LA Times Maria L. La Ganga reports today that Berkeley mayor Tom Bates sold his beloved Volvo (his 26th car), and now takes the bus, walks, and uses the city’s car-share program. His typical commute weaves together different modes of public transit, although he doesn’t mention using a bicycle.
Bates picks up his canvas briefcase (there’s a reusable shopping sack inside) and hoofs it to the station. His khaki-clad stride is long and swift. A panama hat sits jauntily on his balding head. He is off on the first leg of a 13-hour workday that began with a brief shower — never more than three minutes — and will include a train ride, a bus trip, a short hop in a City CarShare rental and four or so miles on foot.
Bates describes the beauty that he sees while walking, and he explains how he sees the city in a different way.
Walking “opens up a whole new vista in seeing the city in a different way,” he enthuses. “The city is beautiful. I’ve fallen in love with spring again, and the flowers.”
And finally, he talks about the health benefits of going car-free and using a pedometer to measure his walks.
About 16 months ago, Bates strapped on a pedometer and started walking at least 10,000 steps a day — for his health and the planet’s. Round trip from home to office is 4,400 steps.
By the beginning of this year, he’d dropped 20 pounds and realized his car was sitting in the driveway. The device, he says, “changed my life.