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Can one live car-free in Houston?

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One of my resolutions for 2010 is to find a new city in which to live. For the past few weeks I've been tinkering with a short list of potential locations, none of which included Houston primarily for the reason that I've already lived that and want to see something new.

But my wife recently convinced me not to leave Houston off the list of potential places to live. In terms of employment for her, Houston has a lot more opportunities than any place outside of New York or Los Angeles.

So, I guess Houston's on the list. But I haven't owned a car in six years, and I'm not all that enthusiastic about getting one. I've really enjoyed not having a car.

Thus the question -- How easy is it to live car-free in Houston? Sure, if one were to live in Midtown one could take the rail up and down Main Street. But what about living in other areas like the Galleria area? Are there grocery delivery services in Houston? Does it totally suck to try to get around on Metro in August? I'd like to hear from some people with practical experience, if possible.

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Houston can be relatively easy to live in car-free, IF the following items do not bother you, or are paid attention...

1. Obsession with a car (obviously not a problem for you)

2. Fear of buses or those who ride them

3. You are willing to stand/walk in hot climates, and know how to escape them

4. You pay attention to transit options when choosing where to live.

The last one is likely most important, since you do not strike me as one offended by the first three. Those who complain of Houston's pedestrian unfriendliness usually did not choose to live in a pedestrian friendly area in the first place. They likely do not know what a METRO System Map is. They probably cringe at the thought of riding a bus, and imagine its riders to be thugs and other lowlife. No, THOSE people cannot survive Houston (or New York) without a car. However, by looking at the system map with an eye toward making transit easier, one can easily live without a car in this town. Ideally, you would want your residence within a block of the bus, and you would want a grocery store and Target/Walmart type store within a reasonably short distance without changing buses. As a for instance, I live one block from the 40 line, and it passes both a Kroger AND a Target. Both are one mile away. Over 90% of my needs can be covered between those 2 stores. Anything else can be delivered, or accessed by cab. I could even rent a truck at Home Depot.

If you are one that finds Houston during July and August to be hell on earth (as some do), no amount of transit knowledge and tolerance will save you. You will have to walk somewhere. Better to admit your limitations than suffer. Personally, I would not live in Chicago precisely because I'd rather put a bullet in my head than walk in subzero windchills in a suit and leather shoes. Some feel the same about Houston in August.

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Will your wife be working from home as well? If not, it just entirely depends on where she'll be working.

I lived for a few months without a car in Houston--my apartment was on Fountainview. My office was at Waugh and Allen Parkway. Taking the bus from San Felipe and Fountainview to work was an hour to and hour and 15 minutes each way (compared to 15 minutes commute each way by car through Memorial Park) Granted this was on routes years ago but the exact same ones still run today. A big grocery was 2 blocks from my place, and actually I think Rice Epicurean still has delivery service for the blue hairs, at least the the River Oaks location.

I could take the bus from my current house to the same location in half that time, and would do it without much complaint if I had to, but would not be my preference. It's not the heat, it's the rain, and getting sprayed by cars running through muddy potholes. Bus stops in this city SUCK. Most don't offer cover. If she worked downtown or in the medical center, or Galleria area, renting nearby without a car would be easy enough. I would just throw down for a dependable used Corolla or something.

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If you are one that finds Houston during July and August to be hell on earth (as some do), no amount of transit knowledge and tolerance will save you. You will have to walk somewhere. Better to admit your limitations than suffer. Personally, I would not live in Chicago precisely because I'd rather put a bullet in my head than walk in subzero windchills in a suit and leather shoes. Some feel the same about Houston in August.

I've always had a greater tolerance for cold than heat, which is why the thought of going out in today's -22F windchill doesn't bother me, but the thought of walking a few blocks to a Walgreen's in August in Houston I find very bothersome.

Maybe I should refine my question --

What are the BEST places in Houston to live if one doesn't have a car. I'd like to hear specifics. "Oakwood Estates" is a far more useful answer than "Midtown."

