11 May 2009

Smart planning and smart savings ($9400!)

Here are two sweet articles which have crossed our desk.

First, you all might want to drive the HOURCAR more since, according to the American Public Transit Association, you're saving money versus owning a car. A lot of money. I mean, we knew that you'd save, but $9407 a year? Wow. Yeah, if you drive a long distance and pay $200 a month for parking, it will cost.

$9407 is a lot of money. It's a pretty sweet vacation. Or three. It's $180 a week, twenty-six bucks a day. According to APTA, you could drive the HOURCAR three or four times a day and still come out ahead. That's a pretty damn good deal.


Second, from the Times comes a story about car-free suburbs in Germany. We like good development, and we like car-free.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.
That's pretty cool. If you make car ownership difficult and expensive, people will turn to cleaner, greener options.

As a result, 70 percent of Vauban’s families do not own cars, and 57 percent sold a car to move here.
Hey, this is about the same proportions as the HOURCAR membership base.

“When I had a car I was always tense. I’m much happier this way,” said Heidrun Walter, a media trainer and mother of two, as she walked verdant streets where the swish of bicycles and the chatter of wandering children drown out the occasional distant motor.
Now, if only we could have Minneapolis sound the same way (you know, other than the Greenway).

Vauban, home to 5,500 residents within a rectangular square mile, may be the most advanced experiment in low-car suburban life.
And, maybe, we can get there. Minneapolis's population density is 6,700 and Saint Paul's is 5,400. Not the highest around (66,000 in Manhattan) but not bad.

For trips to stores like Ikea or the ski slopes, families buy cars together or use communal cars rented out by Vauban’s car-sharing club.
And, yes, they do have car sharing (of course!).

Wave of the future, folks, wave of the future!

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