Almost 4 in 10 DC households are car-free, and even more are car-light. That’s not because DC is full of car-hating zealots; it’s because life is simply more convenient that way, when the conditions are right.
When 5 minutes of walking, along a pleasant and safe sidewalk, can get you to most of your daily needs, and cycling or high-frequency transit can get to the rest, driving is more of pain than convenience. Especially when you factor in battling for parking and road rage, not to mention cost.
So when the Coalition for Smarter Growth started putting together Walkable Living Stories, about how and why so many DC residents go car-free or car-light, I wanted to participate. Here’s my story:
Photo from CSG.
“My wife and I hate sitting in traffic and wanted to never have to do it again. So we opted out! When we selected our apartment, we intentionally picked one in the densest part of DC. Within two blocks of our apartment we have a grocery store, convenience mart, dry-cleaner, hardware store, and several cafes. So almost all our daily errands are on foot, or Capital Bikeshare. My commute is on the 16th St. bus line, where buses come every few minutes (more often than Metro trains!), so we never have to wait long. And we never have to look for parking, because we don’t need any! Our apartment costs more than one in the suburbs would, but we don’t have a car payment, nor an insurance payment, nor any gasoline bills. We do occasionally rent cars for out-of-town trips, but that’s much less hassle and cost than car ownership.”