‘Leave Your Car at Home’
Dispatch #1

From the time I turned 16, I’ve always had my own car.  It’s represented freedom to me.  I decided to challenge myself to go without my car for one month.  Why you ask?  To go green? To save money? Well, yes, all of these things are contributing factors, but initially I wanted to see how easy it would be to manage without a car of my own.  I want to uncover the areas that need improvement, but also highlight the resources that people may not already know about.  It’s easy to make comments as an outsider, but to truly find out I felt a need to immerse myself in this lifestyle.

So what are my ‘rules’ for the month that I will go carless?  The rules are simple.  I do not drive my own car.  I have to depend solely on public transportation, biking, walking, carpooling (with others), or any other mode of transportation.

I set out this morning for the first time without my car.  Clearly Mother Nature did not get the memo about the campaign, as it was pouring down rain.  I was prepared though, with my umbrella and all!  I wasn’t going far; I was within walking distance of my destination, which was in Downtown Bellevue.

Although it’s only my first day, I have some early observations.  When walking, the traffic on the streets is VERY loud.  Even with my iPod on it was hard to miss hearing the cars whizzing by.  Dividers in between the street and sidewalk are needed to make the experience of walking through Downtown Bellevue a more intimate one.

On my walk home later this afternoon/evening, I was pleasantly greeted by both a great improvement in the weather, as well as the kick-off of the Bellevue Farmers Market, which I picked out a couple of things at! It felt nice to not be tied down to a car with the hassle of parking and jockeying it in and out of parking garages.

Today was spent all in Downtown Bellevue, but I still feel a bit unsettled about when I need to go elsewhere.  For the most part I’ve got three options when it comes to traveling outside of Downtown Bellevue : 1.Metro Bus 2.Carpool 3.Zipcar. I’m most experienced with Metro and carpooling, but most interested and excited about checking out Zipcar’s experience…much more on this to come.

So day 1 is down, but I have many more challenges ahead of me.  I look forward to sharing my journey and insights on a weekly basis with you in the upcoming month!

Again, thank you to the two sponsors, Zipcar & Choose Your Way Bellevue, that are generously providing prizes (more to come on this later), insight, and services to help this campaign be a success.

*How do you get to work?  Take the poll on the homepage now!

Leave Your Car at Home


  1. Michael I bet you will have a lot of fun with this. Cannot wait for your ZipCar stories, but when you need taxi service who do you call?

    The other day at the Seattle Chamber Trade Show, I met Farah Ahmed of EastSide for Hire taxi service. They can be reached at 425-453-9000. http://www.EastsideForHire.com

  2. I live in DT Bellevue as well and it’s crazy how much of our city is devoted to the car.

    Cars turning left get priority over walkers.

    We have ZERO bike lanes in DT Bellevue.

    We have long light cycles, great for turning Bellevue way into a freeway but bad for peds.

    Our streets are five to six lanes wide, making for quite a long trek for slower people.

    These long crossings mean that the walk signal does not automatically come on, often I just miss it before the light touches and get to wait 1.5 to 2.5 mins.

    In short Bellevue was built for cars and still caters to them to a disturbing degree. As we densify I hope the above will change for the better.

  3. I too am car-free in Bellevue.

    Best taxi stand: the taxis at the Westin (those green/red/yellow sedans).

    Best ped walk: 6th street!

    Best place to have bike lanes WHERE THEY AREN’T: Bellevue Way. There’s plenty of room, why are there no bike lanes?

    The 550 to Seattle is a great express bus.

    Yes, most drivers in downtown Bellevue think they have the right-of-way. But the more of us there are, the more they’ll realize they have to yield. Stay strong 🙂

  4. It is very frustrating to have to wait at a light, and it’s true our streets are wider, so longer to cross. BUT, there are fewer of them. Did you know that Bellevue’s blocks are three times as long as Portland’s? Yes, 600 feet, versus 200 feet. So you’d be crossing the street 3 times as often, and when you miss the rhythm of the signals, it can be a real pain. Just some perspective.

  5. Michael, did you know that it’s ride your bike to work month? You should get on that… 🙂

  6. This is stupid. You live within walking distance of work, you should walk all the time. Give me some real stories, it would be ridiculus to drive to work when you can easily walk.

  7. Hey Jon…thanks for the comment, I actually do NOT live in Downtown Bellevue yet. I am moving in the next couple of months.

    Also, walking to work, and not having a car at all are two completely different things. It’s a challenge to rely solely on other forms of transportation for everything.