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One of my resolutions for 2010 is to find a new city in which to live. For the past few weeks I've been tinkering with a short list of potential locations, none of which included Houston primarily for the reason that I've already lived that and want to see something new.

But my wife recently convinced me not to leave Houston off the list of potential places to live. In terms of employment for her, Houston has a lot more opportunities than any place outside of New York or Los Angeles.

So, I guess Houston's on the list. But I haven't owned a car in six years, and I'm not all that enthusiastic about getting one. I've really enjoyed not having a car.

Thus the question -- How easy is it to live car-free in Houston? Sure, if one were to live in Midtown one could take the rail up and down Main Street. But what about living in other areas like the Galleria area? Are there grocery delivery services in Houston? Does it totally suck to try to get around on Metro in August? I'd like to hear from some people with practical experience, if possible.

The answer largely depends on your place of employment within Houston. It's one thing if you each work in one of the major employment centers; it's another thing altogether if even one of you ends up working in some akward place (such as along 290).

Expect that your job search may be a longer one if it must be confined to a narrow geography. Also expect that you may need to move into a more convenient residence once you both have jobs and are settled in.

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Red makes some good points. His neighborhood is a good one for the bus. My main beef with bussing it was trying to stay presentable. I find it difficult to keep office attire looking good when battling the elements. It sounds petty, I know. Metro wouldn't be as much a hassle if I could go to work with jeans and a backpack. As it is, I schlep too much stuff, what with work bag and gym bag.

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I don't know how anyone could live without a car, at least for emergencies.

And even if you're lucky enough to live, work, and have a grocery store within close proximity of good transit options.. there is more to living besides that.

You're not going to walk a 1/4 mile, or wait 15 mins at a bus stop, or 20 mins for a cab if you have a dr's emergency.

Family in the suburbs - Friend's wedding in a part of town you don't know - Concert in the woodlands - Taking visiting friends sightseeing - Company Christmas party in Kemah - Friend's funeral.

Get a cheap car. You don't have the overabundance of cabs here like you do in Chicago or NY for all of life's other necessary trips.

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I don't know how anyone could live without a car, at least for emergencies.

And even if you're lucky enough to live, work, and have a grocery store within close proximity of good transit options.. there is more to living besides that.

You're not going to walk a 1/4 mile, or wait 15 mins at a bus stop, or 20 mins for a cab if you have a dr's emergency.

Family in the suburbs - Friend's wedding in a part of town you don't know - Concert in the woodlands - Taking visiting friends sightseeing - Company Christmas party in Kemah - Friend's funeral.

Get a cheap car. You don't have the overabundance of cabs here like you do in Chicago or NY for all of life's other necessary trips.

Let's see...

Couldn't get a doctor's appointment that quick, so the bus or cab could be timed to the appointment. A bigger emergency would bring an ambulance.

Editor doesn't have family in the burbs, but I could take the bus to within 2 miles of my parents and bike the rest.

Haven't been to a wedding in 5 years. It was next to Rice...on the bus route. Could get a ride with another guest to reception downtown.

Haven't been to a concert in the Woodlands in 7 years. Ride with friends, or maybe a towncar. Make a party of it.

Visiting friends? We'll use their car.

Company party in Kemah? Don't know why it would be there, but I'd ride with a co-worker.

Friend's funeral? I'll ride with a friend who is still alive.

That wasn't so tough. :)

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Houston's bus stops dont have timetables or route maps, and the route names are not really helpful when determining the routes themselves. So you really have to plan your trip out ahead of time.

As far as looking for places to live, I suggest viewing the "walkability index." On the front page of the Chron if you click on the real estate listing pictures to the right, it will match up specific houses that are for sale with a walkability map -- including nearby bus stops. I would then visit the specific area to see the actual quality of the walkability (such as what types of roads you'd be expected to cross, if it's small shops v. a giant superstore with a huge parking lot in front, etc.).

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Let's see...

Couldn't get a doctor's appointment that quick, so the bus or cab could be timed to the appointment. A bigger emergency would bring an ambulance.

