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Carless in America

It used to be impossible in the USA except in a few cities, not the most dynamic. Have things changed with all the mass transit focus of the last ten years?

by Anonymousreply 4804/05/2013

Funny, I gave up my car about 6 months ago and I feel totally free now! Which is so odd, because the reason I got my Driver's License as a teen was to feel totally free!

Living in SF and have not had any problems getting anywhere at anytime.

by Anonymousreply 104/01/2013

No, it's still not really possible *except* if you are able to work from home.

Here in Seattle I could do it with Zipcars, walking, and the bus if I didn't have to go out of town every few weeks.

by Anonymousreply 204/01/2013

[quote]Have things changed with all the mass transit focus of the last ten years?

No. Nor will it ever, considering the reality that all major U.S. cities outside of the Northeast and Chicago were built with cars in mind. L.A. will soon have a subway running all the way to Santa Monica, but that won't change the fact that 99% of Angelenos above the poverty line own cars.

by Anonymousreply 304/01/2013

Not in South Florida - we pretty much have the same car culture as Southern California. "You are what you drive." We feel really forward-thinking to have someone drop us off at our local MetroRail station-10 minutes away - so we can train it to the airport!

by Anonymousreply 404/01/2013

I live in NYC and work in Westchester. I easily find street parking every night. I love living the city, but my car is my sanctuary and I'd be lost without it.

by Anonymousreply 504/01/2013

I live in NYC and haven't seen my car in 3 weeks.

by Anonymousreply 604/01/2013

I spent a year without a car in Sacramento (of all the Podunk excuses for a city), and a lot of people in the downtown/midtown area did so as well. My job and all the necessities were within walking or biking distance, there were busses and light rail, and rental cars were surprisingly cheap.

It can be done outside of NY, just so you know.

by Anonymousreply 704/01/2013

It only works in towns and cities that have a more wholistic approach to transport. The city I live in is about 70,000 people, and the city council/mayor are really trying to push a "green" agenda, including all future street renovations will be done as "complete" streets, with consideration for car, bike, and pedestrian traffic. Right now, the car is king here, and has been for years. You can try crossing the street (straight across) when you have the little green dude signal, but if a car is trying to turn, they will brake and honk, yell stuff at you, even though you legally have the right-of-way as a pedestrian.

Contrast this to Madison, Wisconsin (about an hour and a half from where I live). They have bike lanes and separate paths everywhere. I visited a friend up there recently, and it blew my mind how many trails they have. She lives in an area that is part urban sprawl/part pre-planned community, and they have trails going all over for bikers and walkers.

It really has to depend on the culture of the community. Even though my city is pushing "total transport" and "more options", I don't see the residents buying it.

by Anonymousreply 804/01/2013

I walk/bike to school. I walk/bike to the gym. I walk/bike to the store. I walk/bike to work. I do have a car. I just don't use it unless there is no way around it. It's an adjustment but it's so worth it. I help the environment, I get exercise and I save money. The biggest problems are bad weather and getting up early. But you work those out.

by Anonymousreply 904/01/2013

r9, that's admirable that you walk/bike everywhere even though you have a car. But in bad weather? You have so much more willpower than I do. A little sprinkle and I'd be cranking out the carbon monoxide. One has to protect one's hair from the elements.

by Anonymousreply 1004/01/2013

Life isn't about hair R10. You just bundle up. I also carry a change of clothes when it's hot or rainy. If the weathers ok I just wear my regular clothes. It's not as big a deal as it seems. The only part I don't like is having to get up so early.

by Anonymousreply 1104/01/2013

"Life isn't about hair." And that's where you lost me, r9. It could've been beautiful.

by Anonymousreply 1204/01/2013

Another thing I forgot to point out, is the ease of travel for those on bikes or on foot. I live in a river city, where the entire downtown area is flat, but then we have bluffs, and many residents and businesses live up and over the bluff. If you live downtown and want to bike to work uptown, you will likely be sweating. Your workplace may not provide a decent place to change clothes, or you may even need a shower by the time you get there.

Madison, on the other hand, has a comparatively less challenging terrain, so I imagine biking to work (based on all the trails I saw) is a less strenuous task.

I noticed when I went up there recently that they've been implementing bike share programs, which made me smile.

by Anonymousreply 1304/02/2013

In parts of SF wheels are vital as outside of the center Public transit sucks big time.

Depends on the city.

by Anonymousreply 1404/02/2013

See r14, I think SF is essentially the same layout as what I'm talking about (r13/r8 here). I know that there are streetcars and some other ways to get from down low up to the higher parts. We don't really have anything like that, unless you want to wait for our phenomenally slow bus system. We actually have one cable car, which is now more of a novelty/tourist attraction (and very hard to get a bicycle into). There used to be 3 or 4 cable cars 100 years ago.

by Anonymousreply 1504/02/2013

[quote]Have things changed with all the mass transit focus of the last ten years?

