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Old 12-11-2009, 09:15 AM
 
9,703 posts, read 12,010,717 times
Reputation: 7064
If I had to choose between the Pittsburgh area and Philly, I'd take Pittsburgh. Philly is an out of date, corrupt, crime ridden area with the infrastructure dating to the 1960's and 1970's. Pittsburgh is a bit more vibrant and easier to get around with plenty to do.
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:33 AM
 
22 posts, read 41,641 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by danwxman View Post
Actually Lancaster county has been recognized nationally for their farmland preservation and controlled growth. In the past few years they have really cut down on the amount of sprawl and there are even some new urbanist communities sprouting up.

I'm curious as to what your solution is. Should there be more highways through Lancaster county, plowing through existing farmland and causing more sprawl?
Very good points, danwxman. Lancaster County's agricultural production is a top priority because this county is one of the nation's top producers; therefore, it must be preserved.

I agree the amount of sprawl is diminishing and urban communities are sprouting up all around us. Controlled growth has taken place when it comes to farmland, but not the community itself. As pointed out earlier, Lancaster County has seen nearly a 300% increase in its population in three decades.

There are other highways that need to be addressed, but I'll focus on Route 23 because that's what my original complaint was in reference to. Here are some of the problems I see:

Route 23 is currently so congested that's it's unsafe without major traffic light additions. People can't pull out of the streets in their developments without flooring it and there's been a large increase in accidents as a result.

Because of the congestion, motorists driving automobiles and tractor-trailers have taken to cutting through our residential housing developments to avoid the congestion on Rte 23. It's not safe to have 18-wheelers and speeding motorists zipping through side streets where children are riding their bicycles in front of their own homes. These secondary roads are now being used as highways to avoid Route 23.

I think there are a few options out there, but the county cannot keep on collecting tax dollars from people and not improve our highways. They've talked about this problem for decades and my understanding is that no substantial changes will take place for another 13 years or so.

It looks like the options are fairly simple: restrict any more people from moving to this county, use the old "goat path" they started and didn't finish, build a new bypass that goes over the farmland, or make the current road a four-lane highway with real intersections that have turning lanes.

You asked what my solution is, and I think what would make most happy (except for businesses and current owners of homes on Route 23) is to widen the current road. At some point, something has to give. The reality is, this area can't sit still and not do anything with the influx of population growth it experiences year-after-year. Unfortunately, when they built these roads, they built them nearly right on top of houses and it wasn't a problem back then, but Lancaster County isn't "technically" living in the horse and buggy days any longer.

What is your solution to this problem?
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
1,099 posts, read 3,048,084 times
Reputation: 388
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantine View Post
Very good points, danwxman. Lancaster County's agricultural production is a top priority because this county is one of the nation's top producers; therefore, it must be preserved.

I agree the amount of sprawl is diminishing and urban communities are sprouting up all around us. Controlled growth has taken place when it comes to farmland, but not the community itself. As pointed out earlier, Lancaster County has seen nearly a 300% increase in its population in three decades.

There are other highways that need to be addressed, but I'll focus on Route 23 because that's what my original complaint was in reference to. Here are some of the problems I see:

Route 23 is currently so congested that's it's unsafe without major traffic light additions. People can't pull out of the streets in their developments without flooring it and there's been a large increase in accidents as a result.

Because of the congestion, motorists driving automobiles and tractor-trailers have taken to cutting through our residential housing developments to avoid the congestion on Rte 23. It's not safe to have 18-wheelers and speeding motorists zipping through side streets where children are riding their bicycles in front of their own homes. These secondary roads are now being used as highways to avoid Route 23.

I think there are a few options out there, but the county cannot keep on collecting tax dollars from people and not improve our highways. They've talked about this problem for decades and my understanding is that no substantial changes will take place for another 13 years or so.

It looks like the options are fairly simple: restrict any more people from moving to this county, use the old "goat path" they started and didn't finish, build a new bypass that goes over the farmland, or make the current road a four-lane highway with real intersections that have turning lanes.

You asked what my solution is, and I think what would make most happy (except for businesses and current owners of homes on Route 23) is to widen the current road. At some point, something has to give. The reality is, this area can't sit still and not do anything with the influx of population growth it experiences year-after-year. Unfortunately, when they built these roads, they built them nearly right on top of houses and it wasn't a problem back then, but Lancaster County isn't "technically" living in the horse and buggy days any longer.

What is your solution to this problem?
Lancaster county has not grown 300% in three decades. The population was 319,693 in 1970 and it is now around 500,000.

I think you make some good points and roads certainly do need to be widened. And that is happening. Look at the huge Route 30 expansion that took place not that long ago. It's now a six-lane highway just north of the city and traffic flows through that area pretty well.

