I’m from the suburbs of Richmond, where your school, your grocery store and your nearest coffee shop were miles away. Most of my young life revolved around the car. A car represented freedom to me; turning 16 in my town meant you could get a license and get away from your parents on your own terms. You no longer needed to rely on your folks as a source of transportation. Within a few years, I enjoyed the ultimate freedom of going to college. I was introduced to the concept of a college campus. Everything you could need was strategically located in accessible areas. The dining hall, dorms, bookstore and classes were only a short walk away, and a car became less necessary. If you needed to go further, we enjoyed an intricate bus system in Blacksburg so you could avoid the high cost and inconvenience of parking your car on campus. After graduation, I saw the opportunity to truly experience the concept of freedom by living in Arlington.
I chose my apartment location by design. The closest grocery store is a seven minute walk through manicured, gorgeous neighborhoods. I am building strength in my body by carrying groceries instead of hauling them in a car. I know I won’t be buying unneeded snacks at the grocery store because I might not be able to carry it from the store. It's self-limiting so I know I'm only getting what I need. My son’s daycare is an 11 minute walk away, and we get to enjoy some relaxing bonding time each morning before I start the rest of my day. All too often we’re rushed in the morning and miss an opportunity to spend with loved ones. From my door to the downstairs of my gym is a quick 3 minute walk, even faster if I sprint. Driving to and parking at the gym to work out is inefficient at best. No matter the season, I can walk from my apartment to Java Shack in 22 minutes. Although this may seem like a lot, I often find my most creative and low stress parts of the day are while walking, biking or riding the bus. They are the moments I’m most reflective and strategic about life and business. I can be in motion without worrying about rear-ending the guy in front of me or getting a speeding ticket.
Arlington is a community that encourages sustainable transportation. The north Arlington area was purposely designed around transit lines, focusing high-rise apartments and retail about a half mile around each stop, and developing more spacious, suburban housing further out. We have the luxury of enjoying bike lanes, motorist-free trails and a high level of walkability. At Commonwealth Joe, we encourage all of our employees to use public transportation or walk whenever possible. Java Shack is Arlington’s Original Coffee House, having been around for nearly two decades. It was born and raised as a green business, and we’re committed to keeping that going. Many of our baristas live within walking distance of Java Shack. Some enjoy taking the ART or Capital Bikeshare. We even offer a corporate membership for Capital Bikeshare. Employees only have to pay $25 for an annual membership; Commonwealth Joe and Capital Bikeshare subsidize the rest. It’s worth it to get no matter what. Capital Bikeshare is a brilliant program to take more cars off the road if you’re not going too far. I’ve used it to get from Java Shack to Crystal City for our weekly coffee pour-over events at 1776 without even breaking a sweat.
I’ve been happily car free since March 2013. I’ve never looked back, and never once regretted my decision. Everyone can benefit by building in mindfulness and presence in their day and getting in touch with the outdoors. Walking allows you to enter that shop you’ve always been meaning to check out. Biking allows you to see the gorgeous trails all through the County, purposely stored away from the highways to avoid spoiling it. Taking the bus might lead to meeting your next date, and you don’t even need to swipe right. Commonwealth Joe focuses on quality of experience and quality of cup. So walk, bike, bus or Metro on over to Java Shack and we’d be happy to show you what we mean.
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