I am not ready to go car-free anytime soon. I was so close a couple of years ago, but then the universe conspired against me. Now I am paying off my 2 year old car, and I switched jobs to one that hits all my hot buttons besides location, which gives me 45 minute driving commute each way (it is ~90 minutes via transit or transit + biking).
So I am trying to take a break from my car on the weekends. To be honest, I get sick of dealing with the congestion, and it is nice to have the mental break! Most of the stuff I do errand and entertainment-wise is in about a 5 mile radius, and the vast majority is less than 3 miles away (albeit a somewhat hilly for me in the last 1/2 miles or so on the way home). Prior to getting my bike, I'd swap occasional car trips for transit or walking, but the bus service to the places I go most wasn't ideal. It was easy to take transit when I need to go to downtown SF. And I don't like paying or searching for parking, so I swapped my downtown Oakland trips for transit to walking during the day as well. But transit to the nearby neighborhoods and commercial districts wasn't very convenient due to frequency or stop location.
But over the past few months a few key things have changed. One my closest train station is undergoing construction, to build a new parking garage and also add housing and retail on the site. This means they took away about 2/3-3/4 of the parking spaces. They also striped a sharrow on my street, and a bike lane/sharrow on the more direct route to downtown. And another sharrow on the way to the train station with new bike lanes in between as well.
Since I got my bike, I have been trying to figure out the right "accessories" to swap more of my driving trips, without having to make sacrifices in process or clothing choice! It makes a huge difference in connecting me to all the nearby neighborhoods, without waiting for the infrequent buses.
This weekend was a milestone. I was 90% car-free all weekend! I racked up 35+ miles going to the movies, the library, the pharmacy, the brewery and all sorts of other errands and activities. I did give in and take my car when I was exhausted and had to stop at the store. But I think 3 days of pedal power is pretty good. And here is to more pedal-powered weekends.
How have you transitioned into using your car less? What trips have you converted?