Category Archives: advice

Airlines Make ‘Bike-Touring’ Difficult

As you can see above, getting a bike ready for airline travel can be an arduous task. Admittedly, bike-touring might not be a large cross section of the population and even David French, who is a regular bike-tourist, agreed in a recent Elliott.org article.

But since the late 1970s, when French brought his his bike along on trips to Europe, he says it has become increasingly difficult and costly for people to travel with their bikes.

Fees have increased enormously for someone bringing a bike on a plane. As Christopher Elliott writes, someone looking to bike-tour should expect to spend between $100 and $300 to check their bike as luggage.

airport bike

Courtesy of Ride for Climate

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Filed under advice, bicycling, bike sharing, Travel

Which U.S. City Is Really The Best For Getting Around? Hint: Not LA

Detroit doesn't always show up on Best Cities lists. But it does on one of these.

Detroit doesn’t always show up on Best Cities lists. But it does on one of these.

It seems like every other day there’s a new “top cities” list. There are the top cities for foodies, the happiest cities, the best cities for families, and even the weirdest cities. And of course, we care most about the best cities for transit — walking, biking, public transportation, and traffic flow.

While it’s hard to compare lists, we thought it might be useful to see if there are any notable similarities or differences on these “best cities” lists.

Here are five lists from the past few years. Let’s see how they compare.

Livability’s Top 10 Best Downtowns
Livability ranks America’s best places to live, work and visit, based on a wide array of criteria. This particular list, created in 2014, looks at cities; downtowns, based on population growth, the ratio of residents to jobs, income growth, home vacancy rates, affordability of housing, and the vacancy rates of retail and office spaces. We like this list because it is includes some lesser-known cities in lieu of the major U.S. cities seen on most lists.

  1. Fort Worth, Texas
  2. Providence, R.I.
  3. Indianapolis
  4. Provo, Utah
  5. Alexandria, Va.
  6. Frederick, Md.
  7. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  8. Bellingham, Wash.
  9. Eugene, Ore.
  10. Birmingham, Ala.

Top 10 Best American Downtowns, ranked by Top Tenz
Top Tenz, a site solely dedicated to top 10 lists, included the usual favorites in this list from 2012. But this list deviates from the norm with its inclusion of Detroit and Milwaukee, both of which appear do not appear on any of the other lists we looked at for this post.

Detroit in particular is a noteworthy choice — it seems to wind up on more “worst cities” lists than those that rank the best. But Top Tenz calls Detroit’s downtown “one of the most architecturally impressive in the country” and notes that the city has been revitalized in the recent years following intensive development.

  1. New York City
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Chicago
  4. San Francisco
  5. Philadelphia
  6. Miami
  7. Boston
  8. Seattle
  9. Detroit
  10. Milwaukee

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Filed under advice, bicycling, cars, cities, urban planning, walking

You Offered Advice For Anne. Here’s What She’s Going To Do

Anne's 1998 Honda Civic. Will it stay or go?

Anne’s 1998 Honda Civic. Will it stay or go?

By Micheline Maynard

We had some wonderful responses to our request for Advice For Anne. She’s a Curbing Cars reader in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who asked for help as she figured out what to do about her 1998 Honda Civic.

Anne has read your suggestions, and here’s her message for everyone.

“Thank you to all the wonderful comments from the Curbing Cars readers.  They provided very helpful perspectives on going Car Free and very thought provoking ideas and experiences.

I am going to keep my car for now, but not use it except on rare occasions where a car is helpful – picking my friend up at the bus station, going to an appointment out of town, going to a friend’s house after the buses stop. Continue reading

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Filed under advice, Driving, public transportation

Can Anne Get Along Without A Car? A View From San Diego

Frederick says Anne can get alone even without one of these.

Frederick says Anne can get alone even without one of these.

By Micheline Maynard

Our reader Anne in Ann Arbor has asked for advice on whether to keep her 1998 Honda Civic or go car free. Frederick Ollinger in San Diego says she can pull the plug, and tells her how.

Dear Anne,

You access to a car will impact your life decisions and make you more or less car dependent.

For example, you say that your suburb is car dependent. How did this happen? This could only occur if the developers and residents all decided that they were going to have access to a car.

If, on the other hand, at the beginning of this decision making process, you did not have a car, you would have made different decisions.

For example, when my wife and I moved from pedestrian Philly to “car dependent” San Diego, every one “knew” that we needed a car. Five years later we live not only without a car, but without a Zipcar.

How? Continue reading

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Filed under advice, car sharing, cars, cities, Driving

Dream Warmly, Anne Is Advised From Houston

It isn't likely Anne will see cows on her commute, as David Lippert does in Houston.

It isn’t likely Anne will see cows on her commute, as David Lippert does in Houston.

By Micheline Maynard

Curbing Cars readers are offering Advice for Anne on whether she should keep her 1998 Honda Civic or go car free. David Lippert and his family went car free in Houston, and here he weighs in with some suggestions.

Hi Anne,

It sounds like you have some of the key ingredients to go car-free. Our regular activities are school, work, groceries.

Even when we had a car, we made choices to minimize the loss should that happen.

I took the bus to work downtown.  My daughter has always used the school bus and groceries had to be walking distance or take a bus there and a cab back.   My wife is a stay a home Mom.  These life choices were less about ideology and more about fear of being stranded.

These are some tips for helping you to make your decision. Continue reading

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From Austin, Some Ideas For Anne On Transportation Choices

By Micheline Maynard

Andrew Hartford wrote for us recently about the ways he gets around Austin without a car. We asked him to provide our reader Anne in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with ideas for deciding whether to keep her 1998 Honda Civic, or go car free.

Hi Anne,

I have been in your situation before.  I’ve had car troubles in the past, and wondered if it was really even worth owning one (the cost and stress of maintaining it) considering I had other options of getting around.  Ultimately, I realized that not owning a car doesn’t mean you have to cut cars out of your life completely.

As much as I am an advocate for alternative forms of transportation (biking, walking, and mass transit), I understand that there are situations in which a car might be needed (much of the U.S. is still very car-dependent). Continue reading

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Should She Keep Her Car Or Go Car Free? Your Advice For Anne

By Micheline Maynard

Ask, and ye shall receive! Our reader Anne in Ann Arbor, Michigan, asked Curbing Cars last week to help her decide whether she should keep her 1998 Honda Civic, or take the plunge and go car free.

Anne's 1998 Honda Civic

Anne’s 1998 Honda Civic

Your advice has come flooding in. Here’s the first response, from John Lloyd. (We’ll be featuring more Advice for Anne this week.)

Dear Anne,

Great question!  The fact that you’re asking whether to keep your car is a wonderful indication that you have freed your mind from the tyranny of the automobile.  I have been living “car light” for the past 3 years, and driving my car less and less every year.
Like you, I have an older car (a 2000 Toyota Corolla), and I only fill the tank a couple of times a year.  I’d love to go completely car-free, but I live in a car-dependent suburb and like knowing I have the option in an emergency.  If we had a Zipcar available nearby I’d feel better able to let the car go completely, but since we don’t, I’ve hung on to it. Continue reading

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Filed under advice, cars, Curbing Cars, Driving, public transportation, walking