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Advice for the Would-Be Car-Free

10:32 AM EDT on October 5, 2009

The other night I was talking with a friend who wants to give up his family's car but is having trouble convincing his wife that they can do without it. I assured him that it really is possible, given his circumstances -- they live in New York, close to several subway lines, and just a couple of blocks from a garage that is well-stocked with Zipcars. 

51109148_06f9d5a6fc.jpgIt doesn't have to be just for a day. Photo by BikePortland.org via Flickr.

Car-free living isn't an option for everyone in this country, but it's always surprising to me how many people hold onto their cars in my neighborhood -- where owning a vehicle is truly an expensive inconvenience (because of parking regulations and high insurance rates) and there are so many other ways to get around.

In the hopes of giving my friend some more fuel for his argument, and maybe tipping the balance for a few other people as well, today we're featuring a post from Streetsblog Network member Car Free with Kids, a blog out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a pretty self-explanatory name. Today they've got a post about the importance of backup plans for those considering "taking the car-free plunge." Biking, walking, transit, car-share systems -- they each have their place. The blog's writers also offer some reassuring perspective:

When we were first car free, I remember frequently feeling like I wasbacked into a corner. Suddenly there was something I couldn't dowithout a car! But once you've settled into your life, and have readyaccess to two or three methods of doing your most frequent tasks, youcan save the effort of figuring and planning for the big stuff, likecooking up a fabulous car-free camping trip, or adventures by train outof town. And that kind of planning is actually fun.

More from around the network: DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner writes up a report on the increasing integration of biking with transit. Hard Drive has a report on a wildly successful program to get high school kids onto transit in Portland, Oregon. And Bike Denver is urging you to join in asking Congress to expand the Safe Routes to School program.

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