Thursday, December 4, 2008

Divorcing my car

When you hang around with a lot of carless people, as I am doing, you start to feel a bit ridiculous if you own a car. At least that's how I'm feeling.

Several members of Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community don't own cars. This also is true of some people in our wider circle of friends.

None of them has said a word about my vehicle. But, without anyone saying anything, I have come to feel -- as I said above -- a bit ridiculous.

At the moment I am renting an oceanfront condo that has a delightful view but that is far from town. So, until my lease expires in the middle of January, I won't be able to cut the umbilical chord.

However, I currently am looking at a couple of rental properties close to downtown. I plan to move to one of them when my current rental arrangement expires.

I have applied to join Vancouver's Co-operative Auto Network, which has a satellite office here in Nanaimo. This car sharing club would give me access to a car on the odd occasion that I felt the need for it.

The nice thing is that there is reciprocity amongst several car sharing clubs. I haven't investigated the list of cities and towns that's involved. But I know that, at a minimum, the car sharing club will give me access to cars in Vancouver, Victoria and Comox and of course here in Nanaimo too.

Many of my friends manage very nicely by using a combination of walking, bicycling, transit and membership of the car sharing club. They look fit too, without having to go to a gym.

The biggest single factor that will enable me to divorce my car will be Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community's location. During the early discussions, friends of the founders tried to persuade them to buy a cheaper parcel of land further out. But, from the beginning, proximity to urban amenities was on their non-negotiable wish list. I will be forever grateful that they stuck to their resolve to be within easy walking distance of schools, grocery stores, etc.

The downtown/harbour area and Vancouver Island University are a little further away, but still within walking distance, and certainly within easy cycling distance. It's 2 km (or 1.2 miles) to the downtown/harbour area and 2.5 km (1.5 miles) to Vancouver Island University in the other direction.

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