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best US cities without a car

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2 hours ago, Warelin said:

I thought Davis was bike-friendly?

It is. As is Sacramento. But it's "bike friendly" in that there are plenty of scenic trails and plenty of lanes in the downtown grid, not that you can live wonderfully and comfortably without a car. 

Edited by NoirFemme

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On 1/23/2017 at 4:06 PM, goldenangel1 said:

Not just UCSD, but California in general. It's hard to get aroun without a car, especially San Diego because everything is so spread out. 

I agree, I'm from San Diego and the public transportation out here isn't that great. There are buses, trollies and trains but they definitely don't come that often.

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Hi there,

I'd really love your thoughts on LA's (USC area) transit system.

I know LA's transit system is complicated, and it's not like SF or NY, but at least people don't have to wait at the bus shelter in the cold weather, right?

How about biking? And if one decides not to have a car, does having zipcar membership helps?

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re: Davis

On 1/23/2017 at 6:52 PM, NoirFemme said:

It is. As is Sacramento. But it's "bike friendly" in that there are plenty of scenic trails and plenty of lanes in the downtown grid, not that you can live wonderfully and comfortably without a car. 

I'd say you can live wonderfully and comfortably without a car in Davis. When I was there, a bike and a backpack was plenty for buying food at the grocery store or the farmer's market. Some of my friends preferred to walk everywhere or just ride those London buses on lazy days. With a car you'll need specialized parking permits for most neighborhoods and the meter maids are relentless. If you want to head to the Bay or Tahoe and no one in the group has a car, it would be convenient to have one. I was satisfied enough with the scene that trips like that were extremely rare. Personal opinion and experience though. The town has been growing over the past decade so if you want to make it a small city experience then sure, do the car thing.

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I think the hardest part of not having a car in LA would be that its is so counter-cultural. The assumption is that everyone drives, so of course your friends will make plans 45 minutes away without thinking about public transportation options. Public transport in LA is better than it once was and depending on the university, for day to day life and where you live, you can probably get away with it. Part of LA's over-dependence on cars is that most people live really far from where they work because of housing costs or being wealthy enough to live in the beach cities and work downtown/Hollywood. I would say if your housing works out go for it, but expect everyone in LA to think you are crazy.

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As others have said, DC and New York are great without a car. In fact, in some cases, New York is better without a car.

I lived in New York for five-six month stretches over several years. On more than one occasion, I took a cab thinking I would get to a meeting more quickly but ended up getting there in the same time as the subway would or even slightly later.

I've lived in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, all of which are very easy to get around with the subway or the bus. The subway is 24/7, which is great.

I lived in DC for two years and never felt like I needed a car. There are buses and the metro. The metro doesn't operate around the clock, but once you know the hours, you will be fine. I lived in Columbia Heights, Friendship Heights and Alexandria (VA) and did fine without a car. Reagan National is a subway rude away, and even Dulles in VA is doable with a bus-metro combo.

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USC has a lot of what you need around the campus and a straight shot to downtown LA via the metro. I did my undergrad at SC and went the whole time without a car. Took a bus and the metro to my internship an hour away. I had to budget an extra 10-15 mins just in case the bus or train ran late, but it's doable. With the University Villiage project finishing up, you'll have access to loads of food and entertainment options within walking distance. I'd advise keeping your Tap card on you at all times, wear comfortable walking shoes, and look at your maps! 

Downside, all housing is expensive and there are a lot of scammers. I had to drop a semester because I got scammed into a house with so much mold that it took me months to recover. 

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Thanks so much for the info. Just like emily, I really dislike driving. I'm also looking at USC for my Masters (Annenberg to be specific). I've had the opportunity to live in LA for almost 3 years but I was at a music college in Pasadena back then, and Pasadena's easy to get around without a car, though I did get to visit other parts of LA every week due to having friends who drive (at times I would use the public transport). I'm actually terrified to drive so that's why I've considered doing grad school in NY but I miss LA and a lot of my friends are still there and have been asking for me to come back, so maybe I just need to get over my fear and start doing more driving before I head back there.

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On ‎3‎/‎13‎/‎2006 at 5:20 AM, Guest intstudent said:

Thank you. I've heard that transportation is generally rather poor in the south east. What's your opinion about that? What about the midwest?

I'm heading to UA this fall. I think right around campus within a mile are a lot of stores, coffee shops, hangouts and even a mall. No public transportation to speak of, except campus transport that goes to some apartment complexes. My house is a few blocks from stadium and English department is behind that, so it's .7 mi to the English dept and that's too far to walk in the pouring rain, which there is a lot of in T-Town. My guess is you could get by without a car if you live on campus or in one of the nearby complexes, but if you ever want to get away from campus, you need a car.

