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Old 07-09-2008, 08:18 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
1,314 posts, read 2,777,952 times
Reputation: 842

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgb123 View Post
Oh...and there is no public transportation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoiledWife View Post
Yea, that is accurate. VIA is in the works of developing a BRT system but I still feel we need light right, ASAP.
Well, not quite accurate. There is public transportation, it's just not rapid transit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaka View Post
There are indeed some abandoned buildings that #$^%& owners refuse to sell or restore, unfortunately.
Which is true in every major city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hello13685 View Post
I made the same assumption--the same mistake--when I moved here from a real city. The SA population numbers completely fooled me.
What, pray tell, constitutes a "real" city. San Antonio is just as much a "real" city as any, it's just different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgb123 View Post
It has surprised me how many San Antonian's and Austinites treat these cities as far apart (for instance I have seen people in personals ad's describe this as a long distance relationship if it were to occur)
It's all about perception. There is still undeveloped area in-between (although that's getting less and less every year) as well as two whole counties, so there's a psychological barrier there that just makes it seem further.

That said, I'm a long-time San Antonian (20+ years now), and I do go downtown often. My wife and I enjoy having dinner on the River Walk and visiting other downtown attractions. We'd even live downtown if we could afford it and our jobs weren't out in the 'burbs. I think what dissuades many people from going downtown is that it requires more effort than going to the neighborhood strip mall because you have to get downtown, then deal with one-way streets, then finding (and paying for) parking, and walking some distance to your destination. Since people don't go down there much, they don't know their way around, and that becomes an impediment as well. Also, some people just don't like crowds. And finally, there's a another perception issue: in this case, that downtown is just for the tourists.

Overall, there's nothing wrong with downtown SA, certainly nothing that other major cities don't also experience. Yes, there are homeless people and other assorted "undesireables" and "scary areas", but no more so than in Seattle or San Francisco or LA or (yes) Chicago. There is some crime, but again, no more so than typical for an urban area, and maybe even less so given the large police presence. I feel safer walking around anywhere downtown SA at night than I would in most other cities.

To wrap up, my sister coincidentally lives in suburban Chicago and she and her husband hate going downtown Chicago. He's a native of the area and absolutely detests going into the city. My sister used to work downtown and is happy she doesn't any more and can't even remember the last time they went downtown. So I think it's really a people thing and not so much a city thing.
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:25 AM
 
4,268 posts, read 8,377,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexHwyMan View Post
I think what dissuades many people from going downtown is that it requires more effort than going to the neighborhood strip mall because you have to get downtown, then deal with one-way streets, then finding (and paying for) parking, and walking some distance to your destination. Since people don't go down there much, they don't know their way around, and that becomes an impediment as well. Also, some people just don't like crowds. And finally, there's a another perception issue: in this case, that downtown is just for the tourists.
Santa Barbara, also a major tourist town, used to have free 90 minute parking downtown with very accessible lots (it's been a number of years since I've been there, so I'm not sure this is still the case). Many many residents cited that as a reason downtown was so accessible and still appealing to local residents rather than just for tourists. It was easy to get to and get around, despite the one-way streets.

Though it would cut parking revenue some, I think doing something similar here would entice more people to come downtown for shopping/dinner etc. I can see people feeling like they're being gouged when they go downtown now, between parking and higher prices.

I think residents need to 'take back the city' - I'm all for supporting the tourism industry, but it's our home. We need to make the most of it.
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,298,090 times
Reputation: 1410
I like that attitude!! Take back the city!!! I have definitley wondered why San Antonio people don't seem to "own" the city!
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,298,090 times
Reputation: 1410
That said, I'm a long-time San Antonian (20+ years now), and I do go downtown often. My wife and I enjoy having dinner on the River Walk and visiting other downtown attractions. We'd even live downtown if we could afford it and our jobs weren't out in the 'burbs. I think what dissuades many people from going downtown is that it requires more effort than going to the neighborhood strip mall because you have to get downtown, then deal with one-way streets, then finding (and paying for) parking, and walking some distance to your destination. Since people don't go down there much, they don't know their way around, and that becomes an impediment as well. Also, some people just don't like crowds. And finally, there's a another perception issue: in this case, that downtown is just for the tourists.

Overall, there's nothing wrong with downtown SA, certainly nothing that other major cities don't also experience. Yes, there are homeless people and other assorted "undesireables" and "scary areas", but no more so than in Seattle or San Francisco or LA or (yes) Chicago. There is some crime, but again, no more so than typical for an urban area, and maybe even less so given the large police presence. I feel safer walking around anywhere downtown SA at night than I would in most other cities.

To wrap up, my sister coincidentally lives in suburban Chicago and she and her husband hate going downtown Chicago. He's a native of the area and absolutely detests going into the city. My sister used to work downtown and is happy she doesn't any more and can't even remember the last time they went downtown. So I think it's really a people thing and not so much a city thing.[/quote]


Yes I have heard that said a lot "its for the tourists" somewhat disdainfully. I wondered why the people here would want to relegate themselves to the outskirts.

