If you are car-free, where do you live? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 76 Old 12-21-2008, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have been car-free for almost 7 years. We have a 5 year old and an almost 1 year old. We currently live in a small town with little to no public transportation. The weather here is rough and with the two kids, it's too hard on me. We are looking to move, and I am just curious where all the car-free families live. I know that in many major cities, it's pretty normal to be car-free. But I am wondering if I don't know about some not so big cities where it's not so difficult to be car-free.

Thanks

Lauren
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#2 of 76 Old 12-21-2008, 08:38 PM
 
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I live in NYC and our family is completely car-free. I don't even know how to drive. We take public transportation everywhere, but occasionally borrow or rent cars when we travel out of state. I'm fine with it. We don't need a car at all.

Sheila, mother to William and Min Hee, wife of David
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#3 of 76 Old 12-22-2008, 07:20 PM
 
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I live in seattle, wa. I had a car, but after having dd couldn't afford to pay for it (It was a 2007) and SAH...so we have been car free for 3mo... Honestly it isn't the easiest thing in the world, especially lately as it has snowed like crazy over here! BUT, I am way more in shape, it is an excuse to go for walks with my DD, and my DD loves the bus. I am getting to know the city a lot better.

Unfortunately I will be buying a car in the near future because I am a Doula and plan to attend births after my daughter is 1yr old.

Goodluck!

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#4 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 10:27 PM
 
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We live in Toronto, Ontario, and while we do have a car (my DH cannot take transit to work - he works at the air-traffic-control centre at the airport and there's no transit to the middle of the airfield!) I don't drive and can get anywhere I want in the city, and find it very easy to get around. If you live near a subway station, it's best, and you can get anywhere you need with one subway ride plus a bus ride. This is a great city!! We love it.

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#5 of 76 Old 12-24-2008, 06:22 AM
 
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For the several decades that I was a Manhattanite, I was car-free.

Great public transportation there.

But then again, who can afford the rent, so there's a trade-off, you know:?
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#6 of 76 Old 01-05-2009, 04:23 PM
 
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San Francisco...car-free for a year now. The rent is crazy, but I think the amount I'd save by moving down the peninsula some (or across the bay) would all be blown on paying for a car (and gas and insurance and maintenance...) If I still had the car I'd be a little angrier about the cost of rent here lol

"Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be."
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#7 of 76 Old 01-06-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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I live in Oslo, Norway and we are car free:
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#8 of 76 Old 01-07-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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I used to live in Portland, OR and it is very easy to be car free there. We were not but close friends of ours are. She has 3 kids and nanny's after school for 2 other children and manages quite well w/out a car. You can spy her all over the neighborhood w/ her Burley and older son on his bike too. Plus Portland is not a huge crazy major city...it's mellow and laid back and the public transp. is awesome!

eta, we were car free before kids in Seattle and loved it!
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#9 of 76 Old 01-28-2009, 01:41 AM
 
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We lived in Spanish Fork, Utah, a small town about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City. We had a van that I used rarely - my husband put more miles on his bike the last two years in a row than we did on our van. The public transit system was awful, but our house was in a location that was walkable to most things. I think it just depends on where you're willing to have a house - I am guessing that in many small towns, you can be close to a library, park, and grocery store. Some people may need more options than that, but it worked for me.

We recently moved to Kentucky and are struggling to find affordable housing that will enable us to live a simple, walkable, yet sustainable (big garden, chickens) lifestyle. We think we will have to compromise somewhere, we just don't know on what aspect yet. Any suggestions?
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#10 of 76 Old 02-02-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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I am car free and live near Seattle WA. I commute on the bus with my DD for an hour twice a day. I used to live in the Bay area and miss BART and MUNI, the public transit there was much more reliable than it is here. It is still easy to get around, I just have to wait.:

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#11 of 76 Old 02-09-2009, 12:32 AM
 
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I'm car-free in Houston, and I wouldn't recommend it. (Nor is it the small city you're looking for!) Public transportation is fairly terrible (though at least it exists!), and the city is HUGE.

I was car-free in Chicago as a college student, and that was much, much more manageable. Regardless of what Chicagoans say, the public transit there is pretty decent. Definitely not the best in the world, but it covers a HUGE part of the city, and many of the buses/trains run frequently. It's also much more common not to have a car in Chicago than it is in Houston - people in Houston look at you like you have three heads if you say you don't have a car. But, again, Chicago is not at ALL a small city!

