Monday, November 7, 2011

Living Without A Car

How can someone live without a car in the city?  MSNBC has pulled this article from 24/7 Wall Street that ranks the 10 best cities to live car free.  Check this article, but don't be surprised to not find Charlotte on the list, at least not yet.

I am car-less and I live in downtown Charlotte.  This is a lifestyle that I choose to live, and will tell you that many of the points made in the article are valid.  As a realtor, it always draws interesting looks from people when they find I do not have a car.  Being a realtor generally means that you drive a big shiny black car if you are successful.

My experience in showing property in downtown Charlotte is that it is easier to walk to listings than it is to try to find a place to park.   Additionally, walking through a neighborhood like the Fourth Ward in downtown Charlotte allows you to explain more about the neighborhood, and to actually get a feel for what life is like there.

The point of the article is that to live car-less, you need to have the items and services that you need close at hand, I have that in downtown.  It talks about having a strong public transportation system, and Charlotte does have a strong system, though sporatic at times.  As a frequent user of the LYNX Light Rail Line, I can tell you that it is well used all hours. I eagerly await the extension to UNCC. 

Charlotte Area Transit System, CATS, has an app for either iPhone or Android which will allow you to find out when a bus or train will be at a particular stop.  Generally, schedules are kept.  This allows you to further plan your time.

Being car-less also encourages you to batch together errands.  From time to time I will rent a car, and when I do I accomplish a number of tasks that would be more difficult on public transportation, going to Costco's, multiple appointments in different areas of the city in a short period of time, etc.

Eliminating a car from your overhead can reduce your expenses significantly.  Think maintenance, gas, insurance, parking, carpayments or depreciation, replacement, etc.  Add those things up.  It saved me over $10,000 annually.

Put your own numbers in and see how it compares!

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