Well, this month marks my 5th year being car-free! :) Hard to believe... More and more each day, I read in news articles, about how people are moving out of the suburbs and into urban areas to be closer to work, and be able to walk, bike or use public transportation to get groceries, see friends, etc. They are centralizing where they live and work. Also, in the past five years, the share of new cars bought by young people (age 18-34) has dropped 30%. They are struggling with the recession, but also, social trends have changed, and a lot more people are socializing via the internet. A study has shown that the longer they go without a car, the easier it is to adjust to a life without a car. And I think that's true - - at first it's a bit of a learning curve, to think about how to get around differently, to schedule (and/or "pad" your time) to get places, how to carry things when running errands, how to deal with inclement weather, wear the proper clothes to be comfortable in the summer and winter. But soon after, this kind of lifestyle becomes "normal" - just like life with a car was "normal." And everyone knows the benefits of more exercise to help your body, and less cars on the road to help the environment. It's a win-win situation.
Last weekend, my area had the option of early voting, so I rode my bike over to College Park Community Center, to check it out. I can pick up a bike trail near my house that comes out next to the parking lot of the community center. Perfect! I saw all the voting placards, then I saw the very lengthy line of voters. As I pulled up to lock my bike to a street sign, there was a steady stream of cars slowly inching their way along, trying to find parking where there was none. I don't think people expected to find such a big voter turn-out! So, not only was it going to take a lot of time for them to find parking...but when they finally got in line, they would later find out that it would take TWO HOURS to finally get to a voting machine! I wonder how it will be on the actual election day, for people to find parking...and then try to get to work at a decent time. I think the local communities ought to encourage people to walk or bike to their voting locations. It would definitely help everyone in the long run...or should I say the long line?! :)