As a family striving toward greater eco-consciousness, Jimmyredhed and I find that our transportation habits are our greatest green asset. At a time in our lives when convenience is a daily motivator, Jimmy and I stand committed to remaining a one (and a half) vehicle family.
We expect to need a second car in the coming years, but for now we rely on six modes of transportation.
|11x14 Traffic Jam Print by Trendy Peas|
We've chosen a modest, four door, Saturn Ion that boasts good gas mileage. In choosing our car, we found a gently used model that was a few years old and within our price range. Owning, affording, and maintaining a vehicle is so important as debt is not sustainable and can really wreak havoc on a family's financial health.
Though I unrealistically wanted a cute little hatch back with great gas mileage, we chose a car with a decent back seat and a very large trunk. In doing so, we eliminated the need for an SUV. We haul stuff regularly with craft shows, road trips, alley finds (!), and trips to the hardware store. It is most practical to own a car that serves your daily commutes, but occasional (larger) needs as well.
|My scooter though mine has a black seat.|
Young and not-tied-down (joke), I purchased a Genuine Buddy scooter in August 2007 which I learned to ride in the back alley of Scooterworks at Foster and Damen. I was living in Uptown, bartending at night, and needed safe and easy to park transportation. My bright pink scooter has become my most practical splurge.
At 75+ mpg, the scoot' serves Jimmy well on his 20 mile (round trip) commute to work. He is the primary driver of our scooter as he works the furthest distance. Though it remains stored through winter, our summer gas budget is nearly non-existent.
|Bike Lovers Wedding Gift Card Box by elizalenore|
Bike riding is a standard of Chicago city living that I'm still getting accustomed to. Aggressive (yet non-attentive) drivers and parked cars are scary! Yet as I work just over 3 miles from home, riding my bike makes sense environmentally and economically. Hello exercise as well! Jimmy rides his bike to Loyola 2-3 days per week. Free transit cannot be beat!
|Black and White Chicago El 8x10 Photograph by Rebecca Plotnick|
Each of us travel by train and bus numerous times per week. I, almost daily, take the Lawrence bus to Jefferson Park and the Central bus home. I frequently take the brown or red lines to class. Imagine if the majority of Chicagoans took public transportation each day. There would be so few cars on the road and gas use/levels of pollution would plummet.
Public transit is not faster than driving by any means, but brings a relaxing commute as I tend to dose off on my way home. Jimmy is always up for reading on the train. Transit fare is $2.75/ride with a .25 transfer. We both have CTA cards that are linked to our credit cards and automatically reload.
I most like the connections to others I feel while riding the bus. My job and work can be quite isolating and I enjoy the opportunity to be amidst conversations and interact with others. It is a sweet reminder of the beauty of humanity.
|Handcrafted Natural Wood Car Truck Toys by the Secret Wood Shop|
When I worked in the suburbs a few years back, my two office mates and I would take turns driving to work. While I no longer have coworkers, Jimmy and I frequently carpool with friends and family to social functions.
There are many benefits to remaining a one car family, but the cost is most relevant. We pay less for gas, insurance, and maintenance than most people we know. We only have to find parking, pay meters, and own one i-pass though we need a city sticker for the scooter as well.
Sometimes our transportation schedule proves difficult. We have to coordinate our plans with each other a week at a time and check in each day. We use a lot of flexibility in planning our schedule. Some days I drive to work and drive home. Some days Jimmy drives me to work and I take the bus home. Some days I take the car in the morning, he takes the bus to my work, picks up the car, and drives to Loyola.
We live three-ish miles from the nearest train which makes last minute plans nearly impossible. If I have dinner plans, must go straight from work and kill a few hours until my friend arrives.
Despite the minor inconveniences, one car makes our lives simpler, saves us a ton of money, and helps us in our quest to be more earth-friendly. But imagine if we had a garage!
How do you commute?