The Ten Worst Cities To Own A Car In America
by Jess Linn
This list was compiled for Jalopnik by their readers, and takes into account things like traffic, cost of vehicle ownership, parking difficulty, and just general shittiness of having to deal with a car. With renaissances of public transportation and bike-riding seeming to take place now, there's no time like the present to ditch the car and simplify your life.
Take a look at these cities, a brief explanation of why they're so terrible for car ownership, and be glad you've got that uncycle your girlfriend got you in 11th grade.
This one is more a function of traffic than anything. Austin, for being a large city (and growing quickly), doesn't have a lot of major crosstown arteries, meaning that surface streets and highways get JAMMED during rush hour, especially during the nine months UT is in session. In fact, the traffic in ATX has been deemed the third-worst in the country.
9. Wasington D.C.
Here, traffic is terrible due to the small size of the city and vast numbers of commuters coming in not only from other neighborhoods, but other states. Couple that in with the fact that the city is laid out in a confusing hub-and-spoke system, parking is a scarcity, and you've got a city that lends itself to public transportation way more than cars.
In case you weren't aware, Hawaii is a chain of remote islands, which means that it's not easy to get stuff there. Like gas and cars. Consequently, gas is about 30% more expensive in Hawaii than it is anywhere else, and the state levies some steep taxes on cars. In fact, Hawaii is the most expensive place in the US to own a car, eclipsing even NYC. However, public transportation isn't great, so you may have to decide on the lesser of two evils.
Chicago is second only to NYC as to parking rates, and gas is the most expensive in the nation. This makes up for the fact that traffic isn't that bad. Chicago is a no-fly zone as far as cars go. Especially with the quality of public transport.
6. New Orleans
This entry might surprise many readers, as traffic isn't bad, and ownership cost isn't particularly high. However, with so much of the city below seas level, the roads are constantly in poor repair, and flooding contstantly is damaging cars beyond repair. In addition to the other tolls of the storm, Hurricane Katrina destroyed 200,000 vehicles.
One look at the cars in Boston and you'll see why owning a car there isn't ideal. The constant salting of the roads and snow treatments tears up cars in a manner of years, making them look like relics of a bygone era. It's the fourth densest city in the US, and the layout from the 1700's isn't exactly conducive.
Yup, Fresno. I'm as surprised as you are. The traffic's fine, and the city's not expensive by any standard, but car theft is rampant to the point that most sedan-owners expect their car to be stolen. And many immigrants in the area are just learning to drive...many without insurance, so just getting around (assuming your car hasn't been jacked) can be a bit of a struggle.
It's the thrid-densest city, traffic-wise, in the U.S. Traffic is horrible, and so are the drivers. Add a sprawling city plan, and it's eay to see why this place could be a nightmare to get around in a car.
Nope, it's not the worst, per this survey, but it is really, really bad. Tolls on every bridge, expensive parking, terrible traffic, and crappy roads make this city every bit as bad to get around as you would think. Oh, and it's far and away the densest city in America.
1. San Francisco
With it's bridge-y layout, dense population (in SF proper), one way streets, and hills, SF is a nightmare for anyone who owns a car. Also, it's got terrible auto theft, lots of rain, and the people there treat traffic like a game of Mario Kart. Avoid, avoid, avoid.