Author Topic: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?  (Read 5098 times)

ichangedmyname

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Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« on: December 14, 2013, 05:01:31 AM »
I live in Co Springs and the bus system here sucks. I don't have a car, I plan to learn how to ride a bike in Spring. But for now, especially with the winter time, I can't really go out and sometimes I feel like I'm a prisoner LOL My mother-in-law is the only one who can drive and she has work too and can't really drive me wherever I please because she is not my chauffeur.

I'm thinking there MUST be a place where one can fairly move around using the public transpo system. Right? Right?

ch12

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 07:24:18 AM »
This is actually a question that a lot of Millennials ask. I can drive a car and love my car. But due to environmental reasons, I do wish that I could use public transit more often.

List of best places for public transit and walking: http://www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-cities/2012/category/quality-of-life-and-visitor-experience/public-transportation-and-pedestrian-friendliness/resident


PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLINESS
VISITOR | RESIDENT
RANK   CITY   SCORE
1   Portland, OR   4.72
2   New York City   4.63
3   Chicago   4.56
4   Savannah   4.52
5   Boston   4.39
6   San Francisco   4.38
7   Honolulu   4.38
8   Washington, D.C.   4.28
9   Charleston   4.26
10   New Orleans   4.24
11   Minneapolis/St. Paul   4.18
12   Denver   4.00
13   Seattle   4.00
14   Philadelphia   3.99
15   Salt Lake City   3.93
16   Providence   3.92
17   San Juan, Puerto Rico   3.89
18   San Antonio   3.89
19   San Diego   3.86
20   Santa Fe   3.86
21   Portland, Maine   3.80
22   Austin   3.72
23   Nashville   3.69
24   Las Vegas   3.43
25   Phoenix/Scottsdale   3.32
26   Dallas/Fort Worth   3.32
27   Memphis   3.28
28   Baltimore   3.28
29   Anchorage   3.21
30   Orlando   3.20
31   Kansas City   2.97
32   Atlanta   2.95
33   Los Angeles   2.92
34   Miami   2.87
35   Houston   2.86

Since you're currently in Colorado Springs, would it be viable to move to Denver (12)?

Abe

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2013, 07:36:27 AM »
I live in Chicago and dispute its rank as number 3. I think they are only considering if you live in the center of the city or adjacent neighborhoods. The El, our elevated train line, is so slow and expensive vs. driving that it is almost always cheaper and faster to drive anywhere else in the city. For example, to go from my house to one of my workplaces takes 20 minutes driving (40 during rush hour) but 1.5 hours if I took the El, and I live next to an El stop!The only time I take public transit is for all-day trips to downtown/or the lakeshore, in which case parking is very expensive and transit is cheaper. The bus system is fairly good for short trips, though.

ch12

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013, 08:31:55 AM »
I don't know a ton about Chicago's transit, so I'd consider Abe the expert there. I will say that Jacob of ERE lives in Chicago and happily takes the train to Ravenswood each morning and evening.

I know that Denver has a lot of light rail and it looks like it's viable to move via public transit. They also have eGo CarShare: http://carshare.org/locations/ .

I have also lived in DC and I used the metro to commute every day, so I know that it's viable to live without a car there as well. Zipcars are there for those times when you need a car.


StetsTerhune

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013, 06:25:08 PM »
Chicago is great, with specific exceptions. I'd say most neighborhoods are very walkable and that the buses and "L" work very well in general. I've lived here for years and probably get in my car once every 2 weeks on average.

The exception is that the L is pretty much just set up to commute downtown. Getting from most neighborhoods to downtown is convenient. Getting from downtown to most neighborhoods in convenient. Getting from a neighborhood to another neighborhood is an absolute nightmare.  This is what I'm imagining Abe is talking about. This can certainly be avoided with some planning of where you work/live unless your work involves going a lot of random places throughout the city. But I work downtown, live in a neighborhood along the same train line as most of my friends, and live within an easy walk of 3 grocery stores.

I would actually highly recommend Chicago if you don't drive. My main complaint about Chicago is that unlike, say, Colorado Springs, there aren't many fun, outdoorsy places to drive to from here!

rocklebock

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 06:42:35 PM »
I lived in Chicago for 6 years and agree 100% with these comments. If you work downtown (and when we say downtown we don't mean "in the city of Chicago," we mean a specific, and geographically small area of the city where business is centered) it's fabulous. Otherwise it's hit or miss. It can take an hour and a half and two transfers to go seven miles.

MoneyCat

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2013, 08:01:31 PM »
I live in New Jersey and we have probably the best public transportation system I have ever seen anywhere.  You can easily get buses, trains, light rails, whatever you need to get anywhere.  The downside of things is that New Jersey also has a very high COL in terms of housing and utilities.  I've managed pretty well, though, because salaries are also higher than most places plus most goods are generally very reasonably priced, especially compared to New York City or San Francisco.  We also have a lot of green space and parks and trees and stuff that you don't get in big cities either.  I love living here.

bogart

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2013, 08:06:04 PM »
If you could move around the way you wanted to, where would you go (what sorts of places) and at what time(s) of day? 

ichangedmyname

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2013, 10:13:14 AM »
If you could move around the way you wanted to, where would you go (what sorts of places) and at what time(s) of day?
Library. Park. Stroll downtown and not have to ride 2 buses and 2 hours of my time to get there.

