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View Poll Results: Which of these cities is best for living without a car?
Seattle 23 51.11%
Minneapolis 10 22.22%
Denver 7 15.56%
Portland 5 11.11%
Voters: 45. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-06-2013, 06:11 PM
 
443 posts, read 691,446 times
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Which of these cities is best for living without a car? Some criteria to consider are:

- Pedestrian-friendly urban design (vs. auto-oriented)

- Overall quality of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure - consider safety, convenience, City investment

- Walkability within neighborhoods - which has the most walkable neighborhoods where you can get whatever you need within the neighborhood?

- Walkability/bikability between neighborhoods - how easy is it to walk or bike between neighborhoods? Are there a lot of auto-oriented areas between walkable nodes?

- Walkable downtown and inner neighborhood - how walkable and well-connected are the core parts of the City?

- Public Transit, including bus, rail, ferry. etc. - how good is the PT coverage? Does it cover almost all of the City? How frequent is service? How fast is it? Overall, is it convenient to use?
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Aurora, Colorado
5,377 posts, read 7,671,696 times
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Either city would be good for getting around without a car, despite what people might say. I think Portland would be the best out of those options though. Portland has the most expansive light rail system out of all of them with the most ridership. Seattle has the most ridden bus system, but the light rail numbers aren't as big. Minneapolis also does well in bus ridership. Denver does fairly well in b

Walkscores
Seattle-74
Minneapolis-69
Portland-66
Denver-60
All score withing the top 15 major US cities.

Light Rail Ridership and miles of track
Portland-116,000 daily/ 59.4 mi (95.6 km)
Denver-66,100 daily/ 47 mi (76 km)
Seattle-31,900 daily/ 16.9 mi (27.2 km)
Minneapolis-27,900 daily/ 12.4 mi (20.0 km)
Portland & Denver (by far) run away with lightrail.

Bus Ridership per day
Seattle-390,700
Minneapolis-223,500
Denver-210,400
Portland-201,500
Seattle by far runs away with bus ridership numbers.

All of these cities are bike friendly cities. In the latest bike path score, Denver has 2 paths in the top 10. Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland all had 1.

Bike score
Portland-70.3
Denver-69.5
Seattle-64.1
Minneapolis wasn't on the list, but the metro is very bike friendly. http://www.walkscore.com/bike

Portland or Seattle will most likely win the poll though (Portland because it has the best transit overall, and Seattle because it's the most liked out of all these cities).
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:28 PM
 
1,108 posts, read 1,821,454 times
Reputation: 650
Upon first glance, I voted for Seattle. But to be honest, if I was taking this question at face value, I should have voted for Portland. Neighborhoods and Downtown are all walkable, neighborhoods easily connected, a nice grid, great pedestrian and bike infrastructure, etc.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:49 PM
 
Location: New Mexico --> Vermont in 2019
9,046 posts, read 17,329,882 times
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I would never consider living car free without a good amount of nearby neighborhood grocery stores to walk to. Seattle has a lot of urban nodes around the city and grocery stores within them. When I lived in Capital Hill in Seattle there was a Safeway, QFC, and Trader Joes all within 5 blocks of my apartment. It was an easy to walk into downtown from there as well, and they are building a subway line through the neighborhood. I can't speak to Minneapolis as I haven't been there but Denver doesn't offer that kind of convenience pied although that is changing as LoDo and Highland are growing with rapid infill and hopefully urban planners will add some urban grocery stores along with it. Portland does well, but Seattle is the best for these well rounded walkable and urban amenities.
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:33 AM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
5,796 posts, read 6,353,175 times
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I can't speak to Minneapolis and Denver although I am under the impression that they are both fairly livable without a car. (If one lives and works in the right areas)

Seattle and Portland I feel are both probably a little better, although the same rule would apply. Nevertheless, they both offer great design and transit connectivity. I think Portland's system is a bit more comprehensive, but like caphill says, Seattle seems to be slightly more pedestrian-friendly, ultimately making it my top choice.
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:50 AM
 
Location: Grand Forks, ND
274 posts, read 566,799 times
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Which of these cities is best for living without a car? Some criteria to consider are:

- Pedestrian-friendly urban design (vs. auto-oriented)

None of these cities are particularly pedestrian-unfriendly, at least not like Atlanta or Houston. All have sidewalks and most structures of some level of street level interaction. If anything, Denver might be the weakest here, but not by much.

