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Old 10-01-2009, 11:35 AM
 
5,969 posts, read 7,744,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaconJ View Post
Just because I am firm in my knowledge that it's easy to live in certain areas of Atlanta without a car
You can be firm but even fellow Atlantans do not agree with you.

Last edited by CaseyB; 10-01-2009 at 12:14 PM.. Reason: cut out the bickering
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Old 10-01-2009, 12:40 PM
Status: "I hate living in Georgia!!" (set 11 days ago)
 
48,100 posts, read 45,475,380 times
Reputation: 15330
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midtownatl View Post
Because I have no experience with Seattle, Portland, or Baltimore (among others), I won't hazard a guess on them. But in my opinion based on my experience:

Tier 1
NYC and Chicago
Both have lines that run 24 hours (in NYC, all of them do). And both do a great job of extending to virtually every corner of the city and the suburbs.

Tier 2
Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia
Public transit in these cities covers the lay of the land (both within city limits and beyond) effectively. But they stop running much earlier than NYC and Chicago. This means if you’re out late, you have to resort to cabs, which are obviously more expensive than trains and busses.

Tier 3
SF
Within the city, the bus system rocks. And the city is compact enough that walking is easy (albeit, with the steep hills, sometimes exhausting) That said the San Francisco Bay Area is massive and there are significant stretches throughout the Bay where public transportation (especially rail) is more limited or a hassle. Caltrain runs about once per hour for example.

Tier 4
Atlanta
Public transportation covers most major places in the city and conveniently has a station located in the airport. The subway has twice as many stations (38) and covers twice as many miles as the next closest rail system. ATL is less compact than SF, D.C. or Boston, though, so while it covers a lot of ground, there are many desirable places it doesn’t go. (The Zoo, Ponce and South Buckhead). More importantly, it doesn’t go many places in the suburbs, including two counties in which the populations will probably well exceed 1 million people by the end of the next decade (Cobb and Gwinnett.)
I am suffering under tier 4 in the metro you just mentioned. MARTA only goes to DeKalb County and Fulton. MARTA only covers two small counties. Blame politicians and a few residents who are afraid of the so-called "rif raf".
I ride the bus, does that make me "rif raf"? No it does not.
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Old 10-01-2009, 01:17 PM
 
Location: SF and Atlanta
173 posts, read 411,219 times
Reputation: 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5Lakes View Post
These are the true walking cities where having a car may actually be more of a pain than what it's worth.
Why no Chi-town? And why LA?
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Old 10-01-2009, 01:27 PM
 
10,630 posts, read 23,415,082 times
Reputation: 6702
What's with the constant assumption that it's not doable (or easy) to live in LA without a car? I realize it's not for everyone, and it's certainly not as easy as in NYC, but it's a lot easier than people realize. For everyone who says that it's not doable in LA, I would ask: have you ever tried it? In recent years? If you have a stationary job and choose a convenient neighborhood (and there are many, many walkable neighborhoods with good rail and bus transit options to choose from) then it's absolutely easy and doable to live in LA without a car. In some neighborhoods it's even easier, as you don't have to deal with hassles of parking.

I've never been to Atlanta, but I have some sympathy for the people who are arguing that it's possible to live there without a car. The original post wasn't asking "what are the very, very best and easiest cities to live in without a car." The poster laid out some expectations, and it sounds like there are neighborhoods in Atlanta that meet that description. Not every single neighborhood in the city or in the suburbs has meet that criteria.

Obviously, though, of course Chicago should be on any list of cities easily livable without a car.
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Old 10-01-2009, 01:35 PM
 
Location: SF and Atlanta
173 posts, read 411,219 times
Reputation: 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
What's with the constant assumption that it's not doable (or easy) to live in LA without a car?
In my case, I was not making that assumption. While I have been to LA many times, I have never lived there or made use of it's public transportation (except once taking light rail from the "909") or walkable neighborhoods (except downtown Santa Monica.) So I was genuinely curious about the reasoning leading to that aspect of the author's list. Trust, I of all people know unfair stereotypes of cities can haunt posts on this board.
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Old 10-01-2009, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Spain
1,855 posts, read 4,288,997 times
Reputation: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
What's with the constant assumption that it's not doable (or easy) to live in LA without a car? I realize it's not for everyone, and it's certainly not as easy as in NYC, but it's a lot easier than people realize. For everyone who says that it's not doable in LA, I would ask: have you ever tried it? In recent years? If you have a stationary job and choose a convenient neighborhood (and there are many, many walkable neighborhoods with good rail and bus transit options to choose from) then it's absolutely easy and doable to live in LA without a car. In some neighborhoods it's even easier, as you don't have to deal with hassles of parking.

I've never been to Atlanta, but I have some sympathy for the people who are arguing that it's possible to live there without a car. The original post wasn't asking "what are the very, very best and easiest cities to live in without a car." The poster laid out some expectations, and it sounds like there are neighborhoods in Atlanta that meet that description. Not every single neighborhood in the city or in the suburbs has meet that criteria.

Obviously, though, of course Chicago should be on any list of cities easily livable without a car.
Maybe if you live in Koreatown and never really feel the need to leave. But if you have friends in the South Bay, Hollywood, Westwood, downtown, the valley, etc. and want to go out to restaurants or clubs in different parts of town then you need a car. If someone told me the only way I could live in L.A. was if I had no car then I wouldn't even consider it for 2 seconds.

Whereas in New York you can get anywhere on the subway. Heck, even in Portland, all the happening places are either downtown, NW 23rd, Hawthorne or other parts of close-in southeast all of which are easily accessible by public transit.
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Old 10-01-2009, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
927 posts, read 1,911,969 times
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Same with the A. It's doable. But I wouldn't want to do it.