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#12 of 76 Old 02-09-2009, 07:36 PM
 
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Car free in Sydney, Australia. Generally we like it (we're spending our money on rent, school fees and travel), but there are days when it's an inconvenience...
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#13 of 76 Old 03-03-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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We live in State College, Pennsylvania. It's a small city. We still have one car but could easily be car-free. DH doesn't drive, he takes the bus to work in the winter and rides his bike in the summer (and takes the kids to preschool on the bus/bike). We can walk to the grocery store, lots of parks, the school, the public pool. We like it.
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#14 of 76 Old 03-15-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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We're not quite car free but we easily could be here in Denver. We really only have a car for road trips, and since we take usually one a month renting just gets pricey. When I moved here I had no car (my DH did the same thing) and neither of us had any problems. The winters are brief and mild, and Denver is really a pretty small town. The suburbs are huge, but the city itself is affordable and small and has lots of easy public transportation. And bike trails! I read somewhere that Denver has more bike trails per capita than any other American city. I don't know if it's true, but I don't really doubt it. Bikes everywhere, parks everywhere, great walkable city and lots of amazing things to do and see. If a university here had the program DH wants, we'd probably never leave.

Good luck on your search!

Sarah. Married to my Mirus, raising my DD1 (Aug. '09) and my DD2 (March '11) and waiting for my newest (April '14)!
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#15 of 76 Old 03-24-2009, 06:39 PM
 
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We've been car free in small town MN (no kids), Portland, OR (no kids), Salt Lake City (1 kid), and Madison, WI (2 kids). They were all reasonably places to be car free. Portland was probably the easiest though.
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#16 of 76 Old 03-25-2009, 12:11 AM
 
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We're not car free exactly, we have small car for roadtrips, but we never use it in the city. We live in London. I really like walking around here, and the public transportation is not so bad. I enjoy taking the bus
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#17 of 76 Old 03-25-2009, 12:36 AM
 
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Come join us on our City Dwellers/Walkers tribe thread!

I live in San Antonio, TX and we have 1 car (dh needs it for work, commutes often) and are buying a 2nd one. There is not enough stuff very close by that we can walk to for home schooling stuff and our Barnes & Noble is moving in a couple weeks to much further away.

Unfortunately, in San Antonio, you need a car. Also, our sidewalks end. If there is a sidewalk. We've walked the mile to the grocery and had to walk on grass beside the street because there is no sidewalk. :

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#18 of 76 Old 03-25-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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My DH and I are car-lite in Cleveland, OH. He has one to get to work, but I made him promise not to make me get a car ever.

I'd say Cleveland counts as a mid-size city - not big, not small. We're lucky to have some nice, extremely affordable, quiet urban neighborhoods. We love ours, and everything is pretty walkable. We're less than a mile from almost all the services we need (grocery store, chiropractor, library, post office, restaurants), and we have a corner store run by a lovely fellow named Fred that meets our immediate needs too. Public transportation in the city is more or less adequate, if you have plenty of patience and a sense of humor. I bike everywhere I can (well, not since I got so hugely pregnant... my balance is way too shaky for that right now), and I'm looking forward to getting a bike trailer to travel around with baby. I've been car-free for four years now, most of my family & friends think it's crazy, but they're used to it by now.

Most people in Cleveland own cars, so it's a challenge sometimes, but I'm accustomed to the lifestyle I live and I wouldn't get a car for anything. So if you're looking for a small(ish) city, and if you don't mind fairly harsh winters, Cleveland's a great place to live car-free!

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#19 of 76 Old 03-25-2009, 07:33 PM
 
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We're car-free in San Diego, a big city that LOVES their cars. We have a 26 month old, and it works for us. Our public transportation is mediocre but at least we don't have to deal with rough winter weather!
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#20 of 76 Old 03-26-2009, 12:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyscience View Post
I was car-free in Chicago as a college student, and that was much, much more manageable. Regardless of what Chicagoans say, the public transit there is pretty decent. Definitely not the best in the world, but it covers a HUGE part of the city, and many of the buses/trains run frequently. It's also much more common not to have a car in Chicago than it is in Houston - people in Houston look at you like you have three heads if you say you don't have a car. But, again, Chicago is not at ALL a small city!
As a former life-long Chicagoan, I totally agree with you. I lived in Chicago 29 years and never drove, the public transit is good. Folks knock it but now that I live in New England I totally miss it. You are right, not having a car is unless you are in the burbs or far outskirts of the city is not seen as strange, some area like northside lakefront are not car friendly at all.

