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Thread: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

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    Cool Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Hi everyone!

    I'm moving to Miami next month from Europe and will be working in Coral Gables (close to Miracle Mile). I'd like your advice on where to live based on access to convenient public transport to downtown, south beach and the airport.

    I am hoping to manage without car and rely on public transport (or bike) to get to work. I prefer to live within a 30 minute commute to work and also be within 30 minutes to south beach. I will be working 8-5 on weekdays and on weekends I hope to go to south beach.

    From what I see, my options are either to (1) live in Coral Gables and take metrorail/bus to south beach on weekends, or (2) live in downtown close to a metrorail stop (such as Government Centre) and commute to Coral Gables daily.

    Does anyone know long would it take to commute from Government Centre to Coconut Grove metrorail stops, and then take the Coral Gables trolley to Alhambra circle?

    Where would you advise me to live if I didn't have a car?

    Thanks a lot for your help!


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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Hello,

    The metrorail takes about 15 minutes on that route (detailed schedules are available online). I have no experience with the trolleys but they are basically busses and busses are a disaster in terms of reliability over here.

    Seriously, get a car. This is Miami. If you don't have a car, you cannot do anything at all except commute to work, because nothing else is reachable without car. Da Beach without a car is not feasible in less than an hour, I think.

    The exception is if you work and live and play on Miami Beach. For all the rest, including Coral Gables, you need a car, period.

    Miami is not even remotely like Europe. Public transport is severely underdeveloped. Really.

    Something else. If you try to move to Miami in the middle of winter season, you're in for a surprise... it may be less easy than you think to find anything at all to stay. So worry about that first, and get the car anyway.


    Hoppie (also from Europe)
    Last edited by Hoppie; 12-15-2013 at 09:22 PM.
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  3. #3
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Yep. As I said in your other thread, working in the Gables without a car is only possible if you live in downtown Gables, and don't plan to see the rest of the city. As Hoppie said, the buses and trollies are a joke so using a combination of the Metorail and any of that isn't getting you around the city.

    Getting a car here sucks and is expensive, but is absolutely necessary.

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Hi expat! I just replied to your other thread

    A lot depends on how long you are here for. Is it a six month deal, or long term? I moved here from Europe and for the first couple of years did not have a car, or friends with cars to lend me, and I used public transport. It's ok, I'm from London, so I'm used to the tube, but in Miami it's dirtier, and the people are weird. If you're good with that, you'll be ok.

    However, your ideal living situation is going to be tough. South Beach to Coconut Grove train station is easily an hour at the weekend. Trains run every 30 mins Saturday and Sunday. And buses aren't on time. So I'd suggest living near work,as that's quite a punishing work week you have, and then getting yourself to the beach at weekends, but it's going to be more than 30 minutes to get there.

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Oh, and for the guys saying you MUST have a car... Well, you really don't, but life is much easier when you have one. I'd go to Dadeland mall all the time on the bus and train from SoBe and be perfectly happy. Matt, I met you at Shortys that way once. It's just a lot longer to get anywhere on public transport, but driving here is pretty scary, so if someone is worried about driving, I'd not suggest jumping on 826 straight away.

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Thanks guys, a lot of useful suggestions here.

    I'm not in the States yet - I'm still waiting on my US work authorization to be processed. As to where I'm moving from - this past year I spent between London and Brazil, and before that I lived in Paris for 5 years. I've lived in the US before (Chicago, DC and California) so I'm not entirely new to US culture.

    I know that the US public transport isn't great and Miami is not exactly bike friendly, so I'm not surprised at all the comments that I *MUST* get a car... however, I don't want to rush into buying one for the first 6 months or so until I decide if I like my job and whether I'd like to stay in Miami. I've moved around a lot and it's a real pain having to set up in a new place and then move again.

    So yea, I guess for the first 6 months I'll look for a room in Coral Gables and see how it goes with getting to the beaches on weekends, then decide if I want to move and/or get a car after that.

    Any tips on finding a room in Coral Gables would be most appreciated

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    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Good plan if you're not sure you wanna stay...then again having to take public transportation everywhere and rarely being able to get to the Beach - or even the funner parts of Miami - might soil you on the place.

    To clarify, Jess lived and worked in South Beach, probably the lone existence that's fully feasible if you are carless. But anything involving the Gables is gonna necessitate one if you're here for a while.

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    South Beach is the only truly walkable place in Miami. And it's an island, so leaving and coming back is a HUGE pain in the ass too, so people don't leave. But the buses aren't completely awful to get around, so try and it and see how you get on.