It really depends on how much "living" the OP wants to do. A better subject might be, what cities are the most optimal for public transit and walkability?


Quote:
Originally Posted by PDX_LAX View Post
Maybe if you live in Koreatown and never really feel the need to leave. But if you have friends in the South Bay, Hollywood, Westwood, downtown, the valley, etc. and want to go out to restaurants or clubs in different parts of town then you need a car. If someone told me the only way I could live in L.A. was if I had no car then I wouldn't even consider it for 2 seconds.

Whereas in New York you can get anywhere on the subway. Heck, even in Portland, all the happening places are either downtown, NW 23rd, Hawthorne or other parts of close-in southeast all of which are easily accessible by public transit.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:01 PM
 
Location: The Greatest city on Earth: City of Atlanta Proper
7,909 posts, read 12,167,980 times
Reputation: 5697
Ugh! Why is it that somebody always has to do a book report to prove a point about Atlanta.

Contrary to popular belief, Atlanta does have a robust public transportation system. MARTA serves 1.8 million people in Fulton and Dekalb counties. About 300,000 people use the system each day, or a little less than 1/4 of it's service area's population. Most people in the service area will use it at least several times a year.



The MARTA train system covers the City of Atlanta along a North/South and East/West access. Additional, the East train line cover's central Dekalb county and the North and South lines cover the inner burbs of East Point, College Park, and Sandy Springs (which has 3 train stations). It doesn't stop there however:



MARTA also has an extensive bus network of 131 bus routes that covers the majority of Fulton and Dekalb counties. Where ever the train doesn't go, the bus does. Most neighborhoods are serviced by at least 1 bus, while major neighborhoods can have as many as 5 intersecting routes.

Now you might say that this isn't as great as having more subway service and more polluting. I'd mostly agree on the first point, but not on the second. Most of Atlanta's neighborhoods and inner suburbs were designed as street car suburbs. What seems like an tangled mess of unplanned streets is a by product of the fact that the City of Atlanta originally was confined to the area of Downtown Atlanta and then a few years later Midtown. That is why when you look at a map of the City of Atlanta, Downtown and Midtown are laid out on a grid plan but the rest of the city isn't for the most part. Those areas were tied to the central city by Street car and were individually designed by developers before they were annexed into the city over the years.

Secondly, 450 of MARTA's 600 buses run on compressed natural gas, reducing emissions of diesel run buses by 95%.

In addition to this system, MARTA operates a Paratransit system of shuttles that disabled and elderly people can utilize for door step service. The shuttle will drive them directly to the train and once they get off at their stop they can either walk, transfer to a bus, or arrange for another paratransit pickup.

But transit in Atlanta still doesn't end here.

The outlying counties of Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton counties run their own bus systems. Unfortunately their systems aren't as well developed, but they do connect directly to the MARTA train system. The State of Georgia also operates and express bus service directly into the city center from several other counties in the Metropolitan Atlanta Area.

You might ask though, why don't those counties have MARTA service. It isn't because of bad planning.



The area in the map in the central loop shows how far the train lines were supposed to go. The MARTA planners had the foresight back in the 1960s to know that the biggest population gains would be in the suburbs. Unfortunately, due to NIMBYism and the race politics of the time, the plan was killed and only Fulton and Dekalb counties decided to fund MARTA.

Going back the MARTA service area though, living without a car here is very simple. Sure, it has it's draw backs. Some very heavily populated areas of the city are not serviced by the train (a problem that Atlanta's future light rail and Street car system will mostly remedy) and have sporadic bus service. If for instance someone wanted to go from Downtown to the middle of Ponce De Leon Avenue in eastern Atlanta, the trip would take a little longer than expect. But here is the key to this equation: WANT.

In the city of Atlanta proper, people only will have a WANT to go to the another neighborhood and rarely will have an serious NEED to go to another neighborhood. Within walking distance of my house, and every other neighborhood in the CIty that I have lived in, i can buy groceries, shop for clothes, watch a movie or several other forms of entertainment.

The big difference with Atlanta however is that people also have the option of driving easily too. Parking is abundant in most neighborhoods (except for Midtown and Downtown where it's down right expensive). Gas is also cheap too. A gallon of premium is averaging $2.50. Incidentally, last year when gas prices skyrocketed, MARTA usage jumped 50%. How is that possible if MARTA is crappy and doesn't serve any area of need?

So go ahead Atlanta haters. Ignore facts and figures and maps and stuff. I know you all will find a way to move the goal posts once again.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
1,954 posts, read 4,505,168 times
Reputation: 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midtownatl View Post
Why no Chi-town? And why LA?
LOL, Chicago should be on my Tier 1. Pretty bad that I forgot considering that is where I live and I rarely use a car

LA is on my tier 3. It has some neighborhoods that may be on par with some cities I put on my tier 1 list, but it's just too spread out and has wide separation between commercial corridors. Also, LA is not built out like most traditional cities. It will have a high density area next to an area full of suburban ranch-type houses. Areas like Santa Monica, Hollywood, K-Town, and Pasadena are pretty great urban areas though.

Last edited by 5Lakes; 10-01-2009 at 03:21 PM..
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
1,954 posts, read 4,505,168 times
Reputation: 1817
Atlanta does not have the built environment outside of the Downtown/Midtown corridor to be in a conversation about the most walkable cities. Most of the in-town neighborhoods of Atlanta, while nice, are more like streetcar suburbs of more densely built cities. Even some areas that are more built up are not all the pedestrian friendly and have wide, auto-centric streets that are uninviting. Buckhead is a perfect example of this.

Although, I will say that MARTA is a pretty good system that does not get enough credit.
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