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Old 04-10-2014, 10:51 PM
 
Location: That star on your map in the middle of the East Coast, DMV
3,976 posts, read 3,456,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DistrictDirt View Post
The DC suburbs are pretty good at making these little self-contained new-urbanist housing developments and town centers that can feel somewhat urban at street level. They usually have minimal setbacks, garage entrances through alleyways instead of driveways, and are often composed of attached rowhomes instead of detached single family homes. They are sometimes mixed-use with some retail at ground level. They're cute.

But once you get outside these town centers, its very apparent that you are in the suburbs. Usually there are just a few ways in an out, rather than a surrounding street grid that fully woven into the development. And the streets they connect to tend to be wide arterials with cars travelling at near-highway speed...especially the developments out in Fairfax and Loudon counties in VA. And if you want to walk between one of these town centers and another, good luck finding a sidewalk. Its very clear that the inside of these developments are meant for people but outside is meant for cars.

Those areas are just not comparable to LA. LA may have some individual structures that appear suburban- detached homes, strip malls, etc, but the overall character of the streets is 100% urban. The entire thing is a grid. You could walk on sidewalks from Hollywood to Long Beach. It might take you all day and all night but you could do it.

DC people: Imagine for a moment that there was a grid of boulevards, streets, alleys, and sidewalks that stretched from Dulles Airport to the Chesapeake Bay. Not curving country roads from town to town along the way...I'm talking city blocks for 50 miles.
That's LA in a nutshell.

DC could never have this because the city is 61 sq miles and this is essentially a Tri-State area. There would never be a Blvd connected in a grid across the whole metro area because it's not all a part of one state like what you find in places like CA, FL etc. Again with the comparisons to these two very different places it's far from apples to apples.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,420 posts, read 16,956,571 times
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I know this thread is focused mainly on MAJOR cities, but for smallish cities there are few urban cores more vibrant than Savannah. I've lived here on and off for 22 years, and the amount of street-level activity within the Landmark Historic District (1 mile by 1.5 miles) increasingly amazes me. It's a breathtakingly vibrant city, with a stunning urban vibe that many much larger cities (like Atlanta) would KILL to have.
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Old 04-10-2014, 11:09 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
4,836 posts, read 10,186,086 times
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Lived in DC. Go to LA a few times a year for the past 8 years. While the District is very urban, and is more urban and dense than LA's core overall LA is much more dense, more urban and certainly more vibrant. DC has those urban 'mini-downtowns" near metro stops but like others have said once just a few blocks sometimes away from there it because very suburbia. The exception is around Roslyn and the Pentagon. But even there you have things like the GW Parkway which you could drive on that at night and feel like you are in the middle of no where.
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Old 04-11-2014, 06:52 AM
 
Location: The City
22,331 posts, read 32,152,919 times
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Another thing is the landscape of the two places and time initial development took place.

LA has mountains and flat valleys. The flat areas lend themselves more to a consistent grid and also was available as there were not much in the way of existing development and small parceled historic land ownership to contend with (Much of LA was just built but taking out large farm or uninhabited parcels that did not exist on the EC as was more settled from core earlier). DC out into the burbs has a far hillier make-up - more difficult for grids really.

LA is pretty amazing in the US sense for just continuous development unbroken - I like LA a lot but am not sure continuous 6-9K density is all that attractive to me personally. Impressive but not totally attractive. The same could be said for monotonous rowhouse after rowhouse street - at some point you become far from more energetic parts and are left with monotonous coverage in a sense.

I tend to enjoy two ends of the spectrum most. Say a very urban and amenity laden area - say over 20K ppsm or something more rural with a quaint town center and open land but that is me (the in between delivers on neither of the aspects I like best).

Also Monty may have a point with water and lot size - CA tends to have very small lot sizes for SFH relative to to mast place including Northeast suburbs
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:14 AM
 
1,418 posts, read 1,031,104 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzrovian View Post
Can someone explain to me why strip malls in this country by and large are designed with parking in the front? Why not put it in the back and have store fronts facing the street? Is it just stupidity or an effort to make people walk as little as possible?
I believe there is also the complication of what to do with the loading docks and garbage dumps that are traditionally hidden away out back. Seems like a solvable problem, but this is often cited as an argument against rear parking requirements.
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:21 AM
 
391 posts, read 572,889 times
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London, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong...all better than any of the ones you've mentioned.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:19 AM
 
Location: That star on your map in the middle of the East Coast, DMV
3,976 posts, read 3,456,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyMIA View Post
Lived in DC. Go to LA a few times a year for the past 8 years. While the District is very urban, and is more urban and dense than LA's core overall LA is much more dense, more urban and certainly more vibrant. DC has those urban 'mini-downtowns" near metro stops but like others have said once just a few blocks sometimes away from there it because very suburbia. The exception is around Roslyn and the Pentagon. But even there you have things like the GW Parkway which you could drive on that at night and feel like you are in the middle of no where.
Based on the title of this thread your sentence could have ended here. Everything else here has just been comparing suburbs of DC to all of LA .
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:52 AM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
15,466 posts, read 25,409,755 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the resident09 View Post
Based on the title of this thread your sentence could have ended here. Everything else here has just been comparing suburbs of DC to all of LA .
That's only because you brought up that bad comparison to begin with
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,231,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Yea, sort of depends on what kind of comparison that's being attempted. Densest over a certain square mile? There are stats for that.
I didn't mean just density stats. I mean that we can make any comparison apples-to-apples by comparing the same amount of land area. We can simply treat Central LA, which is about 60 sq. miles, as its own stand alone city.

If we do that, Central LA has a transit share of 15.54% with 68,150 transit commuters (compared to 10.86% and 188,342 citywide). Transit ridership seems to have a fairly even distribution throughout the city. 24.9% of households in Central LA are without a vehicle (compared to 13.59% citywide). To put that percentage in perspective, 26.2% of Detroit households are without a vehicle. In Cleveland, it's 26.7%. In Miami, it's 21.6%.

Minority vehicle ownership is almost always lower in any U.S. city with Blacks and Hispanics having the lowest rates of vehicle ownership. In Los Angeles, 7.1% of non-Hispanic White households don't own a vehicle. In San Francisco, 27.1% of non-Hispanic White households don't own a vehicle. In Boston, 30.9% of non-Hispanic White households don't own a vehicle.
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Old 04-11-2014, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,231,676 times
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Cities with most car free households:

New York - 1,742,843
Chicago - 287,880
Philadelphia - 189,057
Los Angeles - 181,182 (approx. 60K in Central LA)
San Francisco - 109,013
Washington, DC - 101,002
Boston - 91,166
Seattle - 48,246
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