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Ditching the Car for a Motorboard in L.A. — Carectomy - Removing Cars from People

Ditching the Car for a Motorboard in L.A.

by Kate Trainor on January 20, 2008

motorboard Ditching the Car for a Motorboard in L.A.
 
We at Carectomy are always pleased to come across news of people making the car-free plunge. But when the news comes from Los Angeles, the quintessential car-centric, freeway-laden American city, there’s an extra degree of joy.
 
As we reported last week, the Cave family recently went Car-Free in the O.C. after a series of car breakdowns pushed them over the edge. The Caves, not exactly the poster children for environmentalism or fitness, outfitted themselves with practical bikes and trailers and pedaled their way to financial solvency.
 
“L.A. girl” Kathryn Pope was similarly pushed to go car-free by the demise of her aging vehicle.
 

From the L.A. Times:

As the car went in and out of the mechanic’s garage, I started resenting other things the car made annoying in life, like parking. I didn’t like paying for parking, circling blocks for parking spots, trying to remember where I parked, or walking around in those deserted, creepy parking structures at night.

Then once this October, while the car was in the shop, I decided not to let my car interfere with my life anymore, and I took the bus. I read while I traveled. I watched people around me. I looked out the window. And when I got where I was going, I was downright zenned out. That’s when I decided to start phasing out the car and phasing in public transit.

 
Pope’s surgical tools for her carectomy: public transportation, car-sharing for “special occasions” via Flexcar, and a motorboard for local scurries. Motorboards, for those not in the know (as I wasn’t), basically look like kids’ push-powered Razor scooters with the addition of electric motor power. They’re super-light (about 16 pounds), easily fold up, go 15mph, and the extended models can go up to 20 miles per charge. Sounds like a great commute-solution, especially in a mild-weather place like California.
 
Every person that limits his/her car usage is making a difference. But the real story here is the news itself – these endeavors are getting some major press. In Pope’s case, the L.A. Times is devoting a series of articles to her “de-car-ing adventures.” If mainstream media outlets like the Times and the O.C. Register continue to cover these stories in huge media markets like So. Cal, perhaps folks will start to rethink their transportation choices. More carectomies are likely to follow.
 
Photos via flickr by Chang’r & by greenlagirl

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 MarkR April 17, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Kate,

I totally agree with your statement about cars. but I totally disagree about suburban sprawl as a culprit. Sprawl is a side effect not a cause. It is a side effect of cars and Jumbo corporate culture where you have large cities. The solution is not putting people in shoe box condos and stack them 1000 ft high and call it a city, and force farmers out of the area and force all groceries to be shipped in over 60-100 miles or more. That is more about greed from cities and developers that want to charge more for less. The correct solution would be to get away from large cities and back to a rural setting where the small towns are king with populations ranging between 4-30K. Where food is grown locally, where goods are manufactured localy, were everyone has a yard or small farm to grow their own food if they choose. Where you telecommute or work within 3-5 miles of your home. Suburbs and Sprawl are a symptom of a larger cancer that people refuse to see and that cancer is the CITY. Even if you got rid of the cars the cancer will still remain.

Also people are fat because allot of Americans are spoiled and work to much and exercise to little. You put those people closer to work, they won’t ride a bike if you take their car away they will take mass transit because exercise is now to hard and remain fat. And now because they are closer to work the will stay at work longer. siting in front of the stinking computer not exercising. Your article only really hits on the symptoms of the problem not the problem its self. The problem is Cities and Corporate culture. And we have become to dependant on those cancers like people on crack.

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