U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New Jersey > New Jersey Suburbs of Philadelphia
 [Register]
New Jersey Suburbs of Philadelphia Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Salem County in South Jersey
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-01-2016, 06:27 AM
 
27 posts, read 31,382 times
Reputation: 23

Advertisements

Hi NJHighlands- Thank you for the extensive explanation and I understand it completely. My company moved me to Long Island straight out of college and my first year after moving there, I went nuts... very boring for the reasons you state. Finally found Huntington Village and really enjoyed it. Everything you outline is legitimate and good to know. I'm now in that mom, dad, and kids stage so this means I'll fit right in :^).

Thank you Gerania- This is also good to know because my wife and I have lived all over including EU as well. What you suggest has been my outsiders interpretation. Helpful and thank you.

Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-01-2016, 12:49 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
21,961 posts, read 27,242,088 times
Reputation: 8998
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJhighlands87 View Post
Well, I'm from North Jersey. To an out-of-stater it might seem an absurd distinction, but there are noticeable differences. I'm probably guilty of some pretentiousness and snobbery myself....

I'm in my 20s and unmarried, so there just isn't much that much that interests me down here. There are few young, single professional types to be found, (or if they are here I haven't encountered many). Life in Cherry Hill and surrounding towns seems overwhelmingly family-oriented (which is true of suburbs pretty much everywhere, I realize). In North Jersey however, you do encounter a bit of a mix. The pull of the NYC job market, and high cost of living, means many young people live on this side of the river and commute. Many rent with roommates or still live at home. I just seem to see more of a mix of people at bars, coffee shops, and gyms up North. In SJ you see a lot of moms and dads and that's about it. There's also more ethnic/racial diversity, though Cherry Hill at least has a South and East Asian presence which livens things up. The smaller towns are very white, Haddonfield might even come across as WASPy.

There also just aren't that many TOWNS, in the traditional sense. Haddonfield and Collingswood are really the only places that offer walkable town centers and mass-transit access. Collingswood is really just a a quarter-mile strip of retail surrounded by suburban grid. Haddonfield at least has a few interesting side streets. Both towns are dry, (as are a number of other small towns in the area). While I don't drink a ton, a bar does liven up a neighborhood, it creates a space for social interaction, and it keeps people out and about into the night. Most towns in SJ seem to shut down by 9. Dry laws just seem very archaic, and its irksome that some people still cling to them.

It's not as if most of North Jersey is somehow a young professional urban hotspot. Yet, there are a number of towns where you can rent an apartment, take the train to the city, grab dinner and watch a movie when you get home (I'm not sure there are any downtown theaters down here), and have a drink or cup of coffee after, all without ever needing to drive (or only driving a short distance). Traffic is as bad here as in North Jersey, but you need to drive to get to just about everything. And of course, North Jersey does have a few legitamate urban areas, like downtown Jersey City and Hoboken, while South Jersey has none. A lot of this isn't really SJ's fault. The region didn't develop much in the 19th century, so there aren't many traditional downtowns, and the state government hasn't done them many favors with mass transit lately. Yet, local politics here remain anti-urbanist, and anti-renter. Google the controversies over the Haddon Towne Center project in Westmont or the Race-track project in Cherry Hill to see how municipalities continue to get things wrong.

It's certainly not all bad. Given my work/life situation, working a few days a week in North Philly and a few in Burlington County, with frequent trips up north to see friends and family, it's quite convenient. It's also a bit cheaper to rent, (at least rent and keep a car), than Philly. Philly is also easier and cheaper to get into than NYC, and has plenty to do. The weather is better than North Jersey. The people are mostly friendly. The food isn't bad either, (good pizza, decent Vietnamese). I'm sure it's a great place to raise a family.
My family moved to Cherry Hill in the 60s. I went to high school with kids whose families had moved down from North Jersey. The families from all over assimilated. The only public transportation was a private company from Pennsylvania while our taxes went to North Jersey to beef up their public transportation. New Jersey provided no public transportation at all until the Pennsylvania company folded. The PATCO line to Philadelphia was built by the port authority & NJ refused to kick in money when PATCO expansion was proposed. This has been explained to you, yet you seem to enjoy complaining about it over & over again.