- Overall quality of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure - consider safety, convenience, City investment

All are making efforts at the city level to develop and promote cycling infrastructure, with varying levels of success. Portland has the best biking infrastructure. All have good pedestrian infrastructure.

- Walkability within neighborhoods - which has the most walkable neighborhoods where you can get whatever you need within the neighborhood?

Seattle all the way here, especially concerning the latter half of this category. Seattle has the most walkable/dense inner neighborhoods in Capitol Hill and Belltown, as well as the most walkable/dense outer neighborhoods in Ballard and the U-District. None of the others are bad here, Seattle is just better. Minneapolis is next with the likes of Uptown. This point is exemplified by the fact that 9.0% of Seattle residents walk to work. The next closest is Minneapolis at 5.8%

Walkscore

Residents living in a neighborhood with a walkscore of at least 90

Seattle: 100,921
Portland: 51,135
Denver: 25,541
Minneapolis: 19,705

Residents living in a neighborhood with a walkscore of at least 80

Seattle: 206,016
Minneapolis: 125,979
Portland: 114,592
Denver: 109,299

- Walkability/bikability between neighborhoods - how easy is it to walk or bike between neighborhoods? Are there a lot of auto-oriented areas between walkable nodes?

Portland here, the near downtown neighborhoods are integrated pretty seamlessly.

- Walkable downtown and inner neighborhood - how walkable and well-connected are the core parts of the City?

Portland probably has the most pedestrian-friendly downtown, with the narrow tree-lined streets. Seattle has the most amenities downtown. Portland probably is the most connected, although all are connected pretty well. Portland's core is just so compact compared to Denver, Minneapolis, and especially Seattle.

- Public Transit, including bus, rail, ferry. etc. - how good is the PT coverage? Does it cover almost all of the City? How frequent is service? How fast is it? Overall, is it convenient to use?

Portland has the best and most extensive rail transit. That being said, Seattle has the highest percentage of commuters using public transit, and has the highest overall ridership numbers. The city is covered with frequent transit, illustrated by this map:

http://seattletransitblog.com/wp-con...ap_2013Mar.pdf

Overall, I'd give the slight edge to Seattle, followed by Portland, Minneapolis, then Denver.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:52 AM
 
1,108 posts, read 1,821,454 times
Reputation: 650
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaboyd1 View Post
Which of these cities is best for living without a car? Some criteria to consider are:

- Pedestrian-friendly urban design (vs. auto-oriented)

None of these cities are particularly pedestrian-unfriendly, at least not like Atlanta or Houston. All have sidewalks and most structures of some level of street level interaction. If anything, Denver might be the weakest here, but not by much.

- Overall quality of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure - consider safety, convenience, City investment

All are making efforts at the city level to develop and promote cycling infrastructure, with varying levels of success. Portland has the best biking infrastructure. All have good pedestrian infrastructure.

- Walkability within neighborhoods - which has the most walkable neighborhoods where you can get whatever you need within the neighborhood?

Seattle all the way here, especially concerning the latter half of this category. Seattle has the most walkable/dense inner neighborhoods in Capitol Hill and Belltown, as well as the most walkable/dense outer neighborhoods in Ballard and the U-District. None of the others are bad here, Seattle is just better. Minneapolis is next with the likes of Uptown. This point is exemplified by the fact that 9.0% of Seattle residents walk to work. The next closest is Minneapolis at 5.8%

Walkscore

Residents living in a neighborhood with a walkscore of at least 90

Seattle: 100,921
Portland: 51,135
Denver: 25,541
Minneapolis: 19,705

Residents living in a neighborhood with a walkscore of at least 80

Seattle: 206,016
Minneapolis: 125,979
Portland: 114,592
Denver: 109,299

- Walkability/bikability between neighborhoods - how easy is it to walk or bike between neighborhoods? Are there a lot of auto-oriented areas between walkable nodes?

