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Old 02-17-2013, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 872,207 times
Reputation: 217

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Here's something more positive, to get this thread away from Road rage...

I have had a really useful post on my Carfree-Greenville thread. This is a good example of the type of posting that can advance discussions - and move away from these "rear-guard" postings by car users, who are defending their turf:

Quote:
Originally Posted by striketeamvic View Post
I just wanted to chime in with a few thoughts here.... I have been a resident at The Brio since July 2008 and I have to say that I walk to downtown a fair amount. I work in another city so I don't have the luxury of working from home (Jealous!) but when I go downtown I walk most of the time. Over the last 18 months they have done a 5.1 Million dollar renovation on Church street going into downtown and as a result of this the sidewalks are nice and wide which makes it a more pleasant experience.

There was also a project announced in December of 2012 that the mayor spoke about - Another mixed-use project slated for downtown Greenville.

This will add over 300 new luxury apartments for rent and also 16,000 SF of restaurant and retail space. I think for that square footage it would be a few small restaurant or boutique type things but I'm not sure. I don't think you'll get a grocery store or anything like that. The closest grocery store is the Publix at McBee Station. It's not a far walk but it might be a little rough if you have a bunch of heavy groceries to bring back. I believe wholeheartedly that this new development will be the next catalyst for growing this area out. The street renovations triggered this project and hopefully this project will trigger further development.

I have also heard that they will be starting a trolley service down Church street in the next year or so and this would make things even easier on the walking crowd. I read somewhere this was dependent on federal funds so take that with a grain of salt.

Also, I have a friend that lives downtown and doesn't own a car, but they use ZipCar when they absolutely needed a car. I don't know what the pricing structure is on that but they had nothing but good things to say about it. Adding all of that together, you can walk downtown on a new sidewalk currently, but in the near future you should be able to take a trolley car down to main street and the ZipCar rental (I believe) is out of the garage behind the Westin Poinsett.

Sorry if this was more of a ramble...
My response was:
==
Excellent post!
Just the sort of information that I have been looking for here

A few questions:

+ Have you tried using a bicycle for traveling into town? If not, why not?
+ Do you ever use the bus? Is it convenient and frequent enough?
+ Can you say more about the street renovation, was it only on the sidewalks? What else?
+ The new 300-apt development, is it nearby?
+ Do you think new developments and Density will develop along the route into the city?
+ Are there many Zip car outlets?
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:04 AM
 
Location: State of Grace
1,582 posts, read 1,136,718 times
Reputation: 2614
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geologic View Post
Living without a Car : Is it possible ? ... in NC/SC



Here's the main message that I have used to start four threads on City-data forums:

=== QUOTE ===
I have lived happily without a car for many years, and in some great cities.

I am now considering a move to the ??? area.

I do not want to waste $8-10,000 per annum on a vehicle*, if I can avoid it.

Have you got any suggestions for places to live in the area?
A nice Walkable neighborhood is what I am seeking, and one which also has some decent transport links.

So far, I have been eyeing the areas in and around :

( Specific areas of the city mentioned)

BTW, I am self-employed, and normally work from home, and so I do not need to commute every day.

Surely, there must be people in the area, who enjoy the wonderful freedom of living a car-free life, and are willing to share some of their secrets.
=== UNQUOTE ===

I have started threads like this on C-D for four cities in NC and SC:

+ Charlotte NC : Living without a Car : Is it possible in the Charlotte area?
+ Asheville, NC : http://www.city-data.com/forum/weste...ille-area.html
+ Greenville SC : Living without a Car : Is it possible in the Greenville area?
+ Rock Hill+ SC : Living without a Car : Is it possible in the area?

In general, the threads have inspired a fecal storm, as the Car-drivers jumped in, and tossed mud at the idea that I was suggesting there was something WRONG with their communities, because I wanted to live car-free. No! I was just inquiring as to whether it is possible, and searching for areas within the city where it might be.

Yes, I am looking for a possible place to live. But I am also looking for a place to invest. Past experience has taught me that investing in cities with good jobs, and improving transport is a very smart idea. And investing near that transport, as it is improved, is a great idea.

Coming out of the housing downturn of 2006-2012, I think it will be a very powerful investment theme.

I am very keen to hear if people here have suggestions and comments on this.

