Kick Car Ownership to the Curb?
By Carol Clemens
It’s not for everybody. It falls under the category of “lifestyle” change. Audrey Dammer and Jim Boyer started this adventure making two decisions; move from the suburbs back home to Linden Hills, and plan a six-month trip to live in Florence, Italy. Success on both fronts. (Sold their two cars before they left so they didn’t have to worry about storage.)
In Florence they walked miles daily, took buses and hi-speed rail and didn’t even think about driving a car. Their trip of a lifetime. They even adopted the Italian tradition of passeggiata (“little walk”) before dinner that they equated to early evening strolls around Calhoun and Harriet.
Six months later, back in Linden Hills, the first thing they did transportation-wise was get a Metro Transit card. By now walking daily was an enjoyable habit — one day walking over to Settergren’s on W. 43rd St, they noticed an HOURCAR parked near the front entrance. They checked things out and found how simple it would be to have a car available when they needed it through the HOURCAR car-sharing program. They signed up and became HOURCAR members.
Audrey said the key to getting around without owning a car is planning: what transportation mode, what to wear, how much you can carry, how much time you will need, and making your reservations for HOURCAR usage.
Jim and Audrey use HOURCAR one to two times a week. They also walk, use buses, bikes, LRT, and ride sharing services. Jim said it was easy to make the decision not to buy a car, but this doesn’t mean they won’t ever change their minds.
In 2012, LHiNC made a financial investment and worked to attract the HOURCAR program to place a car in the neighborhood. Five years later the car-sharing model remains popular to those looking for alternatives to car ownership. Look for the light blue Toyota Prius at its hub in the parking lot at Settergren’s Hardware.
Anyone can become an HOURCAR member and use the car for a flat rate of $8.50 per hour. Gas and insurance are included at no additional charge.
Carol Clemens is the volunteer editor for the monthly LHiNC e-newsletter. Sign up to get the news every month at lindenhills.org/enewsletter.