Albert

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2013, 11:01:44 AM »
Perhaps NYC is just a place for you as long as you can get a job good enough to afford it.

I've lived 2 years in Philly without a car and didn't miss it at all.

ScienceSexSavings

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2013, 03:56:40 PM »
If you're willing leave the US, I can assure you that Montréal has a fabulous system, especially in the urban core. Vancouver has a great reputation too, and is significantly warmer!

capital

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2013, 05:06:54 PM »
The oldest cities in the US generally have the best public transit, as they were developed around walking and transit before cars were widespread. They are generally on the East Coast. In many of these cities, libraries and parks are within walking distance anyways, and there are some neighborhoods where downtown is an easy walk away as well.

I live in New York City. The majority of families don't own cars here in the city, and traffic is sufficiently congested that driving is usually slower than mass transit. The subway runs 24 hours a day. You can take various forms of public and private mass transit to pretty much any point within 50 miles, and many far beyond. Most neighborhoods have a park and library within easy walking distance, as well as a shopping street with supermarket and grocery stores. There are tons of excellent jobs here, but unfortunately there is a pretty severe housing shortage and apartments are ridiculously expensive-- a room in a decent neighborhood is often $1000+.

Chicago likewise has an excellent and extensive mass transit system, with two 24-hour rapid-transit lines. San Francisco has walkable neighborhoods and an OK mass-transit system, but the recent tech boom and ridiculously restrictive development laws have driven the housing prices to an even worse point than New York. Most other eastern cities like DC, Philly, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore have usable mass-transit systems, along with housing expenses generally correlated with the quality of their job markets.

Some folks are car-free in other significant western cities like Seattle, Portland, Denver and Los Angeles, but it's more of a niche lifestyle most common among young childless folks in a few neighborhoods. Los Angeles, SLC, and Denver seem like they're making the biggest transit investments at present.

bogart

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2013, 07:47:36 PM »
Library. Park. Stroll downtown and not have to ride 2 buses and 2 hours of my time to get there.

OK.  You can live where I live and do that on a bus system that's free to the ridership, provided you limit your travel to between roughly 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., otherwise the buses don't run.  You can also easily walk from one side of my town to the other side in two hours (or less), so it may not be the sort of exciting urbane spot you are looking for ;) .

yhakatan

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2013, 11:48:10 AM »
I've lived in Chicago for ten years without a car since graduating college. I also grew up and went to college around DC, so I'm pretty familiar with both systems. Regardless, I was not surprised to see Chicago in the top five. The El and bus system combined (the CTA)  give you an amazing amount of mobility. It's definitely not the most reliable system, but you can get to a lot of places in 30-45 minutes. My commute has generally been 40-50 minutes each way. It creeps up as I moved further north over the years (Lakeview, Uptown, Edgewater and working downtown).

It does seem to take a lot of time just to travel those few miles, but living in a city is a completely different scale than the suburbs or rural areas. You have to adjust your thinking about transportation a bit. Of course you could always upgrade to a car, or to a neighborhood closer to downtown. Chicago has a pretty good range of housing affordability. I'm a software engineer, and I get courted by bay area companies every so often. However, I can't see the salary increase making up for the cost of living increase, and it's something that has kept me in Chicago for the time-being.

Many of the neighborhoods are like little cities by themselves (in fact, they used to be). I've always lived within a ten-minute walk of a grocery store, library, El stop, and strip of restaurants, shops and pubs.

Public transportation will never match the convenience of a car, but you have to decide if the cost of a car is worth it. The CTA infuriates me regularly, but I have yet been willing to cough up $3-400 per month for a car. I've chosen to adjust my lifestyle instead.

CommonCents

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2013, 11:56:56 AM »
Bostonian here.  Lived no car for years.  We currently use the car primarily to visit family (although we grocery shop and run some other errands with it).  We commute to work via public transportation.

palebluedot

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Re: Cities/Places that have good public transportation?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2013, 03:48:22 PM »
I live in New Jersey and we have probably the best public transportation system I have ever seen anywhere.  You can easily get buses, trains, light rails, whatever you need to get anywhere.  The downside of things is that New Jersey also has a very high COL in terms of housing and utilities.  I've managed pretty well, though, because salaries are also higher than most places plus most goods are generally very reasonably priced, especially compared to New York City or San Francisco.  We also have a lot of green space and parks and trees and stuff that you don't get in big cities either.  I love living here.

As someone who works for NJTransit, this man is correct. There are tons of ways to get around NJ using public transportation. But the state is still highly congested with cars. I just wish the DOT would start paying more attention to adding bike lanes/pedestrian walkways. I plan on moving to the mid-west once I am done with my university studies since the COL is quite high here.