Editor doesn't have family in the burbs, but I could take the bus to within 2 miles of my parents and bike the rest.

Haven't been to a wedding in 5 years. It was next to Rice...on the bus route. Could get a ride with another guest to reception downtown.

Haven't been to a concert in the Woodlands in 7 years. Ride with friends, or maybe a towncar. Make a party of it.

Visiting friends? We'll use their car.

Company party in Kemah? Don't know why it would be there, but I'd ride with a co-worker.

Friend's funeral? I'll ride with a friend who is still alive.

That wasn't so tough. :)

You also forgot to mention, that in a pinch, he could always rent a car for a day or so.

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I live car free in Houston, using bus, bike and train for moving about. I live downtown and work in the Med Center.

Houston's bus stops dont have timetables or route maps, and the route names are not really helpful when determining the routes themselves. So you really have to plan your trip out ahead of time.

713-635-4000, select the option to plan a trip and an operator will come on the line for you.

Alternatively, if you have Google Maps on your phone (or laptop) you can map a route and choose Transit option to get a bus and train route.

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Let's see...

Couldn't get a doctor's appointment that quick, so the bus or cab could be timed to the appointment. A bigger emergency would bring an ambulance.

Editor doesn't have family in the burbs, but I could take the bus to within 2 miles of my parents and bike the rest.

Haven't been to a wedding in 5 years. It was next to Rice...on the bus route. Could get a ride with another guest to reception downtown.

Haven't been to a concert in the Woodlands in 7 years. Ride with friends, or maybe a towncar. Make a party of it.

Visiting friends? We'll use their car.

Company party in Kemah? Don't know why it would be there, but I'd ride with a co-worker.

Friend's funeral? I'll ride with a friend who is still alive.

That wasn't so tough. :)

Blessed are they that live in such a small world.

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You also forgot to mention, that in a pinch, he could always rent a car for a day or so.

Yes, well when your 10 yr old break his arm jumping on the bed... you go call up enterprise and wait an hour, Editor can call a cab and wait 30 mins, Red can go waste $1000 and 15 -20 mins on an ambulance, Lucky Redline resident can walk his crying son 1/4 mile and still wait 10 minutes for the train.... Me, I'll thank my lucky stars I own a car.

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You can't borrow a neighbor's car for an emergency?

Probably not at 3 in the morning, if they aren't home or if you don't know your neighbors well enough.

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Well, I only have a $100 copay for an ambulance ride so perhaps car-free living is not for people with bad health insurance, but for me it works great.

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Its true, there's almost no reason to visit the suburbs unless you have family there. My Ma lived in Memorial and I have friends in Spring and I've used the bus/bike combo to visit both.

Anyway, I saw editor's question more as how well someone can live car-free in Houston as compared to other cities. Most of your criticisms could be leveled on any major city, including NYC. Oh dear, having to wait ten minutes for a train? Perish the thought.

Edited by kylejack

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Its true, there's almost no reason to visit the suburbs unless you have family there. My Ma lived in Memorial and I have friends in Spring and I've used the bus/bike combo to visit both.

Anyway, I saw editor's question more as how well someone can live car-free in Houston as compared to other cities. Most of your criticisms could be leveled on any major city, including NYC. Oh dear, having to wait ten minutes for a train? Perish the thought.

Yes.. when you have a screaming 10 yr old with a broken bone.. Perish the thought of walking to and waiting for a train, damn right.

I'm sure if Editor and his wife were home one night and one of them fell and broke a bone, they would take the elevator down to the taxi stand right outside their building and be on their way to the nearest hospital. I'm sure the thought of using mass transit in such a situation would not be considered. But Houston doesnt have the plethora of waiting taxis luxury.

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713-635-4000, select the option to plan a trip and an operator will come on the line for you.

Alternatively, if you have Google Maps on your phone (or laptop) you can map a route and choose Transit option to get a bus and train route.

Yes, this is true. However I prefer having timetables and route maps at the stops. It is a lot easier. Also, being able to get places without having to plan it out ahead of time makes it a lot easier to just explore the city. For me, that is/was the real advantage of having access to auto transit.

