POL Government Special Projects Portland CAN! Getting Around
Getting Around: Becoming a one car family. - Printable Version - November 2, 2010
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What if you could lower household costs, become more active, create more quality family time and reduce your household carbon footprint? If your family owns two or more cars, consider becoming a one-car family.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) calculates the average annual cost of car ownership at $5,976. Selling one car will not only save you $6K in ownership costs but could provide a tidy windfall from the proceeds of its sale.

Is one parent currently driving kids to school? Maybe this is the time to begin walking or biking with your kids to school.

I love bike commuting home each evening with my 10 year old son, says Rachael, a Portland commuter. “(I) pick him up at school after a stressful day of work and we get to ride…home together every night.  No traffic, no crowds, no noise except whatever he wants to talk about.  Riding with him makes everything right no matter what the weather.”

There are six Portland elementary schools that have organized bike trains – a group of parents and kids that ride together one day a week. Walking with your child may take longer but it provides a great opportunity for quality time together and provide you and your child daily exercise we all need to stay healthy. If you have kids in public school in Portland you can find a family friendly walk and bike map for any of the city’s 72 elementary schools.

Do you have a high school student at home who wants to borrow the car? The City of Portland and TriMet have teamed up to provide every Portland high school student a free TriMet pass.

Transit in the Portland area is regularly ranked one of the nation’s best. You can plan your trip online at TriMet.org. If there are two adults in your home, you could also carpool. Stephanie Parish and her husband carpool together, “We get a chance to go over the days events on our ride home,” she says. “It’s a great way to keep up with our busy family!” If it doesn’t work to carpool with another family member, find a carpool partner at www.carpoolmatchnw.org.

Going to one car often means more planning, but the benefits can be multiple. "We're amazed at how many miles we saved just by planning our day ahead of time," said Dan Hays. The family enjoyed working together to drive less and noted the challenge helped bring them closer, in addition to saving all those miles. Julia Markley and Dan Johnson found that bike commuting at least two days a week provided time for a workout and that riding the bus with their kids provided some nice family time.

Click here for a customized packet of transportation resources for Portland residents and commuters.


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