It’s 9 1/2 years that I’ve been living in the Metro. My life here began in one of the suburbs, classified as a 2nd tier suburb, but I always knew I wanted to be “in the city”, meaning Minneapolis. My goal was to be downtown, which happened my 2nd year here.
Two words to describe why I wanted that move: suburban sprawl. The suburbs are created in ways which make mobility slightly (or sometimes a lot more) difficult. First, there were no sidewalks where I lived (common for many ‘burbs), so even if there was something within walking distance, I was forced to walk on the streets–not too cool. For any kind of errands, driving was a necessity. Again, not cool, especially when you’re in the car, commuting to and from work, for a few hours; the last thing on the lists of wants was to get into traffic again to go grocery shopping. That means that errands were better taken care of at the same time.
The first apartment I got in the city WAS downtown. Sure there was one major drawback, noticed early; living 2 blocks from a sports stadium can be annoying on game day. But it paid off being surrounded by everything I needed and wanted (except my grocery store). I was able to keep my car in the garage and go to dinner, a concert, the library, local shops, or stroll on the boardwalk.
When I decided to go back to school, I chose the school simply based on location; I was not willing to drive out of my area. And wow did that pay off! I chose wisely (without knowing at first) as it was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned more at that place in my short time than I could’ve expected.
I lived in downtown proper for a total of 5 years, and another 2 in a neighborhood just outside of downtown (still within walking distance to downtown) totaling 7 of my 9 1/2 years here.
It was 4 years ago I sold my car. I wasn’t driving it…at all. It would sit for months without it being started. Everything I needed to do, everywhere I needed to go, I walked. School, grocery shopping, entertainment, work, I would walk. Everything was in a few mile radius. (Coincidentally, this was also the same year I cut out all animal products and by-products from my diet.)
During my last 2 years of living downtown, I was going to school in St. Paul, which meant it time to learn more about the public transportation system. I will admit, this was a bit scary at first, however with everything, once I got to know the system, the more at ease I felt.
Selling my car was such a good decision for me. Not only did I start saving money (immediately) but it got me more aware of my home. Seeing things on foot is much different than out the window of a moving vehicle.
Having family two hours away did make me miss having a car, but with any problem there is a solution. My mom did some digging and learned I could take a shuttle from the airport when I needed to go for a visit. Compared to the cost of having a car, the ticket price was definitely more cost effective. As an added bonus, I didn’t have to drive! I was able to put in my earbuds and listen to music the whole way!
These days I do have access to a car. It’s mostly used for running errands that are either too far away to walk or multiple errands around town. Walking is still used for quick errands close by and public transit when not wanting to deal with parking or other quick trips when driving isn’t the best option. And road trips are much easier too!
I enjoy the different modes of transportation I’ve been able to use since moving to a larger city. It’s nice to have many options and not being forced into only having to use a personal vehicle. Although I am moving out of Minneapolis next week, the city will still allow me to walk so many places. Looking forward to continuing this wherever I go!
Goditi la Vita!