LETTER: Let’s end our car obsession

I’ve always tried to avoid being cudgeled into using a car, finding that walking, cycling, carpooling, and using transit...

I’ve always tried to avoid being cudgeled into using a car, finding that walking, cycling, carpooling, and using transit meet most of my transportation needs in a surprisingly cost-effective manner.

Inter-regional connections however, have always been a problem. Getting to Chilliwack has been almost impossible.

Now, with the impending advent of a Chilliwack to Langley (through Abbotsford) transit link, it will be possible to commute not only between Chilliwack and Abbotsford – but also access the Skytrain.

Unlike some of the buses that lumber over our urban streets, here is a bus that isn’t obviously out of place.

Finally, it will not only be possible, but feasible, to do what our population density warrants: live a car-free lifestyle.

Will it be easy? No. Will it sometimes be inconvenient? Will it save us money – especially in the long run? Reduce air pollution? Encourage physical fitness? Strengthen our social fabric?

I expect the answer to all of these questions to be yes.

I suggest that one thing we as an urban community need to collectively come to terms with is that we can’t insist on having a large urban population while continuing to live rural lifestyles.

Need more reasons to end our obsession with cars? They require enormous amounts of our most expensive and valuable asset – land, for parking and roadways – a cost that is incorporated into everything we buy.

As well, since we all pay for health care through our taxes, the asthma, obesity, and lack of fitness that cars contribute to are a cost most of us don’t recognize, and they’re heavily reliant on large, likely unsustainable, resource inputs (energy and water), as well as significant subsidies.

Let’s use some common sense and realize it’s time to put an end to this particular love affair. I think we’ll find that a healthy dose of re-localization will make us all better off in the long run.

Daniel van der Kroon

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