If there are few comments, then I might post some HIGHLIGHTS here of those other threads.

=== ===

*I have also started a thread here in the Urban-Living section, backing up the claim that
the average car owner spends that much annually on his/her vehicle.

Of course it's possible to live without a car in this era; I did so myself for years. When DH and I are at home, as in not on tour, we like to have a car because we're so far removed from... everywhere, and we're not at home long enough to plant a garden and start a homestead, so we require to visit the big bad city once a year for supplies.

At no time do we spend anywhere near $8-10,000 a year on/for our car; that's ridiculous!

We spend, on average, fifty bucks a month for gas and oil, and circa $200 a year for tires. We drive a 1990 GM tracker, which is great in these mountains, and it's still going strong. It costs us about $14 to drive 110 kilometers, and I'm not sure what that comes down to in MPG, and am too tired at three in the morning to do the math, but it's certainly in the category of 'good.'

In total we spend no more than $1,750 a year to have and maintain our car, including insuring it, and that's if we're home all year, which doesn't happen often.

'Course, we don't spend much on anything compared to most people, it seems, and while we are frugal (we buy in bulk and when goods are on sale), we're not stingy, we're just fond of the simple life.

May God bless you and yours,

Mahrie.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:02 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 872,207 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahrie View Post
Of course it's possible to live without a car in this era; I did so myself for years...
In total we spend no more than $1,750 a year to have and maintain our car, including insuring it, and that's if we're home all year, which doesn't happen often.

'Course, we don't spend much on anything compared to most people, it seems, and while we are frugal (we buy in bulk and when goods are on sale), we're not stingy, we're just fond of the simple life.
Okay.
What I find interesting is the number of people saying they spend far less that $8,000 per annum on their vehicles. So if the government figures are right, and Americans on average spend $8,000 per annum (either per car or per household, there still some doubt which if these it is), then there must be people out there spending far more.

But those Big-spenders seem not to be posting here on C-D.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:22 AM
 
935 posts, read 1,055,896 times
Reputation: 1777
I thought about this thread all day yesterday. The two choices are being framed as simplistic when really they could go much deeper. I mean the places I took this in my mind yesterday were insane. One of the issues raised is environmental impact, which can't be ignored, vehicles are large polluters. But realistically, aren't cities the largest polluters. I mean we just keep building and consuming and building and consuming. I mean if we are really going to do what's best for the environment we will all move to the country and grow and raise what we need and stop consuming. We enact a global one child policy for a number of decades.

Obviously we will never do those things. So it is a constant balance, trying to juggle the populace's desires with available space and resources. From the tone and abundance of these "Car-free" living threads you seem to be in favor of moving towards a car free existence. While that may be possible in urban areas, it is not necessarily the best solution. It seems like it'd be better to focus on solutions which benefit both car and noncar folks.

And as for big-spenders on vehicles, I'm not sure I follow your point. Yes, I probably spend 8k or more in total for our two vehicles. Since I am the one who makes and tracks our family budget, this isn't news to me. We have a weekly gas budget, we always have and we always will until they break big oil and start producing electric cars. I also anticipate an increase in our gas expenditures every year. That's just life. I've run the numbers on a horse and buggy, it's still more expensive than a car when you take into account food and vet bills, building a barn, getting up every morning and night. Its also colder, and the radio sucks (I'm not the best singer), and doesn't have automatic start, so we are going to stick with automobiles for now.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:37 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 872,207 times
Reputation: 217
Thanks for the thoughtful post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaleyRocks View Post
I thought about this thread all day yesterday. The two choices are being framed as simplistic when really they could go much deeper. I mean the places I took this in my mind yesterday were insane. One of the issues raised is environmental impact, which can't be ignored, vehicles are large polluters. But realistically, aren't cities the largest polluters. I mean we just keep building and consuming and building and consuming. I mean if we are really going to do what's best for the environment we will all move to the country and grow and raise what we need and stop consuming. We enact a global one child policy for a number of decades.

Obviously we will never do those things. So it is a constant balance,....
"We will never do those things..."
Well, we might. We may be forced to do some, or even all of these things because of changes in the economy. Have you ever heard of JH Kunstler's book, The Long Emergency? He talks about how resource depletion, and rising prices - especially oil prices - may force us to live very, very differently. We may be forced to give up most of our cars, and also to give up our global economy. We will be left living locally, much closer to nature. JHK thinks the successful communities will be those that "have a meaningful relationship with agriculture." In other words, we may struggle to feed ourselves, and the jobs that are left, will mainly be those involved in growing food. What a huge change that would mean for most those reading this thread!

