Saturday, September 10, 2011

Return: Walking and Driving

Back in June, I described how I'm not a fan of driving.
I've already seen the light of how urban living can be a good thing, so I am one of those people who already lives close to a downtown and walks to the store. Six years ago, I drove 48,000 miles a year. Now I drive less than 10,000. I'm much happier driving much less.
...I've been walking to Friday meetings at the nearest worksite, which is a mile and a half away, as well as walking to the grocery store, which is half that distance.
I returned to all of the above yesterday when I posted the following status update to Facebook.
Time to walk to work. I love living only a mile and a half from one of my worksites.
This prompted my wife and two of my friends to express their envy and share their commuting horror stories. All of them hated commuting. My friends wished they didn't have to drive so much for work. My wife was relieved that she didn't have to commute any more. I expanded on how I've been reducing my commute for the past five years.
From 2000-2004, I regularly put 40,000 miles on my car. In 2005, I began driving 1000 miles a week when school was in session to three different colleges and a tutoring service. Then on the weekends, I'd judge marching bands or cover drum and bugle corps shows. From May 2005 to May 2006, I drove 48,000 miles. That was the year I put my house up for sale, stopped seeing my long-distance girlfriend, and eventually sold my house. In June, I moved to the middle of my jobs and cut my driving down to 700 miles a week. Then I changed one of my jobsites and cut it down to 500 miles a week. Then I got a full-time job and quit my part-time jobs and dropped to 300 miles a week. Finally, we moved and I now drive 70 miles a week. I'm so close to work I could ride a bike on a good day.
Yes, the goal for next year is still to buy a couple of bikes. I'll probably pedal to work the two days a week I finish before sunset, which will reduce my driving even more.

As for today's walk to work and back, I thought it was wonderful.  I love my walkable neighborhood.


  1. Driving is genetic if you're an Angelino. Only gene therapy has any promise for a cure.

  2. Gene therapy wasn't necessary for me. I guess that's why I didn't really fit in there. I preferred walking and was happiest where that was actually possible, like Bakersfield. No, I'm not kidding. Walking to the store was actually doable there. Too bad the place was such a hicksville. Ann Arbor was much better, and did wonders to improve my interest in walking, riding, and taking public transportation.