You might be wondering: Who are you? Why are you Carless in OKC?
Don't worry, we have answers - and reasons. Allow us to introduce ourselves.
I'm Elizabeth, and my counterpart is John, my husband. We are newlyweds who are also newly-moved to OKC, all the way from Athens, Georgia.
John and I share similarly unwalkable origins. I grew up in the vast sprawl of metro Atlanta, Georgia, which is arguably the definitive car-centric suburban landscape. My house was a quarter-mile from my elementary school and yet my mom dropped my brother and me off and picked us up each day. In all fairness, this had a lot to do with my mother's overprotective nature; however, this short distance had no sidewalks, and the road was mostly flanked by steep hills or sloping embankments. Growing up, I never walked from place to place. I was barely aware of the concept; save for the small (less than 10) group of kids from the neighborhood that was immediately adjacent to the elementary school, I did not know a single person who walked as a form of transportation. It was the suburbs, of course; everyone drove a car.
John grew up in Macon, Georgia, in a turn-of-the-century neighborhood that at least had sidewalks. Those sidewalks, however, were merely the conduit between neighboring friends' houses rather than major or viable transportation thoroughfares. Macon, as a former urban hub, has more existing and potential walkability in places like the downtown area, but there is a prevailing present-day suburban mindset which of course equals cars... lots of cars.
John and I both eventually ended up in Athens, Georgia, which is a famous little college town where we met and fell in love. John was getting his master's degree in environmental planning and design from the University of Georgia; his education, combined with the fact that we became heavily involved with community activism around the development of our city, provided a constant background to our relationship which revolved around a shared interest in how cities are planned.
Fast forward to late summer 2013: John and I were about to be married, and he received a job offer to be a planner with the City of Oklahoma City. We were suddenly faced with not only the monumental event of surviving our imminent wedding, but also planning and executing a move to Oklahoma City within about two weeks after that wedding. After considering all of our options, we eventually decided to leave both of our (old and quickly failing) cars with our parents and fly to Oklahoma City to begin our new life together.
On September 25, 2013, we stepped off the plane in OKC with three large suitcases and two very annoyed cats. We had a rental car for a few days while we got settled in, and we had every intention of purchasing a car as soon as we could. Buying a car, however, is tedious and overwhelming business, and as we became more comfortable navigating our surrounding area on foot, the idea of buying an automobile became less and less appealing.
Our apartment, as we've said before, is very close to downtown Oklahoma City and is located within what we consider walking distance to quite a few amenities like restaurants, specialty retail, museums, pubs/bars, and parks, to name a few. On the other hand, some amenities, like grocery shopping and general retail, did not seem to be immediately accessible to us, so it became a bit of a challenge for us to figure out how to comfortably and efficiently run necessary errands such as bi-weekly grocery trips. We liked the idea of rising to that challenge because living without a car fits with our ideals of a sustainable, healthy lifestyle - not only for us, but for the earth and future generations.
One major purpose of this blog is to tell the story of our adventures and misadventures with living a carless lifestyle in OKC. As we navigate the city around us on foot (and by public transit), we are not only negotiating a way of living that is new to us, but we are also discovering the joys, pains, quirks, and nuances of our new home. We hope that you'll enjoy sharing the journey with us.