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Quit Driving Your Car to Work

Yes, I know I said I’d do some catch up. But I was thinking about something while walking home today, and I said to myself, “You should blog about this!” You know, because I have a blog.

That "something" was precisely what I was doing. Walking home from work. Because I walk my commute rather than driving. And it’s something you should be doing, too: getting to work in some other way rather than driving.

I’ve always wanted to be able to avoid a driving commute. And for most of my working life, I’ve been able to do it. During my two years in California, excluding a brief period when my bike was stolen (curse you forever, Los Angeles bike thief), I did it. And for the three years I lived and worked in Middletown, I did it.

A commute is a requirement in my life. If you work and are not one of the lucky souls who works from home, it is probably a requirement in yours, too. And the assumption is that commutes necessarily have to involve a car. I freaking hate that assumption.

Why is this important to me?

  • My health. The current understanding of how health and physical activity are correlated suggests that any regular physical activity, even walking for 30 minutes a day, is beneficial to your well-being. Alternatively, there is growing evidence that sitting for excessive periods of time is unhealthy. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of my time at work sitting. If I have to commute, the last thing I want to do is sit during it.
  • Sustainability. Driving, alone, is one of the most inefficient modes of transportation available. Why should I burn gasoline getting to and from work if I don’t have to.
  • Thrift. Gas and automobile maintenance is expensive.
  • My safety. Cars are dangerous and the less time I can spend in one, the better.

I am not a car hater. I love road trips and I love driving. But there is something about the necessity of getting in the car ten times a week that I loathe. And I happen to think that this is why many people I knew in Los Angeles didn’t like driving to do social things -- because they spend all the time in their cars commuting. Of course they don’t want to get back in the car. That makes sense. But there’s no way I want to ever feel like that.

I realize that our infrastructure isn’t really built for this. Lots of people work in city centers and live in suburbs. Or your workplace is in a neighborhood you don’t want to live in. These are problems that aren’t easily solvable -- our cities aren’t designed for this. My point is that they should be designed for non car commuting. Support public transportation initiatives and bike lanes.

I also understand that there are good reasons why this won’t work for everyone independent of city design. You and your spouse’s workplaces aren’t close together. You own a house and it’s far away from your workplace. You have to take your kids to daycare on the way. But if these aren’t problems for you, what’s your excuse? Do you live less than 5 miles away? You can bike that in under 30 minutes. Do you have trouble fitting in time to get some exercise? You have to commute every day, right? There you go. Trying to save some money? How about not buying gas every week? (And don’t give me any excuses about the weather. That’s what thermal underwear is for.)

Mostly, I just want people to stop looking at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that I walk to work and that I like it that way. I mean, maybe they’re just jealous. Why don’t you join me? We’ll find out together.


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Hi Andrew! Greetings from CT. For those who can, get a TrekDesk:



This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 2, 2013 11:01 PM.

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