I'm not even sure what "all the mass transit focus of the last ten years" even means.

But no, nothing has changed and its unlikely it ever will, since most American cities (outside of the Northeast and Chicago) were built for cars, not pedestrians and certainly not carless people. Urban sprawl and poor planning are to blame. Adding a few bus routes won't help, and even a subway/el system only goes so far, and only in limited directions. Plus people love their cars, and in many places there is a class-based (and sometimes racist) stigma attached to public transit.

by Anonymousreply 1604/02/2013

It's very odd not to have a car in the US unless you live in NYC or Chicago.

In general, the people who don't have cars are twenty-somethings who refuse to grow up. Virtually everyone above the age of 30 has a car, even if you are dirt broke.

Not having a car means no freedom. You are completely reliant on your city's good will to provide transportation, and it's never when or where you need it.

by Anonymousreply 1704/02/2013

R17 you are full of shit. Many many poor have no transit.

by Anonymousreply 1804/02/2013

I lived without a car for 12 years living in Berkeley, CA. I was within walking distance to BART, grocery store, movie theaters etc. Was able to get around San Francisco without a car.

I didn't miss having a car. Moved a dozen years ago and need a car to do anything.

Life is a lot easier without one.

by Anonymousreply 1904/02/2013

I thought this thread was "CARELESS in America." Sorry.

by Anonymousreply 2004/02/2013

Apparently, R18 doesn't know any poor people.

by Anonymousreply 2104/02/2013

I am carless in central Houston owibg to a crippling fear of driving and manage, but only barely. In order to go shopping, you have to bring a large backpack or messenger bag with you, yet lots of stores around here don't allow you to bring bags in, lest you use them to shoplift. (Not Whole Foods, though; they're cool.)

Forget large hauls from Costco. That's what cabs are for, as are trips to and from the airport.

Otherwise, apart from the summer heat, it's fine. The transit system is large and efficient and goes everywhere I would ever want or need to go. I do save a ton of money, too.

by Anonymousreply 2204/02/2013

I moved to the suburbs from NYC and had to buy a car immediately. I don't think people can live here without one. I am 2.5 miles from a bus stop or 7 miles from the train station. If I rode a bike to either, it would be on a 2-lane, high traffic, 40 mph twisty, hilly road with no sidewalk, bike lane or even a curb really. No street lights, so pitch black dark at night.

Lots of people ride bikes around here, but for fun and exercise, not really to get around. There are bike clubs and people meet up after work to ride together in rush hour and take up the whole road. One of them inevitably gets waffled by a car every single year. Yet nothing is being done to push for bike lanes or paths.

by Anonymousreply 2304/02/2013

Not having a car in the rural areas sort of means "no freedom," but...I really think having a car means no freedom in rural areas, as well.

I am convinced having a car and a house means no freedom. People are chained to these things and jobs they hate and people they hate to maintain this stuff.

I think if you live fairly centrally in NYC, Boston, and SF you could live without a car.

by Anonymousreply 2404/02/2013

[quote]Have things changed with all the mass transit focus of the last ten years?

Talking about mass transit doesn't mean it's happening.

by Anonymousreply 2504/02/2013

I live in more towards "the sticks" so no, I wouldn't want to go without. Even if I moved into town it isn't safe, most streets don't even have sidewalks. The only people who walk in town here are the blacks, asians, mexicans - the poorest of the poor.

by Anonymousreply 2604/02/2013

I am not that picky. I have THREE requirements for a man I am dating. First, he must be good looking. Second, he must be packing at least 8.5 inches below the belt, and Third (and most important), he MUST have a car. That's all I ask, but a car is a must.

How anyone can be without a car in this day and age I will never know. A car is a MUST, no matter where one lives.

by Anonymousreply 2704/02/2013

R27 I guess you need the eight and a half inches because your anus is so stretched out that nothing else will accomodate. Good luck with your prolapsed hole.

by Anonymousreply 2804/02/2013

Well, R27, as the OP points out, a car is certainly not a MUST in Manhattan. It's a big pain in the ass.

I haven't owned a car in over 30 years. When I need one, I rent one.

by Anonymousreply 2904/02/2013

R27 IS A DOUCHE who is wayyyy out of touch with reality. I love how she starts her bitchery with "I'm not that picky, but..."

by Anonymousreply 3004/02/2013

lol r12

by Anonymousreply 3104/02/2013

I finally sold my old Volvo wagon because the repairs were going to be too much. I'm back on the bus after 10 years. It should be convenient, but in this city only the total low-life trash ride it (so the drivers don't bother being on time- who's going to be late for work?). Everyone looks like they just got out of jail and coughs a lot. The other day I listened to two tards have a detailed discussion about their bed bug problems where they "stay". Immediately I started to itch.

by Anonymousreply 3204/02/2013

Maybe R27's current date will drive him around and then run R27 into a tree.

by Anonymousreply 3304/02/2013

I have lived in Boston for 14 years without a car, very happily.

by Anonymousreply 3404/02/2013

I live in NYC, and I will never own a car again.