The solution is difficult but it can't be that you restrict people from moving to the county. But, new housing should continue to be restricted into existing urban development areas. There should be a larger investment in public transit, including light rail extending outside of the city of Lancaster into the immediate suburbs and regional rail to Harrisburg (shovel-ready, just waiting for state money). Some roads should be widened, but only if bike lanes and sidewalks are going to be added as well. Zoning codes should be re-written to allow mixed use in as many areas as possible so people don't have to clog the roads to drive to get to basic services.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Philly
8,777 posts, read 7,377,201 times
Reputation: 2040
bryone-yes, I have no problem with someone saying "some parts of eastern PA" but saying "eastern Pa is becoming a bedroom community is false, almost as ridiculous as this one
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
If I had to choose between the Pittsburgh area and Philly, I'd take Pittsburgh. Philly is an out of date, corrupt, crime ridden area with the infrastructure dating to the 1960's and 1970's. Pittsburgh is a bit more vibrant and easier to get around with plenty to do.
both places are "out of date" which is part of their charm. both places have infrastructure dating well before the 60's and pittsburgh is not more vibrant. it does have less traffic (owing in part to a shrinking metro area) but like all of PA, it too is confusing to get around. If I wanted a bigger city closer to the beach and other places, I'd go with Philly, if I wanted a smaller city that seems to have turned a corner and is close to the wilderness, I'd pick pittsburgh.


dan-they've made strides but there are still problems. I think continued improvement to the Keystone corridor is part of the solution. it will encourage more old urbanist development along the train line (read, older cities and towns). the improvements that have been compelted has resulted in roughly doubling ridership but if trip time is cut to 80 min from harrisburg and 55 min from lancaster, that should make it extremely attractive as a transportation option. the idea that roads can keep pace with development is false. you want congestion free roads? don't develop.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:47 PM
 
22 posts, read 41,641 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by danwxman View Post
Lancaster county has not grown 300% in three decades. The population was 319,693 in 1970 and it is now around 500,000.

I think you make some good points and roads certainly do need to be widened. And that is happening. Look at the huge Route 30 expansion that took place not that long ago. It's now a six-lane highway just north of the city and traffic flows through that area pretty well.

The solution is difficult but it can't be that you restrict people from moving to the county. But, new housing should continue to be restricted into existing urban development areas. There should be a larger investment in public transit, including light rail extending outside of the city of Lancaster into the immediate suburbs and regional rail to Harrisburg (shovel-ready, just waiting for state money). Some roads should be widened, but only if bike lanes and sidewalks are going to be added as well. Zoning codes should be re-written to allow mixed use in as many areas as possible so people don't have to clog the roads to drive to get to basic services.
To be accurate, I said nearly a 300% increase because I'm accounting for three years of population growth not included in the studies I got my information from. The exact figure used in the study was 275% (current as of 2007), but is not up-to-date. Until I see exact figures, I can't pinpoint the exact growth of 3 additional years, but it's somewhere between 275% and 300%; hence, I quantified my estimate with the word "nearly".

I gathered my information from a statement given by Tom Baldrige, President of The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry to the State Transportation Commission at the Heritage Hills Conference Center in 2007.

Here is the relevant part of his quote:

Quote:
Thirty years ago this year, construction on a new Route 23 was stopped mid-project , the prepared roadbed was covered in dirt and the aborted project was given its infamous nickname, the Goat Path. At the time the project was deemed necessary to handle our growing county’s transportation needs; but was stopped, along with other projects across the Commonwealth, mid-project due to a lack of funding. It wasn’t that it wasn’t needed then; and, now, thirty years later in a County that has grown by 275% in population –yes, that’s 275% [1977: 179,800 people; 2007: 494,486 people. Source: US Census Bureau]-- and at least 100% in the number of businesses it sure can’t be said that it isn’t needed even more today.

- The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Route 23 is not currently being widened and no plans for any substantial improvements are slated to begin until 2022. That's the only issue I was addressing because it's unacceptable in its current state. Route 30 is a whole other animal that I could write much about, but will not get into at the moment due to lack of time.

Personally, I would never take public transportation nor ride a bike to the store or work. I pay taxes and would appreciate our tax dollars going towards modern highways, but your ideas are interesting. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
1,099 posts, read 3,048,084 times
Reputation: 388
Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
dan-they've made strides but there are still problems. I think continued improvement to the Keystone corridor is part of the solution. it will encourage more old urbanist development along the train line (read, older cities and towns). the improvements that have been compelted has resulted in roughly doubling ridership but if trip time is cut to 80 min from harrisburg and 55 min from lancaster, that should make it extremely attractive as a transportation option. the idea that roads can keep pace with development is false. you want congestion free roads? don't develop.
I agree 100%....let's also see the enhancements between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:07 PM
 
22 posts, read 41,641 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
the idea that roads can keep pace with development is false. you want congestion free roads? don't develop.
pman, I know you weren't specifically referring to Route 23 in Lancaster, but the above statement caught my eye.