As to the OP, I live in southern Maine and we only have 1 car and while we have lived this way for 7 years now that my 3 yo is getting older its becoming a hassle. There are buses but not convenient and downright costly, a rt to the city which is only a 20 min drive is now $10. :

Shay

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#21 of 76 Old 03-26-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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I went to high school in Elma, Wa. It is a town of about 3000 people and lots of families were car free there.
We now live just east of Portland, oregon, and has already been mentioned it is very easy to be car free around here.

oAlisha- eternal companion to mike:, mother to three energetic boys (02):, (05), and (07) and one sweet little girl 3/13.  Two in heaven.7/21/2010, 11/05/2011 mecry.gif.

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#22 of 76 Old 03-27-2009, 06:28 PM
 
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We're car-free in Prague, Czech Republic. It's really easy. But major European cities tend to have really great public transport. We have 1 kid and honestly, our life with a car would be a hassle (outrageous price of gas, insurance, getting your car broken into in the inner city which is where we live, fighting for parking...).
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#23 of 76 Old 03-29-2009, 01:38 PM
 
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I'm from New Orleans and when I lived there I rarely used my car. Since I lived Uptown I used the streetcars to get to and from work or school. NOLA is also a walking friendly city and not crazy huge like Houston (where I went to college). A trip to Whole Foods or the neighborhood grocer is an easy bike ride if you don't plan to do some mega shopping. We live in S. Florida now and the town is small but everything is pretty spread out so a car is necessary. Also, the winters in The Big Easy are mild compared to up north, the culture is awsome, great music, nice parks for the kids, you would love it! Can you tell I love my NOLA? Ah, how I miss home...
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#24 of 76 Old 06-28-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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i live in portland, OR and am about to be car free... does that count. i have not ridden the bus here yet, but am planning on it once i get an umbrella stroller for ds. i hope it is as easy as my fellow portlanders say it is!!!
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#25 of 76 Old 06-28-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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We live in Toronto Canada and I've never even gotten my full drivers licence
We have never had a problem being carfree in Toronto, as we have access to excellent public transit. Its quick, efficient (well, most of the time ) and I don't think I'll ever have to own a car in this city.
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#26 of 76 Old 06-29-2009, 07:22 PM
 
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car free and live in MEXICO CITY!!! yes, used to live in spain, 7years on bike. now i can´t get on a bike with my son in this city...but walk and learning to looove the metrobus...nothing else to do about it!
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#27 of 76 Old 07-09-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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We've always been car free, and used to live in Toronto, Ontario, now living in Montreal, Québec. Both cities have pretty good public transit, but Montreal's transit system sucks for accessibility for strollers (and wheelchairs!). Also, perhaps because it's a smaller city, Montreal's transit system is smaller (and a tad less reliable) than Toronto's.

I generally don't miss having a car except for things like large grocery shopping trips and trips to the outskirts of the city. We're thinking of signing up for a communal automobile program in a few years, where you pay a yearly fee and get to "borrow" a car from the program, for a few hours or a few days. Aside from that, street parking here is SOOOOO complicated with all the signs pointing this way and that, poorly explaining at which time and which period of the year it's permitted to park. Ugh. No thank you.
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#28 of 76 Old 07-12-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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I'm no longer car-free but when I was I lived in : Asheville, Boone, and charlotte NC
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#29 of 76 Old 07-12-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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I've lived in Philadelphia without a car for 8 years, and for 5 years in State College PA before that. While the populations are worlds apart, I find some of the same 'small town' pleasures in the big city that I enjoyed in State College. Its impossible to go to the grocery store without running into friends or at least familiar faces. Each neighborhood here has its own attitude and potential for an intimate feel--and these can't be experienced any way but on foot.
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#30 of 76 Old 07-12-2009, 09:44 PM
 
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Car-free in Downtown Boston. We walk, take the T, and use www.zipcar.com for suburban, out of town excursions. Lovin' it!
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