a challenge to all of you….

all of you have hopefully read my myriad of posts now about taking public transportation.

as a quick recap, a little more than three weeks ago i got ultimately fed up with atlanta traffic and decided i would try to make my commute on marta. after discovering that it really wasn’t so bad, i bought a thirty day pass and haven’t driven to work since. i also discovered that i could pick up a bus outside of my house, eliminating the need for a car completely on my commute.

and of course, last saturday, my gf and i discovered we could have a full, fun afternoon moving in atlanta relying solely on buses, trains and our feet. over the last few weeks i have sought to eliminate more and more of my trips that i would have taken by car.

now, i know we can have some pretty heated debates on global warming and dependence on foreign oil, but most of us would agree on the proposition that there are too many cars on atlanta’s streets.

so here is a challenge to those of us in the metroblogging community in atlanta, writers, readers and commenters. let’s see if we can do our part to reduce the number of cars on atlanta’s streets.

here is what i am proposing – all of you think hard about the trips you will take in your car starting tomorrow morning through next saturday and ask yourself, is there ONE trip i can make using alternate transportation – walking, biking, public transport – and then do it.

yes i am challenging all of you to eliminate one car trip over the next seven days. report back in the comments on this post or email me and we’ll post a recap next week.

i’ve put my time and effort where my mouth is and if i can do it, honestly anyone can. so let’s get at it. we have a lot of readers on this site, i’ll bet we can make a dent.

p.s. – bti, d.ortiz and rashid muhammad are totally exempt from this challenge as i know that all three have already taken its intent well to heart.

UPDATE – carla wrote in to remind me to tell you guys you can use cfpt’s new atrain transit mapping tool to plan your car free trip. i am about to head out on mine this morning.

19 Comments so far

  1. BTI (unregistered) on December 7th, 2007 @ 11:00 am

    Here, here! Great idea, I bet you’ll get some interesting stories from this one. I’m trying to think of a way i can join in the fun. Maybe, I’ll take public transit to a place I’ve never taken it to before, just to see if I can.


  2. james (unregistered) on December 7th, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

    well, bti, we’ll see how many people take up the challenge. i think it would be fun, once we know what people did to try and calculate the impact that mb had on gas consumption with this little experiment.

    fingers crossed….


  3. George Burdell (unregistered) on December 7th, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

    Since I am pretty much tied to a car all week, I try to have my weekends as car free as possible. Last weekend included walks to Little’s Market, Carroll st. cafe and bike trips to El myr and other l5p spots….
    That being said, I’ll still take you up on the challenge..


  4. james (unregistered) on December 7th, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

    sweet, george. i knew you would take me up on it. can’t wait to hear what you discover. i am taking it myself and going to actually take the 12 bus tomorrow for a trip i ALWAYS drive on…..


  5. Cindy (unregistered) on December 8th, 2007 @ 11:03 am

    Took Marta from sandy springs to Lenox today :)


  6. james (unregistered) on December 8th, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

    cindy, that’s great :-)

    i took up the challenge myself this morning – see here


  7. james (unregistered) on December 8th, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

    here is the link that isn’t working above –

    http://thearcoftime.com/?p=653


  8. BTI (unregistered) on December 8th, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

    Took the 18 from Decatur to Kirkwood to go to the library. It’s a neat route that goes through Oakhurst and Kirkwood, two really cool areas. I’ll probably use this one again.

    @james – i read your other post about the 12, I’ve never taken it past northside, I’ll have to take the full ride sometime.


  9. roxie (unregistered) on December 9th, 2007 @ 11:17 am

    As I posted in the other thread…

    I find driving extremely stresfull and I’ve only being going a little more than a year. Before that I was MARTA all the way!

    Well, now I’ve got a plan to get back on. I’m going to take CCT to H.E. Holmes Station/Hightower to GSU next semester.

    Not only will this save me stress, but it’ll also save me $$, as I’ll be reducing my trips by 91 miles a month!


  10. chrissy (unregistered) on December 9th, 2007 @ 10:34 pm

    I live in Dunwoody and my office recently moved to midtown so I have started taking Marta. I thought I would just do so temporarily till I could find out about parking. Well it turns out I am saving so much money in gas and parking that I am not going to drive downtown at all. I will continue to take marta every day. That is not to say I don’t have issues with marta. It is late quite often, many train cars are dirty and sometimes so packed I have to stand most of the way. Still, I won’t go back to driving. Those inconveniences are minor compared to the cost and aggrevation of driving. Since on occaision I need a car at lunchtime, I am thinking of joining that car you rent by the hour. Has anyone tried that? Is it worth it?


