After looking at some information, I wanted to a discussion about whether it's generally easier to be car-free on the east coast or west coast. I've lived most of my life on the west coast: San Fran, San Diego, and Seattle (I "lived" in DC for a couple of months with my father). Since I have limited first-hand experience with the east coast, my of what I know is derived from research, and my own impressions/perspective. That said, here they are:
If you look at the list of the most bicycle friendly cities, almost all of them are on the west coast (Portland OR, Seattle WA, San Diego and Davis CA, etc), along with a couple central cities (Madison WI, Chicago IL). Based on this, it is tempting to think the west is generally better suited to going car-less.
However, there are other important factors to consider, most importantly efficient public transit. It's my perception that the east coast generally has much more efficient/practical public transit than the west. Since the east coast was the first US area to be heavily populated, it's cities were originally built prior to the prominence of the private auto. As such, it's more densely populated and the cities are closer to together - ie more conducive to mass transit.
So if we compare the east and west in terms of the feasibility of going car-less, what do we get? While it seems to me that the west is generally more bike friendly, it's probably easier to to be car-free on the east. In bike friendly west coast cities while daily work commuting is entirely possible via bike other aspects of life can be more difficult without a car (shopping, long-distance travel for recreation and to visit friends/relatives, etc), especially for families. In many eastern cities (NYC, DC, etc) public transit is so efficient there really is no need for a car. In the west, while going car-free is entirely plausible, it can be more problematic.
Again, these are just my impressions, and I have no pretense about being omnipotent or completely impartial. And there are other things to consider like livability issues (crime, recreational opportunities, crowding, etc). So let's discuss... and it would be great to get input from those who have lived in both the east and west.