Everyone needs to get from place to place. For the health of our planet and our families, we need to find ways to get around that are sustainable, affordable and practical. For some journeys, the best way to get there is in the single family car, but for many other trips it’s possible to find alternative solutions.
Cooperative Auto Network
Vancouver’s co-operative car sharing organization is a socially- and environmentally-responsible choice and especially suits families who don’t need to use a car to commute to work. With the car co-op, you book a car for the days and times you need one, paying low hourly and per-kilometer rates. It’s the perfect way to use a car when you need to shop for lots of groceries or you want to borrow a van to bring the grandparents along with the family to visit the aquarium.
ZipCar is the commercial equivalent of the car co-op. Instead of buying a share in the co-op, you pay per use only. One perk of ZipCar is that your ZipCar registration allows you to use ZipCars all over North America, so it’s a great option for people who travel frequently and who would usually book a rental car at their destination. You pay as you go, and you don’t have to worry about paying for big-ticket car costs like maintenance, repairs and insurance. It’s all included in your hourly rate.
Taking kids on the bus is not only possible, it can be fun. Riding the bus, skytrain or seabus may sometimes seem like a hassle to adults, but kids love the sense of adventure. Taking transit is also a great way to avoid parking headaches, especially when going downtown or to Science World at TELUS World of Science. While some families do take transit exclusively, any trips you make by transit instead of by car help to reduce harmful emissions and support the development of more public transportation infrastructure.
Vancouver is a great city for cycling, especially in the spring and summer. Whether you’re cycling to get from place to place or simply to get out and enjoy the scenery, Vancouver has a growing network of designated bike routes on side streets and separated bike lanes to make cycling safer for families. If you’re biking with kids and want to avoid steep hills, try searching for a route on UBC’s CycleVancouver website. You can select a route based on distance, elevation or amount of vegetation nearby!
If you want to go green but have a hard time giving up the convenience of hopping in your own car, start small. Choose a short, easy trip to take by bike or transit and work up from there. Most of the time, it’s not actually as difficult to take the bus or bike as you might think, and your body will thank you for the extra exercise.
Michelle Carchrae is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom to two girls. With a serious love for Vancouver and an equally serious need to get out of the house with two young kids, Michelle searches out the best kid and parent friendly places to go. Michelle also writes about parenting at her blog, The Parent Vortex.
Michelle Carchrae is often asking those important life questions: "who moved the scissors?", "how would you do that differently next time?" and "are you finished with the glitter glue?" Homeschooling two girls, ages 6 and 3, is her full time job. The rest of the time Michelle can be found blogging at The Parent Vortex, hiking in the forest or knitting and reading simultaneously. She recently published her first ebook, The Parenting Primer: A guide to positive parenting in the first six years, and moved to Bowen Island.