Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Footloose and Car-free

There are so many advantages to being car-free, especially living in a city with a great infrastructure. By walking and using public transport we have all managed to get to know our way around Berlin very well. I often think if we were driving around the city there would be added stresses of one navigating while the other drives, learning new road rules (so many I still don't understand), and finding street parking out and at home. At it is, using the U-bahn is an added part of any day out. Working out which line we need and how that will get us to our destination becomes second nature. And I must say I love the incidental exercise.

It concerns me how easy it is to just jump in the car and zip to the shops for that bottle of milk. When everything is so hectic and time is so precious, it seems that those few extras minutes needed to walk the journey just can't be found. When you don't have a car, there is no option.

During a walk back from the supermarket yesterday, we were talking about how relaxing this journey is, and how we really need to be more conscious of our car use back in Perth. We had the idea of a no-car-zone: any trip under two kilometres should not involve the car.

I found this great piece of online software that draws a given radius around a point on a map. My plan is to make a copy and stick it to the fridge for the whole family to use. It is amazing how many places we visit fit inside the ring.

Why not have a go and see how many places fit inside a one or two kilometre radius of where you live.

Take care


  1. What a great thing to be able do, pretty sure I would ditch the car if I lived in a well transportated(not sure thats a word?) city...apart form the environmental damage ...the road rage people have is just so OTT. Where we are now its about 4kms out of town, which is great but only 3 buses a day and a $20 taxi ride, so the commodore will live with us for awhile yet.

  2. I love your idea of a car-free-zone. I just used the software to look at a 2km radius from my house. I'm going to give it a go. Thank you for the inspiration.

    and also...I can't believe I forgot about mango lassi. Thank you! I know what we'll be having for dinner tomorrow night.

    And re the testing dried fruit...I did plenty of that ;-)

  3. Jen, having the right infrastructure really does make a difference. I can't believe how expensive taxis are. That is amazing.

    Tricia, I really think 2 km is quite do-able, so I hope I can stick to it.
    Thinking of all those mangoes makes my mouth water. Yum.

  4. Ohhh, I like this idea. We have always been a 2 car family and I just recently sold my car. I love it. Z and I walk most places and it's an incredible sense exploring your own community in detail. It's amazing how much you become aware of... Things we previously would have whizzed right on by. The map is a ripper idea.

  5. Great idea! I'm loving using my bike these summer holidays - I have noticed so many more things about the short trips to the shops that I normally wizz past in my car.

  6. Joy, walking is such a great way of finding new places. We found a great little shop today just by turning left when we normally turn right. I remember that it can be tricky with little ones as they seem to find EVERYTHING when out walking. It could sometimes takes two or three times as long.
    Glad you are loving being a one car family.

    J, great abut the bike. That is one of the things I'm looking forward to getting back in to. I love that with a bike you can park right at the front rather than trying to find a parking space. It is so much more convenient.

  7. Love the car-free zone idea. We too have been a one car family for quite a while now and most of the week that car sits in the drive way. Mr Good PTs to work everyday and whenever we take a trip into the city or to the footy in the Winter we PT as a family. I do find with two little ones and only room in the pram for one it gets a little tricky. I got Miss Two a buggy board that attaches to the pram that she stands on, but she gets a bit tuckered out standing for too long. It's great for the park or the pool, but too far too the library.

  8. TheNewGoodLife, it is amazing how much time cars spend sitting in the driveway.
    We had a buggy board years ago and it was great. As you say, not too good for long journeys but so much better than having to trying to get a double pram in and out of places.

  9. The 2km thing means I should be able to walk/ride to both my local shops from here. That's fine, I used to walk to and from work every day.
    The challenge is rearranging time - ie not being able to duck in to or from school etc

    We did once ride to school using a Christinia bike and that was fabulous. If I had one of those (it was leant to us for the weekend) I would happily ride to and from the shops - 100kg capacity in the box and easy as to ride. :)

    the 2km radius is def something to keep in mind though... thanks :)

    1. Time is the biggest challenge for the 2km car free zone. Needing to quickly get a loaf of bread on those mornings when we run out or realise that someone was supposed to be at school 10 minutes ago make jumping in the car too easy to justify.

      A Christiania Bikes sounds great. I would have loved one when the kids were younger.


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