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Yes, well when your 10 yr old break his arm jumping on the bed... you go call up enterprise and wait an hour, Editor can call a cab and wait 30 mins, Red can go waste $1000 and 15 -20 mins on an ambulance, Lucky Redline resident can walk his crying son 1/4 mile and still wait 10 minutes for the train.... Me, I'll thank my lucky stars I own a car.

Didn't know Red or editor had a 10 yr old.

As far as renting a car, I'm refering to extended trips or whem the schedules are overly packed.

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Yes.. when you have a screaming 10 yr old with a broken bone.. Perish the thought of walking to and waiting for a train, damn right.

I'm sure if Editor and his wife were home one night and one of them fell and broke a bone, they would take the elevator down to the taxi stand right outside their building and be on their way to the nearest hospital. I'm sure the thought of using mass transit in such a situation would not be considered. But Houston doesnt have the plethora of waiting taxis luxury.

My suspicion is that the editor and the mrs. would have the same emergency plan that they have in place currently, since they do not have a car in Chicago, either.

I must commend you you on proving that having a car is more convenient that living without one. However, that did not appear to be the question the editor was asking. While I am quite convinced that YOU could not survive without a car in Houston (or frankly, anywhere else), there are numerous places within Houston's inner loop that would support car-free living. Those of us who do not have clumsy children, and who do not attend weddings and funerals every week could do just fine. But, as you so clearly point out, it is NOT for everyone. It is a lifestyle that one must WANT to live, as the editor stated in his opening post. If you are looking to talk yourself out of it, that is really not very hard to do.

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Red... He asked how easy it is to live car-free in Houston... He is seeking opinions from all... Not just those who live inner loop, don't associate and with outer loopers or outer loop activites, and those that have the health insurance to call an ambulance for any ol thing.

My suspicion is that his emergency plans will have to change. Chicago and NYC offer abundant taxis and no wait, just as convenient as owning your own car. Houston does not.

Also, I'm guessing that for all your talk, Red, there's a pretty great chance you own a car as well.

Hey Ricco... Don't Turn into Red Jr by coming up with every loophole and exception. Come up with your own BS opinion put-down tactic. I don't give a crap if Editor doesnt have a kid. The topic is "Can ONE live car-free in Houston" ...... Not "Can I editor, and only editor, live car-free in Houston".

Red.. You and Kyle and Red Jr have made your case. We get it. Editor is seeking opinions of all though.

That's nice if you Want to live the car-free lifestyle. Many do. In taxi-free Houston though, I think Wanting to live car-free really equals living Mostly car free. I commend Kyle for being able to go 100%, I believe he is a rarity though for those that can afford a car but choose not to. Editor asked for opinions of all. My advice stands. Editor may want to live car-free, but he won't have ready access to instant transportation (taxi)or transit like he does in Chicago. Get a used, reliable, cheap car and go 95% Car free. HE can take that advice or Leave it... Your opposition has been noted.

Edited by Highway6
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Can you go car-free? Sure. But there's no reason to apologize for the fact that Houston's big growth came about way later in the century than the big Northern cities, and the car was considered a desirable amenity by Houston city planners for most of the twentieth century. Aside from the already-mentioned emergency, security, and weather concerns, there are times when you will need to buy things that are too big to carry where delivery may not be available. I'm not even talking about furniture -- what about a week's worth of groceries, or enough for a dinner party? What about a desktop computer, or a TV, or a ladder? Good luck getting those delivered from Best Buy or Home Depot or Kroger.

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I brought my week's worth of groceries home on the train yesterday from Fiesta. I am an individual, so if you have a larger household it may be more difficult, but more mouths equals more hands too, soo...

I also have a set of panniers for my bicycle. You'd be surprised how many groceries you can carry on your bike. Aside from panniers there's also handlebar baskets and bicycle trailers that can allow you to carry a massive grocery haul home from the store.

