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Old 01-20-2009, 09:19 AM
 
13 posts, read 38,495 times
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Hi,
My husband and I are moving to Kansas City for about a year. He will be working at St. Luke's Hospital and will have a car. I, on the other hand, probably will not. We're moving from NYC and it looks relatively certain that we will be going back at the end of the year, so unless having a car is an absolute must, I would rather not have to deal with the hassle.

Can a person live in Kansas City, MO without a car? Is the public transportation adequate? Which areas would you suggest if a person wanted to be within walking distance of basics (library, a few shops and resturants, a gym or decent running trails, a bus stop).

I'd love to hear locals take on the public transit (clean, runs on time, safe, etc). Also, I'm fine with walking (at least up to a mile) just as long as I'm not dodging traffic or feel unsafe.

Any information would be appreciated. Thanks!

Last edited by dsvalpo; 01-20-2009 at 09:28 AM..
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Our public transportation is pretty much nonexistant. We have a bus system but unless you live and work right smack in the middle of downtown, it doesnt do much good unless you want to spend hours on the bus.

I couldnt get by without a car.

Kansas City is actually one of the top 5 most spread out metropolitan areas on the entire country.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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I disagree RjRobb2, at least in this specific instance.

If you work at St Lukes, simply live in the core of the city. First off, I assume this is the Plaza StLukes and not a suburban StLukes?

If you work at the plaza St Lukes, then you could easily live in the Plaza/Westport area without a car. You could even live in the Midtown/Downtown area.

I think the biggest, and really only change will be grocery shopping. There is a large grocery store in Westport and one Downtown as well as others in Brookside and a few smaller ones in the urban core, but they may or may not be walkable depending on where you live.

But this could be easily overcome by simply catching a cab when you plan to do some grocery shopping. Cabs are plentiful in urban KCMO or you could take a bus for smaller grocery trips. An occasional cab is still far cheaper than having to own a car.

Nearly everything is accessible via transit in KCMO. KCI, the stadiums, the zoo, the museums, the festivals etc. The only thing that you would not have access to is the suburban areas. Most of the suburbs are only served by rush hour commuter service and even that is extremely limited.

The plaza and downtown have very nice, large libraries, nearby parks that are very popular with runners and fitness centers are all around the area.

Metro KC is very spread out and transit is nearly non-existent in the outlying areas of the metro, but the urban core of KCMO from downtown all the way to Brookside is very dense and transit is very good. It’s not like NYC, but it’s just as good as any major midsized urban city, probably better than most.

I would look around the plaza, just west of StLukes, so you can walk there, but you really have a lot of choices. Just stay close to a MAX stop which is the quickest bus route between the Downtown and Plaza areas. But there are many other busy bus lines in this corridor as well and like I said, plenty of cabs.
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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Thanks for the info. I figured I might be OK in the downtown area, but one can never tell by maps and city websites. It's nice to have confirmation that it can be done by an actual resident.

On a related note, do I need to worry about safety using the buses? Everyone uses mass transit here, but is it true in the Midwest it tends to be looked down upon?
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:22 PM
 
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Default Definitely a Car in KC!

I don't use public transportation, so I can't offer my opinion there, but I can't imagine living in KC without a car. I was born and raised near the St. Luke's Hospital area and although the "Country Club Plaza" offers nice restaurants and shopping withing walking distance to St. Lukes, I think you would run out of placing to go quickly. KC is not like other cities. It is very spread out. I'd say it would be worth buying at least a cheap car, or make him walk to work and you drive the car! Good Luck.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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[quote=dsvalpo;7085808]Thanks for the info. I figured I might be OK in the downtown area, but one can never tell by maps and city websites. It's nice to have confirmation that it can be done by an actual resident.

Yes, it’s true, buses are looked down on in the midwest, but you are totally safe.

They are not looked down on by other city residents, but it’s looked down on by suburban residents.

You will find in KCMO that every walk of life rides transit, just like in any major city. From people that live in $400,000 condos and homes to the homeless. But if you ask somebody in the burbs, they will tell you that only poor people and criminals ride them.

They will also tell you that they have never set foot on an transit bus and wouldn’t know the first thing about how to ride one if they had to, so I’m not sure why they would know this.

I have ridden the buses in KC for over 20 years and have never had a single problem.

KCMO was built around transit. The city had one of the most extensive urban transit systems in the country that included one of the largest streetcar networks, so the city is built rather dense in the core unlike a lot of newer cities like Phoenix or Denver and was a very large city at that time as well so again, even though the metro is quite spread out, urban KCMO has probably one of the more dense and compact urban cores of Midwest Cities.

You can really get around the Brookside/Plaza/Westport/Midtown/Crown Center/Downtown/River Market area very well via buses and a lot of people do.

All buses have bike racks as well which is nice as a lot of towns don’t do that, I’m pretty sure NYC doesn’t.

