Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Impact Week Day 3: Transportation

**If this is the first post you are reading on No Impact Week,
you might want to read this one to orient yourself.

Sierra Club No Impact Week Day 3 is about Transportation.

Annnnnnnnnd here's where our family gets a bright, big...



Because we live in a suburb of Philadelphia. I work in our town, and our babysitter is five minutes from my work, but my Mom watches Gabe once per week two exits away from us off of the New Jersey Turnpike. Yes, once per week, I drive approximately 40 minutes to my Mom's to drop off Gabe and then head back to my office, turn back around and go back to my Mom's, and then drive back home. It sickens me. But it saves us so much money for my Mom to watch the baby for free, too (yes, even with gas and toll costs included). And student loans don't disappear if you smile at them.

It really is disturbing, though, that despite the days I spend home during the week (I RELISH my baby time!), I still have done so much damage on mileage that I really am not helping the environment on those days I crawl around the house.

And then there's my husband who has to get into the city. We're twenty minutes from the train, which he will drive to, but once he takes the aforementioned train, he still has to switch to an entirely different subway line once he gets into the city to reach his office. So he often has to choose between a car, train, subway commute or a car commute. What do you think wins more often? Yes, you guessed it-- the car.

Transportation is a hard reduction when you live in the suburbs, but there still are things you can do to minimize the damage. And here are some serious actions I do and will continue to take more seriously:

1. If I don't have to go out or drive, I do not go out or drive. There is a lot to do right here in our condo.

2. If I have an errand to run, I try to do it on the way home from work or I do multiple stops at nearby places in one trip.

3. When driving on the highway, I try to stay as close to the speed limit as possible because cars generally achieve best gas efficiency in the 50-65 mile per hour range.

4. We keep our car's tires full. This also helps with gas mileage.

5. If possible, we carpool with family or friends to events or parties.

We also have some goals for the future.

1. When our lease is up, we plan to move to a place with a quicker, closer commute for my husband-- as in, a place where he could walk to a train-- or move to the city where walking and subways abound.

2. If and when we make the move above, we would hope to go back to one car. At this time, having one car would result in utter mayhem, and it would actually make us drive more total miles than we do now.

And that's all I have for now on this topic. I know this post is not very empowering, but it is honest. Hopefully that counts for something.

1 comment:

  1. Followed your link from the No Impact Facebook page...

    We totally failed the Transportation day too. We live in Los Angeles, and public transportation is terrible.

    I work at home, so not going anywhere doesn't count in my book. The one place I did go, I went by car because I was with my family and didn't want to try to convince them to take a bus.

    My husband commutes about 20 - 30 minutes each day. By bus, that becomes about 1 hr 15 mins - 1 hr 30 mins, by either 2 or 3 buses depending on the time of day. He tried to find a carpool with his coworkers, but the ones he found near us didn't want to carpool with a third person because one of them had a two seater.

    We do our best too. We have a clean diesel car which gets really high mileage. I also try to drive the speed limit, and keep our tires full. My husband is still hoping to find another carpool. But it is really really tough.