Greetings from Pedestrian and Cycle Manitou (PaC-MAN)! We recently stopped by to chat with Rey Figueroa of Good Karma Cafe. Rey has chosen to live carless in Manitou Springs and talked about that. Here are his thoughts about his carless experience and ideas about how to get more folks to try walking and rolling as transportation.

How long have you been a resident and business owner in Manitou Springs choosing to live and operate a business without a vehicle?

I have been a resident of Manitou Springs for eight and a half years and an owner of a business without car for three years.

What are the pros/cons of living here and operating a business carless in Manitou?

The pros include the freedom and sense of mental and physical health it offers. Now, I am a better planner of my time and more productive when I’m a passenger in an Uber or Lyft service. I get peace of mind of knowing that I am not a major contributor to the negative impact of contaminating the environment with fossil fuel gases/emissions.

The cons would be the immediate gratification of getting in a vehicle that you control to move from point A to point B. After all, it is a conventional illusion.

What infrastructure and/or esthetic improvement would have the most positive impact on your experience living and working carless in Manitou?

Walking around is so much more pleasant without vehicles or the noise disturbances that vehicles emit. It would be ideal to limit access to motorized vehicles only to the perimeter of a town or city.

What advice would you give someone who would like to try living in Manitou without a car but doesn’t know where to start or have much time?

Follow me for a week! Learn to simplify your life and improve your quality of life.

What do you think would increase the number of residents and business owners living and working in Manitou without a car?

Don’t make excuses! Just do it! There has been major decentralization after the pandemic. Corporations realized the need and benefits of allowing employees to work remotely. Walking or biking is beneficial in the long term. The need to establish convenient stores closer or in town has increased. People will get out and interact, and this makes a stronger community in all its aspects.

What other form(s) of transportation do you use and what has that experience been like? 

I mainly walk and also use an E-Bike and a long board, and as I stated before Uber or Lyft services on occasion. Walking, cycling and using a long board make me feel like a kid again at my middle age. I am very fortunate to do so and feel active, which has helped prolong healthy aging.

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