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Old 03-18-2022, 01:18 PM
Status: "school starts soon!" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: close to home
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Whether or not you need a car in NJ is highly subjective as others have said and REALLY depends on your location. I live 7 minutes by car to the nearest train station but it would take me an hour to get there by bus.
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Old 03-18-2022, 01:21 PM
46H
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HudsonCoNJ View Post
Whether living in NJ without a car is convenient is highly subjective so nobody is really going to come to a consensus here. I think if you’re looking to live somewhere suburban here without a car, it should be somewhere with a relatively large downtown. The top 3 places that come to mind for me are Ridgewood, Westfield, and Montclair. Certainly there are others but these have the most impressive downtown, in my opinion of course.
Living without a car is not subjective in suburban Bergen County, NJ.

In 2019, only 4.59% of Bergen County households did not have a car. That is a clear consensus that you need a car to live in suburban Bergen County.
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Last edited by Yac; 03-22-2022 at 11:05 PM..
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Old 03-18-2022, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Jersey City
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Get a bike. That can really extend your range beyond what's within a 1/2 mile radius, and you don't have to rely on really poor suburban bus service to get farther afield. Maaaany New Jersey's streets and roads are pretty dangerous for cycling, though, so it would take some planning to find safe routes to where you need to go. Get some panniers and baskets on a standard bike and you can cart home 6-7 bags of groceries. Get a cargo bike, and you can do much more than that.
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Old 03-18-2022, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Bergen County, NJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 46H View Post
Living without a car is not subjective in suburban Bergen County, NJ.

In 2019, only 4.59% of Bergen County households did not have a car. That is a clear consensus that you need a car to live in suburban Bergen County.
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That’s not really a rational use of stats. You’re smarter than that.

Bergen County is a largely affluent county, one of the wealthiest in the state. Wealthy people typically opt to drive as opposed to rely on public transportation because they indulge in luxuries.

Take a look at your source and check out Passaic County. According to that site, 10% of Passaic County’s households don’t have cars. In its entirety, I wouldn’t think Passaic County is any more walkable than Bergen County, but it sure is a lot poorer.

And that 4.59% of Bergen County households still amounts to 22,000 households. So it may not be very common around these parts but 22,000 people are doing it so it is possible and presumably convenient for them.

So yea, it is subjective.

Last edited by Yac; 03-22-2022 at 11:05 PM..
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Old 03-18-2022, 02:30 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HudsonCoNJ View Post
Whether living in NJ without a car is convenient is highly subjective so nobody is really going to come to a consensus here. I think if you’re looking to live somewhere suburban here without a car, it should be somewhere with a relatively large downtown. The top 3 places that come to mind for me are Ridgewood, Westfield, and Montclair. Certainly there are others but these have the most impressive downtown, in my opinion of course.
That's a good way to put it. Probably good to give the most likely candidates for the OP and then they can do further research, and if it seems good, then take a look around to make sure it works for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 46H View Post
Living without a car is not subjective in suburban Bergen County, NJ.

In 2019, only 4.59% of Bergen County households did not have a car. That is a clear consensus that you need a car to live in suburban Bergen County.
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The majority of households in Bergen County do have a car, though I think one thing to consider is that Bergen County has about a million people in it, so that 4.9% likely works out to tens of thousands of households without a car. Living in the southern reaches of Bergen County close to Hudson County is probably where a significant proportion of those people live. If there was just a random number generator that picked a random house in Bergen County for the OP to live in, then yea, chances are it won't work out very well for the OP, but that's not what's going on here, right?
---

I think the context here is pretty clear--OP is looking for places where he and his family (an adult couple plus parents) can live most easily without a car and that one of the main aspects of where a car often comes in handy, that is in a daily commute, isn't a major factor for them because only one person is commuting and is doing that a few days a month to Midtown Manhattan which should open things up a lot more. If it were a daily commute to a place inaccessible by mass transit, then that would greatly change what's available.

