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Old 05-15-2017, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,419 posts, read 11,923,391 times
Reputation: 10539

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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Buster View Post
There are a lot of neighborhoods in Pittsburgh that you could go carless, and its done quite frequently. Probably moreso than the other cities on your list. The larger ones are

North Side
Lawrenceville
Strip District
Downtown
South Side
Oakland
Bloomfield
Shadyside
East Liberty
Squirrel Hill

There are also some dense streetcar suburbs, such as Dormont and Mt. Lebanon, to the south of the city that offer some aspects of city-like living but also a selection of single family homes, if you'd prefer that to the apts or rowhouses you would likely get in the city. They also have access to light rail.

Minneapolis I think also has quite a few, although personally the winters would terrify me, I imagine going carless there in the winter there would take a really rugged person.
Great guide. One thing to keep in mind is that due to Pittsburgh's topography, if you want to have a bike here you'll likely either keep to the flat neighborhoods by the rivers (Downtown, Strip District, Lawrenceville, lower North Side, South Side) or stay up on the plateau in the East End (Oakland, Shadyside, Bloomfield, Friendship, East Liberty, Garfield, Highland Park).

May I note that I am the only person who actually provided some objective data, while everyone else is just slinging anecdotes?

Just to show I'm not a total homer, I'll show walkscore, which Pittsburgh doesn't rank #1 on.

Minneapolis - 68
St. Louis - 64
Pittsburgh - 61
Milwaukee - 61
Cleveland - 59
Cincinnati - 50

I actually think once you take out of the equation things like our essentially vacant unbuildable slopes Pittsburgh is more walkable than St. Louis and Milwaukee, although I'll admit that Minneapolis is a bit more walkable these days.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,419 posts, read 11,923,391 times
Reputation: 10539
I'll also say that in my experience transit is overrated when it comes to walkability. Transit is key for one reason really to live a car-free lifestyle - in order to get to work. In general you want the walkable amenities to be in your neighborhood (and hopefully other nearby neighborhoods within a 10-15 minute walk). Having them be accessible via a transit ride (even if it's only a 5-10 minute ride on rapid transit) is less ideal. If you work from home, and have a full-service local business district (including a nearby grocery store) you can seldom to never use transit at all and still not have a car.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:08 AM
PDF
 
11,386 posts, read 10,519,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I'll also say that in my experience transit is overrated when it comes to walkability. Transit is key for one reason really to live a car-free lifestyle - in order to get to work. In general you want the walkable amenities to be in your neighborhood (and hopefully other nearby neighborhoods within a 10-15 minute walk). Having them be accessible via a transit ride (even if it's only a 5-10 minute ride on rapid transit) is less ideal. If you work from home, and have a full-service local business district (including a nearby grocery store) you can seldom to never use transit at all and still not have a car.
I disagree with this. While good public transit is the biggest factor for a car free commute, it is hardly the only reason. As someone who lives car free, I don't just do it on my commute. I like to take public transit everywhere. You can have a city with walkable areas but poor public transit and things just won't add up. It's best to live in a walkable neighborhood but also have good transit to get other places.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
2,331 posts, read 3,054,646 times
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You need a grocery store within walking distance though. Taking groceries on the bus sucks.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,419 posts, read 11,923,391 times
Reputation: 10539
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDF View Post
I disagree with this. While good public transit is the biggest factor for a car free commute, it is hardly the only reason. As someone who lives car free, I don't just do it on my commute. I like to take public transit everywhere. You can have a city with walkable areas but poor public transit and things just won't add up. It's best to live in a walkable neighborhood but also have good transit to get other places.
Of course if you're going 100% car free, you can and will take transit for other reasons. But the ideal is that there are enough amenities within walking distance in your neighborhood, so that you don't need to need to leave your neighborhood just to hang out. You can go elsewhere for an "excursion" (concert, dinner and a movie, gallery crawl, etc) but it shouldn't have to be a regular part of your routine to get on transit for your weekend and evening socialization. If it is, and you aren't dating someone from another part of town, you're not living in a neighborhood which is walkable enough for your way of life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewcifer View Post
You need a grocery store within walking distance though. Taking groceries on the bus sucks.
Eh. It's doable if you're single, eat out half the week, and shop 2-3 times per week at different stores. When was in DC, I used to bike to Eastern Market for around half my shopping needs, and take the metro for the other half.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
2,331 posts, read 3,054,646 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Eh. It's doable if you're single, eat out half the week, and shop 2-3 times per week at different stores. When was in DC, I used to bike to Eastern Market for around half my shopping needs, and take the metro for the other half.
Oh, I've done it, but all the bus lines here that go to grocery stores are usually standing room only. Standing in the aisle with a bag or two of groceries is no fun.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:30 PM
 
5,611 posts, read 6,091,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Minneapolis - 68
St. Louis - 64
Pittsburgh - 61
Milwaukee - 61
Cleveland - 59
Cincinnati - 50
Very interesting. They are pretty much even.

