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Old 08-20-2011, 02:12 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
292 posts, read 591,822 times
Reputation: 236

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I live in Seattle and I am currently not using a car at all to get around. Seattle does not exactly have the best public transportation, yet I have still managed to live without one. It does help that I live in the Downtown area. Anyway, my question is, how come so many people have cars if so many people that have cars don't really need them and can live a perfectly happy life without them? Also, how much better would our air quality and environment be if many people quit driving so much? How much money would people save? How much healthier would they be by doing more walking? How much would the oil companies be affected? I guess it be a huge chain reaction.
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:56 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,430,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FantasyFootballGuy View Post
I live in Seattle and I am currently not using a car at all to get around. Seattle does not exactly have the best public transportation, yet I have still managed to live without one. It does help that I live in the Downtown area. Anyway, my question is, how come so many people have cars if so many people that have cars don't really need them and can live a perfectly happy life without them? Also, how much better would our air quality and environment be if many people quit driving so much? How much money would people save? How much healthier would they be by doing more walking? How much would the oil companies be affected? I guess it be a huge chain reaction.
Your needs, wants, circumstances, and ability to travel (or not) as you need to via other means of transportation lead to economic and lifestyle choices that are unique to your personal situation.

They don't necessarily apply to others, and aren't a valid baseline to make broad sweeping generalizations of any value whatsoever to everybody else, let alone pin it down to specific numbers. Transportation is a very personal decision ... and I, for one, don't care to have you decide what my needs or wants are in my life. I don't live or work in a major metropolitan downtown area and personal transportation is essential to my job, my health/medical access, shopping ... all non-discretionary needs. It's a choice that I have made where I can justify the expense to value for my vehicles to have as needed.

If you are happy with your choice to not own a personal vehicle, so be it. Count your savings from your needless expense and enjoy.

OH, FWIW ... while you may be able to personally enjoy your car ownership-free lifestyle ... you are still highly dependent upon others who do carry those costs. Think in terms of services and goods that you depend upon for your lifestyle ... virtually all of those items require transportation at every step of production from raw goods through to finished products. From what I've seen of downtown Seattle, there's not much in the way of clothing, food, consumer goods, or anything else that actually originates there. It's all shipped in to your retailers or restaurants or REI store or Costco or wherever it is that you make your purchases. You don't exist on purely intellectual work product created by your neighbors ... nor do you rely entirely upon services provided by those who also choose to live in downtown Seattle. Some people actually enjoy living where they are reliant upon personal transportation to create their work product, raw goods, or other valuable commodities/products which you require in your life ... as they do in theirs ... right down to the energy that you use for your standard of living. Consider, too ... not everybody lives in a climate where snowfall is a relatively rare occurrence .... although Seattle does seem to come to a standstill when a 1/2" of snow does fall, doesn't it?
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:50 AM
 
15,924 posts, read 17,425,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FantasyFootballGuy View Post
Anyway, my question is, how come so many people have cars if so many people that have cars don't really need them and can live a perfectly happy life without them?
Seems you have a very narrow vision of what the world around you is like, AND you are single and are clueless as to married life and children.....

It's actually an excellent question easily answered....

So many people have cars/trucks/suv's because they like the convenience of going places quickly and in comfort and don't like their lives restricted to their ability to walk X amount of miles in a single day...

I guess another thing would be since many people live in a much warmer environment then Seattle people don't want to arrive at their destination sweaty and their clothes looking like they just emerged from a steam room.

Finally most people don't want to revert back to the stone age when it comes to traveling.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:28 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
292 posts, read 591,822 times
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I am clueless as to married life and children? How? Most married people with kids don't seem that happy to me. So am I clueless because I am trying to be happier than most people and also maintain my freedom and not have lots of financial pressure having to support other people?
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,492 posts, read 51,399,522 times
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We tried it when we lived in NYC. It didn't work. We wanted a car so we could visit friends in Connecticut. Even with mass transit available to get to Ct. There was no transport once we were there.

I use a bus to commute to work but we also have two cars for transport and a big scooter for fun.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:54 AM
 
3,510 posts, read 4,964,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FantasyFootballGuy View Post
I am clueless as to married life and children? How? Most married people with kids don't seem that happy to me. So am I clueless because I am trying to be happier than most people and also maintain my freedom and not have lots of financial pressure having to support other people?
It's fine that being single is your choice. But for anyone raising a family in America in most areas/settings, a couple of cars is an absolute necessity. Not everyone can pay a high premium to live near a commuter rail stop in a safe, urban neighborhood (assuming their jobsite is even near another transit stop, which it may not be). Most families still prefer to live in spread-out suburbs, for reasons of school quality and other issues. And how could you possibly carry 4 or 5 heavy bags of groceries daily (and other merchandise), in all kinds of extreme weather, on a bicycle or motorcycle, from a big-box store which is likely several miles away? (most people no longer shop at small corner stores). You are indeed clueless about the practicalities of raising a family in today's America.

