Living Car Free - Car free/lite might be a possibility in the near future
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03-02-08, 09:50 PM
I've been lurking around here for a while, getting some good tips and pointers. Joined last year when I was living closer to campus and could use a bike here and there, plus the bus, to head to class. A slight knee injury sidelined the biking and with a recent move further from the heart of the city, biking has becoming pretty hard. Not to mention my only bike is in pieces on the balcony awaiting the funds to be built back up.
I'm in Central Ohio and have been looking at the possibility of moving back to the campus area, probably around Victorian Village, in an attempt to go car free/lite. Work would be a mere 2-3 miles south (Heart of Downtown), school, for now, is CSCC another 2-3 miles. There would be 3-4 grocery stores/markets in an easy biking distance, free bus with student ID. They also have a flex car program on Ohio State's campus with pretty decent rates.
The plan would be to sell my car (KBB low ball is about 2k), I have found several studio/efficiency/1 bed apartments under 400/with utilities. So I could bank the cash from the car sale to help with rent, use the bike and bus for work and class. My parents live well south of the city near Pickerington and I usually go home once a week for a visit and to pick up mail. This is where flex car would come in. I would probably rent for the day 2-4 times a month to visit them and pick up bulk grocery items on occasion, with the bike severing for weekly grocery trips. CSCC has $15/year locker rentals at the gym I may look into for the fall if I do this, just to help stash things off my bike I wouldn't want to tote to class, maybe a spare change of clothes.
My parents, of course, don't care for the idea. I'm 22, so I appreciate their advice, but at this point it is just that.
Any other car free/lite in Central OH with advice? I know a lot of the green ways in the area are slowly being built up.
I don't know why it would be any different in Central Ohio than any place else. Well, I suppose they don't have snow in the south.
Anyway, that's basically been my lifestyle for the past several years. My 450 sf apartment is $500/month including heat, and coin-op laundry is in the basement. There are bus lines at either end of my block, a C-store in walking distance, my bank, post office, public library and two grocery stores are two miles away, and another grocery store three miles away. I have an LBS half a mile in one direction and another one 1.5 miles in the other. I have two jobs 2 and 4.5 miles away.
I used to do big grocery shopping once a month, filling in mid-month, but now I shop about three times every two weeks, doing bike-sized loads. It works out the same, and I catch more sales by shopping more often. Although once a year I have someone take me to Sam's Club where I get a year's supply of laundry detergent, toothbrushes, razors, soap, vitamins and stuff like that. I treat them to lunch for the ride.
My parents, BTW, are 16 miles away. I'm 51 and that's just about the right distance. It's close enough I can get there easily in an emergency, and not so close that they call me to change a lightbulb.
03-02-08, 11:20 PM
I should have made it a bit more clear. I'm not just looking for central OH folks, but tips in general. Just wanted to see if there were any other Central Ohioans and tips specific to the city.
03-02-08, 11:53 PM
Sounds like a good plan altogether, being your age is not the only reason your parents might not be too happy about going carfree, I was 43 when I got rid of my car. My mother was very "concerned" as was most of my friends at the time when I said there would be no car in my future. Be ready for some people to back away from you because they might think you'll aways be begging them for a ride. I have never once asked for a ride, in fact the only time I did ask anyone was when my car broke down and not since I've been carfree. I do use a carshare service 1-2 time a month, so your idea using flex car is great and would likely cost less than your monthly car insurance bill was alone! I found since I stopped driving everyday, everywhere that its become something I really hate to do anymore!! Riding everywhere is like having a very personal convertable vehicle all the time! Good Luck! I wish more folks, young and older, thought like you do and kicked the oil habit!
03-03-08, 12:00 AM
Honestly, I would love to keep the car, but need a way to cut some spending, get myself down to working one job and go back to being more of a traditional student. So the environment is getting the benefit of my selfishness. Besides, I hate Ohio drivers. Not having to fight rush hour will do my blood pressure good.
I'm pretty good about paying for gas or buying a few drinks for some if they give me a ride now.
I've been looking at this off and on, more for grad school in another few years, than anything else. I'm looking at education as a career path and I know that should be pretty friendly to bikes.
03-03-08, 04:14 AM
Sounds to me like you are on the right track. My son did basically the same thing you are planning for his 4 years in college. But he lived in on campus housing. Use the Flex/Zipp car for the larger load type stuff. We lived about 55 miles from the campus so one of us would go and bring him home for the holidays. Currently he is still living car free and attending grad school at Leeds, UK. Planning on staying over there for a bit. Got an email from him yesterday wanting to know if I could help him find a bike for next year to get from his "flat" to the "Uni":D Yep...any excuse to go to England!
Go for it and let us know how you make out. To me winter was always the hardest to plan for when I was carfree/carlight, but it can be done.
03-03-08, 07:32 AM
Suggestion: if you have *any* choice, go for a place with a grocery store and drug store within easy walking distance. This will make the learning curve for winter biking lower stakes. You really do not want to end up in a situation where you have a snowstorm dropping 8 inches of ice and snow on your head as your introduction to winter grocery getting.