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Can you go car-free? Sure. But there's no reason to apologize for the fact that Houston's big growth came about way later in the century than the big Northern cities, and the car was considered a desirable amenity by Houston city planners for most of the twentieth century. Aside from the already-mentioned emergency, security, and weather concerns, there are times when you will need to buy things that are too big to carry where delivery may not be available. I'm not even talking about furniture -- what about a week's worth of groceries, or enough for a dinner party? What about a desktop computer, or a TV, or a ladder? Good luck getting those delivered from Best Buy or Home Depot or Kroger.

Home Depot Truck Rental

Best Buy Shipping and Delivery

Enterprise Leasing Truck Options

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The Toyota Yaris starts at $12,600. That's a little over $200 a month for 5 years with 0 down. It's worth it.

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The Toyota Yaris starts at $12,600. That's a little over $200 a month for 5 years with 0 down. It's worth it.

Toyota is offering 0% financing?

Then add insurance, gas, maintenance.

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The Toyota Yaris starts at $12,600. That's a little over $200 a month for 5 years with 0 down. It's worth it.

Toyota is offering 0% financing?

Then add insurance, gas, maintenance.

You can get a small used car for half that easily, and if you're only using the car for emergencies, buying gas once a month really is a inconsequential expense.

How does 80 a month in auto insurance compare to taxi rides, home depot truck rentals, and bus passes.

Edited by Highway6

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Maybe I should refine my question --

What are the BEST places in Houston to live if one doesn't have a car. I'd like to hear specifics. "Oakwood Estates" is a far more useful answer than "Midtown."

If you do not want to live in Downtown or Midtown...

Metropolis on W. Gray

Renoir on W. Dallas

Gotham on S. Shepherd

River Oaks Place on McDuffie

River Oaks Manor on W. Clay

All of these are within a block or two of River Oaks Shopping Center, providing groceries, restaurants and shops nearby. They are also on the METRO 35, which runs from the Galleria to Downtown and on W. Gray.

Four Leaf Towers on San Felipe

River Oaks Townhomes on San Felipe

The Four Leaf is in Uptown, so near all the shopping and on the 35. I don't like it though, because it is not near a grocery store (that I am aware of)

River Oaks is on the 35 and equidistant from W. Gray and Uptown, so near everything on the 35, but not necessarily walking distance to anything.

Red. Do you own a car?

Do you have a 10 year old with a broken arm?

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Oh man, you got me.

How do you use your car, Red? As an advocate for the "Live only where you can commute to work, Don't visit anywhere you can't get to by transit, never travel outside the loop" Lifestyle... Why do you own a car?

If you are suggesting to Editor that he can easily live in Houston without a car, yet you own a car, shouldn't you be listing the exceptions? Shouldn't you be disclosing to Editor why you wish you could practice what you preach, why while you're a transit man and wish you could live without a car, you choose not to ??

Why do you own a car?

Edited by Highway6
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Not playing your BS games... You do own one.

What is the point of asking him if he has a car?

The only direction I see you going with this is an Ad Hominem Tu Quoque logical fallacy.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem-tu-quoque.html

Ex:

Peter: "Based on the arguments I have presented, it is evident that it is morally wrong to use animals for food or clothing."

Bill: "But you are wearing a leather jacket and you have a roast beef sandwich in your hand! How can you say that using animals for food and clothing is wrong!"

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What is the point of asking him if he has a car?

To get to Why he owns a car.

He isn't being honest with Editor. If Red has the desire to live car-free, yet doesnt or can't... Then obviously there are exceptions, realities, etc that he is failing to mention to Editor.

Editor's topic is "Can one live car-free in Houston?"

The two main people who say Yes are You and Red.

You actually are successful in living car-free. Red is not.

You have every right to tell Editor How you do it. Red does not since he can't.

Seems the person who wants to live car-free, but chooses not to or can't, would be the perfect person to explain the realities of Houston car-free living to editor... Red is choosing to not relay those realities however.

Edited by Highway6

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Before I jump into the fray, let me state that I do own a car. Which I drive. Not daily, however.

I am familiar with/have used the bus/train/bicycle to do grocery shopping, run errands, go to work.

