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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-28-05, 11:31 AM   #1
reporterNYC
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Car-free families and general motivations for being car-free.

I am a student reporter at Columbia Univeristy working on an article about car-free living in the U.S., predominantly in unexpected places. I have been fortunate enough to get in touch with individuals who live car-free from small town Texas to Los Angeles to suburban Atlanta. However, I am finding it difficult to get in touch with car-free families. If anyone in this forum has a family or knows of a family that is car-free, I would appreciate getting in touch with you.

As an aside, I understand that the media hasn't done a great job reporting car-free living (two recent Slate articles and a November WSJ op-ed come to mind), but I've been car-free my entire adult life (which included living in London, Ontario and St Louis, MO), so I can appreciate the issues around car-free living better than say someone who lives in L.A. and decides to bike for a week, then complains about it.

Beyond my search for car-free families, I'm really fascinated by why people are car-free. Why have you taken the path that few have trod? I look forward to hearing your stories in the near future.

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Trevor Stokes
ts2279@columbia.edu
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Old 12-28-05, 12:08 PM   #2
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You have to be secure of yourself more than anything else. If you are insecure of what other people will think (not owning a car) it won't work. Peer presure to own a motorcar is great even for those living in a city because most people are still trying to live like the Jones. Bottom line. People just want to look well off driving a car that's owned by the bank.
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Old 12-28-05, 12:19 PM   #3
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hi, i presume by "family" you mean people with kids. I know of a couple of them in Portland, but Portland is probably the easiest place to live car-free in the U.S., so that may not be of interest. I also live in Portland with my partner. we are currently childless but planning to make babies, and to haul them around via pedal power.

Here's a blog of a fellow who lives in Santa Fe and has a car-free family w/ children.
http://carfreefamily.blogspot.com/

Here's a blog of one of the carfree family people in Portland.
http://todd.cleverchimp.com/blog/

Another carfree family here is Sacha White's family. He's the owner of Vanilla BIcycles and his wife and kids were written up in the Oregonian in what I thought was a well written and balanced piece about car-free living.
http://tinyurl.com/b2ags

Write on.

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Old 12-28-05, 01:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by reporterNYC
...I'm really fascinated by why people are car-free. Why have you taken the path that few have trod?...
I just like it better that way.
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Old 12-28-05, 04:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by reporterNYC
Beyond my search for car-free families, I'm really fascinated by why people are car-free. Why have you taken the path that few have trod?
Riding my bike is a lot of fun, relieves stress, and is great exercise. It allows me to live and get around without being completely dependent on automobiles and oil. It saves a whole lot of money, meaning I can work less and have fun more. I have a more clear conscience now that I do not contribute to the #1 source of greenhouse pollution. I can be opposed to oil wars and excessively wasteful lifestyles without being a huge hypocrite. Automobiles also rely on animal products (in glue, brake fluid, antifreeze, and leather seats) that I avoid as much as possible.
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Old 12-28-05, 08:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weed eater
hi, i presume by "family" you mean people with kids.
Probably... "family" has become a euphemism for "couple with kids". The rest of us don't count in the eyes of media or politicians
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Old 12-28-05, 10:27 PM   #7
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I'm the "prime-mover" of a car-free family (two adults, two kids, two cats, two frogs...).
Feel free to commo through the "private message" function on this forum.
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Old 12-29-05, 12:23 PM   #8
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Check out Unconventional Ideas at:
http://www.unconventionalideas.com/

His latest essay, found by clicking "What's New" is about car-free family living.
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Old 12-29-05, 12:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weed eater
hi, i presume by "family" you mean people with kids. I know of a couple of them in Portland, but Portland is probably the easiest place to live car-free in the U.S., so that may not be of interest. I also live in Portland with my partner. we are currently childless but planning to make babies, and to haul them around via pedal power.

Here's a blog of a fellow who lives in Santa Fe and has a car-free family w/ children.
http://carfreefamily.blogspot.com/

Here's a blog of one of the carfree family people in Portland.
http://todd.cleverchimp.com/blog/

Another carfree family here is Sacha White's family. He's the owner of Vanilla BIcycles and his wife and kids were written up in the Oregonian in what I thought was a well written and balanced piece about car-free living.
http://tinyurl.com/b2ags

Write on.

Patrick
No way Manhattan is by far the easiest place in the country to live car-free.
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Old 12-29-05, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patc
Probably... "family" has become a euphemism for "couple with kids". The rest of us don't count in the eyes of media or politicians

i agree that childfree couples count just as much as families as others, after all they have families with include siblings, parents, etc.

my boyfriend, (yes i'm a guy), have a mortgage together, bills, two jobs, neigbhors we look after and friends and immediate family, so we're just as much a family as anyone else.

anyway not to get OT, we know you didn't mean anything insulting, my motives for car free are money, simplicity, money for saving, money for traveling and exercise.

since selling my car a year ago (sig other still has his) i've maxed my 401k contribution, paid all my CC debt, took a trip to south america, and got six pack abs. couldn't ask for a better year, and the money from car expenses (and selling mine for 2k), helped accomplish that.

technically i have the best of both worlds. I'M car free, i bike/bus to work and for my errands, but we take his out if we go out at night, or for home depot type trips. you may include in your research some families that have gone to ONE car, (with good logistics and planning), and benefitted their lives that way, as we have ours.

BUT, thinking about it, even if i was single i couldn't see myself ever buying a car again. i live downtown, so have things nearby to walk/bike and bus to, and i can rent a car for occasional road trip, or heavily scheduled week, but renting is really the way to go (if you're car free and support that). even renting FOUR times a month, only costs me just over $100 (27 at my downtown budget). plus i can get a truck if i want to go to the mountains, or move something big, and get rid of the gas guzzler money morning.
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Old 12-30-05, 01:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ShavedNProud
No way Manhattan is by far the easiest place in the country to live car-free.
y'know, you're right, and when I thought about this i realized that "carfree" in this case is another way of saying "bike-dependent." So Portland is the best place (or one of 'em) in the country to live bike-dependently, and free of a car.
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