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Old 03-15-2013, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,497 times
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I can't imagine Manhattan without all of the traffic noise, people noise, ambulances/sirens, horns and other sounds. Even in Central Park...being in a huge wooded area with skyscrapers and ambient city noise in the background has a certain allure to it to me. That being said, I've walked pretty deep into the middle of the park, and even the road noise from the drives is really drowned out, it does have some serene spots. Plus, Central Park Drive has very little traffic even during rush hours, and is actually closed most of the time IIRC. Central Park isn't really the place for New Yorkers to go for that true peace and quiet park setting, it's more of a convenience for people in Manhattan to walk to, and experience it for what it is. Most New Yorkers have access to some relatively large, expansive city parks in the outer boroughs such as Pelham Bay Park, Flushing Meadows Park, Bloomingdale Park, Prospect Park, Bronx Park, Forest Park, Great Kills Park and even Liberty State Park right over in Jersey City.. all easily accessible by transit or car from Manhattan.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
I get the gist of what you're saying, but to be fair, people use automobiles.
usually because they don't have much choice and other options are not attractive. in autocentric cities the transit options are limited or nonexistent, or too unpleasant. and walkability isn't so great. so the only decent means of getting around is by automobile.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,373,602 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iNviNciBL3 View Post
A thread about reasons that you love American cities from a Urban Planning point of view
I can't say that I love American cities, but two characteristics that I really like are the freeways and the skyscrapers. American skyscrapers don't really have a counterpart in Europe. Asia has pretty much surpassed the United States, but skyscrapers are still a feature of American cities. Also, I just don't get this hatred of cars and roads - freeways are awesome. End of story . Not that there isn't a lot to be said for rapid transit, mind you, but I really like freeways. Even I don't like eyesores like this, but freeways such as this and this look very nice. A freeway (or any other form of transit for that matter) should blend into and even improve upon the existing landscape, rather than being ugly and obtrusive. An analogy to this is found in the contrast between the Golden Gate Bridge and this unfortunate bridge.

As for car dependency, many American cities fall into that trap, but one can have a lot of cars and freeways without being car-dependent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
usually because they don't have much choice and other options are not attractive. in autocentric cities the transit options are limited or nonexistent, or too unpleasant. and walkability isn't so great. so the only decent means of getting around is by automobile.
True, but even in New York City, which is not auto-centric, a huge chunk of the population use automobiles on a regular basis. Automobiles are often the best way to get around even in a "balanced" transit system, and the automobile is a good transportation method. That's why people started using cars in the first place.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lerner View Post
A grand skyline is an incredibly sublime experience. Beautiful at sunrise and throughout the day, maybe even more beautiful at sunset and throughout the night.

I also like that for the most part, they're car friendly. I know a lot of city-lovers want areas that are easily walkable and have plenty of public transportation. I do too, but I absolutely love my car and find driving to be one of the most enjoyable and freeing experiences in life. Cruising around big cities is something I never get tired of.
I wholeheartedly agree with that, with the exception of the last sentence. I can name many adjectives for city driving but "cruising" would not be one of them. Truthfully, driving on city streets is something I just don't like and it stresses me out. The urban freeways outside of the rush hours is where I like to be (assuming I don't want to get a closer look, which I often do).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
I'm not a fan of skyscraper cities and the endless ugly traffic congestion they create. And the city streets that are more like racetracks. They're designed to cater to the automobile and people are a distant afterthought.
This type of scene - namely, being stopped at a red light in a long line - is not uncommon when driving on city streets. In my experience in driving American city streets, traffic moves slowly (almost never more than 40 mph), potholes are common, congestion is the norm, and it seems half of the time I'm stopped at a red light. A road where I'm stopped a good chunk of the time and never drive at a fast rate of speed doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to a racetrack.

Many city streets are unfriendly to pedestrians, and that is a design flaw. However, don't pretend that it's car-friendly just because it's pedestrian-unfriendly, because in my experience city driving is hostile to efficient car travel. My view is that American city streets don't seem to be friendly to any means of transportation. This doesn't take into account the freeways, which pedestrians aren't supposed to use anyway. Freeways enable car traffic to keep moving and typical speeds on a true urban freeway are around 50 mph - not exactly fast, but fast enough to make a difference. However, freeways only take you directly to a small fraction of places in the city, and you cannot avoid tangling with the streets. Also, during rush hour congestion and even gridlock are the norm on American urban freeways, so even freeways are only car-friendly during certain times of day.

I occasionally cross a certain major American city without getting on the freeway, and it always takes me at least 1-2 hours to traverse it*, and this is a small-sized city compared to most major cities. The trip times in this situation just astound me, and it shows how essential freeways are to moving vehicular traffic through these places efficiently. Mass transit helps to ease road congestion as well.

