Notes from the Great Car-Free Experiment

The Great Car-Free Experiment continues and I’m happy to report that things are going well. Of course it is easier because I am attempting to get around in pleasant summer weather and I am on a summer timetable. I have, however, decided to take this experiment into September. I’ve been walking, biking, busing and car-pooling my way through August, and I want to see how long I can keep it up. I just cancelled my fall parking permit, so I guess that means I’m committed to this project.

The City of St. Catharines just announced another set of bike lanes, so this is certainly good news on the car-free front. The biggest challenge I’ve had with cycling around this region, however, is the lack of bike racks. I’ve been really surprised to discover just how hard it is to find a bike rack at retail centres. So far this has been the single biggest deterrent to getting around by bicycle. Today, for instance, I had to go to the grocery store — I could have easily biked, but I opted for the bus because I wasn’t sure if I’d find a place to lock up my bike in front of the grocery store. I thought I’d encounter more difficulties with the traffic, but that hasn’t been an issue as the drivers in this neighbourhood have been quite courteous. But bike racks? I didn’t anticipate this to be a problem. Come on people — there are all sorts of bike rack options out there, let’s work to make this region a little more bike-friendly!

Oh, and while I’m at it — how about making this dream of a regional transit a reality? I was chatting with a friend about going to see some plays this fall and I realized that it is easier for me to get to downtown Toronto (a distance of about 107km) to take in some theatre than it is for me to get into the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake (a distance of about 20km). What the heck?!

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