Trying to be less car-dependent

When I was a kid we didn’t own a car until I was 15. We lived in a neighborhood in St. Paul and so bus service was readily accessible. As I got older though I started to dream of the day I could get my license and experience freedom. I even tried to take my driver’s test on my 16th birthday (spoiler: I didn’t pass). Once I had my license I drove everywhere. I don’t think I took a bus again for years.

A couple of years ago I waxed poetic about the freedom that cars give you. In that post I did mention the big downsides of cars as well, and recently I’ve thought more about how dependent I am on trying to get around in my own private vehicle. Partly, I think I’ve been influenced by all of the biking I’ve been doing this year, and the whole bike commuting culture. When I changed jobs this year I moved to an office that is only 9.5 miles away from home, and it meant that I had more options. The Northstar train goes through my suburb and so there’s little reason that I need to drive into the city. I can bike or train it without much difficulty.

However, I found myself driving even the 1.8 miles to the train station, which in some ways seemed silly. It’s close enough that I’ve even walked it at times. Why would I bother moving my car such a short distance when I have options that don’t use gas or pollute? Therefore, I’ve committed to trying to make a change.

I’m going to commit to getting to work by bike and public transit four days per week. One day per week I have to be in St. Paul and that commute will only happen occasionally. However, there’s very little reason why every other day when I’m in Minneapolis that I couldn’t leave the car parked. I’ve been working on doing this for the past couple weeks and have been mostly successful. I had a conference to be at a couple days last week, but otherwise I’ve tried to leave the car in the driveway.

We’ll see how well the winter goes, but even on a cold snowy day, 1.8 miles to the train station shouldn’t be too bad. Once there I have a nice bike locker where I can store my bike out of the elements, or I can bring it on the train with me in case I want to bike the whole way home, or somewhere during lunch. I’m excited to give this a try, and hope to report nothing but success over the coming weeks.