What you say sounds a lot like what I have heard from others. I am glad you and your wife do enjoy it! I am single, so it has been hard to find people to hang out with anyway, but the ones I do have no interest in going down there and seem to think it would be more like a chore to go with me.

As for downtown Chicago. Yeah there are people that avoid it, I was one of them toward the end but that had more to do with personal things (avoiding an ex and bad memories though it is certainly true for people like my parents that can't stand the excitment, too much traffic, noise, etc. But it is a vibrant place that locals "own"

I actually prefer a smaller city myself, that is more managable, maybe something like SA or Austin actually! I hope I get to spend more time downtown, I've only been here about a month and I work just at the NE side of town near Schertz. My corporate office is downtown.

And yeah, I know there is a bus system in SA but ....

And this place seems to have grown so much in the last decade or so, seems like there is some catching up to do. Overall great place, lots of potential in my book.

I'm still considering living downtown, or in one of the nearby areas.
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:07 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
1,512 posts, read 2,614,337 times
Reputation: 2219
This is an amusing thread. San Antonio is not the only city whose downtown is often described as "for tourists." Washington DC, Los Angeles, and even New York has a similar description attached. For example, talk to the average DC area resident (read: suburbanite) and he/she will say that trips to DC are limited to family visits, very special events, and the like.

This is especially true for those who work downtown--it's difficult to get into the city during the week, so why would I want to repeat Mon-Fri on Saturday or Sunday? (Traffic stinks no matter what day/time it is...) I know that's how I felt (and many of my coworkers would have agreed...almost nobody went downtown unless they had to).

Frankly, downtown living is not for everyone. There are those who actually prefer suburban living!

--Dim
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,298,090 times
Reputation: 1410
DIM

There are other cities like that, but I have never seen it quite to this level. I liked suburban living too but not when it seems out of control. I was an advocate for the suburbs in Chicago, lots of snooty urbanites there.

Here its like regular people don't have a choice. I feel that if I moved downtown I would be isolated from the locals. If I moved to downtown Chicago it would be a different story.

And yeah, southern and southwestern (read, newer) cities tend to be more suburban in nature and built around the car.

What I don't get, is that here new ways of thinking don't seem to have caught on (that rapid suburbanization and decentralization are not really good things for people or the enviornment, especially if there is no form of rapid transit like trains).

I'm not one of those annoying people that wants to turn a city into Chicago or New York. I just find the differences in attitude and geography very intersting as a geographer and urban planner.
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:16 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
944 posts, read 2,806,436 times
Reputation: 263
But in L.A., D.C., and N.Y.C., the tourists come from all over the world. San Antonio is the number one tourist destination in TEXAS (I know that this distinction is lost on many Texans . Tourism (not conference participation) from other parts of the USA and world is much much lower here. As a result, it's my opinion that the tourists and tourist areas in downtown San Antonio are, well, folksy/dumpy. I've been embarrassed to take visiting relatives into the Alamo gift shop--it's got the feel of an old, downtown vintage thrift store. Other private mom and pop shops around the river center mall area are equally nasty. That, combined with all of the bums and boarded up windows at street level may be why many of the more tasteful locals avoid downtown in S.A.
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Old 07-09-2008, 12:50 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
1,512 posts, read 2,614,337 times
Reputation: 2219
I'll take the responses in turn.

rgb--You're right. There is a lack of vital services downtown (though some might disagree) that would make living there a bit easier for folks like me. For one thing, it's almost impossible to buy groceries without having to drive AWAY from downtown.

Perhaps SA was caught by surprise with expansion and growth, but I suspect that there is another reason.

hello--I disagree. Travel beyond the state border and you'll find that just about everyone wants to go to San Antonio. "Oh, I've heard that's a beautiful city." In fact, those who have been always comment on the downtown area's beauty (mainly Riverwalk...) and state how much they'd like to go back.

San Antonio has a very good reputation outside of Texas (and the United States, for that matter) largely due to a) military word of mouth and b) famous movies depicting the Alamo.

However, perhaps the most important thing to point out is that your argument is full of holes. LA, DC, and NYC all have the "bad things" you describe.

Dumpy areas? Check.
Trashy gift shops? Check.
Bums and boarded up shops? Check and check.

So, when one accounts for the similarities, the logic you use is false. I would also suggest that there are plenty of "tasteful locals" who would be highly offended at your last statement. (I'm not one of them since I have no taste.)

--Dim
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Old 07-09-2008, 12:57 PM
 
146 posts, read 467,147 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexHwyMan View Post
I think what dissuades many people from going downtown is that it requires more effort than going to the neighborhood strip mall because you have to get downtown, then deal with paying fo parking

So how much is SA parking usually? Chicago runs about 25-30, I think.
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Old 07-09-2008, 01:08 PM
 
4,268 posts, read 8,377,313 times
Reputation: 1785
Quote:
Originally Posted by benandgrace View Post
So how much is SA parking usually? Chicago runs about 25-30, I think.

Cheaper than that! Event parking can be as much as $20, but typically lots run $5-15. There's lot of metered on street parking.
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