I have been car-free for 3 years. I still own and operate a vehicle but it is seldom used and, when it is, it is to transport bikes for a holiday or to a favourite cycling route.
This happened accidentally. I didn’t set out to go car-free. I began a job downtown. Parking was exceptional expensive and the commute by car, although only 8 km, long and frustrating. I live near the Canada Line, an underground train built for the 2010 Winter Olympics, that gets me to the downtown core in just 7 minutes. I began taking the train in the morning and walking home in the evening. It is a 90 minute walk through a variety of ethnic and shopping areas of the city. At first, the walk was an effort and I would be exhausted afterward. But as time progressed, I began looking forward to it, exploring new routes and shopping along the way. The 90 minutes grew to 120 or more depending on the route.
When Spring came, I began to cycle. There is a traffic calmed bikeway right to the office and my colleagues are very supportive, many of whom commute by bike as well.
That was 3 years ago now. During the wet, winter months, I ride the train in the morning and walk home in the evenings. Spring, summer and fall, I commute by bike and progressively extend the route home with laps around Stanley Park.
I don’t miss driving. I like the convenience of having a vehicle but much prefer to walk and cycle around town. The next step is to actually sell the SUV or downsize to a more economical vehicle given the amount it is used.
That’s my resolution for 2014.