Mineapolis is the most complete city. There is not the extreme blight that you see in St. Louis (that takes the walk score down a few notches). The neighborhoods in St Louis that are thriving are pretty much on par with anything in Mineapolis or Pittsburgh.

The combination of walk score and transit can give a full picture of urban lifestyle of a city. Minneapolis top tiered bus system and the good LRT makes it my #1 choice.

Anyone of these cities are urban enough to give the big city lifestyle in a smaller package without the hassle of Chicago or Boston type places.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Nashville TN, Cincinnati, OH
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Chicago end of story.
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:15 PM
 
118 posts, read 197,363 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Out of the cities on your list, Pittsburgh has the highest mass transit utilization. 2015 commuting totals by mass transit (city limits)

Pittsburgh: 17.0% (65% by car)
Minneapolis: 13.1% (69.6% by car)
Cleveland: 10.3% (79.9% by car)
St. Louis: 9.4% (80.9% by car)
Milwaukee: 8.6% (81.6% by car)
Cincinnati: 7.8% (72% by car)

Mind you, cities with more suburban-style neighborhoods within city limits will tend to come across worse in this manner, and Pittsburgh's East End essentially being a giant college town within the city certainly helps. But Pittsburgh has, for a city of its size, a very well utilized transit system.

That doesn't mean the transit system is perfect of course. With the exception of a downtown subway which links to light rail in the South Hills, a couple of BRT lines, and the inclines on Mount Washington, Pittsburgh relies on surface bus routes. These do tend to be widely used by people of all income levels however, unlike some cities where only the poor use buses. Still, if you live anywhere in the city, you can get a bus to downtown, and if you live anywhere in the East End, you can get a bus to Oakland (the main university hub). I think having a bike helps too, although the city's biking infrastructure is still in development.

While I have owned a car while living here, in the 12 years since I moved here I have never driven to work once (I work downtown) I either take the bus in bad weather, or I ride my bike when the weather is nice. I'll admit that I don't really use the bus much for off-peak travel, but you don't absolutely need a car for things like socialization and random shopping trips if you live in a walkable area, are okay with off-peak schedules being infrequent, and supplement your transportation with biking and rideshare.

Depends which part of Pittsburgh you live in and what time of day you need public transportation. Even though there has been revitalization, there are certain parts of the East End you don't want to be walking alone in after dark.
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Old 06-05-2017, 02:53 AM
 
Location: Land of Ill Noise
956 posts, read 1,774,890 times
Reputation: 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDF View Post
I disagree with this. While good public transit is the biggest factor for a car free commute, it is hardly the only reason. As someone who lives car free, I don't just do it on my commute. I like to take public transit everywhere. You can have a city with walkable areas but poor public transit and things just won't add up. It's best to live in a walkable neighborhood but also have good transit to get other places.
I agree with what you're saying, totally. Athens, GA is a very great example of this. It has some nice walkable areas(i.e. downtown, Five Points, and anywhere near the University of Georgia campus), but the city bus system sucks due to how limited the bus system is. As much as I like Athens, I wouldn't consider living there without a car.

And for those who say Milwaukee wouldn't be possible without a car, I actually haven't had problems getting around that city on their local city bus system(Milwaukee County Transit System, aka MCTS). The buses run more frequently than one might think, there are a lot of routes(even extending out to nearby suburbs), and buses run even late into the night and on Sunday. It isn't uncommon, for bus routes to run as late as midnight or 1am.

I definitely get the sense from reading here and on other message boards(i.e. Reddit), that many have no idea how good MCTS is. Check out their website for yourself and look at the system map and individual bus route schedule pdf files, you'd be really surprised how good the bus system is there. On a side note, there's a streetcar(light rail) system under construction that'll serve downtown Milwaukee, and nearby neighborhoods. Anyway:

https://www.ridemcts.com/
Milwaukee Streetcar - Follow Our Momentum
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