August 05, 2005
My response to the Balish Survey
In this essay I will be responding to the Survey by Chris Balish that I posted here a few days ago meant for people who bike, and/or walk to work, and which he is using for research on a book he is writing:
For the past year I've lived 11 miles from my job, and with my new home, this month, the distance only increases by about 3 miles.
I am 45, single, live in Santa Ana, Ca., and work in Huntington Beach.
I am a Directory Assistance Operator for Verizon Wireless.
I commute to work by bike, or by bus, or both, depending on the night of the week, and what time I get off work.
On Saturday and Sunday certain busses stop running very early so sometimes I'll just choose to ride my bike home.
Sometimes I've been known to ride my bike round trip 3 days a week.
By bus, or by bike, the commute suprisingly takes the same amount of time: 75 to 90 min. one way.
My co-workers who drive have commutes of various lengths, from 20 minutes to 90 minutes, or 2 hrs. depending on time of day, and traffic on the freeways.
I have never owned a car in my life, and I'm 45 years old.
Aside from my bike, and the bus, I walk to where I want to go, and sometimes that distance has been as much as 10 miles each way.
Those who drive cars would have a better idea of how much money I save, but I imagine it is the proverbial "S***load" a month. :-D
I pay $45 a month for a Bus Pass, and sometimes more if I have to tak a trip out of Orange County for some reason.
Not having to pay any of the bills associated with car ownership, not just by choice, but neccesity ( I never could afford a car even if I had wanted one ), has freed up money for other things, mainly rent money.
While walking can be a hassle, depending on the distance, the time of day, the weather, and what I'm carrying, bicycling is convenient because I never ride in the rain, unless by accident ( The weather person on TV lied! ).
I have always walked, or rode the bus, and, when I got out of college, commuted to work by bike. My parents never owned cars, and so our family walked, or rode the bus, where ever we went. My youngest sister was the first to get a drivers license, in the late 80's.
In all my jobs I have always lived close enough to walk or ride a bike, except for the 4 months my job was in a city 30 miles away from where I lived. Then I had to take the bus exclusively.
I believe that my transportation choices DO help the environment. 1 Less Car, and all that, as the slogan says. How much is anyones guess considering more people take up driving a car than riding a bike every day, and that ain't gonna change in my lifetime, I don't think.
I use Mass Transit every day of my life, and have done so since childhood. I know the transit systems I use better than most of my fellow commuters, and even some Bus Drivers.
Even errands such as Grocery Shopping can be done on foot, or bus, when you use one of those small shopping baskets that can be bought at any Walmart, or Target.
I go to my errands, for the most part, not the other way around, though I do some shopping online for books. :-D
When I tell folks I walk, ride the bus, or bike not just to work, but everywhere I need to go some folks think it's cool, but most think I'm nuckin' futz to not be, like the majority of my fellow Southern Californians, stuck perpetually behind the wheel on the dreaded freeway.
Here, there are far too many people who can't even dream of going to the corner grocery, for 1 or 2 bags of munchies, or even LESS, without doing so by car ( And that INCLUDES many of the Environmental Wackos on the Left ).
It's ridiculous! :-D
In a way I have less free time simply because the commute is longer than by car, but in another sense I have plenty of free time to listen to the radio on headphones, read a book, or the newspaper ( walking or bus riding ) when not behind the wheel of a car.
Oh, and yes, I CAN walk and read a book while at the same time safely keep from bumping into people, or getting run over by a car at intersections. :-D
Practice, practice, practice! :-D
I recommend walking to work, or bicycling to work, when you can, or have the time for it, for the exercise, and health reasons, plus they are great ways to get out and get a closer look at the community in which you live.
Riding the bus lets you get a closer look at where you live and leaves the driving to others.
The only challenges to walking, or riding to work, that I see are distance, and weather and, of course what you carry with you on the trip, and how.
The worst part of cycling, or walking to anywhere are the distance, and weather, but the best part is not just the exercise, but being close to, and aware of, the community you live in in ways that driving a car don't allow.
How has the fact that I walk, bicycle, or ride the bus everywhere affected my outlook on life?
I feel alive, and energetic, interested in the world around me, and able to face the day, especially at work, in a better frame of mind than if I'd just survived rush hour on the freeway. :-D
I handle foul weather by leaving my bike at home, and grabbing the umbrella. :-D
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An example, that you should follow!
Nowadays in Hungary the gas prices rised so higher, a lot of car owners (the poorest) cannot afford it. Now they are at a loss: they can't use the mass transit orderly, and they even can't ride the bike.
And this is just the begining of something.
One time, in the more advanced and richer countries the gas is going to be unaffordable.
Posted by: birogeri | Aug 16, 2005 3:46:13 AM