re getting around — car, public transportation, bike, walking — and to gauge what you’d like to hear about from us.

Our first installment comes from a unique point of view. John Miller writes the Blind Travel Blog, and I’ve gotten to know him on Twitter. He was inspired by our request for transportation diaries to write this blog post. We’re republishing it with his permission. Thanks, John, for taking part. We’ll have more from him — and from you —  in the days to come.

John writes:

“On Twitter I follow Micki Maynard, a reporter who just announced the Curbing Cars Project. This is an effort to get a sense of how and to what degree our transportation choices may have changed in the last few decades. In short, how do we get around?

I’m participating, by keeping a diary for a week on my transportation interactions to collect data that will then be used, along with many others, to get a sense of wider trends.

As a person with a visual disability, I obviously have never been able to drive. This may well change in the future, though, as companies like Google and others continue to make strides in creating cars that won’t really need much input from their drivers in order to cruise the streets.

I suppose there are reasons to be leery of this invention, and as many say in reference to that the idea of blind people in such automobiles by themselves will be slow to catch on even if they are proven safe, mainly due to what some call social capital. This means that the general attitudes will have to moderate, which will likely take many years.

So until that beautiful time comes, we have to cobble together the easiest way to get across town and to hit the road. Many would say that would be paratransit, but, well, that just depends. Continue reading

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Filed under My Transportation Diary, public transportation

My Transportation Diary — Your Contribution To Curbing Cars

Send us your contributions to My Transportation Diary

Send us your contributions to My Transportation Diary

By Claudia Payne

Curbing Cars has made its Kickstarter goal. Now it’s time to get to work and we want your help with a new feature we’re calling My Transportation Diary.

Would you share with us your stories of how you get around this coming week?

What transportation choices were available to you? What combination could you choose from (car, bus, taxi, bike share, hourly rental, etc)? How did you make use of them and how did they work out?

And how did you feel about it all?

At Curbing Cars, we’ve been compiling data on the rapidly expanding networking of sharing programs, for bikes, rides and cars. In some places, public transportation has adapted. In others, it’s a weak link.

With the help of such innovations as deft new apps and collapsible bicycles, we know that people are customizing their strategies. You’re no longer just tied to a car, or limited to taking the subway. Transportation has become a portfolio. Continue reading

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