Living Car Free - Car Lite in San Jose, CA?
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02-10-09, 05:55 AM
I currently live in Maine, and bicycle commute year round. It is possible that I will be relocated to the San Jose area, and if so, am considering going car lite (1 car for my wife and I, with her being the primary user). I have made enough visits to California (in several cases bringing my folding bike with me), so I have a decent feel for the bike infrastructure here, the public transit and the weather, all of which are better than what I am used to in Maine. One question that I have is that I can't seem to find any car-share programs like ZipCar in the South Bay - I am having a hard time believing that they don't exist. Can anybody help enlighten me?
02-10-09, 09:16 AM
One question that I have is that I can't seem to find any car-share programs like ZipCar in the South Bay - I am having a hard time believing that they don't exist. Can anybody help enlighten me?
I have no idea about ZipCar, but just this morning many CA businesses are closing. And along with national job loss, foreclosures, banks problems, and so on, I am a worried CA resident.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news- just a word of warning.
02-10-09, 10:38 AM
There is lots and lots and LOTS of car sharing in San Francisco so I do not see why there would not be a few in San Jose.... Keep looking?
02-10-09, 02:21 PM
There are no car-share outfits in San Jose.
I'm car-lite (1 car family), I bike or bike+train or bus+train or bus to work usually. There is no time savings to using the bus or trains to get to work (over biking), i use them when I don't feel like riding the whole way, or I want to read and relax on the way to work.
the south bay is very easy to be car-lite. The weather is mild year 'round except for some 100+ degree weather in summer. The terrain is flat, there are bike routes (bike lanes, off-street paths and signed bike routes) to get nearly everywhere. I've cycled all over the south bay except for east SJ and have found the drivers to be respectful and the routes not so bad.
With a bike, VTA bus/lightrail pass and a good choice of residence I'd say that one could be car-free fairly comfortably here. There are many car rental places that operate out of the airport (easily reachable by lightrail) for when you need a car. Also, keep in mind that San Jose is a fairly compact area. Not much is very far away.
I would offer one suggestion on choosing a place to live. If you plan to use lightrail (and I would suggest it, it's convienent) choose a place to live on the same side of town as your work. ie. if you work in North SJ, choose a place to live north of downtown. The lightrail is painfully slow to cross the downtown area and adds lots of time to your most common trip.
I grew up in south San Jose (suburbs) and I would sometimes see the occasional roadie. But, I have never seen a bicycle take the road, SUVs and other cars dominate the main roads at high speeds (usually going 20mph over the speedlimit). Other parts of the city may be different, and I didn't spend much time at all downtown. San Jose is #6 or something in the top 10 places to get your bike stolen, I believe.
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