Living in Downtown Cleveland without a Car: May 2018

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To review: I live in Downtown Cleveland without a car, which is an unusual lifestyle choice in such a car-centric town. I’ve been keeping track of what I’ve spent on transportation and comparing it to what I would have spent on a car.

If I owned a car, these would be my estimated monthly expenses:

Car payments: $250
Gas: $120
Parking in my building: $180
Insurance: $60
TOTAL: $610
This does not include repairs, maintenance, parking tickets or other incidentals.

Last month, spring brought weather that is much more conducive to getting around by foot or bike, which greatly reduced my use of the bus and Uber. And even when I’m staying within the confines of downtown, there is a free trolley I can take, which really helps when it’s raining. However you slice it, it’s a low-cost win-win.

Here is what I actually spent on transportation in the month of May:

Uber: $70.91
Bus: $5.00
TOTAL: $75.91

The numbers tell the story and offer a legitimate challenge to hard-wired training that celebrates car ownership as the ultimate freedom when, for many, it’s an unnecessary physical, environmental and financial burden.


  1. Hi George, I also am a downtown resident that has decided to turn in my car. Aside from the occasional trip to the east side or events, I have found it extremely convenient to live in Downtown Cleveland without a car. I walk to work the majority of the days and when it’s cold or raining I also utilize the free trolley.

      • Thanks, George. I think a more compelling story would be that of downtown-ers that don’t own cars yet commute outside of downtown for work. I am hoping to compel co-workers to start taking the bus, from downtown to Independence. It takes almost the same amount of time driving; plus, it allows for “instant exercise” and reduction of our carbon footprint.

        • I would agree. Having spent 22 years in a city into which hundreds of thousands commuted via rail, bus and boat, I’m a big proponent of ditching the car. Car ownership is an incredibly oversold value. Additionally, an infrastructure that favors more and more cars over public transit has never been a winning attribute of a successful city. Never.

  2. Refusing to get a car—you can take the guy out of New York City, but you can’t take the New York City out of the guy!

    Honestly, I wish more people would follow your lead. Cities really flourish when its citizens travel by foot. You meet your neighbors, find shops you’d never find otherwise, and honestly, you fall in love with the place quicker. And while some cities (NYC, San Fran, Boston) are easier to live in sans car than others, with a little lifestyle engineering, a solid understanding of the local metro, and a bit of insistence, I think living without a car is possible in most urban spaces.

    Anyway—keep fighting the good fight! You’re a pioneer!


    Ps—I found your blog a few days ago, and it’s truly wonderful reading about your journey. And, as a New Yorker who’s being slooooooowly strangled financially, I’m commiserating with everything you’ve written!

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