I knew a car-free couple who lived in the Medical Center. In UT graduate housing. They biked or took the shuttle in to the medical center for work. They biked to the grocery store. They rented a car for a weekend for trips out of town/Ikea runs/major Galleria excursions. I don't know how they got the wife to the hospital when she had a major intestinal problem, but I'm pretty sure they called an ambulance. She was fine.

If I had to live car-free, I'd probably be able to do it in my current neighborhood (Woodland Heights). I can easily walk to three bus lines, there is a grocery store close by, and enough restaurants and coffee shops within walking/biking distance to keep me amused. Despite the dire warnings that Metro does not post the bus schedules on the bus stop signs, it is pretty easy to print out the schedules you need, or view their website via Blackberry or iPhone and get the info you require. Metro also has its routes available to Google Transit, so those show up on Google Maps now.

Things I would give up by going car-free? My leisure time activities such as my hockey league. I could get to Memorial City on the bus, but it doesn't run late enough for me to participate in the adult leagues late in the evenings. Also, I doubt I could continue to go out to the NW to ride horses every week like I do now. Visiting friends outside the loop? I could catch a ride or call a cab. If the weather wasn't too awful, I'd bike it.

The heat I can deal with, but the torrential downpours are probably the worst for outside-the-car transit options.

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To get to Why he owns a car.

He isn't being honest with Editor. If Red has the desire to live car-free, yet doesnt or can't... Then obviously there are exceptions, realities, etc that he is failing to mention to Editor.

Editor's topic is "Can one live car-free in Houston?"

The two main people who say Yes are You and Red.

You actually are successful in living car-free. Red is not.

You have every right to tell Editor How you do it. Red does not since he can't.

Seems the person who wants to live car-free, but chooses not to or can't, would be the perfect person to explain the realities of Houston car-free living to editor... Red is choosing to not relay those realities however.

OK, I concede that I am wholly unqualified to respond to this post, because I own a car that I drive on average 10 miles per week, outside of work commutes. I will ask that all of my posts be deleted and only those who are qualified to respond, by virtue of not owning a car, post on this topic.

By the way, 6, I missed your expertise in this matter? Do you own a car? Do you live inside the loop? Do you take the bus? How's your 10 year old's arm? That must have been terrible getting him medical care, unless of course, you had a car, which would render you unfit to post on this thread.

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OK, I concede that I am wholly unqualified to respond to this post, because I own a car that I drive on average 10 miles per week, outside of work commutes. I will ask that all of my posts be deleted and only those who are qualified to respond, by virtue of not owning a car, post on this topic.

By the way, 6, I missed your expertise in this matter? Do you own a car? Do you live inside the loop? Do you take the bus? How's your 10 year old's arm? That must have been terrible getting him medical care, unless of course, you had a car, which would render you unfit to post on this thread.

Don't be overly dramatic. You are the Most qualified to answer Editor's concerns.

Editor wants to live car-free.

You want to live car-free. You own a car.

As someone who is a transit nut and desperately wants to live car-free... but can't... You are in the perfect position to feed Editor the facts of life.

As for my situation, I must have missed the part in Editor's original post where he said "Car-free people need only reply". This thread isn't only for those that live without a car, so the fact that I do own a car does not matter. I'm not the one advocating for a car-free lifestyle yet not living the dream, like you.

Editor wants to know if it can be done... only getting the opinion of those that successfully manage to live car-free would deprive him of the knowledge, perspective, and opinions of those that maybe want to, but can't. Perhaps the one big exception in your life Red, as to why you can't live car-free why you want to, is 100% applicable to Editor and a reason he has not thought of yet.

Crunch probably wants to live car-free... She has to tote a gym bag instead.. She chooses not to live car-free. See. That is perfect advice. That is advice to Editor from someone who wants to live car-free, but can't. She is giving Editor one new morsel to chew on as to why he might not be able to do what he wants and live car-free in Houston.

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How's your 10 year old's arm?

