Experiments

Car-Free Summer

Katie, and her two kids, ready to go. Credit: Katie Doke Sawatzky

As you may have read in Geez 42 (Summer 2016, Reading to Transgress), I was conflicted about the potential difficulty of giving up the use of my vehicle. Since then, my partner and I decided not to license our van and to live car-free for the rest of the spring and summer.

We cycle everywhere, using a trailer to get groceries once a week, and we occasionally use the bus. We bought a used trail-behind bike for our oldest child and a rear bike seat for our youngest. The only trip across town that we need to make now and then is to my in-laws’. We try to cycle or take transit, but oftentimes they’ll just drive us home, which is a concession we’re okay with.

We did need to license the van for one week in June so my partner could haul his electric piano around. This was almost a disaster because we forgot to put the permit in the van and got pulled over by a police officer. Thankfully, he didn’t give us the $300 ticket, which would have cancelled out any savings we’d put away from not driving.

Although it takes longer to get out the door, there is something immensely satisfying about towing your kids everywhere and passing long lines of traffic. Our children have more time to notice what’s around them, and I’m getting to know the city better at a slower pace.

For now, we’re not selling the van – we have a feeling that we’ll want it in the wintertime – but we’ll still try and take the bus when we can.


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  1. Thank you for leading the way! I hope we’ll get there, too.

    Susan Harrison Portland, Oregon January 16th, 2017 4:53pm

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Issue 43, Fall 2016

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