Divorce Your Car!: Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile

Katie Alvord, Author, Stephanie Mills, Foreword by, Craig Scarborough, Preface by New Society Publishers $17.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-86571-408-3
A long-time advocate for transportation reform, Alvord prefers getting around on anything--her own two feet, mass transit, bicycles--but a car. In this affable history-cum-how-to, she tracks the dramatic, negative impact of automobiles from the early days of the 1900s to the present. Among the evils are severe pollution levels, high rates of death and injury in car accidents, a decline in other modes of transport and sprawling highway development. Meanwhile, some cities around the world are in fact quite friendly toward nondrivers: Toronto has a great subway system and encourages bicycle riders; Copenhagen and some other cities have ""free bikes"" that allow people to leave a deposit and borrow a bike; San Francisco has pedestrian-only roads. Perhaps the book's best section is the last third, in which Alvord offers detailed, practical advice on how to avoid using a car, along with lists of the benefits of doing so. Walking around, for example, helps reduce stress and prevent osteoporosis. Crime rates go down in areas with increased pedestrian traffic. And the average speed of a commuting car (22 mph) isn't much faster than that of a bicycle (10-20 mph). Even for readers who are not ready to permanently abandon their auto, this book provides a wealth of ideas for unbuckling the seat belts and enjoying the fresh air. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
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