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Old 08-08-2017, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Saint Louis, MO
138 posts, read 99,095 times
Reputation: 246

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dallasgoldrush View Post
Bingo.

Cities can always improve, but I believe many lovers of urban living would find themselves mostly content if at least half of the major U.S. cities were designed to accommodate pedestrians rather than cars.

Americans go gaga over places like New York and San Francisco largely because those are among the few stateside cities where people can consistently have a great time and have access to innumerable wonderful amenities -- all without a car.

When we visit European cities and see their rich histories and cultures up close, we rave about them. But the biggest common denominator in our reviews of most of those places is how much we love being able to walk and/or use transit as primary modes of mobility when we so desire.

Beginning around the early 2000s this country as a whole started to re-awaken. More cities began to slowly but surely add modern, convenient, and effective public transit options (i.e. they began upgrading to light rail over their pitiful traditional, non-express bus systems). Cities all over the country are making huge strides. But we're so far behind the curve, and our politics are so toxic, that even if we do catch up to other counties it'll take a century or more.

I'm not trying to be dramatic, but in public transit we're seriously behind enough that it could indirectly lead to the long-term decline of the American Empire.
I'm not an opponent of public transit (and we are certainly lacking compared to Europe), but can you please elaborate on how the lack thereof would indirectly lead to the decline of America? It's not as though Europe is thriving, at least economically speaking.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:50 AM
 
7,744 posts, read 4,592,970 times
Reputation: 8461
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays25 View Post
My #1 is an ability to live a great life without a car, and without relying on Uber etc.

That means a high degree of walkability over a large core area, good transit for most of the metro, and decent bike routes.

For ethical/global reasons as well as local/pragmatic ones, the region should cut down substantially on sprawl also.

I need a full-service downtown...the greater downtown area should be a top retail area, the center of office jobs, a place tourists can get lost in, a great place for groceries, full of local businesses, etc. The ability to not commute (and have many thousands of like-minded others doing the same) is crucial.

A feeling of urban intensity is a bonus but pretty important to me too. I need places where the sidewalks are jammed with people.
I agree with most of this, except I don't particularly care about downtown. I'd rather have walkable urban neighborhoods with amenities. In my favorite cities, I've spent very little time, outside of working hours "downtown". To me, being downtown-centric is indicative of lack of urbanity.
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Old 08-08-2017, 12:00 PM
 
1,987 posts, read 1,243,401 times
Reputation: 2222
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanfze55 View Post
I'm not an opponent of public transit (and we are certainly lacking compared to Europe), but can you please elaborate on how the lack thereof would indirectly lead to the decline of America? It's not as though Europe is thriving, at least economically speaking.
Well for one, if you're poor with limited or non-existent public transit in your neighborhood, you'll continue to remain poor. We are not making our cities accessible to everyone. This is one of many QOL issues that will continue to exacerbate the divide between the rich and poor.
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Old 08-08-2017, 12:08 PM
 
2,517 posts, read 2,282,426 times
Reputation: 1865
SF, DC, NYC, Chicago all met my needs on an urban fabric/amenities standpoint. I've always lived in the city i.e. Lakeview, Lincoln Park, East Village, Hells Kitchen, Haight Ashbury, Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle. I've never complained about them not having enough in this regard so to the OP's question, my threshold did not increase once I hit satisfaction.
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Center City
6,869 posts, read 7,820,891 times
Reputation: 9506
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZLiam View Post
What are the absolute requirements that must be met by your ideal city in order for you to be personally satisfied with it?
1. Walkable/car-free lifestyle: Able to walk to grocery stores, farmers' markets, drug stores, shopping, bookstores, restaurants, clubs, theaters, performing arts, museums, movies, health clubs, etc.
2. Sidewalk buzz - a sense of urban energy
3. User-friendly PT to reach destinations further afield
4. Four seasons
5. Politically progressive
Extra credit: Variety of day trips within a couple of hours
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:46 PM
 
482 posts, read 252,457 times
Reputation: 1196
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanfze55 View Post
I'm not an opponent of public transit (and we are certainly lacking compared to Europe), but can you please elaborate on how the lack thereof would indirectly lead to the decline of America? It's not as though Europe is thriving, at least economically speaking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DTXman34 View Post
Well for one, if you're poor with limited or non-existent public transit in your neighborhood, you'll continue to remain poor. We are not making our cities accessible to everyone. This is one of many QOL issues that will continue to exacerbate the divide between the rich and poor.
Exactly. Auto-centric development impedes access to employment and education opportunities for the poor (those who cannot afford vehicles).

