My wife and I drive our car a lot less since I began working on my thesis last year. I would say we are officially car-lite. We take the bus to work and school. A new Target has opened that is easy to get to via one of the Rapid Ride lines, the Red Line. Admittedly, a Target that we could have already shopped at was on the Blue Line’s route. We tried it once and never did it again because we had to try to get across Coors Blvd. Coors Blvd is a six-lane highway without actually being a highway. Major arterial roads are not very pedestrian friendly.
We live downtown and have many transit options available to us by way of the bus. Now this is downtown Albuquerque and not downtown Chicago or Portland, so it is not overflowing with transit options, but more options than other parts of the city. Downtown Albuquerque has the outward appearance of being. We have a modest amount of tree-lined streets providing a much-needed reprieve from the hot summer sun. Several of the local cafes and bars in the neighborhood offer a decent amount of bicycle parking. Not as much as one might see in Austin or Portland, but we are slowly getting there. At a few locations bicycle parking could probably double or even triple the amount that they already have and still run out of spaces. Marble Brewery stands out as one of these locations. This place can fill up their bike parking out front and have a near empty car park in back.
At this point, we walk, ride the bus, or ride our bikes to almost everything we do outside of our home. The two big exceptions are the grocery store and the laundry mat. Last summer our car broke down and so we were technically car free during the hottest time of the year. Truthfully, it was awful. We bought one of those little shopping carts that you always see “sweet little old ladies” pulling around in movies and TV shows. It works, but they do not turn corners all that well and they are not all that fun to try to get on the bus. There were even a few times the bus drivers contemplated not allowing us on the bus with the cart.
The Challenge: This summer we decided to choose to go car free (as possible) on purpose. This year we are going about it entirely different from last year. What will make it different this summer is that we are choosing to do it, and that shopping cart will stay in storage this time around. I decided to bite the bullet and ordered us a Burly Nomad Bicycle Trailer. It has a 100 lbs. load capacity, so we should be able to haul all of our groceries and dirty socks (not at the same time mind you, eww.) without garnering one dirty look from a bus driver and I plan on developing some massive biker calves from hauling all that food up two decently steep hills.
I will let you now how it goes.