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Old 01-08-2014, 01:40 PM
 
309 posts, read 596,460 times
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Are there any cities here in the United States that are smaller cities but yet they are very walkable and have good public transportation? I live in Downtown Seattle and I like being able to just walk out my front door and get around the city on foot or just take a quick bus ride to get around. I prefer to keep my car parked and be able to get around without having to use my car to go everywhere.

I do like Seattle but I would like to live in a smaller city. I enjoy how Seattle is walkable and has good enough public transportation for getting around the city. I like Portland, Oregon too but even Portland is a little bigger than what I'm wanting. Plus, I would like to get far away from Seattle and experience living in a different part of the country. Not because I don't like Seattle or don't like the Pacific Northwest, but because I would like to just simply experience living in a different part of the country.

I am probably being unrealistic by thinking that there could be a smaller city that is very walkable with good public transportation but I thought that maybe there could be such a place. Most likely there is not. I kind of feel like in order to live in a walkable place with good public transportation, you need to live in a big city.

It seems like if you don't live in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, or Philadelphia, then you pretty much are going to have to rely on your car a bunch. Seattle is ok, but I do miss living in San Francisco because the public transportation was much better there.

I guess I am just kind of torn because I would love to live in a smaller place like Portland, Maine but yet I like the big city amenities that a place like Chicago provides. I guess I just like how in bigger cities you don't need a car but I like the feel of being in a smaller city. Perhaps what I am looking for does not exist.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Places like this absolutely exist. The question is, can you find a job there.

As an example, I went to college in the "Five Colleges" region in Western Massachusetts. Not only were there local buses, but as a result of the heavy subsidies given by the local universities, several lines were free for everyone (not just students) nine months of the year. You could either live in Amherst (which I wouldn't suggest for a non-student) or Northampton (which I would) and provided you were close to the business district, you could do fine without a car. From my experience many college towns - from Ann Arbor to Chapel Hill, are broadly similar, as long as you live close in.

Another option would be if you look for an old-school walkable satellite city in a major metro area. Something like Salem or Newburyport in Massachusetts, or West Chester or Lancaster in Pennsylvania. Here you can live in a smaller, nominally more affordable town, but often are on train lines which allow you to have access to the center city as needed.

Last edited by eschaton; 01-08-2014 at 02:41 PM..
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:08 PM
 
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Basically college towns would be the best bet for this. Ithaca has a good bus system, for an example. Home : TCAT Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit

Even a small city like Oswego NY has a pretty good bus system and cheap taxi service: Centro Syracuse Schedules

You could also look into company towns too. For instance, I know that Corning NY has a bus system and a nice, walkable Downtown for a very small city. Home : Corning's Gaffer District

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Last edited by ckhthankgod; 01-08-2014 at 02:19 PM..
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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I should note, as a followup, that for the most part in smaller U.S. cities which are walkable you will not need access to public transportation for day-to-day needs. This is because the "walkable core" of said cities encompasses everything you need.

For a year or so, I lived in New Haven, Connecticut. While not highly walkable overall, Downtown is full of restaurants and has a fairly good bar scene. Although they weren't open when I was there, there are now two different grocery stores downtown. There are also two safe largely residential neighborhoods immediately to the east and northeast of downtown. I seldom used my car when I lived there, usually getting around by foot or on my bike. I never stepped foot on a city bus, although I did go into New York on the train fairly often. The mass transit wasn't really useful for me - I worked downtown and could get there in 15 minutes on foot, or 5 minutes by bike.

Obviously a lot depends on particulars. But in smaller urban areas unless there is a city, bus service will focus on the poor and elderly, and really not go to too many useful places when your feet can be just as helpful. The one big exception is if you can locate somewhere on a commuter line.
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:15 PM
 
309 posts, read 596,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Places like this absolutely exist. The question is, can you find a job there.

