Saturday, May 1, 2010

Journeying to the FedEx office to demonstrate powering down

The prevailing consensus opinion is to drive everywhere. This is true for the US and of course is different in other countries. The resource use requirements to drive everywhere is pretty steep and I am one who, as any reader of this site knows, is of the opinion that we are heading to a resource crunch that threatens our society. Therefore anytime i go somewhere the question comes up, well, how do i get there? Yesterday the question came about because of a FedEx delivery where I had to go to their office.

So, how did I get there? The local FedEx office is in a industrial office park area of Sunnyvale, a 15-20 minute drive away. But because I'm so intent on eliminating burning gasoline I minimize using my gas car. I have just bought an electric car but it doesn't (yet) have the range to get there. Hmmm what a quandary but fortunately there are other options.

I could have ridden a bicycle. But I didn't know how big the packages would be. Further I had a hankering to listen to some podcast episodes along the way.

The FedEx office happens to be near a VTA light rail office and there is a bus going near my house that can take me to light rail. I've used this bus and train on my commute and going to the FedEx office is just a couple stops further down the line. It is a pretty attractive option. Walk out the door with iPhone and ear buds playing the podcast, a couple blocks walking, a bus ride, a train ride, and I would be there. Easy, right?

It is pretty easy and enjoyable. It was harder than it need be, however. For example the light rail stop is several blocks from the FedEx office. That meant a longer than expected walk. A completely unexpected issue is that the FedEx office neighborhood is unfriendly to pedestrians. There is no sidewalks and there are large trucks driving around. The trucks are because it's lit industrial and there are both UPS and FedEx offices in the same neighborhood. This didn't make it impossible nor even hard, but is an interesting concern. For example employees of those businesses might not like to take the light rail to get to work even thought the station is right there because the neighborhood is pedestrian unfriendly.

Finally the whole trip took nearly 2hours from leaving home to returning. At each step of taking bus and train there was a few minutes wait between getting off a bus and waiting for the train, etc. Also none of the bus or train stops meshed up perfectly and like I said about walking to the FedEx office, there was a lot of walking. A walk to te bus at the beginning, walking around the FedEx office neighborhood,and walking from the bus back home at the end.

Owne might think since the trip took twice as long as it should that was wasted time. I see it a different way. First by walking around I had a bit of exercise, perhaps 2 miles of walking. Second the time was filled with listening to podcasts that I would have listened to anyway. Third I participated in living in the world I want to occupy rather than conceding to the world that I don't like. I prefer a world with more walking, bicycling and mass transit rather than the car dominated world I live in today.