In theory, your idea of not developing to avoid congestion is common sense, but common sense doesn't prevail in many areas - money does. It's the township and other government agencies who approve plans for area development. But, those same agencies fail to ensure those developments don't create traffic congestion.

As a taxpaying citizen, I can't go out and stand in front of the bulldozer to halt development that is guaranteed to lead to congestion, so it is my expectation that those in charge of approving developments would be required to link adequate infrastructure to any development plans.

Housing units pay taxes, but highways do not; consequently, the monetary incentive isn't there to motivate government officials to regulate new development as they should.

This is getting off-topic in that very few areas choose common sense over chasing the money. Lancaster County is no more or less guilty than most other places, but the bottom line is that development has outstripped infrastructure to the detriment of the standard of living and lifestyle associated with this previously rural county.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Jefferson County
380 posts, read 662,899 times
Reputation: 100
Tourette, I think I may have responded to a previous post of yours about this in the past, but I couldn't find it, so I apologize if you've heard this before.
You may want to take a look at the eastern panhandle of WV, it sounds like it may be in the geographical area you want and have the type of lifestyle you are looking for. Check out Charles Town, Harpers Ferry, Ranson and Shepherdstown in Jefferson County. It's about 55 miles west of DC bordering MD & VA.
The area has experienced the typical growth associated with Northern VA, MD & Washington DC, but is still far enough out to not be overcrowded. We've gotten lots of new retail and services as well as new local employers in the past few years. There are several federal government facilities in the area as well like Coast Guard, IRS, VA hospital, National Park Service, and Border Patrol firearms training center. Also have the Charles Town Races & Slots which provides lots of employment. There are two centers of acedemia; Shepherd University and the American Public University.
You'll find real estate taxes to be very low compared to the surrounding states and income tax much lower than MD and PA, and a little lower than VA.
Real estate prices are not as low as the rest of WV or even many areas in VA & PA because of the proximity to DC/NoVA employment, but you should be able to find what you are looking for within the price range you mentioned. Mod cut - advertising

Last edited by toobusytoday; 12-12-2009 at 07:50 AM..
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
345 posts, read 628,162 times
Reputation: 297
Quote:
Originally Posted by clintsullivan View Post
Tourette, I think I may have responded to a previous post of yours about this in the past, but I couldn't find it, so I apologize if you've heard this before.
You may want to take a look at the eastern panhandle of WV, it sounds like it may be in the geographical area you want and have the type of lifestyle you are looking for. Check out Charles Town, Harpers Ferry, Ranson and Shepherdstown in Jefferson County. It's about 55 miles west of DC bordering MD & VA.
The area has experienced the typical growth associated with Northern VA, MD & Washington DC, but is still far enough out to not be overcrowded. We've gotten lots of new retail and services as well as new local employers in the past few years. There are several federal government facilities in the area as well like Coast Guard, IRS, VA hospital, National Park Service, and Border Patrol firearms training center. Also have the Charles Town Races & Slots which provides lots of employment. There are two centers of acedemia; Shepherd University and the American Public University.
You'll find real estate taxes to be very low compared to the surrounding states and income tax much lower than MD and PA, and a little lower than VA.
Real estate prices are not as low as the rest of WV or even many areas in VA & PA because of the proximity to DC/NoVA employment, but you should be able to find what you are looking for within the price range you mentioned. You can search my classified post for a link to my house that I have for sale to get an idea of what's available. It's a bit above your price range but if you follow the links to homesdatabase.com you can look for other smaller homes at lower prices.
Thank you! Which link would that be for me to research? Thanks for the information.
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:32 AM
 
Location: Philly
8,777 posts, read 7,377,201 times
Reputation: 2040
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantine View Post
pman, I know you weren't specifically referring to Route 23 in Lancaster, but the above statement caught my eye.

In theory, your idea of not developing to avoid congestion is common sense, but common sense doesn't prevail in many areas - money does. It's the township and other government agencies who approve plans for area development. But, those same agencies fail to ensure those developments don't create traffic congestion.

As a taxpaying citizen, I can't go out and stand in front of the bulldozer to halt development that is guaranteed to lead to congestion, so it is my expectation that those in charge of approving developments would be required to link adequate infrastructure to any development plans.

Housing units pay taxes, but highways do not; consequently, the monetary incentive isn't there to motivate government officials to regulate new development as they should.

This is getting off-topic in that very few areas choose common sense over chasing the money. Lancaster County is no more or less guilty than most other places, but the bottom line is that development has outstripped infrastructure to the detriment of the standard of living and lifestyle associated with this previously rural county.
Infrastructure improvements will never keep up with demand. currrent residents wouldn't want the projects in their backyard and, consequently, they'd prevent development. I live in a developed area, traffic congestion in lancaster county will never be better than it is today. some roads may improve, but overall it will get worse.
it's just the way it is, highways don't prevent traffic congestion, they encourage it. that is the lesson you should learn from developed areas.
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