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List: "The Best Cities to Live in Car Free"

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List: "The Best Cities to Live in Car Free"

Old 11-01-11, 10:44 AM
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List: "The Best Cities to Live in Car Free"

Originally Posted by 24/7WallStreet.com
Several factors make a city easy to live in without a car. The most important one is a widely available and efficient public transportation system. Another is having daily amenities, such as groceries, shopping, schools and entertainment, nearby and within easy reach on foot or by bicycling. The best cities have both features and 24/7 Wall St. has identified the ten best ones to live without a car.

Read more: The Best Cities to Live in Car Free - 24/7 Wall St. https://247wallst.com/2011/11/01/the-...#ixzz1cTNeSgL4

https://247wallst.com/2011/11/01/the-...e-in-car-free/

What do you think of the list? Any surprises?
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Old 11-01-11, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody
https://247wallst.com/2011/11/01/the-...e-in-car-free/

What do you think of the list? Any surprises?
I can't believe Boston and environs listed at #10. Lies, damn lies, and statistics.
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Old 11-01-11, 11:13 AM
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To me, the biggest surprise is that the car-free concept is being taken seriously in what is obviously a business-oriented venue, rather than being on the receiving end of a knee-jerk dismissal as some kind of hippidippi un-American pipe dream.
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Old 11-01-11, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody
What do you think of the list? Any surprises?
What? L.A. makes the top ten? It was a nightmare for me to get anywhere when I lived in the area (Glendale) for several years back in the 70's. I absolutely hated the place. It sounds like they've improved their bus service, but I'm sure it still could take hours to get to certain places, especially if your bus got snarled in that infernal traffic.

My hometown, San Diego, with its efficient trolleys, doesn't even make the list. What gives?

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Old 11-01-11, 12:00 PM
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I'm a bit suprised they lumped L.A., Long Beach, and Santa Anna into one "city". I ride in L.A., which is getting easier and better every year, live in Long Beach, which is approaching Portland with the infrastructure (love it), and Santa Anna, although not very recently. All good cities to cycle in, and it's easy by rail to get from Long Beach to L.A., however it's a nightmare to get from any city in L.A. county to any city in Orange County with public transportation. I think the cities shoudl be listed separately.
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Old 11-01-11, 12:21 PM
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Las Vegas definitely should have made that list. I lived there carfree for 6 years and its 10 time better than the LA-Orange County area, just stay out of the tourist areas. San Diego too. That article doesn't come close on several levels.....
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Old 11-01-11, 01:47 PM
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It sounds like they heavily downgraded cities for sprawl, and San Diego and Las Vegas are very sprawled out. Los Angeles' inclusion would have surprised me, except I have read a lot on this forum about it being good for carfree.

As for transit, the authors rated only on route coverage, not efficiency, speed or convenience of the bus system. They seemed to put more weight on buses than trains. I agree with that, but a lot of people think trains are better.
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Old 11-01-11, 02:06 PM
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I've been to exactly zero of those cities, but not too surprised based on what I've read here. It was pretty cool to see that Lexington came in on the top 50 list referenced in the article.
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Old 11-01-11, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody
https://247wallst.com/2011/11/01/the-...e-in-car-free/

What do you think of the list? Any surprises?

Not surprised they are all in the U.S. as I've been here long enough to realise a headline like "The Best Cities to Live in Car-Free" doesn't actually mean what it seems to say.
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Old 11-01-11, 04:19 PM
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city lists like these rarely, if ever, produce coherent results.

all i can add to the discussion is that i've been car-free in chicago for over 11 years now with relative ease thanks in large part to our extensive public transit system, bike-friendliness, sizeable fleet of taxicabs, and car-sharing opportunities.

