Three recent college graduates discuss living car-free and their vision for a transportation future where cycling is safe, transit is frequent and places are walkable. We asked them questions about where they want to live and what the like about their car-free approach. We start with Lev McCarthy, a 2016 UVM graduate now working as a project coordinator with the Boston Greenways.
Living : Access to active transportation and transit is something I prioritize when choosing where to live. It’s important to me that I’m able to maximize my time by multitasking while commuting, or traveling anywhere. Whether that’s just getting some exercise on my biking commute, or catching up on the news while taking the train. The alternative modes I choose also allow me to interact with the people that live in the city with me, and whether on the train or walking down the street I enjoy and value observing and interfacing with people who I wouldn’t otherwise.
Getting around: I’m an avid observer of city life, and cycling means I’m traveling slow enough to look around, and can choose to take breaks or detours on a whim. Cycling is convenient because it’s easy and affordable to buy, maintain and store a bike. The trips are also convenient because traffic is nearly a non-issue, and I’m in full control of how long it takes me to get to my destination. Riding my bike is even less resource-intensive then riding a train at rush hour. Even when I’m biking slowly to work in slacks and a sports coat, I’m able to keep up my heart rate, and when I have the opportunity it’s great to go fast or take the long way to get even more of a workout.
Anna Wymer presently works at the Burlington DPW and is a 2017 UVM Graduate. In her job at DPW, Anna created a pop-up park, taking space from cars to give to people.
Living: I hope to never live in a place where I have to own a car. I’ve always been attracted to dense cities that are walkable and bikeable. I love living in cities because of there is so much to do in them. I feel that people are much more connected to their community, because they have more opportunities to interact with other people. In addition, I want to live in a city where people are active and want to be outdoors, especially ski. I don’t want to have to use my own car to do so, I want to live in a city with a car-share program or even better – buses or trains!
Getting around: I never really grew up loving driving. Driving meant long road trips or being stuck in traffic. Once I was old enough to take the train by myself in middle school my whole world changed. Moving to Newton, MA I had to drive everywhere and I promptly lost my independence. But moving to Burlington and going to UVM I began walking everywhere! It’s one of the main reasons I love Burlington so much, its so walkable! I love biking, but of the four, it is the one I’m last comfortable in. I learned to bike at a late age, and biking in busy streets with cars makes me really nervous. It’s one of the main reasons I’m such a big advocate for protected and low-stress bike lanes and routes. I want to encourage more people who are as uncomfortable biking as I am to get out there! More butts on bikes!
Cashel Stewart is living and working in transportation planning in Portland Maine. A 2017 graduate of UVM, Cashel hopes to never own a car.
Living: I’ve recently moved to Portland, Maine which is a complete streets city which means every new road upgrade has to consider the implementation of bicycle or pedestrian-focused infrastructure. For example, right now, I’m working on the redesign of a road in Portland that is simply going to be repaved and re-striped next year, but by reallocating space on the road we’re adding buffered bike lanes to both sides of the streets and narrowing vehicle lanes. Places with these kinds of improvements attract me! I want to be able to bike and walk around my city in a way that makes me feel safe and connected.
Getting Around: I’ve never owned a car and don’t think that I will ever have the need for one. I love walking and biking around town, whether its going to the store, getting to work each day, or just for light, active recreation. I find I’m able to interact with people as I get from place to place much easier than if I were to do so from behind the wheel of a car. I also enjoy the exercise and believe it has a positive impact on both my mental and physical health. For further distances I find transit, especially inter-city connections, can cover my trips. Though there is a cost associated with each of these trips, compare that to the expenses that it takes to keep a car running!
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