For sustainable Scarborough family, not having a car the keys to freedom

For sustainable Scarborough family, not having a car the keys to freedom

AT a time when 100 cars are added to Perth roads every day, one Scarborough family is going against the grain and getting on their bikes.

Sustainability lecturer and Rescope Project director Anthony James, his partner Olivia Cheng and their son Yeshe don’t have to worry about getting stuck in the peak-hour traffic jam on West Coast Highway.

“There’s no environmental impact, it’s good for health and fitness – we’re in an obesity epidemic with a sedentary lifestyle at its heart – and you save a bucketload of money,” Mr James said.

“That means we can free ourselves up because we don’t have to spend that money on a car and fuel – the idea of the car being a freedom machine has been turned on its head.

“In Perth, 100 cars are added to the road every day. We can’t just keep adding cars to the road, we’ve got to think of other ways to do things.”

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Mr James said the average car sat idle 96 per cent of the time.

“That’s not taking into account for the times stationary when you’re stuck in traffic and trying to move,” he said.

“When people ask me about not having a car, I say it is far too inconvenient.”

Congestion and lack of parking have been cited as major issues in Scarborough, with the City of Stirling backing a plan for light rail from Scarborough to Stirling station.

The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) has proposed to extend The Esplanade to ease congestion around the $75 million foreshore redevelopment.

The State Government pledged to scrap the plan in the lead-up to the recent election and find other solutions.

Ms Cheng said when Yeshe was born, people asked if the couple would get a car.

“There are definitely a lot of people who can’t believe we can do it as a family with a young child,” she said.

“I wanted to still walk and ride everywhere as I had before so I just had to adjust and do it with a baby or toddler.

“Before we had Yeshe, we were both cyclists and I was so used to just commuting by bike and using public transport and being active, so when we had him I didn’t want to change that lifestyle.”

Mr James said while there was room for Perth’s cycling infrastructure and public transport to be improved, they had no trouble getting around.

“There’s still no doubt public transport should be better even so we have those bus lines and the train isn’t too far, you can take bikes on the train,” he said.

“Even in those circumstances, here in Scarborough we are in relative luxury -it’s easy to get around.”