Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Does anyone else hate cars?

I'm in New Jersey now, but one thing I preferred about living in NYC (Manhattan then Brooklyn) was not needing to own a car.  Fighting traffic, constant maintenance hassles, rentals when the car's out of comission, insurance (a nightmare in NJ), dealing with the DMV, instantly depreciating value, etc. etc. etc.

New York is probably the only place in the U.S. where you can realistically and comfortably live without a car.  Extensive, affordable public transportation, most of what you need within walking distance, etc., etc.

Just wonder if other NYC'ers (and ex-NYC'ers) feel the same way.  Are there any other pedestrian friendly U.S. communities you know of?

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, May 06, 2003


It's really one of the reasons I dread ever living anywhere else.  So far, I've never had to own one (though I have to rent sometimes, like when I go back to Chicago).

If you aren't aware of them, Transporation Alternatives (transalt.org) is a really good advocacy organization here in NYC for non-car transporation, especially bikes.

Charles Lewis
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

On the other hand, it was nice to be able to get away for a weekend.

I didn't mind owning a car, though it was expensive. What I minded was commuting in one. Yech. Also, any time a car came too close or slammed on it's breaks in front of me, I started seeing $$ signs.

www.marktaw.com
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

As a soon-to-be New Yorker, can someone explain to me how licenses work in NY? If the average New Yorker doesn't have a car, does he at least have a license (for out of state trips, etc)? But don't you need a car to apply for a license?
  And what about insurance? Do people maintain that year-round just for the two weeks a year when they're travelling out of state on business?

Anon. Coward
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"But don't you need a car to apply for a license?"

No, there are driving schools that will take you to get your test. Then you keep renewing.

As far as maintaining the car and not using it... I don't know anyone with a car that doesn't drive it at least once a week.

www.marktaw.com
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

    On the 'getting a license' issue, NY is very easy about letting you get a NY license just based on having some other drivers license.  I've never had to take a road test here.

Charles Lewis
Wednesday, May 07, 2003

"NY is very easy about letting you get a NY license just based on having some other drivers license."

Yeah, that was wonderful.  I just traded PA license for NY license, and that was it.

Here in NJ I had to take the written test all over again.  I guess it makes sense, but it was a royal pain.  That and registering a new car, I made enough trips to the DMV to last me a lifetime.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Anyone who got their license somewhere else you ought to know that NY is about the only place in the US that doesn't allow right turns on a red signal unless otherwise specified. This applies to all 5 boroughs.

www.marktaw.com
Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Good question about insurance -- i cancelled mine when i moved up here, but that can get really annoying. For example, i'm going on a road trip with a friend this month, and as far as i can tell, i won't be able to legally drive. Or when i visit my parents for the weekend, they can't lend me their car, as far as i know.

I've heard rumors that i'd be covered under the insurance of whoever owns the car if anything happened, but is this true? Is it legal?

Mike Schiraldi
Wednesday, May 07, 2003

of course you're ok under their insurance. the law isn't THAT strict. The insurance company will want to know if you drive the car every day though.

www.marktaw.com
Wednesday, May 07, 2003

You can easily live happily in San Francisco without a car, and number of my friends there have proven it.  When I lived there I would sometimes go two weeks without using mine. 

Ethan Herdrick
Friday, May 09, 2003

Slashdot posted a link to the "Car Free City":

http://www.carfree.com/

The Slashdot discussion is here:

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/05/16/1359229&mode=thread&tid=134

Jim Rankin
Friday, May 16, 2003

yey! To NYC being pedestrian-enabled if not pedestrian friendly! Would love to see cycle lanes and my current bugbear - gettting rid of car alarms. Do they serve a purpose any more? Just discovered the alttrans website yesterday - Definitely gonna be supporting these guys

dave
http://www.davidgoodwin.net

djg
Monday, June 02, 2003

Re: getting a new license

When I moved from Toronto to Seattle not only did I have to take the written test, I had to take the in car test - yikes! All those years of not parallel parking. Plus - who wants to live through the embaressment of failing the test as a long time driver? Needless to say I spent a lot of time practicing my parking.

Paul Davies
Friday, June 13, 2003

I have a friend in an NJ suburb on a busline that runs to the Port of Authority terminal. He doesn't have a license. He let it lapse ages ago, but now you need a license or a state issued identification card to fly on an airplane. He doesn't fly on airplanes any more than he drives, but he figured that someday he might, so he had to get an id card which meant proving who he was.

This turned out to be a real nuisance. Wasn't there some science fiction story in which some scientist was replaced by a robot with a bomb that would detonate on a catch phrase? If I remember, the scientist spends most of the book proving that he is indeed himself. Then, they find his body and he says, "if that's Dr. Foobar, then I must be" and sets off the bomb.

Well, it wasn't that bad, but at times it seemed close. We were all set to fly down and drive over to swear in court that we had known him for ages and he was definitely one of a kind. Luckily, a six inch stack of paper, articles, photos and the like did the trick and he got his identification card.

The moral. Whether you drive or not, try and maintain some continuous identification document. Better yet, maintain a few of them if you have to lam.

Yes, I know, he could have applied for a passport, but the federal government seemed more daunting than the local state government to deal with for this. If I remember correctly, my father changed his name back in grade school and the INS wouldn't accept his birth certificate until his parents filed affidavits on his behalf.

So if that's A Kaleberg, I must be ....

A Kaleberg
Wednesday, July 16, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home