A building for the car-less life

A building for the car-less life

Imagine renting an apartment in a building that has no parking. Not on the street, not underground, just no parking.

Would you do it?

Some people are trying, and we’ll see where that goes. I’m scared of this idea because despite all the bad things I say about cars on a near-daily basis, I’m still kind of dependent on mine, though at least I don’t commute daily. But I’m also enthralled by the idea because hell, if we don’t make ourselves ditch them we’ll be stuck with cars until we disappear in a puff of dirty exhaust fumes. Or something. I like drama.

I am 48 years old. I bought my first car at the age of 17. Except for two brief periods, totalling no more than three years altogeher, I’ve owned cars. 

That first one occupies a very special place in my heart, and not because it was a great vehicle. It wasn’t. It was a 1979 Chevette, which had long been owned by my grandfather who’d let his son, my uncle, attempt to run it into the ground. He charged me $950 for it in 1988. It was worth maybe $700, although I suckered a pool soul into buying it from me for $600 nearly a year later, just goes to show I’m not the worst buyer.

Anyway, I was desperate and bought it (I needed a loan, which my father would co-sign, and I paid back every penny plus interest, on time because I was terrified they’d recall the loan if I didn’t and take my “precious” car away from me).  

I was desperate because I needed a way to get out of that horrendous suburb I was stuck in. Sure, there was transit. One bus per hour during the week, one bus every other hour on Saturday, one bus every third hour on Sunday. I needed more transportation than that.  

Anyway. I know perfectly well how it feels to be car-dependent. I’ve suffered from this affliction all my life and am not entirely rid of the habit, although I do try. I’m from a generation that equates car ownership with freedom, not its opposite. If you’re older than me that connection is possibly even stronger. If you’re much younger, your feelings may be entirely opposite.  

But you know, but. Environment. Terrible commuting. Costs. And the fact that the era of personal transportation at high financial and environmental expense seems so… baby-boomerish. We’re way past the point at which it makes sense to keep building cities for cars, and past time to retrofit our spaces so we can get transit and/or active transportation instead. I’m glad to see some people are taking the plunge to live in a building with no parking around. I’m still too chicken to try it. But I’m working on it…

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