“Don’t drive unless you have to!”
How many times have we heard or read those words in recent days? The newscasts are full of dire warnings about how treacherous the roads are, how streets aren’t getting plowed, and video showing cars smashing into each other. Ok, but I kind of had to go out today because our Thanksgiving turkey was waiting to be picked up at our somewhat local Whole Foods. (Whole Foods you say? Yes, I do occasionally indulge in a bit of “Yuppie Chow”, as I like to call it. Since Metropolitan Market and PCC don’t have nearby stores, Whole Paycheck is it.)
I’m a confident snow driver and was relatively sure that the roads outside of our neighborhood would be fine, and they were. I also own a Subaru which gets around just fine in just about anything. But I felt like I didn’t really *have* to drive so I figured I would find another way to pick up our turkey. So I donned my largest backpack, warm clothes, and boots and walked to the Park & Ride less than a mile from my home. There are 4 different buses there that would take me into downtown Bellevue where I could walk or catch a bus over to Whole Foods.
When I arrived at the store I immediately noticed how full the parking lot was. In fact, if you look at this picture carefully, you’ll notice a parking attendant at the far end of the lot. There were two of them out gathering carts and directing drivers to the few empty spots. I *hate* looking for parking spots. So much so that I’m happy to spend time walking and riding the bus to avoid it. Instead of playing musical parking spots, I just walked into the store, grabbed a cart, and started shopping. After gathering my purchases and checking out at the register, I carefully arranged everything in my backpack, left the store, and walked toward the Bellevue Transit Center.
For those familiar with Bellevue, you’ll know that I had to cross I-405 and NE 8th street to get to the Transit Center. This is some of the least pedestrian friendly terrain that the City of Bellevue has to offer. Bellevue is working on improvements; the new NE 10th crossing is much safer and a new NE 12th, currently under construction, will be even better. That said, 405 will never be particularly attractive pedestrians. For the foreseeable future, it will serve as the dividing line between relatively pedestrian accessible downtown Bellevue and the far more car dominated areas east of 405.
After getting safely past the pedestrian obstacle course that is NE 8th, I made my way to the transit center, hopped a bus headed towards the South Bellevue Park & Ride, and walked home with Turkey, oatmeal, and eggs in tow:
The whole trip took about an hour and a half. Since I have a bus pass from work, the trip cost me nothing but time. Since we all need to exercise to keep healthy, it really didn’t even cost me that. I’m still struggling with car addiction and dreaming of going “car lite” some day. Today is further confirmation that we really don’t *need* two cars in our family. Then again, I don’t really *need* 3 bikes.