Living Carless in Pasadena: Is it Easier Than You Think?

There are plenty of wheels you can use, you just don’t have to own them, says local activist

Published : Tuesday, September 11, 2018 | 4:40 AM

Jonathan Edewards

Pasadena activist and entrepreneur Jonathan Edewards gave up his car two and a half years ago. And he would say that that isn’t a remarkable fact. It’s simply a fact.

As technology continues to develop exponentially just about every week, it’s likely very common that Southern California urban dwellers manage just fine without owning a car.

“It’s great, it’s great,” he said Friday. “It really works for me.”

Edewards, who will speak on the subject to the Pasadena Rotary Club at their open-to-the-public lunch meeting this Wednesday, says, “I’ve found it to be productive. That doesn’t mean that I walk or bike and take the bus everywhere. I certainly do a fair share of driving. Most of it is [by] Lyft and Uber. And if I need to, I’ll rent one.”

Edewards thinks of his transportation options as a toolbox.

“Instead of defaulting to driving everywhere, I think about the situation, and time constraints, and the distance, and what’s available, and then I do the transportation mode that works for that trip.”

Edeward hopes to encourage people to “look beyond the cars and to think about situations in which they could make an alternative mode choice.”

“For some people that might be next to never.” Edewards admitted, but said,

Not surprisingly, Edewards is optimistic about the future of electric cars.

“I’m excited from a noise perspective,” he said, “Electric buses … have the potential to cut down on a lot of noise on our surface streets. I think.

Edwards’ automotive future also includes autonomous cars. But not right this second.

“I think that [the use of] autonomous vehicles is going to be in stages. I think that it’s not going to be like one day we wake up and go down to the Ford dealership and there’s a model of the vehicle that achieves that dream of just being able to sit back and relax and do whatever you want [while it drives].. It’s going to be gradual.”

Edewards has been working and active in Pasadena since 2006. A liberal arts graduate inspired by the groves of oranges and lemons that once grew in far more abundance in Southern California, he opened “Citrust Insurance” for his health insurance brokerage firm.

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Edewards began helping individuals and groups to navigate their health insurance options.

Edewards also help found the Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association to represent stakeholders of Pasadena’s Central District, in 2011. The group was instrumental in a movement to influence the City Council to halt plans to build a luxury boutique hotel in the middle of Pasadena’s Civic Center in 2017.

He is also an appointee to the City’s Transportation Advisory Commission, to advising the City Council on issues relating to public transit, street design, and transportation planning.

In February 2017, he was appointed to Pasadena’s Design Commission, the city’s architectural review board.

Edewards also serves as the secretary of The Thrive Tribe Foundation, a non-profit which works to end HIV transmission & stigma through peer-to-peer empowerment, building community, and connecting its members to medical care.

Jonathan Edewards will speak to the Pasadena Rotary Club Wednesday, September 12, on “Getting Around Pasadena Without a Car: Rethinking Transportation Defaults.” Noon-1:30 pm, University Club Pasadena, 175 North Oakland Ave, Pasadena. The public may attend for the price of the lunch, which is $35.