If you no longer bought into the idea that auto ownership equals achievement and status, grew frustrated with the associated costs and obligation, or tired of the fuel burning emissions your car adds to the environment, then it’s easy to see how going carless could make perfect sense.
In Chicago, where on the average weekday 1.7 million rides are taken on the CTA, an increasing number of city residents currently live an entirely car free life, relying foremost on bike travel, public transit and occasional car sharing. In addition, the majority of city buses and trains are often not as crowded or as late as some may lead you to believe.
Jason Rothstein, author of the new book, "Carless in Chicago", (September 2009 Lake Claremont Press), went car-free 4 years ago. He's written the very first guide to navigating Chicago and the suburbs without a car.
Rothstein pondered the idea of going car free for about a year before making the switch in 2005. He now believes that not only can you easily survive in Chicago without a car, your life may actually improve without one.
Outstandingly comprehensive, "Carless in Chicago" offers an insider's analysis of living car free while serving as the absolute reference for information on public transit options and car sharing around town from Metra to I-Go and everything in between.
Rothstein begins the book by helping readers determine the true costs of auto ownership, while weighing the pros and cons of ditching the hunk of junk based on your lifestyle. Subsequent chapters include details on city biking, planning travel times, and physical considerations when commuting by bike or on foot. He even breaks down the complex system of CTA, Pace, and Metra fare options available to all ages.
Answering every non-native's wish, Rothstein demystifies the city's grid system of addresses and touches on safety concerns that anyone car free or not could benefit from when traveling the city.
In the second half of the book, Rothstein lists every CTA train line and stop, including notable sights and places near each stop (not an easy task, but one well suited to the Chicago native.) Rothstein also notes special situations that pedestrians should consider, like having to navigate Chicago's deep snow in winter.
Whether you are looking to reduce your driving time, are already living car free, or looking for an excellent guide for traversing the city and suburbs the more healthy and environmentally friendly way, Carless in Chicago is an indispensable read for Chicago travelers.