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Old 04-27-2015, 11:27 AM
Location: Warrior Country
4,577 posts, read 5,392,560 times
Reputation: 3953


Originally Posted by Idlewile View Post
THIS. Some friends and I had a conversation about this recently. Everyone agreed that, even in the last few years, Austin has become less great every year. And now everyone is paying more to live here, putting up with more traffic and general angst for a place that's not that unique any longer... and missing things that other places with increasing traffic and higher COL offer.

I must say I am shocked by the severe uptick in 'Thinking of Moving to Austin' posts on here in the last two months too. There's always been a good drumbeat of these posts (I've been on this board for 5 years) but recently they have exploded. I have always been in the welcoming camp and shook my head and the "Don't' move here" movement. But at this rate, this place seems, well, doomed to lose everything that made it special and different in a good way.
Agreed. It jumped the Shark in 2009. 7-9 more years and I'm out of here.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:37 AM
Location: Berkeley, CA
168 posts, read 152,604 times
Reputation: 241
Eh, every time I visit California, coming back here the traffic situation in Austin doesn't feel so bad. Especially the bay area with all the bridges.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:52 AM
Location: Not Weird, Just Mildly Interesting
392 posts, read 408,476 times
Reputation: 575
Originally Posted by mark311 View Post
So this has all been around in the Austin area since at least the mid 90's and Mayfield Ranch specifically started to build well over 10 years ago. And Mayfield Ranch actually has some pretty good quality homes compared to Stone Oak (lots of Centex) for example which is right next to it. The point is that this type of development is nothing new to areas that started to experience tremendous growth in the 80's and 90's like Austin has. Southern California is the same way, but the homes there are made with stucco and Spanish tile roofs.
Stucco with tile roofs have been de rigueur in the Phoenix area since the 80s, which is when partial-block homes died out; our condo and our last house was in that style. I despise them (as do firefighters) and how they look, and am SO GLAD to not have to look at it or deal with it anymore. Brick and stone and composite roofing, hurrah! I do not miss the vision of miles and miles of tile roofing.

Back to the developments... Mayfield Ranch on 1431 is still opening/selling phases ten years later! And then its sister development up north on RR Blvd bordering Leander! They're both just gargantuan to my eyes. We also looked at Santa Rita... but that's another monstrous place with two separate locations (no, not confusing at all! *eyeroll*). It's a concern for us that there was that much density, with Wolf Ranch in south G'town in the planning phases, another monstrous and likely very popular development on tap because of its access to the 35. Traffic on 29 is already awful; I can't imagine what that new Perot development is going to do to the area. The 35 into town is going to be at a standstill.

Originally Posted by mark311 View Post
I was just in Phoenix last month and saw a lot of the same there as well and the traffic there was even more confusing than Austin in my opinion with all the different lanes that change direction depending on the time of day. No place is perfect and it's hard to find anyplace in the U.S. that is actually "getting better" in the eyes of most people.
The developments in Phoenix aren't as huge - oh, they're nothing to sniff at, but they're not nearly as big and sprawling. For one Mayfield Ranch here, you'd have at least three developments in the same square acreage there.

The change of direction................? Oh! You mean 7th St and 7th Av from downtown to north Phoenix, the reversible lanes. I don't know what they were on in the sixties and seventies when they dreamed that crap up, but yeah, that's just awful. Agree with that. Needs to go away.

Otherwise, traffic-wise, the difference between the Valley and here is that they're on a complete grid system - just remember the numbered Avenues are the west side of the valley west of Central (west Phoenix, Surprise, Peoria, Litchfield Park, etc), Streets the east (midtown Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, etc). If you can spare the time, you can avoid the freeways entirely once you're oriented. You can't do that here.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:26 PM
6 posts, read 13,141 times
Reputation: 25
The title of this thread seems designed to generate a specific type of response. The truth is Austin has been in a state of accelerated growth for the past 50 years. For those of us old enough to remember, there was a 6 or 7 year period starting in the mid-60's when IBM, TI and Motorola all opened large facilities here. There was a huge influx of people from other parts of the country, including many from the NE that relocated with IBM. The things said then were almost identical to much of what is being said about today's rapid growth. As others have pointed out, there have many so-called 'booms' in Austin's history. And it has been a similar story for cities throughout the Southwestern, Southern and Southeastern parts of the U.S., as the country continues to experience a dramatic population shift from North to South. Does every new wave bring change? Yes, but I have always found that Austin is far more likely to change those that come here than the new arrivals are likely to change the character or culture of Austin. As far as practical matters like infrastructure and traffic are concerned, I agree some aspects of the recent growth could have been managed more effectively. I recall similar issues in the 80's, another high growth period, when environmental concerns (development in watershed areas and the ensuing runoff) were at the forefront. But for me, Austin is still very much Austin. I think there are areas of the country that are largely defined by their growth, with some almost unrecognizable when compared to what they looked like 30-40 years ago. I don't find that to be the case for Austin at all. That doesn't mean I'm happy with all that has transpired, including long time residents being priced out of central neighborhoods they've lived in their entire lives, but I still believe this is an amazing place to live. And I don't accept the premise that we're headed in the wrong direction, or that things are dramatically worse that they were 10, 20 or even 30 years ago.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:52 PM
Location: The People's Republic of Austin
5,184 posts, read 5,725,304 times
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It isn't that I Austin has changed because this restaurant or that music venue is gone. It is what orgnkat pointed to - the corrupting influx of people "concerned with money, status and appearance", all because of the previously unthinkable wages the tech industry has enabled. Austin was a town where the three main employers were the State, UT, and the IRS, with the Air Force a solid fourth - none a path to riches. I remember when Gary Bradley bought a Ferrari in the late Eighties. NO ONE had a Ferrari. Now, sit at the light at Bee Caves and Walsh Tarlton, or look in the valet line at the W. Dime a dozen, along with Maseratis, Lamborghinis, you name it. That's just one noticeable example, but there are plenty of others. Designer handbags, expensive watches, all part of conspicuous consumption that never existed before.