There's nothing wrong with dry towns. There are dry towns all over the country. Most people in Haddonfield can walk to a bar or a liquor store. They have BYOB restaurants. BYOB is usually cheaper than buying the booze from the restaurant. It doesn't bother the locals or it would have been changed long ago.

People in South Jersey mostly like things the way they are. They are usually very friendly. They don't want to be like North Jersey anymore than most Philadelphians want to be NYC.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2016, 04:26 PM
 
884 posts, read 1,262,869 times
Reputation: 671
I did say in my post that the lack of mass transit is not SJ's fault. I do, however, blame towns for some of the poor development decisions they've made. As I understand it, some of early proposals for the Garden State Mall at the old racetrack were quite urban, similar to the new town centers in the sprawl around DC, (like Bethesda, I think?) but opposition from the locals neutered the project into an overblown strip mall that sits there now. Meanwhile, Haddonfield's mayor has stated transit-oriented development as at the bottom of the town's list of priorities, even though Haddonfield is well-positioned to take advantage of such opportunities. Yes, towns have yet to repeal dry laws, though they are starting to circumvent them with wine-tastings and beer-tastings. I'm aware a BYO is cheaper than a bar, but the BYO-format doesn't really work for a sports-bar, lounge, or club type setting. You know, cool places where you go to relax and socialize. And, as I said, such venues contribute to more of a 24/7, live-work-play atmosphere in a community.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2016, 05:40 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
21,961 posts, read 27,242,088 times
Reputation: 8998
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJhighlands87 View Post
I did say in my post that the lack of mass transit is not SJ's fault. I do, however, blame towns for some of the poor development decisions they've made. As I understand it, some of early proposals for the Garden State Mall at the old racetrack were quite urban, similar to the new town centers in the sprawl around DC, (like Bethesda, I think?) but opposition from the locals neutered the project into an overblown strip mall that sits there now. Meanwhile, Haddonfield's mayor has stated transit-oriented development as at the bottom of the town's list of priorities, even though Haddonfield is well-positioned to take advantage of such opportunities. Yes, towns have yet to repeal dry laws, though they are starting to circumvent them with wine-tastings and beer-tastings. I'm aware a BYO is cheaper than a bar, but the BYO-format doesn't really work for a sports-bar, lounge, or club type setting. You know, cool places where you go to relax and socialize. And, as I said, such venues contribute to more of a 24/7, live-work-play atmosphere in a community.
I was living in Cherry Hill. There were no screaming masses protesting. People were lead to believe that it would be urban. Whoever made the decision may have put that bs out to deflect blame. I don't know anyone who was happy with the result.

What do you propose that Haddonfield tear down to build the TOD that you think that they need?

Last edited by southbound_295; 03-01-2016 at 06:36 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2016, 07:20 PM
 
785 posts, read 651,265 times
Reputation: 900
Dry town laws are sucking the appeal out of many South Jersey towns and are simply dealbreakers for trying to attract young professionals and even younger parents.

I know that as far as Collingswood's dry laws go, it is actually more complicated than most. I believe that there is some privately owned land, I think the park near the high school, that is leased out to the town on a gentleman's agreement and would possibly be taken away from the town if they repeal the dry laws. I think it's also important because they use the area as parking for the high school. Still though, I wouldn't care about that threat and repeal the dry laws anyway.

Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, droves of other towns...I think that is just stubborn, stuck in the past thinking that is holding them back. My hopes is that as the old guard dies/moves out and more sensible, modern thinking people end up making a majority of the towns that these things will change.

As far as downtowns go in South Jersey, there are many towns that have the bones to make something attractive and are on the move to do so. Progress may be slow, but people are getting the idea, and things are going in the right direction, even though many of these towns are not prime for TOD since they don't have train lines. Glassboro is sprucing up more around Rowan though still has plenty of more room for improvement. Mount Holly and Bordentown (which does have the RiverLine at least, though maybe that counts more as Central Jersey) are a bit under the radar and may surprise you, even if they are a little further out from Philly than commuters may like. Same goes for Swedesboro, Hammonton, and even Woodstown in Salem County to an extent. Maple Shade is making some moves up, as is Pitman (though again, repealing the dry town law there would be a big boost). Cherry Hill recently announced TOD at Woodcrest Station. Let's hope it does end up better than Garden State Park. Burlington is getting TONS of investment. As Philadelphia moves further to maxing out and people begin moving out, other RiverLine tonws have a chance to capitalize, like Riverside and Palmyra. If, and that's a BIG if, the Glassboro-Camden Line gets built, Westville and Gloucester City can get a shot in the arm, as they have great urban bones as well. Millville, Vineland, and Bridgeton...well that's another story. Millville is by far the best of them and honestly not that bad all things considered.

