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Car-less, seeing the world through green eyes

Suddenly I have found myself thrown into a bit of a social experiment that, as a journalist, will hopefully produce a slew of ideas and fresh perspectives. Well, calling it a social experiment goes a bit far but I am currently car-less -- without an automobile for the next couple of weeks because of this strange obsession I happen to have with my 2000 Accord EX. (see, what's with all the details?)

Anyway, I'm getting some dents knocked out of the car which means allowing the magical servicemen to keep it for a couple of weeks. No problem, right?  At least, that's what I figure for someone who lives and works downtown. We'll see.Cars on main street

I'm giving myself extra credit because I often ride a bicycle to work during warm weather and take the train when I don't want to dig my car out of the snow.  What I've found during those moments is that I'm much more observant than I otherwise would be tooling down the road in my 10-year-old automobile while listening to the radio.  It's one of those "duh" statements but all too true.

During these environmentally green moments, it's easy to take stock of changes in neighborhoods, street plans (such as when the city was able to turn Main Street between Goodell and Tupper back into a two-way street) and facade improvements. It brings the issue of cars on Main Street to the fore.

Sure, I could have tried the nonprofit Buffalo CarShare, which my colleague George Pyle (a frequent user of the transit system and one who appreciates taking in the details at eye level) has written about.  But I'm going to try to tough it out on foot and by bicycle (except for times I can bum rides, of course).

Listen, for a girl (well, a bit past that stage) who grew up in suburban Washington, D.C., during a time when the famed Metro transit system was in its infancy, this is big.  But, let's explore together and talk about issues.  I'll do my best to chronicle my short adventure and we'll see what we see.

Dawn Marie Bracely/Editorial Writer

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