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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 02-15-08, 03:30 PM   #1
Elkhound
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Suggested Places

While I have no immediate plans to move away, I am toying with the idea. Here is what I am looking for:

1. A town/city which is car-free/cyclist friendly, with
2. A decent climate (not too @#$% hot in the summer or too &^%$ cold in the winter) and with
3. A good university.

I would prefer somewhere in the Eastern half of the US.

Suggestions?
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Old 02-15-08, 04:25 PM   #2
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Lexington KY isn't too bad: reasonably tolerant of bikes, a couple universities, okay climate. Though if you want to leave town once in a while, you'll needa car, unless you're braver than I am.

Actually, the car-free-city choices are much better in the West. Boulder, CO is the best car-free city I've seen, although it's cold and snowy in the winter and hellishly hot in the summer. Seattle's nice, Portland is famous for it, and there any number of small-to-medium cities in CA.
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Old 02-15-08, 05:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
While I have no immediate plans to move away, I am toying with the idea. Here is what I am looking for:

1. A town/city which is car-free/cyclist friendly, with
2. A decent climate (not too @#$% hot in the summer or too &^%$ cold in the winter) and with
3. A good university.

I would prefer somewhere in the Eastern half of the US.

Suggestions?
Fayetteville is the only place in Arkansas that might possibly match your criteria. It's pretty hilly though.
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Old 02-15-08, 06:18 PM   #4
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My town is the opposite of everything in your list.
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Old 02-17-08, 08:25 PM   #5
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Lexington KY isn't too bad: reasonably tolerant of bikes, a couple universities, okay climate. Though if you want to leave town once in a while, you'll needa car, unless you're braver than I am.
Lexington is already high on my list. I went to library school at UK, and one of my aunts lives there.

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Actually, the car-free-city choices are much better in the West. Boulder, CO is the best car-free city I've seen, although it's cold and snowy in the winter and hellishly hot in the summer. Seattle's nice, Portland is famous for it, and there any number of small-to-medium cities in CA.
Yes, I've heard good things about all those places; trouble is, most of my friends and family are in the Midwest and Southeast.
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Old 02-17-08, 08:34 PM   #6
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Have you considered Toronto, Ontario? The climate is similar to Buffalo, New York or Detroit, there are several universities and it's easy to get around by bike or by transit without using a car.
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Old 02-17-08, 09:35 PM   #7
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www.epodunk.com
www.placesrated.com
www.findyourspot.com
www.city-data.com

The Appalachian states have plenty of mid-size cities that may fit your needs. Look for college towns especially. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill is growing but not bad as far as bike friendliness, especially in the right areas.

Keep in mind, even large cities have "good" and "bad" areas for bike lifestyle. It can vary a lot by neighborhood, local geography, demographics, history.
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Old 02-18-08, 05:15 AM   #8
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Take a look at Greensboro, NC...I lived carfree/light their for about 5 years. You have to pick your area, but that is true of most cities in the Eastern half of the USA. Another that has it's good points and bad is Greenville, SC.

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Old 02-18-08, 06:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
While I have no immediate plans to move away, I am toying with the idea. Here is what I am looking for:

1. A town/city which is car-free/cyclist friendly, with
2. A decent climate (not too @#$% hot in the summer or too &^%$ cold in the winter) and with
3. A good university.

I would prefer somewhere in the Eastern half of the US.

Suggestions?
Davis, CA if you can get over it being on the west coast. It fits all 3 of your first requirements.
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Old 02-18-08, 08:29 AM   #10
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Have you considered Toronto, Ontario? The climate is similar to Buffalo, New York or Detroit, there are several universities and it's easy to get around by bike or by transit without using a car.
I am told that it is very difficult for a US-ian to get permission to work in Canada. Is that true?
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Old 02-18-08, 08:32 AM   #11
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Davis, CA if you can get over it being on the west coast. It fits all 3 of your first requirements.
The only problem with that is that it is in California. No offense to Californians on the board, but I've heard so many bad things about living there that even if the West were high on my list, I'd never consider California.

As I said above, all my friends and family are in the East and Midwest.
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Old 02-18-08, 11:50 AM   #12
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It sounds like the places that are car-free friendly, near a university, and with the sort of weather you prefer aren't in a good location for your life. You might be better off making where you live be what you want it to be. I didn't have the energy for all of that, so I moved out west and learned to cope with the distance between my family and me.
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Old 02-18-08, 12:39 PM   #13
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Actually, where I am is OK; the only thing it really lacks is a good university. (Univ. of Charleston and WVSU don't really count.) It is also--WV being called "the Mountain State" for good reason--a little hilly; some parts of town are basically inaccessible by bike.

