I've been car free for nearly 5 years, so I just thought I'd create a thread to help make going car-free easier. To me it seems going are free is largely an issue of organizing/simplifying your life to maximize efficiency. Here are my observations:
- Live a reasonable distance from where you work, attend school, etc. In a largely suburbanized culture this can be difficult. If you live within about 5-10 miles of work (depending on geography), this will make things much easier. I live about 2 miles from work
- Live relatively close to sources for essentials (groceries, shopping, etc.). Same idea as the previous suggestions. If you live within biking, or better yet walking distance of essential, this makes going car free much easier. Obviously, this is easier in some areas than others. Compact urban areas have more people and amenties in a smaller area than do suburban or rural areas.
- Efficient public transit. There are going to be times when biking isn't an option; if you need to travel a long distance quickly, or during inclement weather, it becomes necessary, or at least convenient to have a secondary option. Also, if this enables riders to combine bicycling with public transit. If your area doesn't have adequet public transit, work to get it.
- Compact, pedestrian/bike friendly communities and urban design. In most European cities (and a few US cities), communities are compact, with limited space for autos. If all the essentials are within a reasonable distance from residential areas, driving becomes impractical, and fewer people will need to drive; this is why driving in Europe is much less frequent, and bicycling much more common.
I welcome other suggestions/comments