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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-31-07, 01:45 AM   #1
cradduck
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Help with Car Free Life in So Cal?

I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a plan for getting to work and to school car free. I have been enjoying no longer being a financial slave to my car but going back to school has presented me with some challenges.

Between work (PCH and Newport Blvd in Newport Beach) and school (East Carson and Clark in Long Beach) it is 25 miles. I live about smack dab between the two with 12-13 miles to each one from my doorstep. On two each week I will be getting off work at 430pm and have to make it to class by 6pm. I would be taking the bus up PCH to the 7th Street Transit Mall in Long Beach and then taking another bus to the doorstep of my school. Every way I work it with the bus system I come up being 13-15 minutes late for class...something that I know isn't going to sit well with the instructor.

The secondary problem is the fact that nearly all the buses stop running around 930pm and I don't get out of class till 10pm. It isn't as big of a deal because I can take my time riding home from school...but it would be nice if they stopped running a little later.

Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas? It looks impossible to me but I may not have looked at all the angles so any suggestion would be helpful.
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Old 12-31-07, 08:05 AM   #2
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I have no clue where you are in SoCal...I am an east coaster. But from your description a folder and mass transit combo should work. You can use the folder to ride home after the buses stop running....been there done that. You could use a standard bike too, but if you have to depend on the bus front racks it can be a hassle. Also talk to the instructor, some of them are more reasonable than others.

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Old 12-31-07, 08:59 AM   #3
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Depending on the nature of your work and how good you are at your job, your employer might possibly arrange an accommodation for you. Flexible work hours, telecommuting, a temporary part time appointment, an educational leave of absence, things like that.
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Old 12-31-07, 09:11 AM   #4
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You should consider an electric bike. If you have one, going 25 miles in 80 or 90 minutes should be pretty easy. There are reasonably-priced batteries that will easily hold up for these kinds of distances (50 miles without charging) if you provide half the bike's power through the pedals.
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Old 01-07-08, 07:45 PM   #5
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hello cradduck,

I live in the Southern California region (but not in the beach cities area) and am now totally car free. I do combine both bike and bus/train options into a somewhat workable solution, but I still prefer to ride 100% of the way. I do use another type of bike not commonly found here or other places in North America-except for some eastern cities-the folding bike. This bike is easy to stash in classrooms and bus/train cabins with ease. I can ride night and day on the bikes (I have 3 of those bikes now-one is being promised to my sister when she finally shows up). I like the extreme flexiblity these bikes allow me to have; even in the middle of gangland. So if you can, do consider at least one of these bikes to allow you the freedom of choice. And see my Websites below for more information.
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Old 01-07-08, 10:20 PM   #6
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Is there a strong reason not to change jobs? And do you need to stay where you are living? Changing those, while they would require a large one time effort could pay off handsomely in the day to day efforts.
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Old 01-15-08, 02:24 AM   #7
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i live in inland southern california. my commute is not nearly as long. but i've had to deal with doctor's appointments and such being 10 or 15 miles away. sometimes southern california buses take forever. sometimes they work. know your routes! too bad about class ending after the buses stop running. i had that problem too. here's some ideas:

1. get a girlfriend/boyfriend/friend/classmate to drive you home or drop you at a bus stop that is running late
Let classmates know your situation. Post flyers. My boss knows i am a commuter and occasionally drives me to work (when we have super-early meetings or will be going to a different location.) in fact, sometimes i have to tell people that i prefer to bike home!
2. get an (electric) scooter for those nights you won't be able to catch a bus
3. try the folding bike in combo with public transit/getting a ride to a location a bit closer to your house and you can ride the rest of the way home
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Old 02-07-08, 06:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cradduck View Post
I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a plan for getting to work and to school car free. I have been enjoying no longer being a financial slave to my car but going back to school has presented me with some challenges.

Between work (PCH and Newport Blvd in Newport Beach) and school (East Carson and Clark in Long Beach) it is 25 miles. I live about smack dab between the two with 12-13 miles to each one from my doorstep. On two each week I will be getting off work at 430pm and have to make it to class by 6pm. I would be taking the bus up PCH to the 7th Street Transit Mall in Long Beach and then taking another bus to the doorstep of my school. Every way I work it with the bus system I come up being 13-15 minutes late for class...something that I know isn't going to sit well with the instructor.

The secondary problem is the fact that nearly all the buses stop running around 930pm and I don't get out of class till 10pm. It isn't as big of a deal because I can take my time riding home from school...but it would be nice if they stopped running a little later.

Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas? It looks impossible to me but I may not have looked at all the angles so any suggestion would be helpful.
In my experience, you have taken the best possible strategy without a car. In my opinion, bikes are faster than buses for distances less than about 2 miles for an average person, or less than 5 miles for the more athletic (plus running stoplights, of course).

It is quite sad that this has to be the case with PT/bikes, because people deserve better than to choose between the evil option that works best and the benign option that works like crap.

Hopefully there would be something along the future to help us. I will try to work on a solution.

Meanwhile, I think all buses (not just the metro rapid) should be outfitted with stoplight changers. That alone can probably save a quarter of the travel time.
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Old 02-07-08, 09:55 PM   #9
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I just moved from Orange County and my ride to school was from Cypress (right infront of Cypress College in fact) to Orange Coast College. It was a little over 17 miles.

If this is your commute I'd say go for it. OCTA is terrible, cycling is much faster. Its's alot of miles, but it shouldn't take more than 2 hours. I now live and work near Seattle and the hills are pretty hardcore, so I would kill for your commute.

When in doubt, just ride.

Hope this helps,
-Jai
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