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Old 10-29-2012, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Puerto Rico
353 posts, read 901,157 times
Reputation: 168

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I am looking at a serious job offer where I have the option of moving to Chicago or KC. A major criterion for me is public transportation.

I notice that KC has a bus system and no subway or light rail. This is not bad for me as long as the bus is efficient and reliable.

The question is, how easy it is to live in KC without a car?

Think about commuting, groceries, entertainment, etc. How easy would it be to do all those things if I didn't have a car?
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
12,064 posts, read 27,207,945 times
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I would say this is highly dependent on where you'll be working.

As a whole, if you choose your neighborhood carefully and if you work anywhere between Downtown and the Plaza, living in Kansas City without a car would be a relatively painless experience.

I would look at living downtown, particularly the Power and Light district so you have easy access to the Cosentino's supermarket, Westport (or the neighborhood just west of it, Volker) which also will have easy access to a supermarket or the Plaza (or possibly the neighborhood just west of it, West Plaza)

There's simply no argument that for those who want to live a car less lifestyle that Chicago is the more obvious answer, but with Chicago comes a huge additional cost as well. We lived in Wicker Park and now live in Volker and we spend half as much for an apartment twice as large.

You might, if it makes sense for your industry, consider St. Louis as well. Housing prices are similar to Kansas City but the light rail adds an additional, very reliable, layer of transit coverage that is extremely useful.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Puerto Rico
353 posts, read 901,157 times
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Cost of living is the definite important point here. That's why I'm thinking the decision through.

It seems that my options will be quite lower compared to Chicago. I'll still do some research about how expensive is having a car in KC. In Chicago, having a car can quite expensive.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
12,064 posts, read 27,207,945 times
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Having a car in Kansas City is very inexpensive. Parking is free or cheap, gas is relatively inexpensive and there are no city sticker fees like there are in Chicago. If price is your only reason to consider being carless, I think it would make more sense to buy a beaterthat'll last for a few years. Then again maintenance and insurance do add up and a bus pass is only $50/month.
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:23 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 3,109,783 times
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Obviously KC transit (and urbanity overall) can't compare to Chicago and is below average metro wide but in the city core it's doable, especially if you live along this line, which runs every 10 minutes during day and 15 at night. My brother came to KC from Philly and lived for years w/out a car (first the Plaza area and then City Market) before going to NYC. He never really complained about transit and figured out how to make it work along with bike. A friend from Chicago came to KC and likes that you can get the best of both as having a car is very easy in KC (essentially no regular traffic, free parking almost everywhere) yet transit is an option at least if living in city core. The only noticeable inconvenience is to the airport and most use a shuttle or pay extra for a cab. What KC has coming that Chicago doesn't (or any other city) - Google Gigabit Fiber.

Check out www.kcata.org for all lines. This should give you some context of city core main line...

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1238514/pics/bus/maxmwk.gif
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Puerto Rico
353 posts, read 901,157 times
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Interesting. I'll have to make some research about buying a car in KC and its corresponding insurance.

The lower cost of insurance is certainly a temptation. Also, a friend of mine will already be living at KC by the time I relocate.

If you have any further input about neighborhoods I can make it work without a car, pleass let me know.
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
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So long as you live somewhere close to Main Street between the River Market and the Plaza (or even points further south), KC has a pretty good bus system that is used by a lot of people. The north/south linear core of kcmo is pretty well served by transit, even better than many cities that have light rail. The buses in KC suck pretty bad though wen you want to take transit to even the inner ring suburbs. Most outer parts of the metro are not even served excpet by a few rush hour routes.

So I think the only problem may be is when you do need to make a trip to a big box store or have a major grocery store trip etc. Those are times when having zip cars would come in handy. I don't know if kc has anything like that yet though.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,346,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efrenb5 View Post
I am looking at a serious job offer where I have the option of moving to Chicago or KC. A major criterion for me is public transportation.

I notice that KC has a bus system and no subway or light rail. This is not bad for me as long as the bus is efficient and reliable.

The question is, how easy it is to live in KC without a car?

Think about commuting, groceries, entertainment, etc. How easy would it be to do all those things if I didn't have a car?
Disclaimer: I read the OP and immediately posted, as I am a Chicago transplant in KC. I haven't read others posts, this is just my immediate gut reaction.

If solid public trans is MAJOR criteria for you, go to Chicago. If it's a convenience you'd like, but not a necessity, entertain the thought of KC, all other things being equal.

When I first moved to KC, I did have a car, but it was on its last leg, and I worked on a main bus line and worked downtown. It was the idea situation for a bus commute, and I did do it, but it was not efficient, due to limited bus runs. It's not like Chicago where buses and trains come along with regularity. Service is sparse. I ended up having to always get to work 45 minutes early. And this was best-possible-scenario, public trans-wise, Plaza to downtown.


I then switched jobs, and it was a 20-minute drive. Using the bus system would have taken two buses, a 45 min. layover in between, and would still have dropped me off more than a mile's walk from work. Untenable. And then they dropped one of those bus lines, anyway. Unless you live and work in one of KC's very core, walkable 'hoods, and are of a particular breed of urban dweller who does not venture much outside your neighborhood sphere, you will more likely than not need a car in KC, or do without and be often inconvenienced. I currently live in one of the most walkable neighborhoods, in terms of entertainment and most amenities, but there is still no good, walkable option for groceries.

I love KC dearly and recommend it without prejudice as a great place to live, but in my honest opinion, it is NOT the city for someone who MUST have very solid, efficient public transportation and is not willing/able to own a car, even just for backup. I loved living in Chicago and not having to have a car. I love living in KC even more, even though it mean I have to have a car, which I'd go without in a heartbeat if it were practical to do so. The cost of living in KC more than makes up for what you'd save by living in Chicago sans car. Been on both sides. It's the better deal, all other things being equal. It just depends on what you want. But I would say that deciding to forego a car in KC would def. hamper quality of life, the city being what it is and the public trans being what it is.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
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^ yea, but if you live and work along the Main Street corridor, you can almost step outside and catch a bus at any time and chances are it would only be one bus (no transfers).

Now if you don't live and work along that corridor, then things change in a hurry.
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:29 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 3,109,783 times
Reputation: 532
It sounds like owning a car is an option for the OP and it's much easier/cheaper to have one in KC, even in the city core. But yeah, if you don't live/work in the city core, you must have a car - same can be said with most mid-sized cities. If you do live/work in the city core, owning a car is a luxury, not as much a necessity than if in the burbs.

And btw, KC does now have ZipCars at UMKC.
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