Portland here, the near downtown neighborhoods are integrated pretty seamlessly.

- Walkable downtown and inner neighborhood - how walkable and well-connected are the core parts of the City?

Portland probably has the most pedestrian-friendly downtown, with the narrow tree-lined streets. Seattle has the most amenities downtown. Portland probably is the most connected, although all are connected pretty well. Portland's core is just so compact compared to Denver, Minneapolis, and especially Seattle.

- Public Transit, including bus, rail, ferry. etc. - how good is the PT coverage? Does it cover almost all of the City? How frequent is service? How fast is it? Overall, is it convenient to use?

Portland has the best and most extensive rail transit. That being said, Seattle has the highest percentage of commuters using public transit, and has the highest overall ridership numbers. The city is covered with frequent transit, illustrated by this map:

http://seattletransitblog.com/wp-con...ap_2013Mar.pdf

Overall, I'd give the slight edge to Seattle, followed by Portland, Minneapolis, then Denver.
I think the fact that it's so easy to walk between neighborhoods in Portland, and that Downtown and immediate environs are just so pedestrian-friendly mean that it should probably be the top choice.
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Grand Forks, ND
274 posts, read 566,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orzo View Post
I think the fact that it's so easy to walk between neighborhoods in Portland, and that Downtown and immediate environs are just so pedestrian-friendly mean that it should probably be the top choice.
While that is true, as you move away from the core in Portland it easily becomes the weakest of the 4. Many factors to consider, I did rank Portland a close second. I guess it would depend on how much weight you gave each category. Personally, if I was to live carless in one of these cities, I would choose Seattle because its neighborhoods and frequent transit network are generally more robust than Portland's.
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:22 PM
 
1,000 posts, read 1,430,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezter View Post
Either city would be good for getting around without a car, despite what people might say. I think Portland would be the best out of those options though. Portland has the most expansive light rail system out of all of them with the most ridership. Seattle has the most ridden bus system, but the light rail numbers aren't as big. Minneapolis also does well in bus ridership. Denver does fairly well in b

Walkscores
Seattle-74
Minneapolis-69
Portland-66
Denver-60
All score withing the top 15 major US cities.

Light Rail Ridership and miles of track
Portland-116,000 daily/ 59.4 mi (95.6 km)
Denver-66,100 daily/ 47 mi (76 km)
Seattle-31,900 daily/ 16.9 mi (27.2 km)
Minneapolis-27,900 daily/ 12.4 mi (20.0 km)
Portland & Denver (by far) run away with lightrail.

Bus Ridership per day
Seattle-390,700
Minneapolis-223,500
Denver-210,400
Portland-201,500
Seattle by far runs away with bus ridership numbers.

All of these cities are bike friendly cities. In the latest bike path score, Denver has 2 paths in the top 10. Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland all had 1.

Bike score
Portland-70.3
Denver-69.5
Seattle-64.1
Minneapolis wasn't on the list, but the metro is very bike friendly. Most Bikeable Cities

Portland or Seattle will most likely win the poll though (Portland because it has the best transit overall, and Seattle because it's the most liked out of all these cities).

The Green Line, which opens mid-next year, is supposed to add around 43,000 riders (for the 2030 estimate, although the Blue Line exceeded its projections 16 years in advance, so we'll see), so that would make Minneapolis' total for light rail around 70,000. There are also two lines planned (28,000 and 19,500 projected) and two more proposed and discussed for St. Paul. Along with 7 streetcar lines in Minneapolis and several more in St. Paul.
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
1,704 posts, read 2,631,030 times
Reputation: 2325
Portland
Seattle & Mpls
Denver

Honestly if you're going to live without a car, you're not going to do it in the furthest suburbs anyway, so why even include them in your thought process? Portland has the best combination of public transit + bikeability + walkable neighborhoods. Portland is so often overshadowed by Seattle, but this is where it really shines.
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