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Old 05-12-2010, 08:21 AM
 
40 posts, read 178,149 times
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How likely is it that someone with no car or bike could live an active/normal/convenient life (get groceries, go to the doctor/pharmacy/mall/job interviews/etc) without needing to ask friends for a ride?
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Seattle
807 posts, read 2,087,824 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FXNT View Post
How likely is it that someone with no car or bike could live an active/normal/convenient life (get groceries, go to the doctor/pharmacy/mall/job interviews/etc) without needing to ask friends for a ride?
Ive been doing it for five years. Its easy to walk to those things. Transit is good, but can take a long time to go between neighborhoods. Even our light rail trains stop at traffic lights and shares a section with buses that make walking more economical sometimes.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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A lot will depend on where you choose to live, and how much you're willing/able to walk (don't forget about hills and wet weather). Pick an area near the commerce and services you need, and right off a major bus line, and you'll be good for the majority of your trips. Asking friends for a ride, taking a cab, renting a car ... these will be needed on occasion, but not daily or even weekly unless you choose to participate in an activity that is outside of your walkable zone. My husband lived in the International District without a car or bike and had no problems. My brother in law only uses his car to travel out of town (once a month or so) or when he's going to buy furniture.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:55 PM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,748,385 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FXNT View Post
How likely is it that someone with no car or bike could live an active/normal/convenient life (get groceries, go to the doctor/pharmacy/mall/job interviews/etc) without needing to ask friends for a ride?
It's tough unless your destination is directly to downtown Seattle.

For example:

I live in Seattle and had a job interview on Mercer Island this morning, the travel distance according to Google maps was 13 miles.

Travel time was an hour and a half and it took three buses. One of them was a Sound Transit bus, not King county Metro, so I had to pay twice because Sound Transit does not accept Metro transit passes, and both payments were peak time fares. Cost me five bucks.Then I made the reverse trip back home. Nearly ten dollars for the round trip and 3 hours of time to do a 26 miles there and back. (and thank god it wasn't raining)

Fair suckage.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Lowlands
271 posts, read 1,142,176 times
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Its ok if you live in the city, otherwise its terrible.

The people in the suburbs help subsidize the bus/light rail in the city.
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Old 05-12-2010, 03:21 PM
 
594 posts, read 1,593,256 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JesseJB View Post
Ive been doing it for five years. Its easy to walk to those things. Transit is good, but can take a long time to go between neighborhoods. Even our light rail trains stop at traffic lights and shares a section with buses that make walking more economical sometimes.
Im not sure if thats a reasonable way to characterize the light rail. It has Right-of-Way for the entire line. Yes, it operates at grade at MLK, but it doesnt stop at the lights. The only place it shares with buses is the tunnel, but it's timed so the light rail never has to wait.

My big problem with the light rail is that there are no "next train" indicators at the station.
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Old 05-12-2010, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
322 posts, read 729,045 times
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In the city, I think it's pretty good, while yes in the suburbs not so much. Unless you're going to downtown Seattle, then that's also pretty good. Having lived - and visited - a variety of big cities, Seattle's public transportation system is definitely above average. And the buses are on time much more often than in San Francisco, for example.

Bottom line, if you're looking to get to/from downtown, it works, but if you are looking to go from/to somewhere else, it depends.

Oh, a couple things, if you are a regular resident of Seattle, it only makes sense to get the ORCA card. That way if you ride on different transportation agencies (i.e. Metro to Sound Transit to get to/from Mercer Island), you only have to pay once. In other words, they do accept electronic transfers, so to speak, just not physical ones.

Also, try putting in an address into Get Your Walk Score - A Walkability Score For Any Address and that should give you a rough idea if that address is walkable (i.e. that a bus will not be needed for day-to-day stuff).

And Zipcar is an option if you might need a car for a few hours a month.
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Seattle
807 posts, read 2,087,824 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinj View Post
Its ok if you live in the city, otherwise its terrible.

The people in the suburbs help subsidize the bus/light rail in the city.

Its the other way around for buses.

It will also be the other way around once light rail builds out to the 'burbs.
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
187 posts, read 533,153 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FXNT View Post
How likely is it that someone with no car or bike could live an active/normal/convenient life (get groceries, go to the doctor/pharmacy/mall/job interviews/etc) without needing to ask friends for a ride?
I've been car-less for about 5 years. I live in Fremont, just a few blocks from the #5, #44, and #358 bus lines. I work downtown and take the 5 everyday. For serious grocery shopping (as opposed to just picking up some milk/eggs/bread etc) I usually take a bus to Safeway in Ballard and call a cab to pick me up when I'm done - which is about $10 for me. On occasion I will have the groceries delivered by Safeway or Amazon Fresh, which is also about $10. When my ex-gf and I lived together, we had a Zipcar account that we used every now and then (mostly for trips to Costco or Target & Best Buy in Northgate.) Some people think I am crazy, but when you don't need to pay for gas, insurance, parking, up-keep & repairs, and yearly tabs, the benefits (obviously financial in nature) of *not* having a car quickly emerge.

That being said, there are times where I wished I had a car - mostly for spontaneous weekend getaways or road trips - but those moments are few and far between and you can always rent a car.
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Old 05-13-2010, 03:57 PM
 
52 posts, read 234,102 times
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I think the idea of being car-free is great, but it only works in certain areas of the city, and even then it can be a challenge.

Disadvantages:

1) Hills. Much of Seattle is hilly (think San Francisco). Depending on where you live, the nearest shopping may be at the other end of a steep, long hill. Tough for bikes.

2) Geography. Water on 2 sides of the city, plus lakes, a canal, and a river. Bus service between neighborhoods can be a challenge, particularly east-west trips. Again, tough for bikes.

3) Seattle is still a car-oriented city. Most people own cars, so stores are large, have big parking lots, and are spaced relatively far apart. There isn't nearly enough density in residential neighborhoods to support the kind of walkability that you see in London, NYC, etc.

4) Weather. Be prepared to walk in the rain. A lot.

All that being said, you can do it. Finding a place that is convenient to work and your most frequent destinations is the key. I'd start with grocery stores: put "Safeway" or "QFC" (the 2 biggest chains in Seattle) into Google Maps/Earth, and use that for reference when checking out places.
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