Day 99: MLwC and a top 5 list

Everybody loves lists so I thought I’d offer a quick one for the MLwC project and for those who might be trying to think differently about transportation in this post-peak-oil age.

Top 5 things to keep in mind (and Please! Add to this any thoughts you might have–I’m just making this list up on the basis of my experience so far)

1. The goal is to simply become more conscious of how you travel, where, when, why, with whom. That is, how many tasks can you combine in order to avoid multiple trips; how many people with tasks can you combine; why are you jumping in the car–are there other alternatives? Is the weather great and do you have a little time? If so, why not walk or bike? Just note what you’re doing–easy shmeasy.

2. Once you’re more aware, little personal contests help a lot. For example, at first I was aiming for a reduction of one day per week of no car usage–just one day. It was a very modest goal and it took a while to achieve it; it may have been a huge hurdle in retrospect. I’ve since completed two work weeks sans car usage without even breaking a sweat. Keep in mind that no car usage doesn’t mean staying home, locked up and out of action. I’ve taken buses, passenger ferries, my bike and of course, walking on my own two feet.

3. It help to let others know what you’re doing. Yeah–they’ll think you’re a freak, but if you’re reading this, you might already be a freak so who cares. Let them know that it’s a sort of game or experiment you’re doing–just to see. They’ll be curious, I’m betting, based on my own experience–and it’ll give everyone a chance to think a little differently about car usage. Especially let your signif-other in on it–who knows, you may be able to figure out some way to jointly think differently about getting around.

4. Make sure your other means of transportation are in good working order. If your bike sucks big time, it’ll be a pain (really!) to ride and you won’t want to continue. If you have to struggle with change for the bus, buy a packet of tickets or a pass–it’ll make life so much easier and you won’t give using the bus another thought. Also, I don’t know about your city, but most companies in the Seattle area do a lot to help their employees use mass transit–check it out. It’s usually the deal of a lifetime–some companies downtown offer their peeps what’s called a Puget Pass which lets you ride the train, the ferries, the buses–whatever, whenever. It’s an incredible deal.

5. This goes along with awareness, but as you move away from using your car as much, be aware when you do use your car–how does it feel? Notice any difference, a tad more sensitivity to traffic, congestion, stress, etc? Just be aware–maybe nothing in your perception will change, but maybe something will.

have great holiday weekend!

Daily Stats (Friday)
Car: 0
Bike: about 8 miles (we ended up riding to the beach for dinner;-)

foot: approx 12 blocks + approx 3 mile walk/run in the park
bus: approx 14 miles

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3 responses to “Day 99: MLwC and a top 5 list

  1. I love point three and have living breathing example of how something like this works.
    One of my students graduated from university recently and found himself out of work. When I asked what he did with his time he was ashamed to tell me that he didn’t do much. H helped his Grandmother (definitely commendable in this day and age) but not much else.
    In a later class we were discussing the benefits of walking and the hassle of the car (It was like talking to a brick wall — a class of financial advisors with company cars and company fuel bills paid).
    Anyway, something happened that class.
    My student came back the following class announcing he had walked to school (3 hour walk)! I obviously congratulated him. I then thought nothing else about it as it was obviously a one off … right?
    Wrong. He has been waking to class ever since.
    AND BACK!
    I was very touched by this story.
    Here was a student who used to drive to college every day. He now walks to and from English class (6 hours in total because he has little else to do) and he thoroughly appreciates it .
    I am happy to say he has recently found a job with a marketing firm as a trainee. He mentioned that his car is going to stay in the garage. He might not be walking anymore but he will be catching the train.
    This is clear evidence that “coming out” as a non car user can help others overcome their fears of not driving 🙂

  2. Pingback: Day 100: WLwC, Lucinda Williams and Mytechvision « What it’s like

  3. Pingback: Days 360-365: MLwC hits the Year End Mark « What it’s like

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