With that being said, I think the main factors to consider here are what places have a lot of basic needs within easy walking distance, what provides a fairly easy trip to Midtown Manhattan, what places have what level of mass transit service especially outside of just that Midtown Manhattan commute period, and what has the kind of density and usage of rideshare/taxi services where getting a vehicle on occasions when necessary is fast. You'd want a place where all of these factors are at least pretty good, but you might prize one of these factors more than the others. Luckily, more than a few of the walkable areas also have commuter rail stations and a lot of the denser areas where getting Uber/Lyft when needed is also easier near these areas.

For the first one, figuring out what kind of things the OP and family wants/frequents within walking distance then taking a look at Google Maps and the like and visiting the areas that look likely is a good idea.

For the second one, basically most places with a commuter rail or PATH stop would work though different places have different frequencies. Additional possibilities for that are some places outside of that that might be considered would be places in Hudson County and lower Bergen County (basically the non-industrial parts of the peninsula that lies between the Hackensack River and Hudson River) which have frequent Manhattan-bound bus service. This one might be somewhat less important for the OP since it's only a few days a month.

For the third one, there would need to be a look at the bus and rail services and their frequencies. Bus services for places that aren't very urban tend to be rare, so it's important to look at not just what bus service lines there are but also frequency. I've only used N bus services in Newark, Hudson County, and Bergen County so I won't claim familiarity with it though I do understand they exist. For rail, it's a bit easier to look at as it's basically lines where a lot of service including off-peak service exist so that these are usable for more than just commuting or very occasional daytrips. Ideally, OP would be looking at places that have services that are better than once an hour even when not going peak direction and a lot of the areas people have recommended thus far for walkable towns have stations along these train segments. Going roughly north to south and listing stations starting furthest from Manhattan, the ones that have services along a segment of multiple stops that generally have higher frequencies would be stations on the segments between:
- Suffern (NY) and Ridgewood on the Port Jervis/Bergen County/Main Line services (these services come back to meet at Secaucus and Hoboken)
- MSU and Newark on the Montclair-Boonton Line (a lot of services on this line start/terminate at MSU)
- Summit and Newark on the Morristown Line / Gladstone Branch
- Raritan and Newark on the Raritan Valley Line
- Jersey Ave and Newark on the Northeast Corridor Line
- Long Branch and Newark on the North Jersey Coast Line (combined service frequencies with Northeast Corridor Line from Rahway to Newark)

For the fourth one, you can open up your app and take a scan at different times for the areas.

Also potentially a consideration would be to look at what carshare/car rental services are nearby and in what areas. One thing about Turo that's been interesting is that some will actually come drop the car off, but generally with an associated fee for the drop-off service. I also enjoyed biking around Maplewood/South Orange as well as parts of Hudson and Bergen County and Asbury Park and its nearby regions, but I understand that's not for everyone in terms of comfort and/or ability, but wanted to mention that.

I also think pc1985 has an interesting idea with living along the PATCO Speedline which is quite frequent and you can ride that to transfer to Amtrak in Philadelphia. That'd potentially be a significant amount in cost and time for you if it were a daily commute, but not so much if it were a few days a month. I added to that, along similar lines, you might consider parts of Philadelphia where you can do something similar, but that's usually higher up there in terms of how urban it is but generally still less urban than most of Brooklyn. For Philadelphia, your transfer to Amtrak might not be at the main Philadelphia 30th Street Amtrak Station, but instead further up at the Trenton Transit Center which SEPTA Regional Rail's Trenton Line serves (which potentially also opens up Bucks County towns along that line) as does NJT's River Line Light Rail were you to live on the NJ side of the river. Trenton Transit Center also has a longer, but cheaper NJT Northeast Corridor Line service you can ride.

Last edited by Yac; 03-22-2022 at 11:05 PM..
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Old 03-19-2022, 04:21 AM
 
5,378 posts, read 3,174,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Do you use them though? I don't doubt you've heard of Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Amazon Delivery, commuter rail, buses, etc. I'd agree with that most municipalities in New Jersey would be trying for someone without a car, but then I wouldn't recommend those municipalities given what the OP asked for. Instead, I'm recommending places that I know of where I've know people to live without a car by choice. I also don't think it's true you can really live in most places and have these options in a realistic way because I've definitely worked in places where Uber/Lyft was either non-existent or just about non-existent within the last few years. These places also generally don't have even that base selection of more than one restaurant or store within short walking distance and the vast majority of places do not have rail access with the relatively few places that do having them on extremely sparse schedules with the bus service not being much better.

