Olathe MacIntyre chose a family home within walking distance of work, school, downtown and greenspaces to make it easy to use sustainable transportation.
“I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint, save money, and stay in shape,” Olathe says. “We walk, bus, bike, take cabs, and rent an appropriate vehicle when needed. For groceries, we often use our hybrid car now, but for many years we used a bike wagon, taxi, or the city bus.”
Olathe shares that walking and biking are an important part of their family life. “Bikes are an efficient form of transportation that can greatly increase your sense of freedom and they can work for you even if you have young children. When my first son was born, we did not have a car and I used a bike wagon to travel with him from around from the time he was one year old. We switched to a bike that attached to the back of our bikes when he was five to help keep him safer in city traffic, even though he could ride and used a baby seat on the front of the bike for his little brother. Our sons, Emmerich (9) and Clark (12), love biking. They understand why we avoid using the car and will often insist on walking to school or the YMCA even if we offer a ride when the weather is unpleasant. Active transportation gives our kids a sense of pride in taking climate action as well as contributing to their physical fitness. We also find that time spent walking or biking together is usually pleasant family time.”
Reducing their environmental impact, improved physical fitness, mental wellness, family time, and financial savings are all benefits they enjoy from active transportation.
“The challenges we faced, such as a lack of crosswalks, sidewalks, and bike lanes are still there, but definitely improving,” says Olathe. “In winter, the sidewalks are often icy or not cleared and snow from the street is pushed on to them making it very hard to walk. When the sidewalks are bad, it is always a relief to get to the Bell Park trail as it is very well maintained. Having groomed winter trails for skis, toboggans, and fat bikes throughout the city would be amazing. I lived in Anchorage, Alaska and there was a groomed trail through the city that was very well used. People would skijor with their dogs!” she adds.
Despite owning a hybrid vehicle, sustainable transportation remains their main form of transportation. After many years of living without a private vehicle, they purchased their hybrid when Olathe’s husband Stephen needed a car to get to work. “Having shared transportation to the mine sites would help many Sudburians go car-free,” Olathe states.