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Wendy Lee, Dana Sundmark and Sook Suh all commute to work by bus.

Trading suburbia for an urban oasis

September 23, 2010

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Facilities Services development manager Wendy Lee recently abandoned the suburbs for an urban sanctuary just minutes from shopping and the SkyTrain—and she’s not looking back.

"The first few weeks I started taking the SkyTrain and bus, I was absolutely ecstatic," says Lee. "I was telling everyone at the office how I’m in love with transit. I had taken away the stress of fighting traffic in my long commute, and replaced it with a rested new me."

Lee and her husband, both longtime West Vancouver residents, decided it was time to make a move. Their kids were in university or living away from home and they wanted to live in a neighborhood that was "walkable" to all the conveniences.

"We love being able to walk out for a cup of coffee or up the street a few blocks to pick up our groceries. Tying this to the ability to take public transit when we needed to go further afield was a natural fit. Those were our essential criteria when we were house hunting".

Urban downsizing is just one of the many actions Lee has taken as a sustainability leader at SFU. In 2006, she joined the SFU Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC). "It was a wonderful opportunity to be part of something that was vibrant, authentic and aligned with what I believed in," Lee says.

Shortly after joining SAC she became responsible for adopting sustainable operations and standards in Facilities Services.

Lee can cite a plethora of benefits from her move to the city, from saving money on fuel and car maintenance to more free time, stress-free commuting and shopping, connecting with other people, and more exercise. But the biggest impact comes, she says, from switching to public transit.

"If we want to live more sustainably, we all need to get away from our dependence on cars. It might not always be possible for everyone, but if given the chance to make a change, then grab the opportunity to move closer to transit."

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