A Year Without a Car? A San Franciscan Shows How

Local resident manages to go a whole year without getting into a car

By Jackson West
|  Monday, Jan 4, 2010  |  Updated 4:15 PM PDT
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A Year Without a Car? A San Franciscan Shows How

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For many San Franciscans, their second, or even first car, is a bike.

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Lots of folks in San Francisco don't own cars. Thanks to the City's density and relatively decent public transportation, why bother with headaches like parking, insurance, gas and legal liability?

But one man gave himself a personal challenge last year: to not even get in a car at all.

No taxis, no ZipCar rentals, no rides from friends. If he couldn't get there on a plane, train, bus or bike, he just wouldn't go.

Despite the self-imposed restrictions, he even made an intercontinental trip to a wedding in England.

"I think this is going to be the theme of the 21st century -- we are going to be forced to make do with less," Greenfield told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Car ownership in San Francisco has, actually, been on the rise in San Francisco over the last ten years according to data from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, from 390,900 cars registered to San Franciscans in 2000 to an estimated 445,000 in 2010.

However, compared to other Bay Area counties, there are many fewer car owners, and fewer cars per household. I in 10 households have no car at all.

In Marin County, there is nearly a car for every person, with 0.94 autos per capita. Santa Clara County tops the list in cars per household with 2.26.

So if you're going to pull a stunt like Greenfield did, it would make sense to do it in San Francisco.

For everyone else looking to cut back on car expenses, you might consider just trading in your first or second car for a bike, a transit pass and a ZipCar membership.

Jackson West has never owned a car, or even driven one regularly since 1994.

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