Oh look.. From page 15 in RedScare's Manual for Oppression of Dissenting Opinion. "Pretend other's examples aren't examples, but specific to the matter at hand, and Poo-poo all over them"

Guess what Red.. 10 yr old.. wife... doesnt matter. Editor has a family. So me coming up with an example dealing with possible family emergency without a car is 100% applicable.

Didn't know Red or editor had a 10 yr old.

HeY Red Jr. Ricco... This must have been the page you copied from... Go Write your own Manual.

Edited by Highway6

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Don't be overly dramatic. You are the Most qualified to answer Editor's concerns.

Editor wants to live car-free.

You want to live car-free. You own a car.

As someone who is a transit nut and desperately wants to live car-free... but can't... You are in the perfect position to feed Editor the facts of life.

As for my situation, I must have missed the part in Editor's original post where he said "Car-free people need only reply". This thread isn't only for those that live without a car, so the fact that I do own a car does not matter. I'm not the one advocating for a car-free lifestyle yet not living the dream, like you.

Editor wants to know if it can be done... only getting the opinion of those that successfully manage to live car-free would deprive him of the knowledge, perspective, and opinions of those that maybe want to, but can't. Perhaps the one big exception in your life Red, as to why you can't live car-free why you want to, is 100% applicable to Editor and a reason he has not thought of yet.

Crunch probably wants to live car-free... She has to tote a gym bag instead.. She chooses not to live car-free. See. That is perfect advice. That is advice to Editor from someone who wants to live car-free, but can't. She is giving Editor one new morsel to chew on as to why he might not be able to do what he wants and live car-free in Houston.

Perhaps you missed it then. I posted in post #2. Number 4 on my list was to pay attention to transit options when looking at places to live. In my own circumstance, I used to take the bus downtown. My transit options worked. Because I now work in the suburbs, I cannot take transit of any kind, as it does not exist there. My decision to take that job is why I must have a car.

BTW, I wouldn't get rid of my paid off car, even if I chose to live car-free. It is too easy to keep it. However, editor does not want to buy one. That part of our situations is much different.

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Let's all play nice, folks.

I have a good friend who lives in Montrose, car-free. He doesn't have much money because he's on disability. He has a tiny apartment and a bicycle that I gave him which he uses for short trips. He is very familiar with the bus schedule and how to find information about it. He rarely buys anything he can't carry. When he does need a ride, he asks me or another friend. He is very sensitive about seeming to impose with his ride requests.

The biggest and most compelling reason that he is car-free, even more than the money, is that he never learned to drive. Since I work at a university, I see this fairly frequently among incoming students (especially non-Texans) also. I think it is fair to say that a driver's license and car insurance are going to be necessary if any kind of car or truck rental is part of the car-free strategy.

There are indeed cities in which having a car seems to be more trouble than it is worth. The borough of Manhattan comes to mind. I haven't spent enough time in Chicago to know where it fits in.

It sure seems to me that it is very difficult to justify going car-free from any kind of cost vs. convenience standpoint in Houston. Probably more so than any other large US city except maybe LA.

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Yeah guys, the bickering is even wearing me out..!

It might be helpful to ask folks who are car-free because they have to be, not because they choose to be. Like marmer, I know of someone in a similar situation - never has owned a car, hasn't driven in years (or ever? I can't remember), and wouldn't be able to financially support one anyhow.

As far as I know, he lives in Montrose and uses his feet and Metro to get where he needs to be. Like kylejack mentioned before, there are ways to haul things from the grocery store and alternatives to taking home your own Ikea furniture...

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Didn't know Red or editor had a 10 yr old.

As far as renting a car, I'm refering to extended trips or whem the schedules are overly packed.

My suspicion is that his emergency plans will have to change. Chicago and NYC offer abundant taxis and no wait, just as convenient as owning your own car. Houston does not.

Hey Ricco... Don't Turn into Red Jr by coming up with every loophole and exception. Come up with your own BS opinion put-down tactic. I don't give a crap if Editor doesnt have a kid. The topic is "Can ONE live car-free in Houston" ...... Not "Can I editor, and only editor, live car-free in Houston".

