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View Poll Results: Do you think New England feels claustrophobic?
Yes 35 29.17%
No 85 70.83%
Voters: 120. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-08-2014, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,140,873 times
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Does anyone else have the feeling that New England is a claustrophobic feeling place? I lived here almost my entire life and feel this way.

I mean, we barely have any divided highways other than interstates or state expressways here. In the rest of the nation, they have beautiful, wide open double-laned divided highways with high speed limits that give the driver a sense of space, freedom and speed that simply doesn't exist in New England. In New England, most of the roads are cramped, narrow, curvy, hilly and have slower speed limits. My friend from South Carolina came up last summer and was shocked that we have virtually no divided highways up here. Most of the highways are just one lane each way (other than interstates and state highways). We don't even call them highways. We just call them roads. And we call the interstate, "the highway." And the exits are numbered sequentially; not by the mile. Furthermore, NONE of the cities have beltways like in the rest of the nation, unless you consider I-95 and I-495 to sort of be half-beltways around Boston. Also, the rest of the nation has BIG exit ramps and BIG cloverleaf interchanges that we don't have. Sigh.

Another thing that makes New England feel claustrophobic is the compact size of all the cities and towns. It's ridiculous. The average city or town is only like 5 miles wide by 5 miles tall. And as soon as you cross the border, you're immediately into the next neighboring city or town, because 100% of the land area is incorporated as a city or town (except for parts of Maine). And most of the states don't even have any county governments at all. There's no such thing as county roads, either.

The zoning is also weird and sprawl is virtually nonexistent, for whatever reason. Cities, towns and neighborhoods look very unplanned. And there's not a SINGLE city or town in all of New England that has a grid iron pattern of streets, which is odd. The layout of the streets and neighborhoods is just randomized and blah, and it makes it very hard to navigate cities, which rarely have numbered streets. I mean, look at the Boston street layout. It's a disaster.

Maybe it's just the psychological aspect of it...I don't know. But when I've taken cross country road trips and I'm on my way back home, the difference is hugely noticeable. As soon as you enter Massachusetts via I-90 coming from NY, it feels like you entered a tiny claustrophobic state. Even worse is when you enter Connecticut via I-84 coming from NY. And then you see a new town line sign like every 4 miles, the entire way through the state, and sequential ordering of exit numbers, which makes it even worse, along with feeling being surrounded tightly by trees to make it feel even worse. There are barely any rest areas either, because virtually every exit will lead you to a gas station or restaurant.

In New England, it feels like the interstates were planned around pre-existing development. But in other states it feels like much of the development is planned around the pre-existing interstate.

Do any other New Englanders (or travelers) feel the same way as I do, after living here for decades? I just feel like the rest of the nation has it so much better, with true freedom, space, boulevards, etc.

Has anyone ever left New England for this reason?

Last edited by nep321; 12-08-2014 at 09:28 PM..
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:17 PM
 
3,280 posts, read 3,840,652 times
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If you're living in a built up city, maybe, but NE has plenty of Suburbs and rural areas. The NH mountain for example. Obviously Boston, NYC, etc are going to feel tight.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,140,873 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandalorian View Post
If you're living in a built up city, maybe, but NE has plenty of Suburbs and rural areas. The NH mountain for example. Obviously Boston, NYC, etc are going to feel tight.
NYC is not in New England. New England is just the six states to the east of NY.

But my god, CT feels way too cramped, compact and slow.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:28 PM
 
Location: Who Cares, USA
2,343 posts, read 2,755,923 times
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In my experience, the further North you go in New England, the less claustrophobic it feels. Only the SW part of CT felt legitimately "claustrophobic" to me.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,140,873 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobloblawslawblog View Post
In my experience, the further North you go in New England, the less claustrophobic it feels. Only the SW part of CT felt legitimately "claustrophobic" to me.
Yeah that's where I live now (Fairfield County) and it sucks!
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:51 PM
Status: "Phillies baseball is MLB dysentery." (set 2 days ago)
 
1,238 posts, read 584,961 times
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OP, you should move out West man. Pacific NW to be exact.
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Old 12-09-2014, 05:21 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
3,077 posts, read 5,455,470 times
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A lot of the things that you described as being negatives are actually the exact same things that many people love about New England. It is most certainly a beautiful place. I do know exactly what you mean about the claustrophobic feeling, because I am also a fan of open space and relaxing drives. Some of the sprawl-related features and open space here in the Midwest provide a lot of convenience. After visiting New England, I do appreciate being able to see something other than dense forest at every turn (open fields, big skies, and nice sunsets, for instance).

But overall I think the unique characteristics of New England are a net positive and provide a heck of a lot of charm. Those forests that give a claustrophobic feeling are also some of the most beautiful in the world, in my opinion, along with the north woods in northern MI/WI/MN.

Just for the record, I have never been to CT, so my comments are more directed at NH/Maine.

Last edited by michigan83; 12-09-2014 at 05:30 AM..
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Old 12-09-2014, 07:28 AM
 
1,593 posts, read 836,221 times
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Anything south of Hartford shouldn't be considered New England
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,140,873 times
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I've been to the PNW during the summer and thought it was beautiful. But the only centers of employment in the accounting field are the Seattle/Olympia areas, which is very expensive and overpopulated for me. So forget it.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:14 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Maybe, but what's wrong with anything you listed? I don't see the issue.
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