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Making it in San Diego: Giving up car helps lead to luxury rental

Posted: 11:55 AM, Jun 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-11 21:55:16-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Giving up your car to save money may seem unfathomable in our spread out city.

But it may not be as hard as it seems - and it could even help lead to a luxurious lifestyle.

Take Ryan Swedlund and Jeff Olson, who rent a luxury apartment at Ariel Luxury Rental in Little Italy for $2,200 a month. They say they couldn't do it if they had cars. 

Not having vehicles saves them thousands per year on gas, maintenance, and insurance. Plus, they don't pay Ariel's roughly $140 a month fee to park in the garage. 

"There's people like us who don't want to have a car," Olson said. "It's not that we couldn't afford a car per se. It's just I don't like throwing $600 a month out the window to use something an hour and a half a day."

Olson instead takes the trolley, which is steps from Ariel's front door. It takes him 25 minutes to commute to Mission Valley, where his company provides a shuttle to its office. 

Swedlund has a Vespa, which he parks in the building for free. He fills up its 1.5 gallon tank once a week for his daily commute to North Park. 

"I've never had a car since I lived in San Diego," Swedlund said. 

Olson and Swedlund are an example of a housing choice the city is trying to encourage. It is planning to allow developers to build more, smaller units near transit centers, with less parking requirements. That, in theory, could lower the cost of apartments.

"The only way to show people is to do it," Olson said. 

The couple used to own a single-family home in North Park, but grew tired of the $3,000 a month mortgage payment and constant, expensive repairs. They sold that and opted to rent in Little Italy, where they have dealt with rent increases over the last four years.

Olson says, however, they are still saving enough to ultimately buy a condo of their own. 

For anyone who chooses to go car-free, there are multiple transportation options backed by local governments. They include vanpool and carpools, vouchers for rides home on Uber and Lyft, and bike support.