car less and fancy free


Earlier today I got a call from my real estate agent with a few questions about some items relating to the apartment (warning: this link will take you to the MLS listing, you might be inspired to spend money). There have been a few viewings in the two days it has been on the market. Another is scheduled for this evening. No one has made an offer yet (but that's not unexpected since properties are not flying off the shelves these days). When I put the place up for sale, the realtor had nothing but great things to say about the place. However, there was one issue. The apartment does not have a parking stall. It infuriates me a little bit because this apartment is in an ideal location for someone to live a primarily pedestrian existence. Transit (both bus and LRT) are only steps away, the grocery store is across the street, the bike path is a block away (not to mention that the apartment is beautiful) and I've even heard that when Zip Car comes to Edmonton they are going to set up their location in the new apartment building that is going in across the street. Talk about location, location, location with more than a handful of amenities thrown in.

So, why then, with all of these features is the lack of a parking stall, as Liz Lemon would say, such a deal-breaker.

false start

I have been known to call myself many things, one of which is an ardent pedestrian. This apartment really facilitated that lifestyle. And what a lifestyle it has been. During the spring, summer and fall of 2009 I would walk nearly 10km a day (for pleasure). Now that it is winter a daily constitutional has somehow eluded me (curse you ice and slush), but I'm trying to find a way to go for a long walk at least once a week (I just need to get to the River Valley in my hiking boots). On top of that I walk to work (I live and work downtown) and I will break up longer trips with transit (although in the warmer months, if I have the time to walk I will, even if it takes me half an hour to get somewhere). Walking is my exercise and it's often a time for solitary reflection and vitamin D therapy.

I love walking because it does not require any expensive equipment. I wear shoes (but you are welcome to walk barefoot) but I loathe footwear of the athletic kind. My walking shoes are flats, so flat that I can feel gravel beneath my feet, I can feel the softness of the grass, I can feel the resistance of concrete. I walked those flats to the ground. I need to find replacements for my upcoming springtime trip to Washington D.C. and NEW YORK CITY!

release the hounds

if the shoes fit.

the dogs

I toy every now and again with getting a bicycle, I think this summer I will. But I don't think that cycling will ever replace my love of pedestrianism. I owned bicycles before and even though I liked the speed at which I could cycle from place to place, I never seemed to interact with the landscape (urban or not) in quite the same way as when I was walking.

I wish more people understood that they too can live a pedestrian lifestyle. It's not perfect, but neither is driving. Each has its own set of issues (sore feet, flat tires, car accidents, insurance, chipped windshields), but then there are the added benefits (physical fitness, sustainability, time, added cargo capacity). However, it is possible to live a hybrid lifestyle. Maybe it's living close enough to walk or take transit to work, or maybe it's moving downtown and living in my apartment selling your car and work on promoting a car co-op. The gentleman owns a car (which to his credit he almost never used in the summer and only very rarely uses now since he walks or takes the train to work). If he were to ever sell his car I would be a big advocate of trying to find others to start up a downtown car co-op. We could park the vehicles in his newly vacated spot. Maybe the residents of my old apartment could be part of it.

But I would be content with something much simpler. All I want is for my apartment to find a happy car-free family to take it in. It's such a lovely apartment (photos!), it warms you when it is cold outside, it cools you when it is hot outside. It loves large groups and gives you space when you want to be alone. It lets you watch the sun go down and gives you a gentle nudge in the morning when it's time to wake up. You couldn't ask for a better apartment and a better excuse to get rid of your wheels (and replace them with smaller ones that are people powered).