- Why are you doing this?
It’s a fun challenge. Also, lots of people and organizations have worked long hours to make it easier and safer to get around by walking, biking and bus in Houston. And our tax dollars are going toward things like complete streets and bus and rail service. We wanted to try the transportation options we’re paying for.
- Who are you?
Longtime Houstonians who worked and raised a family here. Paul grew up in Houston’s Memorial area. We’ve lived in Montrose and the Heights, both within 10 minutes of downtown Houston.
- What prompted this experiment?
We owned a 2014 VW Passat diesel car, which we really liked until we learned that it was designed to cheat on U.S. emissions standards. As part of a U.S. government-approved settlement with VW, a “buyback” option was offered. This “do-over” gave us the chance to rethink how we get around.
- You’re crazy. Houston is designed for cars.
We believe a city should be designed for people, not a particular mode of transportation. Houstonians’ biggest complaint these days is about traffic. The Houston mayor and transportation experts say that widening and updating freeways alone won’t make our traffic problem go away. Transportation in Houston needs to be multimodal, which means providing the infrastructure to let people walk, bike and use public transit.
- What is your agenda?
We’d like to see more people walk, bike and bus instead of driving solo. That requires safe, walkable and bikeable streets and reliable public transportation. But it also requires individuals making a conscious choice to try something different. What if you didn’t have a car to drive to work, school and the grocery store? How would you get around?
- Is this blog some get-rich-quick scheme?
Hmmm, no. But if you have any ideas, let us know. Seriously, there’s no profit motive here. We don’t accept advertising or ask for donations.
- Why 90 days?
There’s nothing magical about it. Thirty days seemed too short. Ninety days should be enough to test out our transportation options, modify our behavior and decide if we want to buy another car.
- Do you hate cars?
Nope. We love cars. We’ve pretty much always had two cars in the driveway.
- Are you bike Nazis who race through stoplights and believe cars should be banished?
No. Cars and bikes both have unique advantages, and both have their place in Houston. We stop at stoplights.
- Are you environmentalist wackos?
No one has ever called us this. We like sunsets, breathing clean air and drinking clean water. Same stuff as you.
- Are you trying to make me feel guilty for driving a car?
It depends. Is guilt what you need to consider a change that would help you and Houston? We’re all motivated by different things: saving money, enjoying life, looking and feeling better, getting healthier, etc. All we’re suggesting is asking yourself the “what if I didn’t have a car” question. We’re enjoying our transportation makeover. You might, too.
- I live in the suburbs. Giving up my car isn’t practical.
We’re not suggesting you give up your car. We totally get that walking and biking for transportation—and getting places by bus—is more challenging in the suburbs. So, look at individual trips. What can you accomplish today on foot or by bike or bus?
- Will you ever get another car?
This 90-day thing truly is an experiment. We haven’t made a decision.
- Houston is the energy capital of the world. Are you a traitor to Houston?
Some of the biggest biking and bus advocates we know work for energy companies. Houston will be just fine—maybe even better—if we walk or bike to the store.
- Sometimes your posts contain information that looks like facts. Can I trust you?
We don’t make up stuff, but we are not trained journalists and we don’t have fact checkers. We do try to use recent and relevant information from sources which appear credible and are not affiliated with the Russian government. Anyhow, the recent election taught us that believing something to be true is just as important as it being true, right? 😉
- I’d like to try bike commuting. How do I get started?
Talk to your local bike shop, or check out The League of American Bicyclists. Most bike commuters are friendly people who would love to talk with you about their experience. Just ask one.
- I’d like to try riding the bus. How do I get started?
In Houston, METRO is your starting place.
- How are you tracking your CO2 balance?
We’re using two phone apps. One is Changers. It works with an activity tracker called Moves. Changers doesn’t have all the flexibility we need, so we’re having to do some hand calculations and make some assumptions that probably won’t hold up in a court of law.
19. Carfree Houston is a stupid name. You’re idiots if you think Houston will ever be free of cars. And shouldn’t “carfree” be hyphenated?
We apologize profusely, mainly for the hyphen misuse. We’ve been afflicted by decades of marketing, which compels us to eliminate the hyphen in our name. Of course, Houston will never be a car-free city. The same way “To Kill a Mockingbird” wasn’t about bird hunting or ornithology, Carfree Houston is not about eliminating cars. “Fewer Cars in Houston” had no zing.