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Unread 03-10-2012, 01:40 PM
 
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Default Public transit in portland

From the standpoint of those of you who live in Portland, how good is the mass transit in the city? Do any of you live without a car? Is the transit system a good value and are there enough routes?
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Unread 03-10-2012, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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It is a good value if it goes to and from the places you want to go. Some routes are more frequent than others and yes there are contributors on this board who live without a car. It is as good as SFO? No. It is better than SV? Yes.
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Unread 03-10-2012, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Portland OR
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I have lived in Portland for over thirty years without a car. It has become more and more difficult as time goes by due to cutbacks of routes and bus service.

There is a bright side though, if you live in an area like I do, where the bus service has not been cut back as drastically as many places, you can manage. I live between two major bus lines and although there has been some cutting back they are still good.

I walk to one grocery store and take a bus to another. It is often necessary to go downtown to transfer to a bus line that will back track you to the area you want to go. But if you have patience and time, you will get there. Many bus routes consist of a single bus going very long circuitous routes.

With a few exceptions, all bus routes lead to downtown. So if you work there the commute is easy especially if you live closer in.

Some people I know who don't own a car will rent a ZipCar for long trips or to get to a place in the city that is not easily accessible (or not at all) by bus.

I haven't mentioned the light rail MAX because I don't deal with it all that often. But I believe in order to take advantage of it when you do not have a car is to live close to a MAX line. Of course a train can only go in one direction so it can be limited in taking you where you want to go.

The caveat to all of this is that the neighborhoods with the best bus service are also the most expensive ones to live in. You pay for the amenities. But I think that is true in most cities.

So to answer your question, yes you can live in Portland without a car but it will take planning.
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Unread 03-10-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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Hi,
Thanks for the replies. I'm researching potential retirement locations, and while I hope to live on a modest budget in retirement, not having a car can be a huge plus, for me at least, with all the costs, maintenance, etc. I would not be working, so there is no commuting issue. But I'd like to find a small place to live that is somewhat close to good grocery shopping (Trader Joes?) and that is safe and in an interesting neighborhood. I could always rent a Zipcar for a longer trip out of town. I like the liberal leanings in Portland, and while there are less expensive places to retire to in the US, I"d be unhappy in a "red state" or very conservative place. The climate would not be an issue for me, cooler and rainy is good, compared to blazing heat, for me at least. Anyway, I'm sad to hear about the transit cutbacks, but it's happening everywhere. At least there seems to be a reasonable public transit system, and perhaps it is doable to live without a car there.
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Unread 03-10-2012, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Portland OR
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I am also a retiree. If you are 65 or over you can get an "Honored Citizens" transit pass. But I would caution you that with the ever increasing COL it has become much more difficult to live in Portland on a fixed income. I am waiting for the stars to align (actually some legal stuff) when I can move to a more affordable city.

Not owning a car will help.
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Unread 03-10-2012, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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There is a really basic senior citizen apartment building, Marshall Union Manor, that would work for you but they may have a wait list. ULRA Marshall Union Manor (this link isn't working for me at the moment) The units are very small so not really suitable for a couple IMHO.

Otherwise, apartments in that area are on the expensive side (at least by our standards).

Between the street car and buses 77 & 17 you have it made. Trader Joe's is on Glisan Street between 21st & 22nd (bus 17). Fred Meyer is on Burnside Street at 20th (bus 17 goes by on Burnside), Safeway is on the streetcar line. The streets in this neighborhood are in alphabetical order, some people call this the alphabet district.

Last edited by Nell Plotts; 03-10-2012 at 03:44 PM..
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Unread 03-10-2012, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Portland OR
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Nell, that's good advice but I didn't suggest Senior Housing because recently a friend of mine was looking into it and there was a two to three year waiting list for the apartments. Also, when they call you for an apartment you have to accept it and move in asap or it goes to the next person. I don't think the OP could do that long distance.
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Unread 03-10-2012, 06:08 PM
 
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My time frame is about one year to 18 months to move, and I would certainly visit (probably more than once) any city I was considering. Someone on another thread mentioned the good website: airbnb.com for inexpensive accommodations in any city and to avoid large hotels, which can be expensive. In my research so far, and with gas prices going through the roof, I think eliminating car ownership would be a real plus in the right city. Unfortunately, where that is possible tends to be an expensive city.

But I think I'm willing to pay more for housing to be able to ditch the car, given not only the costs but the general hassle. And at some point, driving won't be an option for any of us with advancing age. I'm thinking that wherever I end up for retirement, I would start off with a car, but would like to be in a place where it's possible to get rid of it. San Francisco is not an option (way too expensive to live in CA), and the east coast is also very expensive (NYC, Boston). But of course, those are cities with good mass transit. I do appreciate the good feedback about Portland, which has better transit than a lot of places in the US, where it's generally non-existent or just a basic system with a few major bus routes.
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Unread 03-10-2012, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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You never know until you ask. Heck, an apartment may come up and they go down the wait list until someone accepts it but that doesn't mean that they kick you off the wait list.

It is really difficult to find an apartment in NW without being here for a mutual look-over. The OP may need to come out 30-60 days before he wants to move and sign a lease a month early.
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Unread 03-10-2012, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Portland OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
You never know until you ask. Heck, an apartment may come up and they go down the wait list until someone accepts it but that doesn't mean that they kick you off the wait list.

It is really difficult to find an apartment in NW without being here for a mutual look-over. The OP may need to come out 30-60 days before he wants to move and sign a lease a month early.
They won't kick you off the wait list but they will put your name down at the bottom if you turn then down so the wait begins all over again.

Anyway, it doesn't appear the OP is interested in Senior Housing. At least not at the moment. Coming here and scouting out places as he intends to do is a good idea.
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