When her car broke down this past March, Kayla Crawford took the advice of her boyfriend, Matt Carter, and decided to go car-free.
The dead battery on her 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora was the final straw in a long line of car problems.
“Having a car is insanely expensive,”said Crawford, who lives with Carter in Mount Pleasant, Mich., home to Central Michigan University and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
With poor gas mileage and a high insurance rate ($180 per month, driving became more of a hassle than a convenience.
Two months ago, the couple received a pair of bikes from Crawford’s father, and they have not looked back.
“It is really exciting to me that I have no other option but to go out and ride my bike,” Crawford said. “It is so much healthier for me and the environment.” Continue reading →
The Eiffel Tower, before and after the Paris smog. Photo via StrangeSounds.org
By Adam Rubenfire
Dangerously high pollution levels this past week prompted officials in Paris to take some drastic measures to curb the city’s smog problem.
The most radical measure came Monday. About half of the city’s cars were forced off Parisian streets when the French government announced that vehicles with even-numbered license plates would not be allowed to drive within the limits of the city or its suburbs.
Taxis, carpools, and commercial electric or hybrid vehicles were exceptions to the rule, which, combined with favorable weather conditions, appeared to alleviate the smog that consumed the Paris skyline, according to the BBC.
Although thousands of individuals faced ticketing for violating the ban — some less cooperative motorists even had their cars impounded — there was an upside for commuting Parisians. All forms of public transit were free of charge from Friday through Tuesday.
The 100 percent discount on fares cost the region four million Euros a day ($5.5 million), according to online publication The Local.
Loosening the turnstiles and taking automobiles off the roads may seem extreme, but car free streets are the norm in some communities around the globe.
Continue reading →
Anne’s 1998 Honda Civic. Will it stay or go?
By Micheline Maynard
We had some wonderful responses to our request for Advice For Anne. She’s a Curbing Cars reader in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who asked for help as she figured out what to do about her 1998 Honda Civic.
Anne has read your suggestions, and here’s her message for everyone.
“Thank you to all the wonderful comments from the Curbing Cars readers. They provided very helpful perspectives on going Car Free and very thought provoking ideas and experiences.
I am going to keep my car for now, but not use it except on rare occasions where a car is helpful – picking my friend up at the bus station, going to an appointment out of town, going to a friend’s house after the buses stop. Continue reading →
Frederick says Anne can get alone even without one of these.
By Micheline Maynard
Our reader Anne in Ann Arbor has asked for advice on whether to keep her 1998 Honda Civic or go car free. Frederick Ollinger in San Diego says she can pull the plug, and tells her how.
You access to a car will impact your life decisions and make you more or less car dependent.
For example, you say that your suburb is car dependent. How did this happen? This could only occur if the developers and residents all decided that they were going to have access to a car.
If, on the other hand, at the beginning of this decision making process, you did not have a car, you would have made different decisions.
For example, when my wife and I moved from pedestrian Philly to “car dependent” San Diego, every one “knew” that we needed a car. Five years later we live not only without a car, but without a Zipcar.
How? Continue reading →
By Micheline Maynard
Ask, and ye shall receive! Our reader Anne in Ann Arbor, Michigan, asked Curbing Cars last week to help her decide whether she should keep her 1998 Honda Civic, or take the plunge and go car free.
Anne’s 1998 Honda Civic
Your advice has come flooding in. Here’s the first response, from John Lloyd. (We’ll be featuring more Advice for Anne this week.)
Great question! The fact that you’re asking whether to keep your car is a wonderful indication that you have freed your mind from the tyranny of the automobile. I have been living “car light” for the past 3 years, and driving my car less and less every year.
Like you, I have an older car (a 2000 Toyota Corolla), and I only fill the tank a couple of times a year. I’d love to go completely car-free, but I live in a car-dependent suburb and like knowing I have the option in an emergency. If we had a Zipcar available nearby I’d feel better able to let the car go completely, but since we don’t, I’ve hung on to it. Continue reading →