Three months ago I started a new job at the City of Edmonton. I’m part of a new team working to encourage Edmontonians to change the way we get around the city – to leave the car keys behind and take transit, or walk, or cycle, or carpool to get where we’re going.
I knew the City was expanding the LRT and adding bike routes to our streets. I’d read The Way We Move – the City of Edmonton Transportation Master Plan – and liked its vision for a future Edmonton with an interconnected transportation system where citizens can walk, bike, bus and train efficiently and conveniently to their desired location.
The thing is . . . at my previous job, I drove to work. Every day. By myself. In my car.
But, with this job I knew I needed to put my money where my mouth is. If I’m going to talk the talk, I better walk the walk as it were. So, I bought my transit tickets and got ready for my first day of work and the LRT ride downtown. Here’s how I did . . .
Car-free commuting – take one: short lived enthusiasm
Getting ready for my first day of work, I was so anxious and fussy about my clothes, my hair… suddenly, while I started out early, now I was running late. So, I grabbed the car keys and I was off.
Car-free commuting – take two: sadly . . . ditto
Car-free commuting – take three
I finally got my act together and walked-jogged to Health Sciences LRT station, caught the train, and made it to my office… 15 minutes earlier than I thought I would. Hmmm. That was fast and pretty easy. The train was busy, but not uncomfortably crowded. And a heck of a lot cheaper than parking downtown.
So far so good? Not so fast . . .
I tried to keep up the habit of the car-free commute. LRT to work in the morning then LRT or, if the weather cooperated, a nice relaxing walk home.
But . . . as happens in new jobs, I got really busy and I fell off the wagon – or train in this case. I found ‘discount parking’, and started driving again.
Fast forward 3 months later . . .
Changing how we travel in the city and making travel choices that are sustainable – taking the bus, cycling, walking, carpooling – is not always easy. Let’s face it, changing one habit for another? Very tough stuff! We need to understand that taking baby steps and making good choices when we can is the way to go. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and that’s ok.
The good news? I am more aware of my travel habits. I haven’t surrendered my car keys completely, but I am taking the LRT when I can . . . one day at a time!
It’s up to me to stick to it, to make sure I ask myself every time I reach for the car keys, “Do I need to drive, or is there a better way?”
Learn more at Parked Car Free Day!
Join the City on 106 St. between Whyte Ave and 84 Ave Thursday, September 22 from 4-7pm for fun free family activities and learn more about The Way We Move – the City of Edmonton Transportation Master Plan. You can also check out the new bike lanes and get some tips on how you can kick the car habit – even once a week. Visit TheWayWeMove.ca for all the details.