that said, you do need to possess a larger set of testicles than most to be car-free in chicago because winter here ain't no joke. but as long as you ain't a pu$$y, it's easy, and depending where you live, it can be VERY advantageous, financially (parking spots in my condo building go for $3,000/year. that's a really nice vacation every year right there).
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Old 11-01-11, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Caretaker
Not surprised they are all in the U.S. as I've been here long enough to realise a headline like "The Best Cities to Live in Car-Free" doesn't actually mean what it seems to say.
I'm sorry, I should have specified that the link referred only to American cities. I just cut & pasted the headline from the website. It would be nice if somebody posted lists from other countries, or even a worldwide list.
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Old 11-01-11, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody
I'm sorry, I should have specified that the link referred only to American cities. I just cut & pasted the headline from the website. It would be nice if somebody posted lists from other countries, or even a worldwide list.
I'm guessing that Venice Italy might make it onto that list.

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Old 11-01-11, 08:10 PM
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I hear Montreal is a pretty good place to live carfree... particularly if you live on the metro island. There are quite a few Canadian cities that might also be candidates... they are more densely populated than US cities of the same size and public transportation and cycling are reasonable.
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Old 11-01-11, 08:41 PM
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I for one would like to hear from international members (and world travelers) about the best (and worst) cities within various countries. Maybe we'll end up with an international list that's better than the Amerocentric list in my OP.

(and, please, continue with your comments about the USA also.)
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Old 11-02-11, 07:38 AM
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I wonder if the best cities to live in car-free are also the worst cities to have a car in. That would certainly be true of New York, particularly if you confined the discussion to only Manhattan and the close-in areas of Queens and Brooklyn. Having a car there is a major PITA.
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Old 11-02-11, 07:47 AM
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Any city in Korea is easy to live car-free in. Buses are cheap and plentiful. They drive FAST too, which I actually hate. The subways, in the larger cities are clean and fast. The country has high speed rail. Seoul where I live has massive amounts of bike paths along the rivers. Taxis are also dirt cheap.
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Old 11-02-11, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
Any city in Korea is easy to live car-free in. Buses are cheap and plentiful. They drive FAST too, which I actually hate. The subways, in the larger cities are clean and fast. The country has high speed rail. Seoul where I live has massive amounts of bike paths along the rivers. Taxis are also dirt cheap.
The same pretty much applies in Japan, except that the buses are not especially fast and the taxis are not so cheap. It used to be true in the countryside as well, but most of the train and bus service is gone now and it seems like just about everybody has cars. I just spent a year living on the outskirts of Tokyo and discovered that there are new residential areas being built that are pretty much entirely car-dependent. But in most of Tokyo it's easy to get around by bike and many people do it.
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Old 11-02-11, 10:12 AM
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I have some issues with their criteria. I really don't want lots of shopping and other amenities close to where I live because those things often bring lots of cars with them. I'm not as concerned with public transit as I am with truly walkable and rideable corridors. If the layout of a region requires me to walk on major roadways or to wait forever to cross them, then I don't find it to be a very nice place to live. For me, living car free is not only about not getting into cars myself, it is about not having to interact with the darned things any more than absolutely necessary. If I have to constantly listen to and smell them, then I'm not as car free as I would like to be. I guess I'm the rare car free person who doesn't want a dense development pattern around me.
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Old 11-02-11, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by TheHen
I have some issues with their criteria. I really don't want lots of shopping and other amenities close to where I live because those things often bring lots of cars with them. I'm not as concerned with public transit as I am with truly walkable and rideable corridors. If the layout of a region requires me to walk on major roadways or to wait forever to cross them, then I don't find it to be a very nice place to live. For me, living car free is not only about not getting into cars myself, it is about not having to interact with the darned things any more than absolutely necessary. If I have to constantly listen to and smell them, then I'm not as car free as I would like to be. I guess I'm the rare car free person who doesn't want a dense development pattern around me.
No, I'm the same way. I am curious about what type of area you live in where distances are manageable by bike or walking, but there aren't many cars?

I live in a medium-sized city that has traffic, but not the gridlock you see in many larger cities. I'm able to do a lot of my travel on multi-user non-motor trails, and the traffic isn't daunting for road trips.

