This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Green Tip Tuesday: Alternatives to the car

Yesterday we took my visiting mother-in-law into "the city" (I mean Boston, of course!) for the day.  We did what many people do when they go into Boston: we parked our car at the Alewife garage and took the subway the rest of the way.  We walked poor Grandma's legs off as we went on the Freedom Trail, to Faneuil Hall, on a Duck Tour, to the public garden, to Boston Commons, the Prudential Center, to the North End for a fabulous Italian Dinner, and finally back to Alewife.

If you know anything about Boston you know that we criss-crossed that entire city.  We walked a lot of it, but we also took a lot of subways, in fact we took all the subway lines except the silver line which only goes to the airport.  Even our Boston Duck Boat was retro-fitted to run on vegetable oil.  It was a Green Day.

Now as a Midwestern girl up until 2 years ago, I didn't even know mass transit like this existed except on TV.  I didn't know anything about subways, trains, or buses.  In fact my only experience with the public bus was getting on the wrong one to go home from the mall when I was 12 and ending up in the "wrong part of town", trying to find a pay phone, and having a tearful conversation with my mom as I begged her to come get me.  Since I've moved to Massachusetts it's a whole different story. 

First of all I live in town which means I can walk or bike to the library, post office, dry cleaner, pretty much anywhere I want except the grocery store which is too far away and on a wicked busy street.

Secondly I now regularly go into a big city with an advanced, practical, easy, cheap, and reliable mass transit system.

Thirdly I live in an area of teeny tiny little towns that have to be self sufficient because they are so small and so scattered and so walking and biking is more common as opposed to the midwestern suburban sprawl I was used to.

All of this has me wondering if all of this dependance upon mass transit, my own legs, or my bike are a result of my new geography or of a growing shift in perception about the way we travel?

What do you think? In your area are there viable alternatives to your car?  Have you considered alternatives to your car in the past, oh say 2 years or so?  If you have considered alternatives, is it because of gas prices?  Car prices?  The environment?  All of the above?

My legs are t-i-r-e-d tired from yesterday's jaunt, but my heart is happy.  We spent 10 hours traipsing around Boston leaving lots of footprints on the old bricks.  But our carbon footprint?  Pretty small.


karen@fitnessjourney said...

I've often dreamed of living in an itty bitty town where you could walk everywhere and get to know all the local business owners. My brother and his family lived in Oberlin, Ohio for a period of time and when we visited we would walk to the business district and everyone seemed to know him and his children. It was lovely to be able to do this. The fact that it was green was the icing on the cake.

BTW, Beth, I hope that my use of your comment or the follow-up comments in no way offended you. Your follow up comment was very gracious. This is an issue that I fear we'll never find a happy medium. Thank you for contributing to what I'd hoped would be a lively discussion.

Anonymous said...

so glad you kept our world a little more green that day.