Going Carless In Los Angeles – My New Adventure.

March 26, 2007

9 days ago, my wife and I sold one of our cars…which left me carless. We had been contemplating this change for a few months, and after many discussions about the consequences, we decided that it was totally worth it to go down to having only one car. Part of my inspiration came from green LA girl, who after many posts on her blog about it, finally gave up her car and has lived to tell about it. I work from home, so I do not need a car for commuting, and since we live in a walkable community, I can walk or bike most places I ever need to go. My wife commutes, so she has taken my Mini as her own car…which I am sure she does not mind!

I started working from home 6 months ago and realized that my car sat lonely in the garage about 95% of the time, which is not a very good use of our money. Making car payments on a car you don’t drive is kind of dumb, really, so we decided it was time to give one of them up. And so far, it has been OK. I have a bicycle, I have 2 feet with 2 pretty good pairs of sneakers, and I have a messenger bag to carry my stuff wherever I need to go. It is a very freeing feeling knowing that we only have one car to take care of now…it means one less car payment and one less car to insure.

I have gotten myself a bus pass for the local lines, and I have all the maps in case I need to go somewhere that I am not familiar with. I am also about to sign up with FlexCar so I can rent a car by the hour anytime I want one, for things like doctor’s appointments and the like.

Overall, it has been a good experience. There have been a few hiccups, like when I told a friend I could pick her up at the airport in the middle of the day and then realized a few hours later that I did not own a car. I had to let her know that I had forgotten I did not have a ride and she would have to figure something out. Another time I packed up my stuff and got ready to head out to the grocery store…and remembered I could not go anywhere that required carrying 6 canvas bags of food back to my house. But still, I am very happy about the economic and environmental impact our decision has had on us and our neighborhood….you see the world in a whole different way when you don’t whiz by it at 55 MPH!

technorati: carless, Los Angeles, public transportation

Filed in: Automotive
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Comments (13)

  1. green la girl says:

    Congratulations! Wow!

    But why are ya trying to buy so many groceries, all at once?! Do you have kids? Also, how far is your grocery store? I think it’s rather unfortunate that many families sort of have to only shop for groceries once a week cuz the grocery store’s not in walking distance :( I’m lucky in that Co-opportunity is 3 or so blocks from me. I go there 1-2 times a week — and I go to the farmer’s market once a week, and it’s generally enough food —

  2. David says:

    Hi Siel

    Not really buying so many groceries, its more of the thought of having to carry a bunch of bags back to the house. Unfortunately over here the only place within immediate walking is Pavilions, and we shop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods which are not within walking distance. We also do pick up a lot of stuff at the SM farmers market on Saturdays, so that does help!

    We dont have kids but we are both very busy and spending even more time at the grocery store is not really an option for us. But so far, I love being carless. In fact I took the rapid to K-Town the other day and it was great!

  3. FredCamino says:

    Hey David! Congratulations on going car-free! Keep us up to date on how it’s going… to me car-free is the only way to be. Make sure to check out MetroRiderLA for information about the public transit and car-free lifestyle in Los Angeles.

  4. Anna says:

    Congrats David!
    On the grocery thing, you need an Xtracycle.

    Not only can you carry all your groceries, you could even pick up a friend on the way..


  5. david says:

    Good idea Anna! I might have to pick one of these up, looks pretty cool! :-) Thanks…

  6. David says:

    Thanks for the link Fred, I will surely check into it!

  7. Katrineholm Review says:

    Live in a small town as I do where you don’t need a car. I live in Katrineholm, Sweden and the town is small enough that you can easily get your shopping done on foot or there is sufficient public transport that you can use the local bus system if you must during inclement weather. By the way, if you are coming to Sweden for a visit, come to Katrineholm which is about an hour to the West of Stockholm, Sweden. It’s a small town but cozy.Visit my blog to learn more about Katrineholm if you like. Oh, one more thing, if you must have a car and you can afford it, purchase a Telsa Motors vehicle. Totally electric.

  8. Plus6 says:

    Congrats on the car-free choice. This is one of my ultimate goals long term…