Santa Monica Daily Press Editor-in-Chief Kevin Herrera recently wrote about his experience living without a car for the last five years. He took to biking after his car was stolen.
So, this week The Q-Line asks:
What will it take for you to give up your car? Higher gas prices? More expensive insurance or parking fees? If you ride now, what did it take and how often do you cycle?
Here are your responses:
“I will give up my car when hell freezes over, and since we’re in the midst of global warming, that’s not likely to happen.”
“When will everyone finally wake up to the fact that cycling and bus riding will only ever work for a limited number of people. Look at the number of disabled placards. Even if only half of them are legit, it’s a very large number. Bikes only work for the physically fit under limited circumstances. Buses will never work for people dropping children at school, grocery shopping for a family or getting to multiple appointments on time. Buses will never, ever be a door-to-door service. … There is nothing that will make me or the majority of people give up our cars. What we need is to boot the pro-development City Council members out and open our streets back up, require adequate parking for existing developments, stop new development and get rid of the smart meters.”
“I will never give up my car … . The automobile is a wonderful way for people to get around. I do ride the Expo Line and the Red Line and the [Big] Blue Bus from time to time. … The problem with … the Expo Line is that … 10 percent of the people drop trash right on the windows and are obnoxious: Sing too loud, talk too loud, yell, scream and don’t smell well. … You don’t face those issues in an automobile. So to ask people … to give it up for public transportation is somewhat problematic.”
“Living in Mid-City, I gave up my car years ago. It’s much more convenient to walk, and if I have heavy stuff to carry to take the bus. I drove so little in the years before that and it cost me $15 a mile to keep a car. You can have a driver with a car for that, but I don’t need that either.”
“I don’t bike around Santa Monica because of a bad knee, but I have used public transportation. However, I can tell you under Big Blue Bus director Ed King, the Big Blue Bus now is on a rapid death spiral. King does not want to provide service to residents. He envisions the Big Blue Bus as a regional service with heavily subsidized lines from SMC taking away resources from the neighborhoods. He makes it extraordinary difficult to get back and forth in the evening and at night and he makes it next to impossible to travel to Santa Monica on weekends and holidays. This is rapidly becoming a useless public transportation system.”
“Those of us who’ve been here a long time aren’t getting any younger. You aren’t going to get me to bicycle in this city at all. I biked constantly when I was young, commuting 7 miles one way via bicycle for several years. Now that I’m closing in on 60, I’m not risking life and limb competing with cars, and my balance is not what it used to be. Not all of us can, physically, bike. I’m now an avid walker and I walk miles a day. … Let’s get off the bicycle bandwagon and spend some time and money on sidewalks, Santa Monica.”
“My classic car is almost as old as I am. I would never give it up, even if they would give me a brand new one.”
“Good public transportation is what it takes to give up a car. We need timely, frequent, conveniently located and reasonably priced buses which go where residents need to go. People in many large U.S. cities and Europe prefer to take public transportation because it’s more convenient than driving. Metro has cut service in Santa Monica and the Big Blue Bus has also cut service and made it inconvenient to transfer from one bus to another by moving bus stops away from corners. The Expo Line does not go where most residents want to go locally. I’ve been riding buses in Santa Monica for over 30 years; I take a bike for short local errands, but recently I started to drive again because the buses in Santa Monica no longer serve local residents’ needs.”
“That would not be possible for a senior citizen; I guess if I had a death wish maybe. The bike lanes have made driving challenging, that is for sure. I have come so close to hitting a rider who darts out ahead and doesn’t stop at signs, switches from the sidewalk to the street, etc. For us, the buses are not possible; our activities are centered around church on Mulholland in Bel-Air, family in the valley and friends who live in Santa Monica Canyon and other non-bus places.”