The other change is where the people are coming from. Yes, Austin has had a pretty consistent growth path over multiple decades. The difference is from where. Before about '95, it was Texans, all determined to never go back to Kirbyville, Shallowater, Mercedes -- you name it. But they had ZERO interest in changing Austin to what they left. After '95, we started getting people from all over the US. They were happy to come here, but wouldn't it be so much better if XXXX that I left behind was here as well? Pro sports, commuter trains, bagels, high rises, pizza -- you name it. That guy or gal from Mercedes wanted NOTHING of Mercedes here. Not quite the case today.

So, it isn't the physical landscape of Austin has changed -- it is the spiritual, the ethos. As orngkat said, it is now "anything but laid back."

Last edited by scm53; 04-27-2015 at 01:14 PM..
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:04 PM
Location: Riding the light...
1,635 posts, read 1,462,822 times
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You'll know it's over when Hollywood moves in
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:06 PM
Location: Chicago, IL
508 posts, read 622,718 times
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Originally Posted by centralaustinite View Post
Frankly, I'd take more Californians over the influx of people from Chicago!

To me, Chicago is the exact opposite of all that I love about Austin and the influx from the upper midwest will kill what is left of the Austin spirit. Chicago = intense attention to the most tiny details of money, class and status, and pricing used as a means of exclusion. It has already been happening in Austin and I only see it accelerating.

I know this is a digression from the point of this thread but I was really surprised to read this post. I grew up in Chicago, lived for 13 years in Austin, and am now back in Chicago, and really, I don't think I know any Chicagoans (literally) who fit this description. I'm not saying that you are wrong, because I just don't know who you've come across, but in my experience, Chicago is just a much, much grittier and down-to-earth place than this this post describes.

I have always lived south of downtown, and maybe that explains some of the disconnect here. It's possible that all sorts of money-centric thinking is prevalent in the northern (expensive) neighborhoods. But even the folks I know who live on the north side of Chicago are very down-to-earth.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:18 PM
375 posts, read 311,451 times
Reputation: 448
My only problem with the large number of mid westerners is how many big 10 games are on at the local bars during college football season.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:39 PM
Location: Austin
676 posts, read 489,189 times
Reputation: 911
No city ever stays the same. Cities change. Demographics change. This constant longing for some by-gone-golden-age-yesteryear is silly. Austin is and remains an amazing place. Is it changing? Yes. All cities are. You are either growing (with or without growing pains caused by good/bad city planning) or you are dieing (see Detroit). I am from Chicago, and spent decades in Houston, and regularly visit both. Both are vastly different than they used to be. Unique, special places that used to make them so awesome have changed or are gone altogether. But other, new stuff has also sprung up.

The same is true here. Some things of olden days are gone, but other new things have come. And not all of the new is bad. Being a sought after, popular/hip town has seen us become a place with a really growing/burgeoning foodie scene here as just one example.

I have lived and worked all over this country, and almost anywhere that I haven't lived/worked I have visited. There are very few places I would rather live, and certainly none of those are in Texas. Austin is and remains an amazing place to live.
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:40 PM
6 posts, read 13,141 times
Reputation: 25
scm53 - Your comment about folks arriving before '95 being primarily from Texas isn't accurate. The big influx in the late 60's that came with IBM, and other companies, were largely from other regions of the country. And why would locals be preferable anyway? Austin has always been proud of how different it was from the rest of Texas; some might say folks from California are a better fit for Austin than those from other parts of the State. But I don't think it really matters where the new arrivals come from; the reasons why people move here are as varied as the city itself. As far as people concerned with money and status go, you find that everywhere, including Austin. And that has always been the case. But I still think you find less of it here than many other places; attempting to depict Austin as having undergone some radical transformation, or suffering from a terminal change in its' 'ethos', just doesn't ring true to me. As BradATX said, it is still an amazing place to live. There will always be growing pains, and issues that need to be addressed, but I would say Austin has experienced just as many, if not more, positive changes as it has negative ones.
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