Camden is heading in the right direction. It may seem like that's a moot point, but any way that you cut it, it is pretty clear that it bottomed out and is going the other way nowadays with more investment and businesses coming in, as well as Rutgers expanding. I'm certainly not a fan of Subaru building a suburban office park, but hopefully that will be the exception and not the norm. Again, as Philly maxes out in the future, Camden might be poised to gain as it, kind of like Jersey City and Hoboken, can actually get you to Center City faster than many places actually within city limits. I'm not holding my breath for Camden, but there is some reason to be hopeful.

Getting more trains will be a big boost. I don't like the odds of that happening, even the Glassboro-Camden Line which has obviously had all of the planning done but has stalled. Right now, no, South Jersey isn't ideal for young professionals or young families. I think the PATCO corridor of Haddonfield, Westmont, and Collingswood is decent enough, but outside of that, there isn't much going on, but I think select areas will get there in a few years.

It's really not a matter of comparing South Jersey to North Jersey or anything like that. No, I don't think that South Jerseyans want to "be like North Jersey", but plenty of the people in the area just want what North Jersey has several of: exciting places to live in where you don't have to drive for everything. Trains and downtowns are not unique to North Jersey. Boston suburbs, DC suburbs, Chicago suburbs, etc. have this going for them. Since we are in Philly Metro, a better comparison for South Jersey to make itself to would be the PA suburbs like the Main Line towns. These are older suburbs with trains and downtowns and are the main "competitors" to South Jersey suburbs, not North Jersey and Central Jersey towns.

The bones are there all over the place in South Jersey to make this happen. Will it? That remains to be seen. It's going to come down to a combination of whether the state government will actually finally give South Jersey its due (God, I hope Steve Sweeney becomes the next governor, he's our best shot), but it will also take a changing of the heart of the many people in South Jersey who are stuck in the past with NIMBYism and old-school values. As has been the case with areas like Hoboken and Jersey City though, the biggest catalyst will still be improvements and growth within Philadelphia and the eventual pushing of people out when they get priced out or need better schools.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2016, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
24,963 posts, read 23,873,661 times
Reputation: 30800
i'm not sure why you'd say that the area isn't good for young families. i went out fewer times than i ever had in my life when my son was born until he was in elementary school. things like overtime, illness and lack of a sitter either kept us in or only going to places where we could take him, like a bbq in someone's yard. i was thrilled to live in a safe neighborhood with good schools and a playground and other amenities nearby.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2016, 05:10 AM
 
785 posts, read 651,265 times
Reputation: 900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerania View Post
i'm not sure why you'd say that the area isn't good for young families. i went out fewer times than i ever had in my life when my son was born until he was in elementary school. things like overtime, illness and lack of a sitter either kept us in or only going to places where we could take him, like a bbq in someone's yard. i was thrilled to live in a safe neighborhood with good schools and a playground and other amenities nearby.
I mean the new generation of young family homebuyers who are placing a higher value on urban environment, walkability, and mass transit than the previous generation. Millennials getting ready to settle down are going to be the biggest bloc of people moving to the suburbs for the next decade and will dictate how the market goes, and their preferences are notably different from those that came before them. The vast majority of SJ suburbs, though "nice" and "safe" don't satisfy all of those requirements. This generation, when moving to a Philly burb, would be much more inclined to pick something on the PA side. They want more Haddonfileds, Westmonts, Collingswoods, etc. and less Voorhees's, Marltons, Mt. Laurels, etc.

