I sold my beloved Volkswagen Jetta I nicknamed "The Green Goblin" on Saturday. There have been many good times in that car that I've had for 12 years. It's been across the country a few times, was put in a classified ad as a part of a prank war in college that had people calling and asking if my brand new Jetta was for sale for just $2,000 and been splashed by cattle poo flying from a cattle car in Colorado. Its also served as sleeping quarters outside the four corners and been across the great state of Nevada on Highway 50 at speeds I probably shouldn't mention.
I've lived in San Francisco with the Green Goblin for 5 years and it served me well. I was able to take people around the city that came for a visit and go on day trips around the region and city to places I couldn't easily get without it and generally on a whim. There are many benefits to owning a car, generally the mobility they provide is excellent and because i'm a city planner I like to know my surroundings, including random streets and quirky places that you might not know about otherwise.
But moving my car because of street sweeping was a pain and I racked up a lot of tickets. In fact i'm sure that I more than paid for better Muni service that every citizen in San Francisco actually deserves rather than what they get. If everyone paid as much as I did every year we could build a real subway network in this town and everyone could go car free, but I digress. The only time of the week I used the car was going to visit my Gramma in the east bay on Wednesdays. I've been walking and biking there from BART the last few weeks and its been some really good exercise as well as an exercise in patience when dealing with BART's rules about bikes during rush hours.
Ultimately though, the clutch went bad and it was time for me to practice something I talk about at work all the time, living a car free lifestyle. I've never really advocated it before but seeing all those affordability index charts must have gotten to me. To see what its actually like to go car free, and be able to see the actual costs of driving when I use a zipcar will be refreshing but certainly a little scary. But for now, its just my legs, my bike, my Clipper Card and my Zipcard...and perhaps a taxi after a night at Polk Gulch. I really wish someone would survey me for the census now with the long form...