5 Findings From Going Carless – Week 1

It’s been a little over a week since I committed to going carless for the month of March.

So, obviously, I thought it best to put these discoveries in a super digestible list for you. 

1. I’m a total CHEAT

I’ve never considered myself a cheater but I am now. I might as well be Coach (John Candy) in Cool Runnings, putting weights in my sled to win Olympic gold.

That’s right. It’s only been a week and I’ve already cheated during my #CarlessMarch challenge. Looking back, I don’t even remember why. It was probably due to a donut emergency or something equally idiotic.

It’s made me realize that having access to a car is definitely a luxury and choosing to go without is a sacrifice. But more importantly, this points us towards one of the biggest challenges facing public transit: people value their own convenience far and above the greater impact of their actions. Some people may choose to take public transit because of its benefits, but the rest are going to have to be convinced by having well-planned transit and-let’s be honest-some good ol’ public shaming of driving cars solo.

2. Sometimes transit is going to fit my life, my life has to fit transit

I live about half a mile from the Downtown Durham YMCA but I’ve started going to the gym on the American Tobacco Campus since beginning this challenge. Why, you ask?

The Downtown Durham YMCA is about a half mile walk from my house so I’ve started going to the ATC YMCA before I transfer from my TTA bus to my DATA bus at Durham Station. Before you start thinking of me as some gym rat… I’m switching because if I walked to the gym and back my workout would basically be complete so there’d be no point.

So far, this has been the first life change that I’ve made in order to fit around my transit schedule.

3. Getting between cities is shockingly easy

The Regional Transit Center bathed in sunlight

So I may be a little biased when talking about Triangle Transit but even still… this particular bus system makes it super easy to get between cities in the Triangle. I live and work in Durham but a lot of things in my social life take me into downtown Raleigh. My trip isn’t much longer than driving there, I’m not wasting gas, & it’s incredibly convenient.

4. Owning a bike seems imperative

One thing I’ve realized is how some distances are too long or not safe to walk but don’t make sense to get on a bus to manage. It seems like having a bike to get around town is imperative if I want to keep a good schedule and be able to get places quickly and safely.

It’s easier for me to get to downtown Raleigh using public transit than it is to get to some places just a few miles from my house.

(If you’re curious why this is then you should check out Jarrett Walker’s blog, Human Transit. Jarrett is one of the consultants working on the Wake County Transit Strategy. His work is an awesome resource for understanding the planning side of public transit.)

5. I got mad respectHan Solo Salutes

For anyone who chooses to or is dependent upon public transit for all of their travel, you’ve got all my respect. Just a week into my #CarlessMarch challenge and there are things I’m already finding to be a struggle. It’s a total shift in how I plan my day and what commitments I feel I can make.

 

Do you include a bike in your alternative commuting? If not, how do you manage those medium length distances? 

What changes have you had to make since choosing to commit to public transportation?

Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

-Eleanor

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