I don't know if Morristown is a particularly good bet as I've never been there. I'm not saying it's a bad choice, just not familiar with it. Looks like a nice enough downtown, though the NJT rail schedule is maybe a bit sparse there as there's significantly more rail service from Summit on east.
Morristown might be the largest downtown/mainstreet in the state that not considered a city with the most options, and probably the nicest downtown (in my opinion) in the state and ive been to every single one on the list.

Also, I lived in Morristown for 8 years and took public transportation daily as I worked in the City. The Morristown Train line is the line you would take if you were getting off at Summit (3 stops apart). Summit might appear to have more trains as the Peapack/Gladstone line goes through there but you would have to get off at Summit to transfer onto the Morristown line. (Also, Summits downtown sucks).

The train lines are entirely for commuting between all the towns to Penn Station or Hoboken. Seldomely are people getting off at any other spots.

Also living in Morristown, its sprawled out that unless youre living by the train station, you will need to take a car or taxi/uber to drive there. I also looked up the bus routes out of curiousity and its just not doable (although someone mentioned there are more stops then stated online) as a primary transport source.

What im getting at it, is that you will need a car to live in north jersey, without major inconveniences. The only places possible to live without a car is Hoboken, Jersey City or parts of Newark.

Last edited by DannyHobkins; 03-19-2022 at 04:34 AM..
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Old 03-19-2022, 05:33 AM
 
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Princeton and Lambertville might be doable.
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Old 03-19-2022, 09:30 AM
46H
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HudsonCoNJ View Post
That’s not really a rational use of stats. You’re smarter than that.

Bergen County is a largely affluent county, one of the wealthiest in the state. Wealthy people typically opt to drive as opposed to rely on public transportation because they indulge in luxuries.
The "affluence" of Bergen County has zero to do with owning a car. Driving in Bergen County/NJ is not a choice and not a luxury for people who work or have kids - it is a necessity. Most towns in NJ have residential and commercial real estate forcing people to have commutes that are impossible to fit into any type of mass transit. Think about a teacher living in Westwood and commuting to Wyckoff to teach. There is no way to do this without a car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HudsonCoNJ View Post
Take a look at your source and check out Passaic County. According to that site, 10% of Passaic County’s households don’t have cars. In its entirety, I wouldn’t think Passaic County is any more walkable than Bergen County, but it sure is a lot poorer.
Have you ever been to Paterson (3rd highest city population in NJ at around 155k, density around 19k/sq mile)? How about Clifton at 90k pop. or Passaic at 70k pop.? There is a swath of southern Passaic County from Prospect Park, Haledon and Hawthorne thru Paterson to Clifton and Passaic that is highly urbanized (City of Passaic density is around 22.7k/sq mile, very similar to Queens). Southern Passiac County is very walkable when compared to Bergen County, yet, the houshold car ownership is still 90%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HudsonCoNJ View Post
And that 4.59% of Bergen County households still amounts to 22,000 households. So it may not be very common around these parts but 22,000 people are doing it so it is possible and presumably convenient for them.
The vast majority of the non- car owning group are elderly. They probably were very unwilling to give up their cars. There are very few places to live in Bergen County without a car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HudsonCoNJ View Post
So yea, it is subjective.
Only subjective to you. The number of households with at least one car in Bergen County remains over 95%. If true self driving cars ever become reality, the percentage of households with cars will close in on 100% as the elderly will not have to give up driving.
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Old 03-19-2022, 01:40 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyHobkins View Post
Morristown might be the largest downtown/mainstreet in the state that not considered a city with the most options, and probably the nicest downtown (in my opinion) in the state and ive been to every single one on the list.

Also, I lived in Morristown for 8 years and took public transportation daily as I worked in the City. The Morristown Train line is the line you would take if you were getting off at Summit (3 stops apart). Summit might appear to have more trains as the Peapack/Gladstone line goes through there but you would have to get off at Summit to transfer onto the Morristown line. (Also, Summits downtown sucks).

The train lines are entirely for commuting between all the towns to Penn Station or Hoboken. Seldomely are people getting off at any other spots.

