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Offline Matthew

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30 Days to Sustainable Living - Day 7
« on: September 05, 2006, 03:06:23 PM »
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  • This one is fairly much geared to Oklahoma City, but the principles apply
    more or less to other places.

    I walked to work for ten years; it was really great. It kept me slim and I
    felt good. I walked an average of about 1.5 hours day/5 days a week. It
    did not take that long to get to and from work, but I also walked at lunch
    time (we had an hour lunch break). I also saved $200/year (what my
    employer charged for as a parking fee); plus wear and tear on my car.

    It cost me money, though, in that I needed to live within walking distance
    of my work (a university); and apartments that near the university rented
    for a premium as they were very desirable for students. Still, I felt it
    was important and it gave me a feeling of security: if my car broke down
    or died altogether, I could still get to work. It also meant that I was
    the one who got there through snow and ice.... which was not easy,
    especially the ice part. Walking on icy sidewalks is difficult.

    Pat

    30 Days Towards Sustainability

    Day 7: Take the bus, ride a bicycle, or walk.

    Today we must ask ourselves: What am I going to do
    about transportation?

    First step. Visit the website of your local mass
    transit agency, for Oklahoma City folks it is
    http://gometro.org/ . For Tulsa it is
    http://www.tulsatransit.org/ .

    Next, Find your house location on the map, and
    then find the places that you go most often in a
    car, such as work, shopping, entertainment,
    school, etc. Can you get there from home by bus?
    If so, then why not take the bus to work or to
    shop just one day a week? Maybe two? I find that
    taking the bus is a refreshing change from
    driving. I am always behind on my reading, and the
    bus is a great time to catch up on my stack of
    magazines and newspapers. It's a nice brisk walk
    to the closest bus stop, and my doctor (and my
    heart) likes that a lot. My round trip commute
    costs me 2 gallons of gas, so at $2.50 round trip
    bus fare, I am saving money.

    How about walking or bicycling to one errand a
    week in your neighborhood? Just one, although you
    might like it so much you might try doing two or
    three each week. I am fortunate that I live in a
    neighborhood where I can walk to shops,
    restaurants, and entertainment. Walking is also a
    refreshing change from driving. You get a totally
    different perspective on your "space" as you walk
    through your neighborhood. On my days off, I like
    to wander down NW 23rd towards Classen, maybe get
    one of those great $2 Vietnamese sandwiches at the
    "Milk Bottle Building", and then sit in the little
    park there and eat it and watch the people and
    cars go by.

    Can carpooling work for you?

    I found these online resources seeking to match up
    folks who want to carpool:

    http://www.erideshare.com/carpool.php?city=Oklahoma%20City

    http://www.carpoolworld.com/ (Scroll down and
    click on the link to Oklahoma)

    What about bicycles? Oklahoma has many bicycle
    clubs, and they have online discussion groups
    where you can learn more about bicycle safety,
    bicycle commuting, and find safe routes that take
    you where you want to go. OKC and Tulsa buses are
    now fitted with bicycle racks, which is a great
    help for bicycle commuters and shoppers. The
    Oklahoma Bicycle Coalition seems to be doing some
    website work, and their old URLs aren't working
    right now, but they have a page at
    http://okbike.org/ . If you feel a bicycle isn't
    for you, how about an adult trike? A web search
    for "adult trike" turned up an amazing variety of
    3 and 4 wheeled pedal vehicles.

    It may be that you just can't get to where you
    need to go from your home by bus. If so, there is
    a further assignment today, which actually applies
    to all of us concerned about local sustainability
    and economic viability. Contact the local transit
    agency, your mayor, and your city council person
    and tell them about the lack of bus service in
    your area (or in general) and ask them when the
    system is going to be expanded to serve your
    neighborhood (where you live and/or where you
    work). Tell them you support a dedicated source of
    tax revenue to support mass transit. We may also
    need to support a bond issue.

    Oklahoma City needs a commuter rail system, and
    the most cost effective way to get that is to use
    the existing rail system in the metro area that
    centers on Union Station. However, the Crosstown
    Freeway relocation project continues to creep in
    that direction, and the rail interchange at Union
    Station is directly in its path ("something wicked
    this way comes"). Destroying that interchange is a
    historic and costly mistake for Oklahoma City, so
    don't forget to mention that to the mayor and your
    city councilperson too. The governor needs to hear
    about that issue, as the Crosstown Freeway project
    is an Oklahoma Department of Transportation
    boondoggle (it's costing several TENS of millions
    of dollars per mile).

    Letters, emails, and phone calls are important,
    but it is equally necessary to increase bus
    ridership by actually getting on buses, paying
    fares, and riding them to destinations.

    Everyone has to decide what they are going to do
    about transportation. This question is not going
    to go away. We are driving our nation right onto
    the ash heap of history as we put our solitary
    selves into inefficient motor vehicles and drive
    them anywhere we want to go. Our addiction to
    gasoline is the primary reason that with only 6%
    of the world's population, we use 25% of the world's
    oil production.

    More fuel efficient vehicles would be good, but
    new vehicles embody resources and energy in their
    manufacture. I tend to think that the best
    sustainability choice is to do the best you can to
    reduce the amount you drive by either taking
    public transportation, walking, or riding a
    bicycle. The next best choice would be to reduce
    the amount of gasoline you use for your present
    driving schedule by replacing a large, inefficient
    vehicle with a smaller, more fuel efficient USED
    vehicle. The only new vehicle purchase that makes
    sense from the viewpoint of sustainability is a
    hybrid (and there are some that would debate that
    choice).

    The issue of transportation also has to do with
    geography. Because of exceptionally poor land use
    planning, Oklahoma City is spread out all over the
    place. If you are planning to move, think about
    buying or renting in an area with good access to
    public transportation, and where you could
    actually ride a bicycle or walk for local errands.
    When gasoline gets above $5/gallon, you will be
    glad you made the choice to move to an area with
    better public transit access and with pedestrian
    amenities. When it gets to $10/gallon, which is
    probably going to be sooner than most of us think,
    for most of us living in a neighborhood with mass
    transit access will be an economic necessity.

    The longer we delay honestly looking at these
    questions, the harder it will be to adapt to the
    realities of the future.

    For a real challenge, visit
    http://www.carfree.com/ and
    http://www.worldcarfree.net/ .

    Bob Waldrop, OKC

    www.bettertimesinfo.org

    www.oklahomafood.coop
    Start your Amazon.com session by clicking this link, and my family and I get a commission on your purchase!

    Offline CampeadorShin

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    30 Days to Sustainable Living - Day 7
    « Reply #1 on: September 07, 2006, 07:38:41 PM »
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  • Walking, bus riding, and bike riding are three things people forget about.

    Hey Chant, are you gonna put these where they're easy to find?  Or let them drift where they'll be lost!?
    Catholic warriors:
    http://www.angelusonline.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=490&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
    My older avatar of Guy Fawkes that caused so much arguing, made by peters_student:
    http://img235.imageshack.us/img235/6007


     

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