Today started like every other normal work day, except when I finally got out of bed, I realized I would not be traveling on my normal DC beltway commute. Today was the first day of the carless challenge.
Good Morning, Sunshine
It was nice to know that no matter what time I left, I would still have a relatively static travel time. For the non-locals, there can be up to a 45 minute difference in the time it takes to get to work if leaving at 8:00 rather than 7:30.
Only a few minutes before I walked out my door did I remove my car key from my keychain. After a quick check of my podcasts on Google Listen, I walked out the door and down the street.
It was beautifully cool at 7:45 this morning. I made the ever familiar walk between my apartment and the nearest metro station, pausing slightly as I crossed the busy Glebe Rd. for cars turning left, having been one of those drivers for several months now. Dozens of people from all races, genders, and socio-economic levels joined me at the station, snagging a free copy of the Washington Post Express, and riding down the escalator.
The trains run ever 3-5 minutes through my station, and opposite the two other times I’ve ridden to work, the temperature in the station was not swelteringly hot. The car I chose to enter was pretty much packed, and remained that way for my entire trip on the Orange line.
One thing I did notice – my core muscles are weak. Had I not had a bar to hold onto, I would have fallen flat on my face many times. I hope that by the end of this challenge I’ll at least be able to change the page in my paper without fear of face planting.
As timed on my other two runs, this mornings door-to-door commute was around 65 minutes. At this rate, I’ll either need more podcasts, or I might even start buying books from the Kindle store on my phone. (Has anyone used the Kindle App for Android?)
Interestingly, upon opening my email, I was greeted with a message from the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments (WMCOG) to celebrate the third annual “Car Free Day” on September 22nd. What a fancy idea…
I packed up and skedaddled at a quarter of 5, and waiting a mere 2 minutes before a nearly empty train arrived. I enjoyed my partnerless seat for the entire duration to Metro Center, where there was a mass scramble to get down to the Orange line. I wasn’t in any hurry until I saw a train waiting going in my direction. I scurried into the closest car and was met with a smack in the face from about a 20 degree temperature increase.
I made my way towards the front of the car, noting oddly the doors had been open longer than normal. Risking the chance that I would lose the train I raced to get on, I dashed to the next car to feel the cool air and an open seat welcome me to the final leg of my commute.
By the Numbers
Morning cost: ($4.35)
Evening cost: ($4.35)
IRS-calculated car maintenance savings (19 miles * 2 * $0.50/mi): $19
In total, I spent about 115 minutes commuting to Bethesda this morning, in comparison to approximately 95 it would have taken to drive it. In that time, I read several articles in the local paper, completed the daily Sudoku puzzle, finished 3 podcasts, and walked more than a mile more than I would have otherwise. It’s small, but it’s the tiny, daily repetition of good habits can bring out some great changes. I only hope I can resist passing both Potbelly’s and Chipotle on my way home every night.