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    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Yeah South Beach is manageable by bus. Probably because it's so small

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    I've been reading up on Coral Gables and people say it is quite walkable and close to public transport links.

    Apparently there is a free Trolley that runs across Coral Gables on weekdays and takes you to the metrorail. There are also direct buses to downtown Miami (bus 24) and Miami airport (bus 42). By metrobus to South Beach it would take me an hour as opposed to about half an hour by car, which I think I can live with.

    I could also rent a car2go on weekends, which sounds like a great system. Has anyone used them?

    It says it costs a maximum of $85 per day, so even if I wanted to use it all weekend, I would be paying a maximum of $4,000 for 6 months (which includes gas, parking and insurance).

    Does anyone know if I can drive in the US with my EU driver's license?

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    I think the beach is manageable especially South Beach. And the Coconut Grove area is alright. I do not see Coral Gables as a good no car area. When I used to live around the Gables prior to owning a car I got by with my skateboard or a bike. I was way happier when I got a car. In the Gables things are a little spread out and the public transportation has long intervals between schedules, at least when ever I needed to catch a ride.

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by Miami Expat View Post

    Does anyone know if I can drive in the US with my EU driver's license?
    Yes you can, for up to 1 year.

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    However I don't know whether the car2go system accepts you without a local driver license. Just check.


    Hoppie

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    Senior Member Marc Middleton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    No, you have to have a driver's license and the company performs a DL check on you before issuing your card. If you have a lot violations they will deny you as well, so they do check.

    I use to Car2Go all the time and I love it, especially now that they have parking in South Beach, North bay village and bay harbor islands. Hopefully it will extend to Aventura area soon.

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    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Dylan is right about the Gables. Just because public transportation exists, doesn't mean it's usable. That trolly is awful. I mean it's fine to ride it but it runs at infrequent intervals and takes FOREVER. Same with that 24 bus. Just get it out of your head public transportation is really going to be an option if you're involving Coral Gables. Or anywhere that's not South Beach.

    The Car2Go might work for you, and getting a US DL isn't that tough provided you know how to drive. I think you just have to take the tests again, and basically devote a couple of days to it. But it'll probably end up being worth it if you don't get a car.

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    Senior Member Marc Middleton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meltzer View Post
    Dylan is right about the Gables. Just because public transportation exists, doesn't mean it's usable. That trolly is awful. I mean it's fine to ride it but it runs at infrequent intervals and takes FOREVER. Same with that 24 bus. Just get it out of your head public transportation is really going to be an option if you're involving Coral Gables. Or anywhere that's not South Beach.

    The Car2Go might work for you, and getting a US DL isn't that tough provided you know how to drive. I think you just have to take the tests again, and basically devote a couple of days to it. But it'll probably end up being worth it if you don't get a car.
    The 5:30PM Trolley picked us up in Downtown by Bayfront park and got us to the gables at 7PM. one of the worst things I've done in this country. My brother was with me from Orlando and it reminded him of what you see in countries like Honduras or something... started out nice with just us on it too. The Cuban driver decided to pick up every person waiting at a BUS STOP instead of the 6 or so planned trolley stops. By the time we hit Coral way it was standing room only with everyone shouting in Spanish while the trolley plays US Christmas music..quite surreal. We jumped out at Le Jeune and walked the remainder of the way.

    Again, I can't think of anything worse I've done since I moved here in 2010.
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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    I can't even cope with reading that story, let alone being on that bus.

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    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    Aaaaand that's all you need to know about the trolley right there. I've taken it 4 blocks from my apartment to the Metrorail and had no problem. Tried to do it to the Marlins game once and it was a nightmare. Walking from the Civic Center Metrorail stop woulda been faster, and typically is.

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    I use the metro mover and that's it. No traffic to slow it down.

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    Default Re: Living in downtown or Coral Gables without a car?

    If I need to make another thread just let me know.

    I too want to move to the city. I'm sick of suburbs and requiring a car. One reason being is cost. I'm a 22 year old student on a budget who depends on himself.

    I've done research and read one can live easily and comfortably in areas like little Havana, downtown, Brickell and coconut grove but the grove is farther away so distances are longer.

    Or the beach because its also pedestrian friendly, right next to the city and a bus trip is short.

    Or downtown coral gables or downtown south Miami because of the same reasons.

    I have no problem staying in the city for the most part because apparently everything is in the city so there is no need to leave. Plus, I consider myself a young man with right priorities so I would be focused on school and income most of the time and when I want to do something else it should all be right in the city or at worst, a short trip to the beach.

    Any help would be be highly appreciated. Please and thank you.

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