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Old 12-29-2006, 09:38 PM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,178 posts, read 67,314,530 times
Reputation: 15825


Has anyone else noticed this disturbing trend? In the post-WWII period, the GI Bill gave many war veterans the opportunity to pursue the "American Dream" by moving to suburbia. As such, New York City began to shed thousands of residents into nearby NJ as servicemen and servicewomen sought to raise their children in areas with cheaper housing, larger lots, and better schools. As the years progressed, Northern New Jersey became so congested, overtaxed, overpriced, and overstressed that people started to leave NJ in droves for Monroe County, PA (The Poconos). Now, Monroe County is starting to see its traffic congestion worse, its schools becoming overcrowded, and gang crime issues creeping up. As such, I now have a number of Pocono natives inquiring about the quality-of-life in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre so that they can "Escape the Poconos." People in Monroe County are already spending up to three hours per day commuting to work in NYC, yet they still want to relocate even further away from NYC?

As a native of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, I'm worried that our metropolitan area will suffer the same fate that has caused the quality-of-life to become so awful in Northern NJ and Monroe County as we're annexed as the newest "bedroom community" to NYC. Scranton is already getting a new medical school and a new commuter rail line by 2010---both of which will make us an even more attractive draw to new residents. If every virgin land that the Megalopolis has encroached upon has succumbed to traffic congestion, escalating property taxes, rising home values, skyrocketing crime rates, etc., then can we expect to see the same occur in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the upcoming years? I'm now watching in horror as more and more of the Scranton Times property transfers are showing new building lots being sold to residents of NY/NJ; could this growth from the "BosWash" corridor finally be right on our doorstep, or will the NY/NJ crowd at some point say that two hours each way to Manhattan is too far to drive?

To those of you who see no fault in this "progress", bear in mind what has happened to a lot of Pocono families as a result of this massive growth. Many parents are dually-employed in NYC and leave their teenagers unattended from 5:30 AM-7 or 8 PM for Monday-Friday. Since the Poconos are very car-oriented, this leaves most teenagers home alone and bored for several hours every afternoon---PRIME targets for gang recruiters who promise these bored city transplants some "excitement." As this wave of sprawl pushes closer and closer to Metro Scranton and the commute times increase, this only keeps parents away from their children for even longer and longer periods of time, thereby exacerbating the gang recruitment problems. The Hell's Angels even arrived at "A Pocono Country Place", a planned community in Monroe County, this past summer in order to help combat the gang issues that are now seeping into the county.

P.S. To those of you in the Poconos who think "there are no problems"---GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF THE SAND! My own ex-boyfriend lives in Tobyhanna, and he knows of a number of his peers who are involved in the Bloods, Crips, or Latin Kings. The gang problems are starting to arrive in Monroe County as a direct result of the spread of the East Coast Megalopolis corridor; what, if anything, can be done to save Scranton/Wilkes-Barre from a similar fate? I went out to visit my ex-boyfriend today via Route 115. The stretch between Wilkes-Barre and I-80 was littered with out-of-state vehicles---How many of them were scouting out real estate and/or plotting commuting times to Manhattan or NJ? It's a scary thought!
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:59 PM
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,239 posts, read 15,439,013 times
Reputation: 8108
This has been a problem on the west coast for years, as housing prices have locked many people out of the homes closest to their jobs. I agree that absentee parents who are away from home more than twelve hours a day, and then are exhausted at night when they're supposed to be spending "quality" time with their kids, aren't helping matters at all.

I can't talk about the situation on the east coast specifically, but it seems that this problem is becoming more and more common in big cities.

I think a two-hour commute each way is ridiculous and would never do it even if have to rent forever, but there are many people in L.A. who think nothing of commuting 60 miles or more on our already congested, barely moving freeways.

However, maybe most of the out of state license plates you saw are people who are simply visiting family and friends for the holidays.
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Old 12-30-2006, 12:33 AM
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 23,792,531 times
Reputation: 4901
Florida is becomming the same, all of south Florida is one megalopolis and it's spreading up the east coast. Pretty soon it will be one continuous sprawl to NYC. I just wonder what's the source of income for all these jobs? In today's internet-connected world why are offices even needed? To me it seems like a decentralized series of home workers ans sattellite offices connected by high-speed net access would replace the overpriced NYC corporate offices. Manufacturing tends to be in less urban areas or overseas anyway. Commuting is so stupid, and with the comming energy crisis will be too expensive. Without population control we will just have to wait for the next worldwide plague and hope we survive it, I am not looking forward to that.
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:29 AM
Location: WPB, FL. Dreaming of Oil city, PA
2,909 posts, read 12,987,139 times
Reputation: 991
I agree, 2 hour commute each way is nuts! I see no reason Scranton will ever be as expensive and congested as northern NJ because the commute is too long for most people. But some of your concerns are very valid. Thankfully Oil city is like 5 hours to NYC so itll never have the urban sprawl problems. Oil city isnt even very close to any other big city, its almost an hour and a half from Pittsburgh, too far for most people to make their daily commute. Yet close enough for me to commute to Pittsburgh 1 to 4 times a month to do my shopping and find good deals on store sales/clearences.

