Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pro-Choice (regarding transportation)

(Photo by Jenn Farr)

     I was reading an article in the Post today, about a meeting held in DC of the Federation of Citizens' Associations, regarding a zoning and development.  Harriet Tregoning, D.C.'s Planning Director, led the meeting, stating that "I'm not anti-car - - I'm pro-choice."  Ms. Tregoning happens to own a Brompton folding bike.  I've seen her biking around town, in her suit, going to meetings around town. It's very inspiring to see her setting a great example. :)   She also folds up her Brompton to take on Metro.  (In fact, she was able to effectuate Metro to change its policy regarding folding bikes, that those bikes don't need to be covered during rush hour!  When Metro saw how folding bikes fold in such a way that the chain is tucked in the fold, so no one gets dirty).  She stated that "35% of DC households have no vehicle."  She said car-sharing (like Zipcar and car2go) is like people who listen to music on demand (via iTunes or online music listening sites).  Not everyone needs to "physically own" a music CD.  Same with not needing to physically own a car.

     There was a lady in the meeting who shouted out, "Who are these people?" [who are car-free].  Many people in the meeting "were incredulous that any appreciable percentage of residents would choose to live without cars."  I think the key word here is "choose".  I choose to live without a car....even though I could easily afford and own a car.  It's a lifestyle choice.  There are some inconveniences to not having a car in the driveway, but I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.  But for my own personal needs, having a bike, walking, using Metrorail, Metrobus, Amtrak, Megabus, Zipcar and Enterprise - - I am able to take care of what I need to get and where I need to get to.  And don't forget the convenience of online shopping to get other items. :) 

      Friends of mine have asked me, "How long are you going to be able to keep biking around like that?"  The other day, I was talking to a biking friend of mine who lives in Maine, and he's 81.  So I figure I can keep up my biking lifestyle for say, another 30 years at least.  And when I'm old and gray, and my balance isn't that great, I'll get a three-wheel bike. :)  I've traveled to Europe and have seen LOTS of people older than me, riding around town.  It's wonderful to see.  Bicycling is a low-impact form of exercise that can easily be continued as you age. :)  I read in the news earlier this month, there's a French cyclist, Robert Marchand, who is 100 years old, and he set a record for bicycling 50 miles in about 4.5 hrs.!  Age doesn't have to be a dibilitating factor.  I think the object is to keep moving...and it's my intention to do so. :)


She Rides a Bike said...

What a great post! "Who are these people" who can't live without a car? My husband was asked this same question a few years ago by another city planner! She was incredulous to the idea that anyone could possibly go grocery shopping using only a bicycle. He explained that we did just that very thing all the time and it worked very well for us. Of course, we still have one car as neither Flagstaff or Phoenix, where we now live, have DC's level of public transist that makes it all so much more workable.

Here in Phoenix, public transit and biking are necessities. I see a lot of people who are very low income, many homeless, who have no other means of transport and it without public transit and bikes, they'd almost no ability to get to a low paying job or to the services they depend on. Biking is definitely more of a choice for us now but it's one that has made life more affordable. A car is just something I kept sinking money into and all I got out of it was anxiety about "what next?".

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