This summer has been nice to re-acquaint myself with the place I grew up, spend some time with assorted relatives, and enjoy some of the benefits of funemployment (like long bike rides at 2 PM on a weekday). But the thing I hate about being here has grown increasingly heavy to me, so that I have to either get out or be crushed:
Life here requires owning a car.
|Not even an e-assist can make this|
place better without a matching
designated bike lane to anywhere.
There is neither public transit nor a decent bike route between here and Indianapolis. If I want to go to the theatre, or get on an intercity bus, or even visit a bookstore, I have to get my hands on a car. Even closer to home, if I want to go get something out of my storage unit that doesn't easily fit into my bicycle pannier, I end up begging for a lift for the two miles across town--this was a problem just last week when I needed to make a quick dash to my storage before heading out of town, and my mother had grandma's car. My queendom for a cargo bike!
(Those same cargo bikes can be used for hauling kids, by the way, and frequently are in places that have sensible bicycle policies. Don't even start about me only being able to live car-free because I'm not a parent. It's not necessarily true.)
This is a song I have sung many times, and will continue to sing until the U.S. finally catches on that people need options. Public transportation, carsharing, bikesharing (or just a local cargo bike rental), decent bicycle infrastructure--these can all put a dent in the burden of car ownership for people, in small towns and large.
And until that happens, people like me will continue rejecting the otherwise perfectly acceptable places where they grew up to find a better fit for our lifestyles.