can you share your toys?

car-share

If you could have a car at your disposal, whenever you really needed it, would you give up owning your own?  I have thought so much about what type of community I would choose to live in upon leaving the greater Los Angeles megatropolis.  One of the key ingredients for me is walkability.  In my ideal world I could take Toddler L to school, go to my local farmers market for fresh produce, and if I’m really lucky make it to Trader Joe’s without anything other than my two feet.

Although how I would get everything I invariably buy home again is another matter.

But I’d like to think that between my own steam and some decent public transportation I could make it around my community for most of my needs.  I think it’s unrealistic to imagine that a family with one (almost two) small children could do without any vehicles but if we could downsize to one I would be thrilled.  (Hey all you Portlanders.  You’re smart.  You’re savvy.  You’re often environmentally conscious.  Would it work in your city?  I’d love to know.)

I don’t know if my husband realized how seriously I consider this option when he sent me this article from the New York Times*.  If I could live in a community with Zipcars or a similar car-share alternative I’d like to think I would become a member and gratefully, eagerly even, unload a few thousand pounds of steel from our lives.

After having read this article I can also say that my motives would be financial-relief, stress-relief and a sense of community in addition to any environmental benefit there may be.  Sometimes being green is the side-effect and not the medication.

I’ll keep this post short because the article is long.  But totally worth it.  Please don’t be dismayed, it’s interesting stuff.  I want you to read it.

Really, I do.

And I want to know what you think about the issue.

Have you ever used a car-share program?  Can you let go of what we have been raised to believe is a symbol of our freedom to grasp what some say is the financial and responsibility freedom of non-ownership?  Can you share your toys?

*You will need to register with NYTimes.com to read the entire article.  I wish there was another way.  I do.  But I still say it’s totally worth it.  C’mon it’s the New York Times.

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3 Comments to “can you share your toys?”

  1. Hi Leigh-
    Thanks for sharing this. I love the concept of the Zip car and sharing/renting cars. I think it could work in a lot of cities, but maybe not in Los Angeles. As you know, people are VERY wed to their cars here and it becomes part of their identity and their lifestyle. I loved using public transportation when I lived in New York, but it is impossible here. I hope the idea does take off in other cities, because it’s so inefficient for everyone to have 2 or 3 cars that are only used part time.

    Are you moving away from Los Angeles?

  2. Angela, Apparently the UCLA kids over in Westwood have some Zipcars to choose from. Other than that I guess the company has realized LA is just not ready. You’re right about cars being part of people’s identities here.

  3. I’ve never had a problem not having a car, except while living in LA. Here, I simply can’t imagine life without my own. The city is too sprawling. Plus, it’s a nice little way to delude myself into thinking I have some control over my life. But any other city, count me in on the Zipcar.

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