Anyone familiar with Urbana-Champaigne, IL or Bloomington, IN? The climate seems reasonable, both have fine universities, but how cyclist-friendly are they?
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Old 02-18-08, 01:00 PM   #14
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You should consider living in Newport, Ky. or Ft. Thomas, Ky. Just across the river from Cincinnati, Oh. You have easy bike access to northern Kentucky University, and The University of Cincinnati. Xavier university is a little farther away, but still within range. It is a wonderful place to ride, nice people, nice roads, lots to do in downtown and Newport, reasonably cheap real estate, easy winters, not too hot summers.
There is nowhere else I'd live other than in the tropics.
There's even a bike/ped only bridge over the river if you'd like to avoid sharing abridge with the cars.

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Old 02-18-08, 01:05 PM   #15
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Austin?
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Old 02-18-08, 01:37 PM   #16
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You should consider living in Newport, Ky. or Ft. Thomas, Ky. Just across the river from Cincinnati, Oh. You have easy bike access to northern Kentucky University, and The University of Cincinnati. Xavier university is a little farther away, but still within range. It is a wonderful place to ride, nice people, nice roads, lots to do in downtown and Newport, reasonably cheap real estate, easy winters, not too hot summers.
There is nowhere else I'd live other than in the tropics.
There's even a bike/ped only bridge over the river if you'd like to avoid sharing abridge with the cars.
That sounds like a good alternative. Is Cincinnati proper not a good place for cyclists?
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Old 02-18-08, 01:38 PM   #17
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Austin?
That's certainly possible; the University of Texas is a respectable institution, and I have heard that it is less hostile to cyclists than some parts of the Lone Star State.
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Old 02-18-08, 02:18 PM   #18
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That's certainly possible; the University of Texas is a respectable institution, and I have heard that it is less hostile to cyclists than some parts of the Lone Star State.
I would suggest Houston, University of Houston, Texas Southern University (though they always seem to have issues going on), University of St. Thomas, Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Community College Central Campus all within a few miles from each other. There are more but, I just listed the ones I could name off the top of my head. Though Houstonís heat, humidity and pollution are not for all. Inner loop here is not too bad for the Car free I generally have no problems with motorist, outside the loop seems to be more problematic. I have lived car free probably most of my adult life here.
Good thing about Austin if it gets to hot for you there is always Barton Springs to cool off or get naked at Hippie Hollow (Texas only clothing optional state park).
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Old 02-18-08, 02:33 PM   #19
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Actually, where I am is OK; the only thing it really lacks is a good university. (Univ. of Charleston and WVSU don't really count.) It is also--WV being called "the Mountain State" for good reason--a little hilly; some parts of town are basically inaccessible by bike.

Anyone familiar with Urbana-Champaigne, IL or Bloomington, IN? The climate seems reasonable, both have fine universities, but how cyclist-friendly are they
?
I haven't cycled in Bloomington, but it's a great town and should be good for cycling. (East) Lansing and Ann Arbor are great spots in Michigan. Grand Rapids would be good also, if you want a bigger town. Southern Michigan climate is fairly mild because of the Great Lakes.
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Old 02-18-08, 02:50 PM   #20
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The only problem with that is that it is in California. No offense to Californians on the board, but I've heard so many bad things about living there that even if the West were high on my list, I'd never consider California.
Certainly water, power and outrageous land prices are major considerations. Those were three reasons that I was happy to leave Palm Springs. Now that I read that Lake Mead may run out of useable water by 2014 and completely out of water by 2021. It strengthens those opinions. Already, the Colorado River does not flow to the sea.
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Old 02-18-08, 02:54 PM   #21
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You might check out Newark Delaware. Its home to the University of Delaware. I spent a day there and was happy at how many bicycles I saw. It's pastoral, but a short drive from Philly.
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Old 02-18-08, 06:20 PM   #22
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That sounds like a good alternative. Is Cincinnati proper not a good place for cyclists?
No Cincy's fine for riding, but for living everything is cheaper in northern Ky., and generally lower taxes, and less crime. Newport has been revitalized in the last 10 years, there are tons of neat old houses and apartments that have been redone and are cheap to buy or rent. Plus lots and new riverside developments, activities, festivals, and activities. Google "the ascent" a new building in Covington, Ky. next to Newport. Google Newport on the Levee. Living in Newport gives you close access to the stadiums downtown, bars, concerts, everything. There are some areas to live in downtown Cincy, but it's more a place to work and play than to live. Research some, it's the best non-ocean place I've ever been to.
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Old 02-18-08, 06:31 PM   #23
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That's certainly possible; the University of Texas is a respectable institution, and I have heard that it is less hostile to cyclists than some parts of the Lone Star State.
Austin is a great place to live and fine for car free, but the summers are long and hot.
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Old 02-18-08, 10:22 PM   #24
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Definately NOT California!
Population, 2006 estimate 36,457,549
Anymore we might chip off and fall into the Pacific Ocean! ;-)

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Old 02-18-08, 11:12 PM   #25
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I am told that it is very difficult for a US-ian to get permission to work in Canada. Is that true?
It's best to go to the source. Go to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.asp for more information.
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