Is the city "the biggest polluter", I don't think so, since most cities have done away with their heavy industry. However, the city is the biggest energy user, just as you might expect. But if you run the numbers ON A PER CAPITA BASIS, then you find the exact opposite. City dwellers use less energy and other resources than those outside the city. I suppose all that driving that rural and suburban people do is the reason for this.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:49 AM
 
935 posts, read 1,055,896 times
Reputation: 1777
No I've never heard of that book but it sounds very interesting.

I'm ashamed to say that I live on a farm but have no ability to raise cattle or grow a garden. I was going to say no clue, but I've got a lot of clues as I've watched my father do it for years. He got into farming after I was an adult and we live half a mile down the road from them.

It'd be very interesting to think about what would happen to the future of farming if we have a break down in technology. While Dad has about 20 head of cattle and he would be fine, our other neighbors have a factory farm with 3,000 head of cattle. Factory Farming is our newest industry. It's like living next to a factory, they are operating 24-7. I can get up at 3 am and see people driving tractors over the feed hills, which are larger than my house and about a quarter mile long. Ok I have to stop, get me going on the ills of large farms and I'll never end.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 872,207 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaleyRocks View Post
No I've never heard of that book but it sounds very interesting.
It'd be very interesting to think about what would happen to the future of farming if we have a break down in technology...
In TLE, living on a viable family farm might be one of the best places to be,
provided your energy requirements are not too high.

Kunstler is a fascinating fellow, and you should listen to one of his many podcasts on:
The KunstlerCast - I haven't missed a single one !
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,472 posts, read 5,142,736 times
Reputation: 3528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geologic View Post
Okay.
What I find interesting is the number of people saying they spend far less that $8,000 per annum on their vehicles. So if the government figures are right, and Americans on average spend $8,000 per annum (either per car or per household, there still some doubt which if these it is), then there must be people out there spending far more.

But those Big-spenders seem not to be posting here on C-D.
The averages are correct. It's pointless to use individual data to refute an average as one's situation is already factored into the average.

For years I spent far less when I lived closer to work. I didn't need to buy a new car as often, spent less on gas, insurance, and maintenance. Now I spend far more as I live further from my current job. I bought the most efficient car that I could to meet the needs of my geography and family. I average $375 per month just on gas. I generally replace my car every 5 years at 150,000 miles when the maintenance cost starts to exceed the amortized monthly cost of purchasing a new one.

Most people would like to live closer to employment. However, jobs are often geographically spread out and I have known people who have purchased homes near employment only to have take a job much further from their new location because of circumstances beyond their control like their company being bought out by a competitor.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:45 AM
 
6,634 posts, read 4,593,253 times
Reputation: 13344
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnian View Post
The averages are correct. It's pointless to use individual data to refute an average as one's situation is already factored into the average.

For years I spent far less when I lived closer to work. I didn't need to buy a new car as often, spent less on gas, insurance, and maintenance. Now I spend far more as I live further from my current job. I bought the most efficient car that I could to meet the needs of my geography and family. I average $375 per month just on gas. I generally replace my car every 5 years at 150,000 miles when the maintenance cost starts to exceed the amortized monthly cost of purchasing a new one.

Most people would like to live closer to employment. However, jobs are often geographically spread out and I have known people who have purchased homes near employment only to have take a job much further from their new location because of circumstances beyond their control like their company being bought out by a competitor.
I agree and we purchased our home 4 years ago because it's a short drive to the hubby's office. Of course, that matters very little since he's mostly on the road to see customers all around the area. No way to get around him having a car for work regardless of where we live. It's just a cost we have to deal with.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 872,207 times
Reputation: 217
How do denser cities cope with the "drive to work issue"?

Well, in a city with a more mature transport network, employers will often CHOOSE TO BE NEAR transport stations, because they know it will make them more attractive to work.

Progress in that direction will take time, but I suppose if employers know that their employees can spend less money, and maybe less time, in getting to work, they will find that they have less turnover.
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