One more thing about KC. People here don’t walk. It’s nothing for me to walk a mile or so in the core of the city, but most people in this town won’t walk more than a block before freaking out. Again, that’s more the suburban crowd, not those that live in the city, but you have a greater chance of talking to somebody from a suburban area than somebody that lives in the city.

Don’t get me wrong, compared to NYC, KCMO is a very small city, just as just about every city in the country is compared to NYC. But it can be a very livable urban city. You don’t have to live in a big home with a yard 20 miles from the city here.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what urban kcmo offers. Most people are.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
11,095 posts, read 22,356,200 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mission Traveler View Post
I don't use public transportation, so I can't offer my opinion there, but I can't imagine living in KC without a car. I was born and raised near the St. Luke's Hospital area and although the "Country Club Plaza" offers nice restaurants and shopping withing walking distance to St. Lukes, I think you would run out of placing to go quickly. KC is not like other cities. It is very spread out. I'd say it would be worth buying at least a cheap car, or make him walk to work and you drive the car! Good Luck.
Why?, I know people that live in the city that don't have a car and they never have any reason or desire to do so. They don't care about Oak Park Mall or Leawood Town Center etc, they don’t work in a suburban office park. Everything they need is in the Downtown to Plaza corridor.

Everything.

They go to ballgames, etc via buses and like I said, KCMO has a lot of taxi cabs and even if you take a few a week, I’m not sure it would add up to property taxes alone on owning a car.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
Why?, I know people that live in the city that don't have a car and they never have any reason or desire to do so. They don't care about Oak Park Mall or Leawood Town Center etc, they don’t work in a suburban office park. Everything they need is in the Downtown to Plaza corridor.

Everything.

They go to ballgames, etc via buses and like I said, KCMO has a lot of taxi cabs and even if you take a few a week, I’m not sure it would add up to property taxes alone on owning a car.

Everyone I know that lives downtown owns a car doesnt use the buses. They have always told me that it is a complete pain to use the buses.

I personally dont like being in situations where I am not in control of my own transportation. I dont even normally go places as a passenger. I like to drive my own car and be in control of when I go, leave, and arrive everywhere I go.
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Old 01-20-2009, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
11,095 posts, read 22,356,200 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RjRobb2 View Post
Everyone I know that lives downtown owns a car doesnt use the buses. They have always told me that it is a complete pain to use the buses.

I personally dont like being in situations where I am not in control of my own transportation. I dont even normally go places as a passenger. I like to drive my own car and be in control of when I go, leave, and arrive everywhere I go.
Well, everybody I know that lives downtown or in the midtown plaza areas do use buses. I’m not sure I know anybody that lives in the city that doesn’t use the buses occasionally.

Now, I only know a few that use buses exclusively, most have cars. Some of those cars just might sit for days or even weeks without being used though.

A lot of new residents downtown are from rural areas or suburban areas and it will take a while, if ever, for many of them to even try transit let alone put up with many of the in-conveniences of transit. But if you grew up in urban KCMO or are from another major urban area, transit is really no big deal and can be easily used as a primary way to get around along with walking, biking, cabs and of course friends.
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:23 PM
 
1,662 posts, read 4,307,831 times
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[quote=kcmo;7086421]
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsvalpo View Post
They are not looked down on by other city residents, but it’s looked down on by suburban residents.

You will find in KCMO that every walk of life rides transit, just like in any major city. From people that live in $400,000 condos and homes to the homeless. But if you ask somebody in the burbs, they will tell you that only poor people and criminals ride them.
I'm really getting tired of this crap. kcmo, please stop speaking for those of us who live in the suburbs. You really have no idea what you're talking about. Yes, we all know you LOVE the urban core and detest and despise anyone who dares to live outside of its gilded streets and opts instead for the barren, boring, snotty, stuck up, over-priced, beige, wastelands of the dreaded 'burbs. Enough already!

To the OP:
Coming from NYC, if you are uncomfortable getting a car right away, don't get one. There are planty of neighborhoods where you'll be fine and get to most of the places you want to get to for the first few months.

Since your husband will have a car, you will soon see the advantages and may sometimes decide to drop him off at work and use the car yourself - and may even decide to get a cheap car of your own -- or not. In your situation, one car will probably be adequate for the year.

You could even live outside the urban core - just don't tell kcmo! -- and be fine with one car between you. There are plenty of suburban neighborhoods on both sides of the state line where you can live within walking distance of a library, decent shopping and a bus stop.

Personally - if I were going to be here for only the year, I would want to be able to get out and explore - and for that you will need a car. Kansas City and the surrounding areas do have a lot to see and do, and if you want to be out and about at your leisure, you won't want to rely on the buses. But then if you plan to do most of your exploring with your husband on evenings and weekends - you'll be fine. <shrug>

If you are uncomfortable driving in general (if you never have, for example) the midwest is probably one of the best places to learn to drive. You will be able to easily find quiet roads with little traffic to practice on.

Best of luck to you!
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