In January, 2010, Suzanne Carlson sent her ‘94 Subaru to salvage; while, at the same time, Phyllis Loomis was considering selling her Toyota Echo. Phyllis, 85, had recently moved to Greenfield from Ashfield and was pleased with how little she now needed her car. Phyllis and Suzanne, also from Greenfield, were already friends, and out of their mutual need for satisfactory transportation grew a strong car-sharing relationship. Both lived within walking distance of downtown Greenfield and used their cars only when necessary. Suzanne had frequently car-pooled and helped others with errands, and had shared her old car with a friend, who paid 50 cents/mile and a portion of major repair bills. Suzanne had walked or biked to her job at Green Fields Market for 13 years. She found it safer to use her bike in winter than walk because most sidewalks were cleared of snow and ice. “I felt like doing winter sports!”
Starting last January, in their new sharing arrangement, Suzanne began keeping the car full-time, except on Tuesday’s, when Phyllis uses it. Phyllis is also free to pick the car up while Suzanne is at work. Suzanne pays Phyllis a sum each month toward ownership of the car. In September, when Suzanne moved to a passive-solar house on the hilly outskirts of Greenfield, she took custody of the car, but maintains the car-sharing arrangement with Phyllis.
Suzanne has been biking on and off all her life. She became an avid biker while living in Germany, and did a 10-day tour of the country with her young son riding in tandem. She later moved to CA, where she biked to work and in her free time. “Biking and walking make you realize that you are vulnerable, connected with the earth, and can act like a human being. I travel by car intentionally; it is a conscious choice. I ask, ‘Can I do this [activity while] car-pooling? Should I go or not? Many others are doing the same thing.”
Greening Greenfield applauds Suzanne and Phyllis as our Green Heroes of the month for showing us a model of how to embrace sustainable transportation as a part of a Green lifestyle. If you’d like to suggest a Green Hero, call 773-7004.