You can say what you want about their preferences...maybe they are not in order or whatever and that they shouldn't pass up on what matters most: safety, schools, etc. over aesthetics, bar/restaurant scene, convenient walkability, etc. (since you need a car in suburbia regardless). It's a matter of perspective, but there's no denying that the buyers in the present day are not the buyers of past days.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2016, 10:29 AM
 
27 posts, read 31,382 times
Reputation: 23
Interesting discussion...

I can tell you much of what everyone is saying here isn't any different from California or any other larger state for that matter.

Here in NorCal, we help pay for things in SoCal. There's always a bit of tension between NorCal and SoCal residents.

Its also similar here... "poor" planning, zoning, expansion, etc... I've never lived anywhere where this doesn't come up. Try taking a look at the SFBay expansion over the last few years.. Tons and tons of cookie cutter jammed in boxes on hillsides with no thought given to the destroying of beautiful hillsides.. Oh ya, and absolutely no road expansions creating 2+hr commutes to go 30mi.

Thus, everything that is outlined above is not unique to NJ or anywhere else for that matter. Its simply the combination of differing needs, opinions, and ideas about what is right for the opinion holder.

Oh ya, gotta say, I laughed when I read above about how things change so much once you have babies/toddlers. We avoid going out to dinner if at all possible. But when we do go out, we do enjoy a shot of tequila and a margarita to help drown out the winning of the kids (or course, this is done carefully in order to not drive home drunk with kids). But all in all, a dry town doesn't bother me in the slightest.

As for the generation after me (I'm gen x), yes, they do tend to have very different set of wants and needs. Not really bad, just very "cool" and "sophisticated". Good for them, just not for us.

Thx!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2016, 11:01 AM
 
1,615 posts, read 3,153,429 times
Reputation: 2266
Haddonfield is wealthy, yes. There is a "keeping up with the Jones'" but that is NJ in general. You will meet nannies but Mom is there too. There is a "job comes first" attitude for men but most moms are stay at home. Those with nannies are not lazy, they are just better parents when they can get away for a few hours a day. It's not frowned upon.

Not so much emphasis is placed on where you went to college because, let's face it. If you went to Harvard or MIT you would, most likely, not be working in this area. You would be in NYC, Silicon Valley, etc... You will see more Rutgers, UPenn, Drexel, and Temple alumni.

I disagree with the dry town aspect being bad. Especially for young couples. Drinking is not the only thing we care about. If you are young you go to the city to go out and take the train home. A dry town means BYOB which is awesome. There are plenty of places to go within a 10-15min drive.

Haddonfield has a cute main drag that is nice for walks and week-end lunches/dinners. But you will still be piling into the family SUV to Wegmans, Cherry Hill Mall or Target most days.

School are good. The Friends School is better if you are looking for private schools. They are K-8 in Haddonfield then everyone goes to Moorsetown Friends for 9-12.

I'm going to tell you know, NJ is not as pretty as the Bay area, people are a lot more rude to your face, but no one is really fake. Your new friends may be a bit loud and obnoxious but if you need help they will give you the shirt off their backs and make you a go-fund-me page. Out west, people tend to be polite to your face but would not even take the time to **** on you if you were on fire. That may be a bit harsher than reality but it's close.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2016, 12:51 PM
 
27 posts, read 31,382 times
Reputation: 23
Hello- Exceptionally helpful. I cracked up about the NJ people. I lived in Long Island for a number of years and learned the same thing. I personally prefer that WAY more than the big hat no cattle personality traits of out here. I don't think you're very far off in your description of the people's disposition out here. Its sad... didn't used to be like that at all. It is now like living in Orange County here. Bummer

Yup, we totally know we won't have the rolling hills of California. But those rolling hills have a huge cost to them (both emotionally and financially) and its something we know would be left behind. That's ok. We can always come and visit.

Funny story: When I went to visit there last week, I was in line at Wegmans and there was a mother with 2 toddlers in front of me. I asked in a very happy friendly voice, "Cute children, are they 2 and 4?" The lady looked at me like I was an alien and coldly answered.. "No, they're 3 and 5". Even the little boy started eyeing me down. I chuckled to myself forgetting the east and west differences. No offense. Just funny.

Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:



Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New Jersey > New Jersey Suburbs of Philadelphia
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top