Friday, September 17, 2010

You Don't Have to Own a Car to Use One

Despite what you may think, I wouldn't describe myself as anti-car. As I have mentioned, I actually own a car. What I am against are the massive environmental, social and economic costs of a society that is pathetically dependent on cars (e.g. air pollution, climate change, habitat loss, watershed degradation, sedentary lifestyle, tens of thousands of road deaths annually just in the U.S., the cost burden of car ownership particularly on the poor, etc.)

It may seem obvious to some, but sometimes it's easy to forget here in the uber sprawl of greater Los Angeles. You don't have to own a car to use one. There are taxis, there are car sharing services and so forth.

Are these services at the level they should be where I live? No. But I was in Downtown LA the other day running late after just getting off the Blue Line. I remembered that there is a taxi stand at 7th and Figueroa and I dashed over there, got in a cab, and got where I was going on time.

No need to park, and no need to haul my car all the way from where I live at massive environmental and financial cost. All of the convenience of a car, without any of the baggage of ownership.

This is what real cities can do. It's not so much about being car free as about using cars in a different way: less often, without necessarily owning them, when it's really useful.

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