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Old 11-21-2012, 03:06 PM
 
Location: NYC
12 posts, read 17,598 times
Reputation: 10

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We are probably moving to either Norwalk or Black Rock in Bridgeport next year because of a job change. From what I've been able to learn online (no chance to go visit in person until maybe January), these 2 places seem our best choices. I'm sure I'll have many questions in future threads, but my first is are either of these places practical without a car? We are in New York - carless - and both hate driving the rare times that we have to. I especially don't want to have to rely on a car in the snow.

So do many residents of either Norwalk (thinking of Central, East, and Sono - but very open to other suggestions) or Black Rock live happily and productively by walking and biking, at least for most day to day errands? And safety is very important also - are drivers aware of pedestrians, are sidewalks and crosswalks adequate, are other people out walking/biking too (safety in numbers is my favorite axiom)?

As for public transit, the Norwalk bus system looks OK on paper - anyone know if it runs more or less on schedule? It would need to be on time to be helpful since the buses are not frequent - I would hate to stand at a bus stop for an hour. And also Black Rock, any experience with the bus system?

And for Black Rock, do most people who commute by Metro North walk or bike over the bridge to the Fairfield Metro station? Is it very difficult to carry a folded folding bike on Metro North during rush hour (don't know how crowded it gets)? Or is there a bus or shuttle of some kind? I wonder this for winter mostly since a nice warm vehicle (driven by someone else) would be preferable to a long icy walk every day - but we do a lot of long icy walking here and it's no big deal usually, so that is the least important of my concerns.

We will probably eventually give in and get a car, but we don't want to have to drive everywhere every day. And let me be clear that I don't expect anywhere to be like Manhattan transit-wise. But we need to live in a neighborhood that is a lot more accessible by walking, biking, or public bus taking than most places seem to be.
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
14,715 posts, read 17,933,283 times
Reputation: 3333
Very few people in those areas go carless. In Norwalk, really the only place this is possible is in SoNo - but I wouldn't call it convenient. You can walk to restaurants, bars, and boutiques - but as far as the necessities in life it's not super convenient. Black Rock is a little less convenient but not by much. It's A LOT cheaper though.

Theoretically you're totally allowed to bring a folded bike on-board, but it does get crowded once you get down to Norwalk.

Most people drive to Fairfield Metro.

The most walkable city on the New Haven Line is New Haven. Stamford 2nd. Connecticut is very car-centric.

Where are you commuting to?
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:27 AM
 
Location: NYC
12 posts, read 17,598 times
Reputation: 10
Very helpful, Stylo, even though it's not what I was hoping to hear! Especially disappointed that most people drive to the station from Black Rock. For me, walking is more comfortable when other people are around. But you have helped me adjust my expectations, so thank you very much!

Job is actually in Sono, Norwalk, so first idea is to live in Norwalk, which looks fine to us if we were able to be in a neighborhood that is somewhat walkable or bikeable. Sono looks more like it would be only good for having fun. Not for daily living so much. Central Norwalk looks like a possibility - any ideas about that? Near Wall Street or maybe the town green? There are bus lines from there to Sono, and it's only about 2 miles on googlemaps, so I was hoping biking would be OK maybe partly on the River Trail.

Black Rock looks even more appealing to us as a community to settle into. Commute is short by train and a more dense environment (I think?).

As for New Haven, it would certainly be our first choice if we were not hoping for a very short commute to Sono. Will be working long hours most days and hope not to make it worse by adding more time than necessary for commuting.

Stamford would be great for the travel to both Sono and NY, except that we would want to live close to a train station and that seems out of our budget - not much less than living in NY, but we will need to reduce our expenses to match a reduced salary (but for a better job, so totally worth it!).
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
24,570 posts, read 40,120,453 times
Reputation: 6942
First of all, you should not expect the same type of environment in a small city like Norwalk or Bridgeport as you find in one of the largest cities in the world. If you are going to be working in Norwalk it is probably the best place to live given your desire to have a short commute. South Norwalk has a number of shops and restaurants but you will still likely need a car. Most major shopping is done in suburban style shopping centers which have some limited access via transit. Still having a car will make your life much easier here. Jay
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
14,715 posts, read 17,933,283 times
Reputation: 3333
Central Norwalk is kind of dumpy and I don't see it as more livable. I think you'll be able to manage in SoNo. Just stay around and north of Washington Street, there are some nasty parts south of there, especially by Ely Ave.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:51 AM
 
Location: NYC
12 posts, read 17,598 times
Reputation: 10
Stylo and Jay, I appreciate you both answering my questions. I will go check out these areas as soon as I can, but that won't be for a couple of months.
Thanks for helping!
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