I probably wont be living in Scrantron, crime has been rising every year and so has traffic, pollution, cost of living and urban sprawl. I dont care about the "excitement" it can be dangerous. Oil city really is my top choice but theres some other choices of small cities and towns.
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Old 12-30-2006, 08:58 AM
Location: Missouri
6,047 posts, read 21,644,174 times
Reputation: 5051
How far can it spread? Over the last 5-8 years southern NJ has been experiencing a lot of growth; southern Ocean County and Burlington County have new developments springing up everywhere. It's not just because of NYC. Basically you can't drive more than a few hours on the east coast without hitting a major city. Here in NJ, once you get 2.5 hours or so south of NYC, you are 2-3 hours from Philly and Baltimore. South of Baltimore is D.C. South of D.C. is Richmond. South of Richmond is Raleigh. Then Charlotte, Columbia, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa...if you go north from NYC you have Hartford, Providence, and Boston.
Now, east to west, I don't think people will commute more than 2.5 to 3 hours to NYC. However, once enough people move to PA and are commuting to NYC, public transportation will be developed. This will cause more people to move to PA, to commute to NYC or its outlying metro area. With the growth of more people in PA, there will be a demand for local services and jobs. So the towns in PA will grow, farmland and forested lots will become McMansion developments and office complexes. Small towns will become thriving suburbs, and suburbs may become small cities. People who live 2-3 hours from these new small cities will start commuting to them, and the process starts all over again.
It's not a bad thing in itself. Probably the people who lived in the NYC metro area 100 years ago were annoyed when farmland and forests started to turn into housing. Now it's hard to imagine there was ever farmland or trees there. But if you don't care for this sort of fast-paced growth, you need to find a home that's really buried in a rural area, in a town with strong anti-growth regs and opinions, or you need to leave the east coast altogether.
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Old 12-30-2006, 09:30 AM
Location: Marion, IN
8,191 posts, read 28,102,251 times
Reputation: 7114
tallrick hit the nail squarely on the head. Our population has grown, our land area has not. People have to live somewhere.

I did the commute thing while living in west central Florida. It was awful! But, I could not afford to live where I worked, and there were no jobs where I lived.

I don't see the growth stopping unless there is some global issue like the bird flu or some other means of mass population control. Don't get me wrong, I am not wishing death on millions. I just don't see any other solution on the horizon.

Drugs and gangs are everywhere.
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Old 12-30-2006, 10:54 AM
5,019 posts, read 12,738,062 times
Reputation: 6987
Oh.... lots of great thoughts here.

I think it will only stop when/if we run out of oil and if no new energy source is found and people are once again dependent upon their legs for transport.

I am amazed at what humans will accept in life. Hour+ commutes 2X per day??? No thanks. Not all the money in the world can buy back that time!

I, personally, have opted out. I will not live more than a 15 minute bike ride from a "job". It's not always been easy, and I've never really been able to establish a "career", but I'm stubborn. And pretty darn happy.
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Old 12-30-2006, 01:52 PM
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,906,509 times
Reputation: 13245
Originally Posted by plaidmom View Post

I, personally, have opted out. I will not live more than a 15 minute bike ride from a "job". It's not always been easy, and I've never really been able to establish a "career", but I'm stubborn. And pretty darn happy.
I agree with you, plaidmom, and dearly want to try to keep things this way.
That's the way I had it in Denver, and I have managed to get a part-time job here with the same characteristics. When we relocate to what hopefully will be our final destination, I sure hope I can recreate what I've already had.
I know the big cities have halfway decent public transportation; I wish the smaller cities did as well. This could make a difference. I guess we will never again have the train system we once had, but some cities have light rail in place and are looking to add more.
With us Boomers aging, perhaps the US population will *eventually* stabilize a little bit?
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:45 PM
Location: The 12th State
22,974 posts, read 58,576,458 times
Reputation: 14925
What I can never understand is where is everyone coming from?

I know we have those who migrate here from other countries but not enough to change the population trend as it currently is.

Is there another Baby Boomer generation that I am not aware of?
Most families seem to have 2.5 children unlike our previous generations with larger families.

I would be under the impression with smaller families that if one city or state is growing at it seams then another state or city would be turn into a ghost town.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:49 AM
Location: St. Louis, MO
3,742 posts, read 6,899,356 times
Reputation: 660
I'll tell you when it'll stop growing...when either Yellowstone erupts or that long awaited tsunami hits the East Coast after that volcano on the west coast of Northwest Africa or Southwestern Europe slides into the ocean.
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