Last edited by slowlane3; 08-22-2011 at 10:07 AM..
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:06 AM
 
15,924 posts, read 17,425,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FantasyFootballGuy View Post
I am clueless as to married life and children? How? Most married people with kids don't seem that happy to me. So am I clueless because I am trying to be happier than most people and also maintain my freedom and not have lots of financial pressure having to support other people?
This is the beauty of living in the United States of America, you are happy without a automobile and feel you are happier than most Americans?

Great

Another point to the OP, as long as you restrict yourself to the confines of Seattle and your feet/public transportation you will always be clueless as to the mentality of the real world most Americans live in outside of Seattle and why they must rely on automobiles/trucks/SUV's etc...

Last edited by plwhit; 08-22-2011 at 10:17 AM..
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:12 AM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,766,968 times
Reputation: 4502
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowlane3 View Post
It's fine that being single is your choice. But for anyone raising a family in America in most areas/settings, a couple of cars is an absolute necessity. Not everyone can pay a high premium to live near a commuter rail stop in a safe, urban neighborhood (assuming their jobsite is even near another transit stop, which it may not be). Most families still prefer to live in spread-out suburbs, for reasons of school quality and other issues. And how could you possibly carry 4 or 5 heavy bags of groceries daily (and other merchandise), in all kinds of extreme weather, on a bicycle or motorcycle, from a big-box store which is likely several miles away? (most people no longer shop at small corner stores). You are indeed clueless about the practicalities of raising a family in today's America.
You raise a good point that not all families do live in an environment that is conducive to car-free living; however, it is possible to live a car-lite suburban family life. I do.

We own one, older car and live very comfortably this way. How do I manage groceries in inclement weather? I have them delivered from the local supermarket. In between, when weather allows, I use a bike outfitted with panniers.

I'm not saying everybody can or should live this way, but it is absolutely possible.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
9,745 posts, read 14,191,779 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowlane3 View Post
IAnd how could you possibly carry 4 or 5 heavy bags of groceries daily (and other merchandise), in all kinds of extreme weather, on a bicycle or motorcycle, from a big-box store which is likely several miles away? (most people no longer shop at small corner stores).
While I agree that being car free is not practical for most Americans, I must say that carrying four or five heavy grocery bags on a bicycle is completely doable. I used to carry enough on my bike that it was so heavy I literally could not lift it off the ground, and at the time I worked in a warehouse and could lift 100 pounds without too much trouble. But riding the bike with that much weight was not too bad, as long as I was on fairly flat ground. Using a trailer would probably have been easier than the way I did it (racks and panniers).

BUT...I wouldn't want to have to do that if I lived ten miles from the grocery store, which brings me to the last part of your post. The problem with Americans mostly shopping at big box stores several miles away is that it puts small, local stores out of business, and then there are even fewer vital goods within walking/biking distance of neighborhoods. This actually happened in my old neighborhood and forced me to buy a car. There was a chain grocery store within easy biking distance of my house. It was close enough that I could easily ride there every day after work if I needed to. It was incredibly convenient for everyone in the neighborhood, but they closed down and then the nearest grocery store was four miles away. They weren't expensive, but they weren't as cheap as Walmart which was probably four or five miles away, so they couldn't last in that location. Personally, I don't mind paying a few extra dollars once a week for groceries if I have the added convenience of being able to walk or ride there. Not owning a car saved me a lot more money than whatever money I would have saved by shopping at Walmart. But my neighborhood was also right in the middle of town, so I was near enough to all my other needs that this was doable. Until the grocery closed, at least. And even worse, when I was a child, the house I wound up living in in that neighborhood originally had a small, locally owned grocery store at the end of the street! If it had been that way by the time I lived there, I could have easily walked to the store any time I needed anything. And I would have gladly, even if it was more expensive. If nothing else I would have been supporting a local business, which of course can't survive when everyone instead drives to Walmart.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:28 PM
 
34,395 posts, read 41,499,470 times
Reputation: 29872
Quote:
Originally Posted by FantasyFootballGuy View Post
I live in Seattle and I am currently not using a car at all to get around. Seattle does not exactly have the best public transportation, yet I have still managed to live without one. It does help that I live in the Downtown area. Anyway, my question is, how come so many people have cars if so many people that have cars don't really need them and can live a perfectly happy life without them? Also, how much better would our air quality and environment be if many people quit driving so much? How much money would people save? How much healthier would they be by doing more walking? How much would the oil companies be affected? I guess it be a huge chain reaction.
Its about convenience,those that dont live downtown can spend hours trying to get to their destination on Public transit if the public transit option is even available, or they can spend a few minutes (15-20) in the car to get to their destination, in my particular case it would take an hour and a half to get to work on public transit and transferring to at least one other bus. in my car i'm at work in 7 minutes, the choice is simple..
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