As an example, I went to college in the "Five Colleges" region in Western Massachusetts. Not only were there local buses, but as a result of the heavy subsidies given by the local universities, several lines were free for everyone (not just students) nine months of the year. You could either live in Amherst (which I wouldn't suggest for a non-student) or Northampton (which I would) and provided you were close to the business district, you could do fine without a car. From my experience many college towns - from Ann Arbor to Chapel Hill, are broadly similar, as long as you live close in.

Another option would be if you look for an old-school walkable satellite city in a major metro area. Something like Salem or Newburyport in Massachusetts, or West Chester or Lancaster in Pennsylvania. Here you can live in a smaller, nominally more affordable town, but often are on train lines which allow you to have access to the center city as needed.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire seems like an intriguing place to me. Also, I see that you live in Pittsburgh. Although Pittsburgh is a little bigger than what I would prefer, I will say that Pittsburgh has always been a city that I have been interested in. I'm not looking for a greener pasture than Seattle. I know that Seattle is hard to beat. However, I simply like the idea of experiencing different cities and Pittsburgh is definitely a city that I would consider moving to because it seems like a great place.
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:23 PM
 
56,510 posts, read 80,803,243 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 007jamesbond View Post
Portsmouth, New Hampshire seems like an intriguing place to me. Also, I see that you live in Pittsburgh. Although Pittsburgh is a little bigger than what I would prefer, I will say that Pittsburgh has always been a city that I have been interested in. I'm not looking for a greener pasture than Seattle. I know that Seattle is hard to beat. However, I simply like the idea of experiencing different cities and Pittsburgh is definitely a city that I would consider moving to because it seems like a great place.
What other places or what type of things are you looking for in a new place?
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:03 PM
 
309 posts, read 596,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
What other places or what type of things are you looking for in a new place?
To be honest with you, I am wide open as far as being willing to try lots of different types of places. One of my problems is that I change my mind a lot and have a hard time deciding what I want. Here is a list of places that I would maybe be interested in :

Santa Cruz, California
San Diego, California
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Fayetteville, Arkansas
New Orleans, Louisiana
Oxford, Mississippi
Tampa, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Savannah, Georgia
Charleston, South Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Charlottesville, Virginia
Annapolis, Maryland
Columbus, Ohio
Madison, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Portland, Maine
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Denver
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I thought you wanted a small city?
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:50 PM
 
309 posts, read 596,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annie_himself View Post
I thought you wanted a small city?
I would prefer a small city but I am still open to bigger cities.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:18 PM
 
5,819 posts, read 5,177,503 times
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In my experience your hypothesis that most smaller cities don't have public transportation is really incorrect. Most cities have a bus system; some are better than others.

People from Seattle seem to like Madison, WI a lot. I left the car in the garage and took the bus during the snowy wintertime when I lived there. Lots to do there, for sure. You'd probably like Madison. I found it unfriendly, though.

My parents lived in Fayetteville AR for 14 years. I don't remember any public transportation there, but it may have been there and I just never noticed it. I can't post in the Arkansas forum anymore because I hated living there so much (I lived in Fort Smith, which does have a bus system). Obviously my recommendation is cross Fayetteville off your list right now!!!

How about Rochester, MN? Clean, nice city center, good bus system which even extends out into the surrounding rural towns (the "Mayo Jitney"), good expanding economy, beautiful area, lots of fun outdoor things to do. I'm biased because I chose to retire to a rural area nearby, and absolutely love it. Rochester is our "big city".

If you're going for something different, how about Tulsa, OK? It has a really interesting city center, does have a bus system, and has two excellent smaller museums and a fine university. Tulsa really is a hidden gem, and Eastern Oklahoma is beautiful with lots of great outdoor activities available. The Southern Baptist culture takes some getting used to, though, but you can avoid it if you want.

Even Rapid City, SD has a bus system. Rapid is a growing, popular little city and I'm betting that buying property there now would be a really good investment. It's right on the edge of the Black Hills, and is so beautiful.
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