Saturday, August 27, 2005

Car-free and Carefree

As a quasi-environmentalist, I have to admit, these gas prices certainly encourage creativity and good green practices.

For instance, I'm going to try some car-free days this week and see how many days in a row I can go without my car.

I live in the Boston suburbs, a 20-minute walk from my town center, so it's not as easy as it sounds. Luckily as a writer, I don't have a "commute" per se to some work location, but I often go into Cambridge and Boston for meetings with clients and collegues. Also luckily, the Boston MTA system is an excellent one and I have buses and the T to get me just about anywhere.

The trick is the timing. If I want to meet someone in my town, instead of a 2 minute car ride, I have to anticipate a 20-minute walk. If I want to meet someone in Cambridge, instead of a 30 minute drive, I have to take a bus and then the T and that can require an hour with potential wait times for both modes of transport. There's also a gorgeous tree-lined woodsy bike path from my town into Cambridge which I think would take an hour or so as well, I've never tried it.

All of these alternatives avoid PARKING which I detest and is so tough both in Cambridge and Boston. That's a big upside. And honestly, if I figure in the time it takes to LOCATE PARKING, the costs of parking and the costs of parking tickets, it all equals out.

Also, taking the T and the bus means you can use the time to read, write or listen to your ipod instead of paying attention and stressing while driving.

Needless to say, I write this on a lovely 60 degree morning in sunny August. Get back to me when it's snowing or 12 degrees out ... in a month or two.