My city was designed for cars. It was a small town when RE Olds built the second auto assembly plant in the world here in 1903. So the city grew up with cars, and streets were designed with cars in mind, But that street system also happens to work real well with bikes. For walking, not so much!
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Old 11-02-11, 10:46 AM
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The first thing I noticed about their criteria was the use of a 90 minute one way commute time for determining the number of jobs available. Thats three hours each day commuting...

The other issue that I noted was that they did not include relative costs; Many of their top ten locations are among the most expensive in the country for cost of living.
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Old 11-02-11, 11:24 AM
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If it was an international list US cities would be very very low on it.
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Old 11-02-11, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody
No, I'm the same way. I am curious about what type of area you live in where distances are manageable by bike or walking, but there aren't many cars?

I live in a medium-sized city that has traffic, but not the gridlock you see in many larger cities. I'm able to do a lot of my travel on multi-user non-motor trails, and the traffic isn't daunting for road trips.

My city was designed for cars. It was a small town when RE Olds built the second auto assembly plant in the world here in 1903. So the city grew up with cars, and streets were designed with cars in mind, But that street system also happens to work real well with bikes. For walking, not so much!
Well, there is a difference between what I want and the area I currently live in. Like many of us, I have made temporary compromises. I was happily living forty-five miles from a medium-sized city (140,000) in a very rural setting surrounded by National Forest, private forest and BLM land. Most trips into town were either in the dead of night to avoid traffic on the direct route or were along a BLM road beside the river which was a bit longer (sixty miles), but where encountering a car was a very rare event. We "cheated" by arranging for a small room with a shower in a warehouse in town for those times when we weren't all up to the ride home.

When my pre-teen son developed a passion for chess, we moved into the city. Thankfully, we found a structure (it wasn't intact enough to call a house) on a dead-end street next to the main bike route along the river which gives us good access to the university and a few other amenities. However, I have more cars pass me as I walk to my friend's house five doors down than would pass me in a month where I used to live.

I still haven't gotten used to the total lack of quiet and the constant stench of exhaust fumes in the air. Although I have been here five years, I'm not sure how much longer I can stand it. I keep hoping for higher gas prices and cling to every report that the cheap oil days are numbered, but I don't know if I can wait for it. Just two years ago our neighborhood shopping district was dominated by car-free folks, then a micro-brew bar and other alcohol-based establishments moved in and the cyclists and pedestrians have disappeared as the car addicts have filled the public space. No one wants to walk or ride on streets that are filled with cars, especially when the drivers of those cars are likely to be drunk.

I did live in Davis, CA for over two decades. I watched it go from a city in which it was quite rare to know anyone who used a car inside the city limits to just another car-town. I wish we had taken pictures and made attempts to document what we had, but we didn't think it would ever end. So, I know what is possible but I just don't know if it will happen again in this nation.
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Old 11-02-11, 01:51 PM
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I live near Toronto and have several friends who have moved there.
It is pretty nice to live car free.
The public transit is very good with subway, street cars and buses which are pretty prompt (when they aren't on strike)
The city does sprawl like any big city but many, many live near the down town on the transit lines.
The biking culture is very good too.
The infrastructure isn't the best but the public tolerance of bikes is great.
I would guess over half the down town police officers are on bike which helps remind people they belong on the roads.
Their mayor is trying to get everyone off of bikes and buses but the city as a whole seems to really embrace being car free.
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Old 11-02-11, 03:14 PM
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I understand that they didn't want to work too hard to make the list. But, it is flawed from the start because it only considers the 100 largest cities. A lot of people prefer smaller towns, and surely some of them are easy enough to get around without a car, yet still have everything you need.

Gainesville, Florida is a great example of a medium sized city. I can think of a lot of small towns in Ohio, too, like Lebanon or Yellow Springs, where everything you need is in easy walking distance.
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Old 11-02-11, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jonescanada
[Toronto's] mayor is trying to get everyone off of bikes and buses but the city as a whole seems to really embrace being car free.
Why did they vote him into office then? What are the chances the citizens will elect a more progressive mayor in the next election?
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