It will also help your parents calm down. Car free sounds very strange to most people, but walking seems to trigger less of the "that's weird" reaction.
Long term, a trailer or a good cargo bike setup will mean less need for a rental car. Heck, even with my rather bad cargo set up (hard cap of 40 lbs for safe bike handling), I can manage bulk staples. Two car free bikers just don't eat *that* much. I stagger staples so heavy stuff does not all get restocked in the same trip. If I need lots of heavy staples, chances are we're low on everything, so I can break things up into several smaller trips. My grocery lists often end up looking like a backpacker's list... weights on *everything*. Add in the need to spread breakables around and small trips end up working pretty well.
03-03-08, 07:41 AM
If not walking, the one grocery store is right on the bus line. There would be 3 or so in walking/bus/biking distance.
Trailer is on the list if I do this. I have to wait for my lease to come up on my current place.
03-03-08, 09:22 AM
It can work. High street and Neil are pretty easy to bike on, especially at off peak times. The only problem i see is the cost of housing in the area you mention. I live south of downtown (2-3 miles), outside of the German village area, housing both owned and rented are very reasonable. You could have a house to yourself for what you would pay for an apartment in Victorian V. The number 8, and 7 go through this area and will take you to campus in about the same time as biking does.
Not sure how far from cscc I am though. In any case I would also look for something with a good route to the Scioto-Olentangy MUP system. They plow these paths in the winter and it makes going a long distance very easy. Plus they are really beautiful places to bike.
You may want to wait on the trailer for a bit to see if you actually need one. I'd love to have one, but I can't figure out what I'd use it for or where I'd keep it.
A special big shopping trip once a week or twice a month or whatever is more of a habit enabled by the load capacity of cars than anything else. I stop on the way home, use the handbasket instead of a cart and can zip in and out in 5-10 minutes, tops. I can't imagine doing the hour-long cart-filling sort of trip any more. Big waste of time, IMHO.
Trailers increase your cost, take up valuable space in a small apartment, and require their own repairs and maintenance. I'm not anti-trailer by any means--as I said, I'd love to have one. I'm just saying it's worth examining the assumption that since you're giving up a trunk you have to replace it with something. It can be replaced by methodology too.
03-04-08, 08:57 PM
I might be able to do this a lot sooner than I thought. At least car-lite. My apartment currently sits in a pretty bad spot for a bike commute, but I know the Alum Creek green way is right across the street (sacrilege, I know...I fight traffic when there is a perfectly good bike way 500 feet from me. To be fair, my bike is sitting in pieces and a tacoed wheel awaiting funds to rebuild to a decent commuter.) As I have been considering this more and more, I've been looking at some of the local sites and have realized that I could use MUPs pretty much the whole way to the CSCC campus.
Once I got done with the current bike project, I had planned to find a used Mountain Bike for a winter bike project.
Now might be the time to start scrounging the thrift stores, especially with gas at 3.18...
03-05-08, 12:26 PM
especially with gas at 3.18...
You aint seen nuthin' yet- $3.40 + here, oil @ $104.33 now (10:15 Bloomberg). Car-light to Carfree will probably not be a choice; but pretty much be forced upon everyone. Scary!
03-05-08, 01:45 PM
I live in Columbus, in the downtown area. Obviously it's easier for me to get around on a bike than perhaps where you are (where exactly would that be?). I find it easy to get around. Victorian Village is close to Campus and the Short North and there's a Giant Eagle close by for all your groceries. Movie theatres at Lennox and Gateway. Restaurants galore everywhere.
I only use my car to drive to my job which unfortunately is up on Bethel road, and is far from German Village.
03-05-08, 02:34 PM
Bexley area, 2 freeways merge together where the traffic light for my road is.
03-05-08, 03:02 PM
Yeah, bexley may be a bit far if you want to go downtown. Plus you have to go through some rather dodgy parts of town.
03-05-08, 03:09 PM
Bexley proper near Main/Broad would not be a bad commute, especially going west along Broad.
I'm more into the Car-oriented part of Columbus/Central OH now, edge of suburbia. I'm just lucky I have the bike path, so I once I get workable wheels that will be wonderfully.
Sorry to dig up a nine-day-old thread, but I'm around 80 miles west of Columbus (I live next door to the University of Dayton) and I was wondering if there are a lot of bicycle commuters there. I'm sure there are a lot of them at or near the OSU campus, I presume!
03-13-08, 10:22 PM
When I was at OSU the bike racks were almost always crammed with bikes to the point that it was a challenge to lock it well. I don't know if that counts as commuting or something along the lines of "my other class is in 9 minutes and it's half way across campus". It was still pretty awesome. It seems the High Street stretch between Clintonville and Short North/Downtown has a pretty respectable commuting population, at least from what I see here on the boards and the local shops. The local co-op is just south of the university now.
At Columbus State today,on the other hand, I counted maybe 10-15 bikes. After clearing the snow out from last weeks blizzard, they actually buried a bike rack under 15-20 inches just to get the sidewalks clear. The parking lots, not surprising, were just about perfectly cleared. I wish I had my camera the other day, you could see the handlebars sticking out from under the snow bank.
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