Carfree Living in SOMA
by Jim Frank
I live in SOMA because it allows me to live a carfree lifestyle and it's often very sunny. I live in a neighborhood that is within about two blocks of everything I need from work, grocery store, all the best public transportation, restaurants, and even a salted meats butcher. I love the freedom of walking most places and cycling to the rest. It seems that the most important question in living a carfree lifestyle is "Where am I going to live?" Will it be one that affords me good choices in how I get around? Will I be tied to my car? Can I walk to work, grocery, or entertainment? Obviously my choice was one of access, not mobility, as we all know that greater mobility simply means more time spent in traffic.
About three times a week I ride down to the Dolphin Club early in the morning to take a dip in the bay and then ride back to civic center for work at the Asian Art Museum. The other two days I walk the 4 blocks to work. I can walk to the three grocery stores (Trader Joe's, Rainbow, and Costco) all within two blocks. I always wonder what the others shoppers using cars think when they see me filling up my little folding shopping cart. I used to use a bob-cart for shopping when I lived farther away and I still have a basket on the front of my mountain bike for small trips.
The last and least-used piece of my transportation needs is fulfilled by City CarShare. I mostly use it for larger shopping trips and when visitors come into town. There are several different cars located near me and one in the alley behind my building. You couldn't get your own parking spot closer! It's a perfect fit because I only drive once or twice a month, the cars are very close, and I never have to worry about maintenance or insurance.