For the husband and me, it was not a cool lifestyle choice. We couldn't afford it. Plain and simple.
Living in Somerville, MA and struggling with finding a parking spot, keeping track of third thursdays, distance from street intersections, finding your shoveled parking spot being taken by someone else and numerous parking tickets for rules we didn't realize we were violating, we decided to call it quits and sell the car.
We needed more space and to travel with his visiting parents. As friendly as Boston (and close neighbors) is to car-free living and traveling , the rest of the North East is not. We had two options : spend a lot of money (with no tangible returns) on home and car rentals, or bite the bullet and move to a suburb and buy a car.
|Courtesy : multiple websites on the internet|
We had a newfound sense of freedom. We replaced our old bikes with new ones good enough for commuting, used the T to go to places we had never been before. We even used the commuter rail ! Our radius of activity was limited, but it gave us the opportunity to explore parts of the neighborhood and try activities that we never did before. We started frequenting neighborhood coffee shops and restaurants, inadvertently supporting local businesses.
We did rent cars to go on trips, or use zipcars to go outside the city, but the trips were infrequent. Our legs got stronger, carbon footprints smaller. We felt good.
A little over a year later, things changed.
|My commute every morning|
We chose the latter, decided to move. While house hunting, our criteria for looking for places to live was centered around being able to bike to work. We would have to buy a car, but wanted to keep as much of our daily activities car-free as possible.
We chose Arlington, MA. Close to the bike path, but hassle-free resident parking. Between us, we still bike 90+ miles a week. The car goes to grocery stores and to visit friends and family on weekends. We are strong, our carbon footprint is happy and small.
P.S. I should preface this by saying that I grew up in India, where public transport or walking is a way to escape having to drive in traffic. Our family also tried not to use the car for more than what was absolutely necessary. I lived in the largest city in the US without public transport for 2.5 years. Also without a car. Being car-free in Boston was probably not as hard for me, especially since I was finding it more and more difficult to justify the effort and expense it took to maintain an aging rarely-used car.