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Do I need a car?

DaughterOfCoulDaughterOfCoul Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
What the title asks, specifically for the Tempe and/or Barrett campus. If I bring one, how much will it cost me in parking & gas, and will I use it a lot. How bad is traffic/driving in general in the Tempe/Phoenix area (considering that it is a big city and that I'm not a big fan of driving anyways)? Is there affordable public transportation I could use instead? And is bringing a car worth it if I'm coming from the Chicago area? Thanks!

Replies to: Do I need a car?

  • BeaudreauBeaudreau Registered User Posts: 1,115 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    @DaughterOfCoul I'm a parent, not a student, so it would be better for a student to weigh in. My impression is that most freshmen and sophomores do not have cars and do not need them. Classes are walkable/bikeable. There is shopping, including a mini Walmart right by Barrett. Mill Avenue is north and is chock full of restaurants and bars. Overall, Phoenix transit is not as good as in Chicago, but there is a light-rail stop on campus that will take you downtown or to the airport (change trains). There is also a free campus shuttle between the four ASU campuses, including the downtown campus.

    Parking costs close to $800 per semester for close-in lots.

    I forgot to answer one of your questions. You will likely find Phoenix ridiculously easy to drive in compared to Chicago. Streets are generally wide, on an easy grid, and well maintained. People that complain about Phoenix traffic have never lived in a city with real traffic congestion.
  • ChurchillDadChurchillDad Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    Also a parent of a Barrett student, agree completely with Beaudreau. Daughter is sophmore, doesn't have a car on campus, feels it would be more hassle than it's worth. Of course, that depends on you, and whether you're likely to live "campus-centric" or prefer to explore. Also would echo the previous point on traffic - it only seems bad here if you haven't lived somewhere else like NYC or SF (like me). Plus no snow, ice, very little rain. Good luck at Barrett!
  • celesterobertscelesteroberts Registered User Posts: 2,332 Senior Member
    Valley Metro is building a streetcar line along Apache that will connect with light rail. Won't be finished in the fall, but sometime the next year. They were doing vibration testing for that when I was there recently.

    Tempe has free neighborhood circulator Orbit buses that run every 15-20 minutes, most of which run through part of campus and then to other parts of Tempe.

    There is a Safeway grocery/Office Max a half mile south of Barrett on Rural Rd.

    If you are from a colder climate, you will find that during the hot months, until mid-October or so, you need to do any bicycle shopping in the cooler evenings, so get lights.

    D's 3 roommates all have cars, but not freshmen and they have specific need. 2 are from Phoenix area and have jobs far off campus with inconvenient transportation options. The third is in a sport that has practices and competition also far off campus. If you don't have a real need for a car, I wouldn't recommend bringing one.

    Not many people drive there from Midwest. It's a 2-day drive, well over $100 gas + hotel. Much better to fly, especially if you live in a place with direct flights.

    But OMG the roads there are like heaven to drive on. No potholes, wide lanes, long turning lanes, clear sightlines, nobody tailing you, well marked, enormous streetside parking spaces(pricey, but big.) Nothing like that anywhere in the Midwest.
  • STEMFamilySTEMFamily Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    Another parent of out-of-state sophomore here. D has not had a car either. The light rail to the airport is fantastic but she has also used uber or lyft to get back to Barrett when she has had a flight get in after dark. She lives in Barrett this year but mostly cooks on her own. Occasionally she uses a Zip car to do shopping or socialize off-campus if she doesn't want to ask for a ride (mainly because she almost always wants to leave earlier than any one else). Apparently there are many Zip cars available all over campus.
  • DaughterOfCoulDaughterOfCoul Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    This info is all super helpful! Thanks a ton. And the stuff about the roads...SO nice to hear. Slick roads, tons of traffic, and just bad streets in general stress me out a ton while driving, so hearing that the roads are way better than I thought they would be makes me feel a lot better. Thanks again!
  • celesterobertscelesteroberts Registered User Posts: 2,332 Senior Member
    Everytime I think I'll need to drive through Chicago I'm stressed for days in advance. Right now contemplating flying to Detroit with S and renting a car to drive to E Lansing for the MSU ADS scholarship days just so I can avoid Chicago.
  • BeaudreauBeaudreau Registered User Posts: 1,115 Senior Member
    @celesteroberts Good luck with the ADS competition! It's a huge honor just to be invited. The time it took to get my B.S. from MSU was the best 12 years of my life.
  • celesterobertscelesteroberts Registered User Posts: 2,332 Senior Member
    Ha ha. Funny. I don't expect anything from it. But it is a way to get S to go visit, so useful anyway. I read that 1200 attend over the 2 weekends so it sounds like they invited everyone.
  • BeaudreauBeaudreau Registered User Posts: 1,115 Senior Member
    My brother earned bachelors and master's degrees in math from MSU, along with another master's degree in operations research. I only have the bachelors degree from MSU, along with a law degree from Cooley Law School in Lansing, and an MBA from Michigan (Ann Arbor). I really wanted my middle son to apply to MSU, where he should have gotten all kinds of merit aid, but I couldn't convince him. He wants to be his own guy.

    MSU has the highest percentage in the Big Ten of students who would return to MSU, knowing what they know after graduation. http://www.****.com/MI/MSU.html It's a beautiful campus, but doesn't look its best in February.
  • 2KidsOOS2KidsOOS Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    My son is a freshman at ASU and he does not have a car and doesn't want one next year. As a kid from New Jersey he loves to "board" around campus, something that is impossible to do as home. He is particularly thrilled about how little traffic there is on and around campus (except during rush hour when it is still manageable by his traffic standards). He always takes the light rail line to and from the airport. He is very good at the NYC subway system and finds the light rail line ultra easy. I suspect that being from Chicago, you would find the same.

    Celesteroberts: Both of my kids sat for the ADS competition at MSU. It is indeed an honor and I would have been thrilled if my kids went there (my alma mater). Alas, they both received some money from MSU but Ohio State offered so much more to my daughter and ASU offered so much more to my son, not to mention they both wanted to go to school at their own school not mine, that they enrolled elsewhere. (sound familiar Beaudreau) If you don't want to rent a car at DTW, there is a wonderful bus service called the Michigan Flyer that goes from DTW to Ann Arbor to East Lansing and back again every hour, I believe. I frequently use it to visit East Lansing (yes, I still love that town and that school). The drop off location is right downtown East Lansing near the Marriott and a very short walk to the Union (not far from Kellogg Center where your son will be checking in and staying). Good luck!
  • BeaudreauBeaudreau Registered User Posts: 1,115 Senior Member
    @2KidsOOS Thanks for the information about the Michigan Flyer. I have one more son and he is interested in MSU!
  • 2KidsOOS2KidsOOS Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    Beaudreau: My daughter sat for the ADS in mid February during a snowstorm. She spent a good amount of time with girls from California, Florida and Texas. They LOVED MSU in the snow. It really did look beautiful as the snow fell. Yes, it was brutally cold but it was so magical. Alas, they were not there three days later when the snow takes on that certain muddy gray tone that is only surpassed by the tone of the sky on such days! (you know what I mean!) My son know that sky, thus his love of ASU!
  • BeaudreauBeaudreau Registered User Posts: 1,115 Senior Member
    2KidsOOS. Very funny. I've told my sons many times that the snow is not so bad, it's the frozen gray slush, and short, dark days that made me crazy. And freezing rains in November and March were worse yet.

    My son at Texas A&M has seen more rain in five months than he saw most of his life in Arizona. He does not like it.
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