I can attest to this from personal experience. Advocating for quality transit has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager in an underprivileged area, with severe restrictions on the employment and education opportunities I could pursue due to my not having a car. I was not less capable than anyone else; I was just less mobile. Had I not left the area I would have either become chronically un/underemployed, or I would have eventually secured steady employment only via the acquisition of excessive debt (in order to purchase a vehicle).

It's easy for people who have not been in a similar situation to dismiss my former experience as rare or irrelevant since it has never applied to them; but regardless of whether a person is personally disadvantaged by the near-requirement to own a personal vehicle in many places, they should be aware that the job market as a whole loses access to quality talent when people without vehicles are (generally speaking) removed from consideration en masse. If hypothetically there are general long-term deficits in employers' access to the ingenuity and productivity of good workers, this can clearly hinder the overall economic growth of a community or area.

Ryan, you're correct that many parts of Europe are not doing so well economically. My position is not that places with good transit services automatically do better than places without quality transit; it's that any place has a higher economic ceiling with quality transit versus without. In other words, I'd wager that the European places with quality transit that are doing poorly right now would probably be doing even worse without the transit. Additionally economic boom-towns in the U.S. like Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Minneapolis, would all likely be even more impressive were they to upgrade to European-caliber transit services.

Because not only is it about narrowing the gap between the rich and poor, and bringing the talented poor into the echelons of the employment market where they belong; it's about infrastructure.

Many major cities in this country were originally built aside rivers, railroads, bays/ports, and other types of natural settings and infrastructure conducive to easy transportation and trade. Transportation and infrastructure as one of the primary formulas for fueling economic growth has not changed; only the preferred or applicable types of infrastructure have somewhat changed. With the economy growing ever more global, and employers having the luxury of setting up operations anywhere they'd like, I'd imagine quality transit for their workers is a key consideration for where companies will consider relocating. I'd also imagine that, if one country throughout most locales is consistently behind in providing quality transit options for its workers (U.S.), it'd be plausible to eventually reach a tipping point where waves of companies are making overseas locations their primary bases of operation.

China, for all its flaws, is probably one of the best examples of winning economic battles with excellent infrastructure. They're building a marvelous network of bridges, intra-city rail lines, and inter-city high speed rail lines. It has benefited many of their citizens by providing direct employment opportunities via the construction itself, given their citizens greater mobility to pursue employment in general, and has helped China maintain an edge against other nearby countries in the never-ending worldwide competition for foreign economic investment.

(Steps off the soapbox).

Sorry, got carried away. Rant over. Thanks for the question!
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:55 PM
 
905 posts, read 445,020 times
Reputation: 1120
My requirements are a 10-15 minute walk to everything I need such as


Grocery store
Barbershop
Places to eat and grab a coffee
Some retailer
And either a bus that connects to a transit station or near a transit station itself.


I can make the best of any place but living in the 'burbs after living in an urban environment it was hard to adjust back. My commute is only 45 minutes long via train and bus living in the city vs 30 minutes living in the 'burbs. It invigorates me just a little to see the skylines of our downtown and uptown. I'm able to also make more business contacts with the meetups and events held in town.
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Old 08-10-2017, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,202 posts, read 2,652,054 times
Reputation: 2231
I think part of the problem is that there just aren't that many options for people who want dense, urban lifestyles in the US. There's plenty of great options for rural, suburban, or city living with a car, and the people who desire to live in these environments (of which there are a lot) can really have their pick all over the US.

What bugs me and everyone else though is when people expect to have some of everything from those categories and then complain when they face some of the cons of wherever they live. This usually ends up being constant whining about congestion and cost of living/housing prices, but refusal to give up anything by moving somewhere with less congestion and lower prices.
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:12 PM
 
3,517 posts, read 4,973,407 times
Reputation: 3499
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