Comment 41435

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2010 at 19:37:28

One of the main reasons I enjoyed Toronto so much compared to growing up in St. Catharines was that a driver's license didn't represent adulthood or freedom in Toronto. Conversely, the lack of a car or license didn't mean something was wrong with you in Toronto.

Four months before moving to Hamilton I took a three-month position that required we buy a second car. (I thought we'd keep it afterwards, of course)...Incurred enormous expenses buying the car and related... it was wretched.

When that job was over and we ended up moving here, getting rid of it was such a relief. There's more story there than finances (not involving accidents.. lol!) But to be in a city that didn't require DRIVING everywhere is something I cherish. Ended up selling the other car within a year.

However, the reality of Hamilton is that here, a license represents freedom and adulthood in much the same way that it did where I grew up, and I'm constantly amazed at how people think adult life is impossible without a car, and how people I've known for a year or two are only now realizing that we don't have a car... and why. But many of them still expect that we'll "come to our senses" when we have kids and move out of downtown, buy a couple cars and drive 'em to soccer and hockey every day.

Meanwhile my tension is between

  • looking to buy in a walkable neighbourhood near amenities where we don't need to drive much for everyday activities, and definitely don't need two cars

  • or looking to buy in a neighbourhood where our presence could be more transformative and helpful, and we could get more house... but the poverty means amenities are few and driving is necessary to get anything of quality I'd find acceptable, from coffee to books to piano lessons to daycare to school...

Meanwhile, parents continue to subsidize their children's insurance, living expenses and more without realizing how much this delays the opportunity for their children to become independent adults.. and car culture extends adolescence out of financial necessity...

And I know a lot of younger people who've never had the chance to get their licenses (lack of opportunity), and we're not building a city that's helping them become adults even if they gasp don't drive.

Comment edited by Meredith on 2010-06-01 18:44:14

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