Also living in Morristown, its sprawled out that unless youre living by the train station, you will need to take a car or taxi/uber to drive there. I also looked up the bus routes out of curiousity and its just not doable (although someone mentioned there are more stops then stated online) as a primary transport source.

What im getting at it, is that you will need a car to live in north jersey, without major inconveniences. The only places possible to live without a car is Hoboken, Jersey City or parts of Newark.
Morristown might be the biggest, I have no idea. I've apparently passed through and got some sandwiches before, but that's it. Looking at streetview it looks okay though a bit sparse and dreary around the station. I don't know how well the bus system works there and from what you're saying, it seems like the answer is that it's not good, but it certainly has less rail service in terms of frequency and one-seat access to places than Summit does.

I liked Summit's downtown. It's pretty densely built and has some variety. It was pretty nicely and easily accessible from Maplewood (and vice versa) from the combined train service of the two lines and at a pretty cheap price due to not having an origin/destination in Hoboken or Penn Station. What did you dislike about it?

I think you're misusing the word entirely if in the next sentence you say seldomly. NJT Rail has a pretty massive amount of ridership and I think it's demonstrably true that the vast majority of people using it are doing it as a commute to Penn Station and Hoboken. In fact, the OP would be doing that occasionally as well. However, since the number is so massive, even a small proportion of riders not doing a peak commute originating or terminating at Penn Station or Hoboken, is going to be pretty high.

Now are there are a lot of places that would be very difficult for the OP given what was asked? Absolutely--a lot more land area in NJ that isn't going to work for the OP than there is. A lot more home addresses, a lot more neighborhoods, etc. However, that's not what was being asked for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 46H View Post
The "affluence" of Bergen County has zero to do with owning a car. Driving in Bergen County/NJ is not a choice and not a luxury for people who work or have kids - it is a necessity. Most towns in NJ have residential and commercial real estate forcing people to have commutes that are impossible to fit into any type of mass transit. Think about a teacher living in Westwood and commuting to Wyckoff to teach. There is no way to do this without a car.

Have you ever been to Paterson (3rd highest city population in NJ at around 155k, density around 19k/sq mile)? How about Clifton at 90k pop. or Passaic at 70k pop.? There is a swath of southern Passaic County from Prospect Park, Haledon and Hawthorne thru Paterson to Clifton and Passaic that is highly urbanized (City of Passaic density is around 22.7k/sq mile, very similar to Queens). Southern Passiac County is very walkable when compared to Bergen County, yet, the houshold car ownership is still 90%.

The vast majority of the non- car owning group are elderly. They probably were very unwilling to give up their cars. There are very few places to live in Bergen County without a car.

Only subjective to you. The number of households with at least one car in Bergen County remains over 95%. If true self driving cars ever become reality, the percentage of households with cars will close in on 100% as the elderly will not have to give up driving.
I think you're right in terms of the vast majority of Bergen County and the vast majority of Bergen County isn't going to be suitable for what the OP has asked for. However, he's only living in one place at a time and there are certainly going to be some places in Bergen County where living without a vehicle is fairly easy even if that is in the far, far minority of places. A friend's mother lives in Fort Lee without a vehicle and formerly lived in Pal Park. Her kids grew up without a car and now her kids are doing well for themselves and her life doesn't seem limited. Would this be far more limiting in the vast majority of Bergen County? Yea, I'm sure it would be. I do know that the bus service around there is supposedly quuite good though I myself have only used it in respect to going there and back from Manhattan. Is it really good in Paterson as well?

I think it's unclear how full self-driving will affect car ownership, because full self-driving also means that taxi and delivery services can become radically cheaper and with far higher utilization rates per vehicle than how private consumer vehicles are generally used now for which there is a reasonable argument that the incentives for private vehicle ownership then plunges. If you want to add to that, you can also make the argument it gets worse with very good self driving vehicles as then this combined with fewer owners means that the pool of people being insured to drive on their own with their own vehicles starts shrinking rapidly and sets off a cycle of higher prices and even fewer drivers.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 03-19-2022 at 01:56 PM..
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Old 03-20-2022, 07:26 AM
 
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Default Don’t forget Montclair

Haven’t been there since before pandemic but Montclair is walkable if you live downtown. Also costly but a great town with good train and bus.
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