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On 3/8/2017 at 4:26 AM, clowy2000 said:

I think the hardest part of not having a car in LA would be that its is so counter-cultural. The assumption is that everyone drives, so of course your friends will make plans 45 minutes away without thinking about public transportation options. Public transport in LA is better than it once was and depending on the university, for day to day life and where you live, you can probably get away with it. Part of LA's over-dependence on cars is that most people live really far from where they work because of housing costs or being wealthy enough to live in the beach cities and work downtown/Hollywood. I would say if your housing works out go for it, but expect everyone in LA to think you are crazy.

This is so true! if you don't have a car in L.A. county you can get around but it is very time consuming. I somehow managed to get around growing up here without a car. Most cities surrounding L.A. like Burbank and Pasadena have local buses that pass through main streets. But its difficult to get to more remote parts of towns like mountains unless you use ride sharing apps. The cost of living is not worth it though for students, maybe those with careers already! 

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Hello everyone!

Can someone give me more up-to-date information about living in Philadelphia without a car? In particular, how easy and safe is it to walk/bike in the area around the university of pennsylvania?

Thanks!

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San Diego is definitely a city you would want a car in. Generally, anywhere in Southern California it is best to have a car. You'll be fine in Northern California's bay area (San Francisco, Berkeley) though without a car. Public transportation is amazing there. 

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As a UCSD student with a car, I actually wish I didn't have one. La Jolla is pretty dense and there's literally everything you could possibly need here (beach, great mall, restaurants, bard, ALL kinds of grocery stores incl. trader joe's and whole foods). My first quarter I made the mistake of living in Hillcrest which is one of the more trendy neighborhoods closer to downtown but the commute was awful and I ended up spending the overwhelming majority of my waking time at school anyway, so I ended up moving to La Jolla. Now most of the time I go to "proper" San Diego it's mostly to hit the bars in North Park/Little Italy/Downtown so I just end up taking a lyft anyway. Plus, as someone mentioned already they're currently building a light rail extension which will have two stops on campus and will take you directly to Little Italy, Downtown, and all the way down to the San Ysidro port of entry from where you can walk into Mexico (and ubering in Tijuana is super cheap). 

So, I would rather save all the money from car payments, insurance, and on-campus parking ($61 for undergrads, $81 for grads) and just use lyft/uber whenever public transit is not a great option. Granted in order to pull this off you should live in LJ, where a bus ride should take less than 15 minutes to campus.

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For those of you going or planning on going to Virginia Tech, Blacksburg is pretty small and for the very fit amongst you, walkable in its entirety! Most of the student housing is a 10-20 min walk from campus, but keep in mind that the campus is itself quite large. The bus service is actually quite good with very cheap monthly passes ($8 I think) and is very VT-centric. Most, if not all the routes start from the heart of the campus and make multiple stops throughout the campus and go over the major residential areas of Blacksburg. There is even a bus service to the nearest Walmart! 

Depsite all of the conveniences offered within Blacksburg, do keep in mind that Blacksburg itself is in a relatively remote part of eastern USA and travelling outside Blacksburg can be a challenge without a car. Even the nearest airport is only a regional one and while there is a bus service to Blacksburg from there, it doesn't operate on nights and maybe even Sundays. An Uber can cost a good $60-$75. 

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I recently graduated from Stony Brook University in Long Island, the campus is only really walkable if you live close by, otherwise you have to have a car or Bike but I really wouldn't recommended biking. But if you commute from NYC or other parts of Long Island you can take the train (very long though). Their is always parking in South P on the campus. The actual area around the school is really sucky but luckily the train stops right on campus, and we used to have a commuter bus to the city, plus the ferry to Connecticut is close by.

I'm attending graduate school up in Albany, New York in the fall. Arguably I think the transit in Albany is second after NYC (where I currently Live). I have heard you have to have a car in Buffalo even though they have a train line which doesn't really go anywhere (buses don't either apparently). Especially in Albany the transit is very accessible and free with a SUNY Albany ID. Getting to other cities may take awhile in the capitol region but certain bus lines even go up to Saratoga Springs which is like an hour away. The transit just got an award in 2017 for best regional transit system in the U.S. and has been making improvements to the system, even though albany is smaller compared to other upstate cities their seems to be more investment and care into it. Biking seems to be easier here especially in Albany!

I couldn't imagine being in Binghamton without a car, apparently it also rains a lot in binghampton so theirs that also. Buffalo may be the hardest because of the winter weather and higher crime rates.

 

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