Why A Couple In Denver Decided To Give Up Their Car

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Kurt and Kati Woock, car-free couple
Kurt and Kati Woock

Americans have long had a love affair with cars, but the romance has hit a bump in the road. Younger people, in particular, are driving less, waiting longer to get their first driver’s licenses, and are more likely to ride a bike or take a train. And some, like Denver couple Kurt and Kati Woock, are giving up their cars entirely.

They recently sold their Ford Edge and are now getting around Denver primarily by bicycle and bus. Kurt, 28, wrote about their car-free experiment for the transportation website “Streetsblog Denver.”

Kurt and Kati Woock spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.

What prompted them to sell their car?

Kati: “It’s been sort of a year coming, just riding bikes, living in Denver, having access to bus passes through our jobs. And living really close to work, it was easy for us to get around. We were using the car less and less often. We started talking about it a year ago, sort of brainstorming how we could do different trips that we were taking in the car. And finally we just decided to bite the bullet.”

Did finances play into their decision?

Kurt: “Yes. Not out of necessity, but just out of the observation that we were spending a lot of money to keep our car parked on the street. Most of our life is lived within a five-mile radius, so we didn’t need to drive. Parking downtown, and traffic downtown, is terrible. Even if was raining or snowing, we’d find ourselves walking or biking, because it was actually easier than driving.

Some people can’t afford a car. Is it a luxury to be able to give up a car?

Kati: “We’re definitely aware of that. And I think that’s why we’re not trying to be too preachy about it, because we know some people don’t have the option. And I think more than being anti-car, I think we’re more proponents for multi-modal transportation. And I think being car-less and being white and middle-class, that maybe we get more involved in RTD rate hikes and different things like that, because maybe we have the privilege of actually being a voice.”