i shall always live
in walking distance of
food, entertainment
and culture.

cars congest.

big cars, like SUV's
can crush lives in
a split second.

cars sustain
like BP

cars spread things out
so that you have no choice
but to use them.

i may have been
the only 16 year old
who had to be dragged
to the DMV to get
a license.

i preferred riding
the city bus

that way i could
watch people,
draw a bit.

i liked being
part of the public.
feeling the pulse
of america.

my grandma
thought i was weird
and would give me bus
tickets for my birthday.
it was awesome.

ph: nicholai howalt


if you drive to a
farmer's market

it's like taking
one step forward.
2 steps backwards.


Hello Katey said...

great post. great photos

Jeremiah said...

I totally agree with you, almost. Cars are a total bummer on the global scale, but sadly they have a pretty firm hold on things. The one thing I disagree about is driving to a farmers market. I am lucky enough to live within biking distance of three, but I would much rather see people come to those markets by any means that they need to use than to head to the local mega-mart and buy the fruits and veggies that were shipped in from 2,000 or more miles away. I guess what I am saying is that if that is one step forward and two steps back, the standard is just hundreds of steps back. Might as well encourage that one step forward. Keep up the awesomeness that is your blog.

roxanne said...

this is really insightful. i have yet to get my license, and never felt much of an urge to get behind the wheel, mostly because it stressed me out, having so much responsibility and maneuvering that machine, even though i was a pretty decent driver in drivers' ed. living in staten island, i do have to rely on rides to the ferry when the weather is bad, but once i ride the boat into the city, everything i need or want is at my fingertips - agreat feeling.

i'm moving into the city in a couple of months, so i won't need a car for a long time if i'm lucky.

marie said...

ha ha i completely agree. we have trams here, time for relaxing & people watching:)

margartia said...

I agree with jeremiah.. some folks feed their families from the farmers market or local food co-op (where most of the produce is local).. and it's a heavy load to carry home by bike, foot or public trans.

we're fortunate to be able to pay rent in this city where we have access to so much, but it's not like this everywhere.

Anonymous said...

A pretty thought, Lee, but unrealistic... First, not even most U.S. cities have a decent transportation system, let alone anywhere outside of a city, so cars are a necessity, not a mere option... (and if you have a problem with that, go bug Eisenhower, who started the interstate system of highways)... It's not cars that keep BP in business but the extraordinary range of products that have petroleum as an ingredient... Also, without fuel there would have been no industrialization, no modernization, really not much in the way of human progress toward sustainable life... This is not a cry of defense of oil and the industry, but it doesn't help to be naive about its benefits along with its evils... We're stuck with oil--period--for all of our forseeable futures...

KC said...

I bought my first car 3 months ago after nearly a decade of happily riding my bike everywhere. Then, ironically, I took a job with a bike company in a suburban town that is easily one of the least bike-friendly in the US, and felt forced to buy a car. In these three months, I've become more short tempered, more complacent, more lazy, and gained about 10 pounds.

Perhaps the ability to get to cities with culture on weekends and to have the false sense that I'm not risking life and limb every day on my commute (even though the car is as dangerous as the bike), perhaps these things outweigh the ethical and personal strife I experience every day I drive.

Most likely not.

Jx said...

just came across your blog and love it!
Spent ages scrolling back through all your posts.

paula said...

if i want to live in a walkable town, i have to live a 30 minute drive from my job and commute. or if i live closer to my job, i may not be able to live in a walking community.

it's a tough choice! ideally i would be able to walk everywhere.

Oli said...

you rock.

by land by air by sea said...

you may one day live in the beautiful countryside somewhere
and find yourself driving.
what then would you say ?

muir beach is a place you love.
do you not drive there.

it is not as simple as this.
i did not drive for twenty five years of my adult life whilst living in europe.
it pains me to drive daily now, but there is no alternative transportation offered.
this is the real question - why?
not to make people feel badly who have no other choice in this large and beautiful landscape called america.

Kickcan & Conkers said...

44 and still no driving license. It's never bothered me and I love public transport. I've spent a lot of time in London and Paris so no need to drive there. Now I live out in the country and walk everywhere. My kids complain sometimes walking to school but why drive when it's only 5 mins down the road.
Love your blog.

Cerré said...

if i lived in the country i would drive. i'm no purist. i understand the conditions of our built landscape. I'm simply stating my gut reaction to automobile culture. i can only write so much on 2 or 3...

keep up the discussion!
This is important.


Kelly said...

oh perhaps it is true but that cursed Alemany farmers market is over a hill an almost impossible to get there w/out a car. But its so much better then the ferry building with its outrageous prices put upon its vndors by the city and then there are the overwhelming tourists. But I do drive my old 90's geo prizm. She's still kicking with 180,000 miles. If there were better public transit options to out of the way places here in SF I would surely take them. xoo

R4TH said...

if you drive to the farmers market-you just may live in LA-and have more than one thing to do in a day-if you catch public transport and buy wild salmon from whole foods imported from new zealand you could get in trouble too-aye aye aye

LaurenC said...

Trust me, it's a good thing Lee doesn't drive. I have evidence to prove it (hint: mexico+volvo+mango tree=crunch)

jokemijn said...

i do everything on foot in the city, when i have to go outside i take the bus or the train. I do have my driver's license because i used to live on the countryside, but now i only use it once or twice in a month. I love your grandma's original gifts.

mary said...

There's no need to demand absolute purity or set impossible standards. Cars will be with us for a while but we can all be more thoughtful about where and when we drive. And we can advocate for a long-term shift in transportation policy.

I don't own a car -- never have -- but I do have a license (I didn't want to get one! but my dad made me). I belong to a nonprofit carshare organization the obtains only fuel efficient vehicles, so I can drive if I need to but I don't have to be responsible for a big hunk of metal and plastic sitting by the curb 23 hours a day. (Truth be told, I could live without the carsharing but I like not having to depend on my friends, and/or being able to drive them around every once in a while.)

Anyway, I try not to be sanctimonious (and I do get rides in other people's cars!) but I think it's a good idea for people to think about not driving if they're going to a place they can get to on foot or bike or mass transit.

Anonymous said...

cars are total junk but anything less than total off-the-grid, grow-your-own, self-sustaining blah blah blah etc is steps backward. the world as it is from the past 100 years at least is starting off on a 'steps backwards' footing.
so i think it's good not to get too proud about living in a major city like sf or ny or chicago that has decent public transit because that's not why people move there. ny at least didnt get its most recent pop. boom til handguns were banned there.
the 'handmade, locally sourced, sustainable, etc' trend is ultimately just marketing. that's why all these things already sound like buzzwords.
actually doing all that stuff en totale makes for a less-than-photoshoot worthy scene (as based on say the hippies i see at the local co-op versus the models/designers of some sort of 'loomstate' product). i think real 'steps forward' are things most people wouldn't dream of (at least not the ones who read this blog, myself included): no cellphones, etc

paula said...

In my experience just slowing down, doing less, spending less, traveling less, has had a positive impact on my frame of mind and on my relationships, not to mention helping me to consume less and enjoy more.

Work less, earn less, spend less. Take time to hang clothes to dry (even if indoors), plant some herbs, and take walks where you can. Even small changes have had a big impact in changing my outlook.

Unknown said...

Walking to work is a luxury I've always wanted.

Bianca-San said...

haha @ the farmers market crack... gotta love irony. riding a bike in australia = suicide wish.