One of the biggest advantages to living in the inner-city area of a larger city such as Saskatoon, Calgary, Regina, Edmonton, Surrey or Abbotsford is how many lifestyle opportunities it affords. One of those lifestyle decisions which more and more people are making is the choice to go car-free.
Some people do it for sustainability reasons: eliminating a car from your life drastically reduces your carbon footprint. Other people choose to do it for financial reasons: the amount of money they save on parking, fuel, and insurance alone is significant. Now add the absence of car payments, repairs, maintenance? We're talking thousands of dollars available for other, more important things.
Just how much are cyclists saving? According to this Forbes article, it's billions in the US alone. The popularity of this choice is driven by both financial and sustainability reasons alike.
With the rise of ultra-convenient and ultra-affordable e-scooter services like Bird; the ease of local transit; and the constantly-expanding bike paths which make getting around on a bicycle easier than ever before; going car-free is also a more convenient option than it's ever been. There are also ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft for when you absolutely MUST get there by car.
One frequently overlooked advantage to inner-city, car-free living are the health benefits. Dense populations are served by equally dense commercial offerings, so most everyday errands can be completed within a short walking distance. Grocery shopping, picking up a new outfit for a job interview or a night out, cool bars (which you can walk home from!) are all available close to home.
Let's not forget that instead of costing you time, going-car free can often you save you time. Especially in larger cities with traffic issues, the time saved by avoiding gridlock is obvious but think about all the little bits of time you'll free up, too: no more gas station fill-up stops in the middle of winter, no more circling the block looking for a parking spot. And there's a sense of relief, too, when you don't have to worry about how much further you can drive before that thing you need to get fixed stops your car completely!
Not just confined to health benefits, walking instead of driving through your neighborhood is a great way to discover cool new little shops and restaurants. You may never have tried that Szechuan place if you hadn't smelled the aroma wafting out from the kitchen as you walked by! It's also a great way to get to know your community so you can be engaged with it, a great way to meet your neighbors, and a great way to just get outside more often!
Also worth noting is just how many major cities throughout the world are already going officially car-free. This decision is driven by everything mentioned before but also reduces smog levels when it's accompanied by increases in the quality and availability of transit, as well as the creation of networks of walkable and cyclable paths (ideally spanning the city.)
Whether you choose to do it because it's the most practical option, for financial savings, or environmental reasons, going car-free is now easier than ever.