Congratulations to my neighbor Eve Pearlman who is challenging herself to life without an automobile. Eve sends her kids to the same school as ours and I’ve ridden with her husband a few times on the morning commute (I ride a bike to the local BART station now). I have a pretty good sense of what they are going through living in Alameda, our leafy suburban island off the San Francisco bay, without a car and it’s not easy.
The high cost of gasoline (around $4/gallon here) has changed many people’s driving habits. The speed limit on ever street on the island is 25 MPH which makes it ideal for people that want to limit their driving to these small electric golf carts which I see more and more around town. It’s also almost completely flat so it’s also great for those that want to get around on bike.
But with kids in the leafy ‘burbbs has to be a challenge. We all spend time shuttling the little ‘uns back and forth to school, soccer and swimming and I know it’d be tough for me because my son has practice on the other side of the island, a good 4 miles away. Put in a daily grocery run (because you can’t carry a week’s worth on your bike) and you’re going to be doing a lot of riding around.
Not that it can’t be done – I lived in San Francisco and Tokyo and didn’t buy my first car until I was 30. I salute the Pearlman’s and hope she can set an example for us all!