DAY 6: 8 factors in cutting the car cord

Going 90 days without a car in Houston? Some friends think we’re nuts. You decide.

We have advantages that make this experiment not only possible but practical.

  1. Older neighborhoods like the Heights are great for walking and biking.

    Our neighborhood. When we moved to the Heights 40 years ago, we had to go outside the neighborhood for shopping, dining, concerts, doctors and more. Now, just about everything we need is within a few miles. Unlike some neighborhoods that are designed around the car, the Heights was built in an era when cars were the exception. It’s wonderfully walkable.

  2. Job circumstances. I work from home and only occasionally have meetings at client offices. Stephanie is retired.
  3. Time of life. Our kids are grown and out of the house. We’re not hauling anyone to school, soccer practice or dance recitals.
  4. Our activities. Most of what we like and need to do takes place downtown, in the museum district, in our neighborhood or within five miles. Most of our friends are nearby.
  5. We’re healthy. Active transportation is possible for us. We like to walk and ride bikes for transportation and exercise.
  6. Public transportation. We have great access to METRO buses.
  7. Biking infrastructure. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the people and organizations that are improving cycling access and safety in Houston. The Heights is one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in the city.
  8. Car sharing, ride sharing options. Uber and Zipcar are just two examples of new options that make it possible for us to get by without a car.
A bike trail near the Heights …
… was an abandoned MKT railroad trestle just a few years ago

If we were 40 years old, raising children and commuting to jobs downtown or elsewhere from Katy, Pearland or The Woodlands, this would be much, much more difficult.

During our carless 90 days, we’re going to experiment with destinations and modes of transportation. We’ll put METRO, Houston bike paths and Google Maps to the test. And we’ll see if two senior citizens (who are still angry about a certain relative giving them a large-print version of “Apple iPhone for Seniors”) can learn a few millennial transportation tricks.

Photo credits: Bayou City Bridge by Srini Sundarrajan, Houston Heights by Matthew RutledgeUpdate: Houston Skyline, from Old MKT Railroad Trestle over White Oak Bayou 1208021126IBW and Houston Skyline, from Old MKT Railroad Trestle over White Oak Bayou 0330090947BW by Patrick Feller