In college, driving something around that threatened to break down and bankrupt me at any second gave me anxiety disorder.

Cars can fuck themselves. RIGHT IN THE ASS!

by Anonymousreply 3504/02/2013

Only Boston, NYC, Philly, DC, Chicago and Frisco have decent public transit.

The real growth cities are in the South. This is problematic, as it's hard to wait in 101 degree heat for a bus.

As it stands now only Chicago and NYC have trains that run overnight. As the economy shifts to a 24 hours/ 7day a week schedule, it's even harder to get by in cities as the trains and buses don't run.

Chicago has repeatedly cut routes, raised fare and eliminated bus and train runs.

Public transit can only exist in highly dense areas. Besides unless you're going from stop to stop, public transit is no quicker.

I can get to my work in Chicago in about 15 minutes in a car and it takes minimum of 1 hour by bus/subway. And that is if you hit every bus and train exactly as it arrives.

by Anonymousreply 3604/02/2013

Seattle has public transit as good as San Francisco's. The bus network is extensive, there's the Sounder Commuter train, the streetcar going from downtown to the Lake Union area, and Light Rail going from downtown to SeaTac.

By 2016, Light Rail will go northeast via Capital Hill to the UW campus.

In the next few years Light Rail will go through Mercer Island to Bellevue.

My favorite public transit is the ferry system, however. It's wonderfully peaceful and relaxing.

by Anonymousreply 3704/02/2013

My city is very spread out but the metro area has a little more than 500,000 people. However, public transportation is almost useless (unless you want to get to the mall).

I have a car but I also have glaucoma and my vision is starting to go. Driving is starting to get dicey. When I can't drive anymore I don't know what I'm going to do. Almost nothing is within easy walking distance.

by Anonymousreply 3804/03/2013

Highway buggery, murder in the first degree.

by Anonymousreply 3904/03/2013

Public transportation is fine.....unless of course you have dignity.

by Anonymousreply 4004/03/2013

"Dignity" is one of those fake concepts blue-haired ladies with white gloves are into.

by Anonymousreply 4104/05/2013

I just moved from an exurb of Chicago where the only people on bikes were DUI pedaling 40 ouncers unsteadily from the local gas station. Car drivers aimed for cyclists and furry animals.

There was one bus that connected my village to more metro areas, but it ran sporadically. The closest commuter train was ten miles away.

There was a proposal to install a commuter station in the village, but people were afraid it would attract poor/brown people so the idea was killed. Now, the village is dying off and homes go unsold for years.

I'm job hunting in Milwaukee or Madison. Hopefully, the populace isn't as bigoted as Chicago's South suburbs.

by Anonymousreply 4204/05/2013

[quote]No, it's still not really possible *except* if you are able to work from home.

I live in philadelphia and it is completely possible for me. one place i work I bicycle about ten minutes too, another I take a train to that links us nearly door-to-door in fifteen minutes. I am very lucky, but it is clearly possible.

by Anonymousreply 4304/05/2013

I'm in SF and the Muni can get you everywhere you need to go, pretty much. That said, it does take forever. For instance, I'm going to opening day today and will take the bus. It'll take me a better part of an hour to get there. If I drove, maybe 15 minutes. Of course, parking would be $20-30 as opposed to $2 each way. I do own a car but usually use the bus if I'm going to a game or out drinking, then I would bus out and cab home...

by Anonymousreply 4404/05/2013

I'm incredibly glad I don't know R27

by Anonymousreply 4504/05/2013

[quote]Seattle has public transit as good as San Francisco's.

Portland and FREE transit in the center, that's pretty great if you ask me

by Anonymousreply 4604/05/2013

I've lived in West Philadelphia for 25 years without a car. To me a car is pure hassle and liability. A few years ago a neighbor of mine gave me the keys to his car (a late model Lexus) which I was free to use while he was in London for 18 months. I used it exactly twice. The first time was the day he left, just to give it a try; and then several months later I took it to the grocery store.

Car ownership is just not in my DNA. I see it as a chain rather than a liberator. I don't think I could ever live someplace where it was simply required. Fortunately, the only places I could ever see myself living are friendly to carless folks like me.

by Anonymousreply 4704/05/2013

interesting, I live in South Philadelphia and completely concur with my neighbor to the west. I've borrowed a friend's car exactly three times to move furniture and otherwise I'm fine on my own. Some areas of the region are harder to access than others but with flat narrow streets bicycling many places, including west philadephia, taking the subway or busses is just fine with me. Parking and caring for a car in most of Philadelphia is must an enormous nuisance

by Anonymousreply 4804/05/2013
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