Ah, the triumphs of the modern car: air conditioning, radio broadcasted music, reclining chairs, cup holders and the ability to accelerate from zero to 80 mph in less than 15 seconds. While that’s all well and good, it’s time to have a “come to Jesus” meeting about the practicality of driving in Philadelphia in 2008.
I don’t have to tell you that to afford gas these days, you’re going to have to get used to that rumbling in your tummy. And then, there are Philadelphian drivers. “What’s a turn signal?” It’s like everyone ditched driving etiquette class. Lastly, driving a car isn’t exactly environmentally-friendly. According to Alpha Online, a division of Environmed Research Inc., the United States is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide. U.S. emissions have increased to 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2004, 16 percent higher than emissions in the late ‘90s. Makes you feel like riding a bike, right?
Driving has its upsides, though. If you’re sick of campus food, the nearest grocery store is a 10-minute car ride away, and a car’s a great thing to have if you want to stray from the city at large. Let’s say you’re at a friend of a friend of a friend’s house party, and you have an 8:40 a.m. class. Suddenly, that rusty old jalopy becomes your best friend.
Plus, there’s a happy medium available between driving and being environmentally-conscious. Philadelphia has a wonderful program called PhillyCarShare. You pay a fixed rate and you never have to worry about gas. Sweet, right? And guess what? There are two on campus: at Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, and by the Regional Rail station.
Aaron Stella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.