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Old 09-30-2009, 08:44 AM
 
27 posts, read 116,665 times
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I would like to know your opinions on which US cities are livable without a car. For the cities you cite, would it only be the downtown area, or other parts (presumably close to downtown) that you would include.

To me, there are several main criteria that should be met: 1) Basic necessities are within walking distance of residence (e.g. supermarket, drugstore, other stores that fulfill basic shoping needs, 2) there is an fairly active streetlife within walking distance with restaurants, some nightlife, some non-essential shopping, 3) there is some handy and fairly frequent mass transit nearby to take you to other parts of the area relatively painlessly.

I lived in DC for 11 years without a car with no problem. Obviously I could not get to all parts of metro DC, but in the center of DC there are multiple adjoining neighborhoods that meet the criteria I set out above.

Of places I have been, I would think Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco would definitely be included.

Other places I have been to that are maybe marginal are San Diego, Seattle (???).

I am thinking of relocating, and would prefer to be in a place that is livable without a car.
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Town of Herndon/DC Metro
2,289 posts, read 5,583,802 times
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I lived in Chicago without a car for almost 20 years- easy to get to everything from necessities to entertainment. The 'hoods are marvelous and a joy to walk in of itself. You need a really warm down coat though. You don't need a car in Chicago.

I now live in DC Metro-my DH works in DC and has friends who live in Foggy Bottom and Adams Morgan. They cannot live without a car-need it for doctors, to get to the nice grocery stores, etc.

*Also I lived in Philly for a year. Like DC you need a car to access good shopping/good doctors/etc.. but there is a lot of public trans that can get you most places without transferring 5 buses

**I am from San Diego. Must have a car in SD. The trolley is good for a pleasure ride to the Ball Park or Tijuana but not very accessible/reliable for day-to-day life. However, the downtown area, before the real estate drop, was really starting to fill in with housing, grocery stores, etc.. so you may want to look into that if you plan to live downtown-still need a car to get to the Beaches tho'

Last edited by leighland; 09-30-2009 at 08:59 AM.. Reason: added Philly: Added San Diego
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:58 AM
 
5,969 posts, read 7,739,996 times
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New York City
Parts of New Jersey
Philadelphia
Boston
Chicago
San Francisco
Washington DC
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:05 AM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,035 posts, read 34,995,637 times
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Seattle has some very walkable areas. The biggest negative is lack of rail, but their bus/trolley system is quite good. Neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Queen Anne Hill, West Seattle and Magnolia have about any amenity you want within walking distance.
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:52 AM
 
27 posts, read 116,665 times
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Thanks for the quick responses so far.

Just a comment regarding the post about DC. I live in Adams Morgan and there are a ton of doctors in Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, downtown...whole buildings full in fact...not to mention GW Hospital. For supermarkets, there is a new Harris teeter, a renovated Safeway in Adams Morgan, a small Safeway in Dupont Circle, a big Whole Foods nearby, and a Trader Joe's in Foggy Bottom. Perhaps the poeple you know can only walk a couple of blocks???
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:55 AM
 
258 posts, read 914,907 times
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Buffalo, easily.

I would say the same for Cleveland too
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Town of Herndon/DC Metro
2,289 posts, read 5,583,802 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HBINDC View Post
Thanks for the quick responses so far.

Just a comment regarding the post about DC. I live in Adams Morgan and there are a ton of doctors in Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, downtown...whole buildings full in fact...not to mention GW Hospital. For supermarkets, there is a new Harris teeter, a renovated Safeway in Adams Morgan, a small Safeway in Dupont Circle, a big Whole Foods nearby, and a Trader Joe's in Foggy Bottom. Perhaps the poeple you know can only walk a couple of blocks???

A couple are Pregnant and very picky --but most of the non-babied friends go into MD for for lots of things.(we are probably older than you)

However, if you find DC very walkable, you will find Chicago and NYC a dream. I find from my limited use of Metro, that you need to walk a considerable distance to get to stations. This is not the case in Chicago
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
3,547 posts, read 7,583,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leighland View Post
However, if you find DC very walkable, you will find Chicago and NYC a dream. I find from my limited use of Metro, that you need to walk a considerable distance to get to stations. This is not the case in Chicago
This is true re: the Metro...it covers a broad area of service, but the stations--even in the central part of the city--can be quite far apart.

That said, DC's compactness helps to make up for it. From my home in Logan Circle, I can (and have) walk to U Street, Dupont, Adams-Morgan, Columbia Heights, Georgetown, Chinatown/Penn Quarter, Foggy Bottom and the West End. I don't know that I'd say that Chicago and NY are more walkable than DC; but their transit system (at least NY's) is more extensive.

DC also has one of the most extensive bus systems in the country, as well as the Circulator lines and soon-to-come streetcar lines (although the first one of those doesn't really lead anywhere; another topic for another time.)
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
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I've lived in Cleveland for 3 years without a car before. But I also lived by two train stops that were within walking distance.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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I live in such a neighborhood in St. Paul. Minneapolis has them, too, as do one or two first ring Twin Cities suburbs.
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