  11. abby (unregistered) on December 10th, 2007 @ 9:13 am

    George Burdell and I rode bikes this weekend to run errands – that’s two non-car trips apiece you can chalk up, James. It’s just a matter of a few miles here and there but we actually enjoyed the dreaded weekly grocery store trip.

    It made me think of shooting for a minimum of once-weekly biking to the office…does anyone else commute by bicycle? Do you have a wardrobe change? How do you handle it?

    I had a friend whose co-worker parked his car at work every sunday with a week’s worth of work clothes hanging in one of those old-people hanger bars across the backseat, but I think that’s a little more involved than I’m ready for.


  12. JSF (unregistered) on December 10th, 2007 @ 9:53 am

    So, do you work for MARTA or something? This seems like a personal vendetta for you. Everyone of your posts lately have been about MARTA. You’re starting to sound like those OH SO NICE vegans that don’t want to change your way of life but will impose their beliefs on you every second they get!

    MARTA is a mismanaged, misdesigned, ill-conceived, inconvenient, underfunded, underused public transit system.

    So, I get it. Driving in Atlanta sucks. Walking is better. Biking is better. Carpooling is better. Marta is better (not really, but I’ll play along). Working from home is better.

    Hey look, a cactus!


  13. JSF (unregistered) on December 10th, 2007 @ 9:53 am

    So, do you work for MARTA or something? This seems like a personal vendetta for you. Everyone of your posts lately have been about MARTA. You’re starting to sound like those OH SO NICE vegans that don’t want to change your way of life but will impose their beliefs on you every second they get!

    MARTA is a mismanaged, misdesigned, ill-conceived, inconvenient, underfunded, underused public transit system.

    So, I get it. Driving in Atlanta sucks. Walking is better. Biking is better. Carpooling is better. Marta is better (not really, but I’ll play along). Working from home is better.

    Hey look, a cactus!


  14. james (unregistered) on December 10th, 2007 @ 10:02 am

    @jsf – i am guessing this means you aren’t taking up the challenge?

    @abby – that’s great! we’ll chalk it up!

    hey look, a cactus!!!


  15. JSF (unregistered) on December 10th, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

    Impatiently, No.

    After selling my car a couple of years ago, to live a simpler, stress-less life, I found MARTA to be more stressful, dangerous, odorific, and time wasting than owning a car. Between my bike, walking and MARTA, I think I wasted a good chunk of my life that could have been devoted to other worthwhile things, like charity or sleep.

    I now drive a fuel efficient vehicle and have learned to enjoy the time in my car, eating my breakfast (which you can’t do on MARTA), listening to NPR (which I couldn’t do while riding my bike for fear of getting hit by a MARTA bus), and contemplating my very existence (which was utterly impossible with the guy next to me on the train listening to T.I. has loud as he can).

    Picture Calvin pissing on Chevy.


  16. james (unregistered) on December 10th, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

    hey, that’s cool. there are quite a few of us though who have found it to be quite relaxing. maybe i haven’t done it long enough to be jaded but there are others who seem to agree.

    as for my challenge, i certainly didn’t challenge anyone to get rid of their car or even commute to work, but just to eliminate ONE car trip.

    there ARE too many cars on atlanta’s roads and i see nothing wrong with encouraging people to get out and try something else….


  17. BTI (unregistered) on December 10th, 2007 @ 4:00 pm

    @JSF – you found MARTA to be more dangerous than driving? You must be kidding. Maybe if you’re afraid of black people. Just about the most dangerous thing you can do is get behind the wheel of a car. 43,000 people die each year from auto related deaths. I don’t recall hearing of anyone, ever, being killed on a MARTA train or bus (i’d honestly like to know if this has ever happened). Are you really afraid of being hit by a MARTA bus? Get real. And you donate every free minute of your time to charity…or watching t.v. All the adjectives you used to describe MARTA can be used to describe driving, but you’d have to also include money wasting. Your posts make you sound lazy, spoiled and xenophobic. FYI – i drink my coffee and read the paper every day on MARTA, this rule is almost never enforced.


  18. walker (unregistered) on December 11th, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

    i walked to the midtown publix (near 9th and spring) instead of drinving to the ansley publix this weekend.

    the time and convenience factor was about the same, all in all, except for one thing:

    **when i walked, i almost got run over by nasty drivers twice, who seemed to be mad at ME for getting in their way, even when I had the right of way**

    until someone puts the smackdown on nasty drivers, there’s little incentive to take public transit and walk or ride bikes. it’s just too dangerous.


  19. james (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 9:29 am

    just a reminder to everyone (except jsf) that you have until saturday to complete the challenge and report your results :-))

    good job to those who have already reported in



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