Living Car-Free in LA #5: Impacting Relationships
by Jessie Holzer, Planner, Alta Planning + Design
Growing up my parents taught me that if a man asked me on a date he should pick me up in his car. They said it was inappropriate for someone to request I meet them at a restaurant or, heaven forbid, for me to offer to pick the person up in my own vehicle.
In addition to taking a more equality-based approach to relationships, I also developed a different view on dating when I started believing motorized transportation was not the only way to travel. As advocating for mobility options became a large part of my life I started seeking partners with similar opinions and this impacted the way I dated.
My boyfriend and I have been together for a year now and have not owned a car for the entire length of our relationship. When we met I lived in Hollywood and he lived in Pasadena, a 1.5 hour one-way trip taking the Metro Red Line to the Gold Line. We joked that we were in a long distance relationship despite being in the same county, but as many readers have likely experienced to be true, love knows no boundaries.
On our first date we met in Downtown Los Angeles, about halfway between our two homes. We each took our respective train lines and biked the additional mile or so to get to the restaurant for the first half of our date. After dinner we took transit and biked around LA to take advantage of Free Admission Day at participating museums. It was a great way to spend time getting to know one another as we could focus on each other instead of the stress of driving and parking.
Our subsequent dates have all taken a similar multi-modal approach. To celebrate our anniversary in mid-January we enlisted our friends (several of which are also car-free couples) to recreate the night we met by walking, biking, and taking transit to restaurants and venues along the Gold Line. There were eight of us, but we didn’t need to negotiate space in a car or be separated into multiple vehicles. Rather than generating logistical issues, the commute was part of the fun.
We both look forward to the many more car-free dates planned for the coming years. Whether it is going for a casual bike ride on one of the County’s bike paths, hiking the historic staircases in the Los Angeles hills, or taking the bus to a movie, we find each trip to be surprisingly more personal – and often more memorable – when getting there without a car.