It’s true. Getting around by walking, biking, or taking public transit takes more time and energy than jumping in the car. One must take into account the weather, strategize on best routes to take, and coordinate with the schedule in the case of public transit. Choosing how to get around is as much of a personal lifestyle choice as diet. Unfortunately, if the current Transportation Bill in the House of Representatives passes as it is currently written, the “inconvenience” factor of getting around without a car is likely to increase.
In recent years a lot of attention has been given to a different way to eat and view food, taking cues from the way people have lived for centuries. People began to realize that by taking some extra time in the kitchen, and being picky when shopping for ingredients, they could have more fulfilling meals and healthier lives. The slow food movement gave us a new perspective on food and how we eat, but also how we live our lives and our priorities. I would argue that we would benefit from a similar reevaluation of how we get around.
The other day, on my way home from volunteering, I got off the bus early and walked to a nearby school that was having a book sale as a fundraiser. After making my selection I headed home. Realizing I was in need of a loaf of bread, I turned towards the corner store. On the way to the store I exchanged pleasantries with a neighbor taking advantage of the warm weather to scrape away some stubborn ice from the sidewalk.
The walk from the store to my home took me through the intersection of 42nd Avenue and 38th Street. I love the vibrant atmosphere of this commercial corner, and it (along with the corner store previously mentioned) was one of the reasons my husband and I moved into our neighborhood.
Since moving in we have discovered many other great destinations in our neighborhood from restaurants and shops on Lake Street to the brewery, post office, and bike shop on Minnehaha just off of Lake Street. This has strengthened our connection to our community and has also improved our health and quality of life.
To be sure, it’s not possible for everyone to get around by walking, biking, or taking public transit. This is especially true in certain parts of Minnesota. I would challenge you, however, to try to incorporate a slower pace into your day. At the very least try a walk around your neighborhood. You may discover previously unknown destinations and neighbors, or merely a new perspective on lifestyle choices. Life in the fast lane is overrated.
- Elina Kolstad