I'm merely bringing up YOUR 10 yr old BS explanation on the perils of not having a car. As in any emergency, if you can't adjust for your situation, you and your hypothetical 10 yr old are doomed.

HeY Red Jr. Ricco... This must have been the page you copied from... Go Write your own Manual.

And yet you bring this up 20 posts after I originally brought it up?

I don't know what your issue is, but I don't pretend to be a "Red Jr."

It IS possible to live in Houston without a car, plenty of people do it all the time without making a major whining production in it.

Oh yeah, keep it on topic.

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For what its worth, I shop at Ikea and pay the delivery charge. They do, I think, up to five items for less than a hundred bucks. Depends on your zip code's range from the store.

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As a for instance, I live one block from the 40 line, and it passes both a Kroger AND a Target. Both are one mile away.

I assume you are talking about the Sawyer Target.. It's 2 miles from 11th and Heights.. By car... but a minor error.

Your choices...

a) walk to Studemont and take the 66 down to Target (19 min trip)

b ) take the 40 to Studemont and transfer to the 66 (19 min trip assuming minimal waiting)

c) take the 40 to Houston and Spring and walk the 3/4 miles to Target ( 22 mins )

d) hop in your car and take 5 mins.

Thats so cool that you live so close to the 40 and can take it to the Target a mile away. How lucky for you since you want to live car-free.... Unfortunately, you intentionally left out that the Target isn't also just a block away from the 40. You failed to mention that you either have to transfer/wait or walk 3/4 miles. I'm guessing since you own a car, you actually just do option D. But hey... way to leave out pertinent information and exaggerate while advocating for a car-free lifestyle.

Edited by Highway6

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And yet you bring this up 20 posts after I originally brought it up?

I first mentioned it 2 posts after you brought it up... Red just presented me the opportunity to take another poke at ya.

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I do notice you have a tendency to have to repeat yourself a few times.

It's akin to simply listening to yourself speak. But I'm going off topic on that.

Ed, are you more apt to move into a High Rise or a particular neighborhood? Considering this is your site, I figure you would piece together quite a bit of what we have talked about in the past.

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I assume you are talking about the Sawyer Target.. It's 2 miles from 11th and Heights.. By car... but a minor error.

Your choices...

a) walk to Studemont and take the 66 down to Target (19 min trip)

b ) take the 40 to Studemont and transfer to the 66 (19 min trip assuming minimal waiting)

c) take the 40 to Houston and Spring and walk the 3/4 miles to Target ( 22 mins )

d) hop in your car and take 5 mins.

Thats so cool that you live so close to the 40 and can take it to the Target a mile away. How lucky for you since you want to live car-free.... Unfortunately, you intentionally left out that the Target isn't also just a block away from the 40. You failed to mention that you either have to transfer/wait or walk 3/4 miles. I'm guessing since you own a car, you actually just do option D. But hey... way to leave out pertinent information and exaggerate while advocating for a car-free lifestyle.

1.5 miles by bicycle, just about 5 minutes depending on how fast you can pedal. 5 minutes @ 18 MPH, 7 minutes at 13 MPH. On a road bike its relatively easy for me to do 20 MPH. Plus you get to ride a bike which is a reward unto itself. ;)

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1.5 miles by bicycle, just about 5 minutes depending on how fast you can pedal. 5 minutes @ 18 MPH, 7 minutes at 13 MPH. On a road bike its relatively easy for me to do 20 MPH. Plus you get to ride a bike which is a reward unto itself. ;)

I agree with all of that. In fact, its almost undoubtedly faster than car since you can take the biketrail and avoid lights. ..... However, that doesn't help Red's wayward claim that he can ride the 40 to the Target a mile away.

I do notice you have a tendency to have to repeat yourself a few times.

I agree with all of that. In fact, its almost undoubtedly faster than car since you can take the biketrail and avoid lights. ..... However, that doesn't help Red's wayward claim that he can ride the 40 to the Target a mile away.

Edited by Highway6

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