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Chatting with 2011 Zipcar Low Car Diet Participant: Rachael Kennedy

Rachael Kennedy recently completed her Low Car Diet with Zipcar, just like I did last year!  We had a chance to ask her a few questions about her experience.  She’s a recent Temple University graduate who moved to Philly last August.  Just as she was going on her second year as a city-dweller and sick of the parking scene, she heard about Zipcar.  The Low Car Diet seemed like a perfect trial period to go car-less.

Now, for the questions:

Green Philly Blog: How does it feel to be car-free?

Rachael Kennedy: It felt very good to be car-free.  Not only was I helping the environment by getting another car off the road, but most importantly for my life I didn’t have to drive and park in the city and that is huge for me.  I strongly dislike driving, and anyone that’s ever seen me try to parallel park my massive Buick LeSabre usually winces in pain… It was really fun driving the ZipCar because I rented something significantly smaller than I’m used to.  I really liked the VW Golf because it was quick and parked with such ease.

GPB: What have you learned the most from the experience?

RK: Mostly, I learned that I don’t absolutely NEED a car in the city.  More than anything, it is a huge convenience to have a car, but I absolutely LOVED using the ZipCar.  The cool part is that it inspired me to look at transportation differently.  I realized how much I take for granted that I hop in my car and drive a few blocks away just to run errands, when a quick bike ride or walk would be just as easy.

GPB: What shocked you the most about being car-less?

RK: The biggest surprise about being car-less was that it wasn’t that hard.  I really loved using the ZipCar especially during the weekend that I rented one to go back and forth to two weddings that my boyfriend was in, the first week of August.  He was taking a limo to the weddings and receptions so it was good that I had a way to get around, too…  I was driving his grandfather around too, which was definitely the best part – the two of us had a blast in the VW Golf and he was totally intrigued by the concept of the ZipCar company.

GPB: Any crazy public transit antidotes?

RK: Nothing too crazy during my public transportation days during the Diet – other than the usual drunk Phillies fans…

GPB: Will you back to driving?

RK: Unfortunately I must say “yes” I will be back to driving but definitely WAY less than before.  My boyfriend and have spent the summer using only one car and it surprisingly has been working out great with our schedules.

GPB: What do you think the biggest misconceptions about being car-less in Philly?

RK: My roommate doesn’t have a car in Philly and has never actually driven a car, so when I first found out he didn’t drive and has been able to get around for six years in the city I was blown away.  I would always complain about trying to get from South Philly to West Philly or NoLibs, and he has been able to get around to all of the neighborhoods for years.  I must admit, public transportation in Philly isn’t GREAT, it is still possible to get around the town.

Posted by Julie

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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