*"It" meaning the trip time going from the place where frequent stops and congestion are first encountered, to the place where such stopping/congestion is last encountered, while still going through the city's downtown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I'd like Manhattan more if there was less car traffic to hear. A few cross paths through Central Park is necessary, but walking around a city park and still hearing lots of traffic is atrocious. High density bothers me much less than traffic noise. And the wide streets of many American cities faciliate too much traffic noise everywhere.
Given the high traffic noise intrinsic to Manhattan and the size of the park, hearing background traffic noise is pretty much inevitable even if there aren't any cross-paths.

Also, NYC has quite an extensive subway and mass transit network. The streets in NYC and every major American city are gridlocked enough as it is, and making streets narrower would only exacerbate the problem. In some places I've been the traffic is so bad during rush hour that one couldn't go wrong by doubling the number of lanes on every freeway and arterial. Easier said than done, I know, and the places I mention don't have a mass transit system (which would help with congestion). Given equal amounts of traffic, roads and freeways with more lanes will function much better than ones with less lanes.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:00 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,992 posts, read 102,568,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
usually because they don't have much choice and other options are not attractive. in autocentric cities the transit options are limited or nonexistent, or too unpleasant. and walkability isn't so great. so the only decent means of getting around is by automobile.
Denver is considered an auto-centric city, yet it has a great public transit system including, in some parts, light rail, and there are sidewalks everywhere. It's not true that more people would choose transit over their own automobile given both options. It depends on the situation.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Denver is considered an auto-centric city, yet it has a great public transit system including, in some parts, light rail, and there are sidewalks everywhere. It's not true that more people would choose transit over their own automobile given both options. It depends on the situation.

Denver also seems to be a very bike-centric city. who needs cars when you have 850 miles of paved off-street biking/pedestrian paths in addition to a city-wide bikesharing program? that's pretty amazing. every city should be more like Denver in that regard.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:19 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,992 posts, read 102,568,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Denver also seems to be a very bike-centric city. who needs cars when you have 850 miles of paved off-street biking/pedestrian paths in addition to a city-wide bikesharing program? that's pretty amazing. every city should be more like Denver in that regard.
Lots of people drive cars in Denver, as well. I will point out that bikes are personal transportation as well, in the same category as cars, as opposed to mass transit.
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:41 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,265,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Lots of people drive cars in Denver, as well. I will point out that bikes are personal transportation as well, in the same category as cars, as opposed to mass transit.
that's what I like about Denver. there are so many bike paths you don't have to use your car for every little trip. in many places of the city you can walk or ride your bike most of the time. you don't need a car to make every single trip except in the winter months when it gets too cold to walk or bike. 850 miles is an astonishing amount of paved bike paths, plus many more that are not paved. in most US cities you are lucky to have even 5 or 10 miles.

California and Florida for example have great year-round weather for biking and walking but ironically the cities in these states are also some of the least walking and bike-friendly places on the planet, and most autocentric.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:01 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
14,800 posts, read 17,710,950 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
that's what I like about Denver. there are so many bike paths you don't have to use your car for every little trip. in many places of the city you can walk or ride your bike most of the time. you don't need a car to make every single trip except in the winter months when it gets too cold to walk or bike. 850 miles is an astonishing amount of paved bike paths, plus many more that are not paved. in most US cities you are lucky to have even 5 or 10 miles.

California and Florida for example have great year-round weather for biking and walking but ironically the cities in these states are also some of the least walking and bike-friendly places on the planet, and most autocentric.
Lol yea, Minneapolis is probably one of the best cities for bicycling but the weather is usually very hot or very cold.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
usually because they don't have much choice and other options are not attractive. in autocentric cities the transit options are limited or nonexistent, or too unpleasant. and walkability isn't so great. so the only decent means of getting around is by automobile.
Perhaps, but I don't quite feel that is really much of a problem. Of course here were talking about your opinion on whether or not you like the general American city layout, and I know I cannot (nor do I intend to) sway your opinion on urban planning. That being said, I feel that a lot of people would rather simply drive anyway, even in places where there are decent transit options. I live in one of the outer boroughs of NYC, which while they're not Manhattan, have relatively excellent transit coverage compared to most American cities outside their CBD. They're not always convenient to drive, and often are designed to cater to everyone, bikes, pedestrians, buses, cars, trucks, etc. There are hundreds of frequent bus routes in all four outer boroughs, and subway/train lines as well. Yet every day, there are hundreds of thousands of cars driving everywhere. I myself, drive pretty much everywhere...in fact the only transit I take is the last 3-4 miles of my commute by light rail, because it's cheaper than paying to park next to my building in Jersey City (which I'll do on Fridays sometimes anyway). While I'd bet the majority of commuters to Manhattan from the outer boroughs (and pretty much everywhere else) do take mass transit to work, since it's Manhattan...a lot of people are still driving everywhere, including Manhattan.

Owning a car in NYC's outer boroughs is by no means cheap or care free: we pay high insurance, ridiculous bridge/tunnel tolls, higher gas prices, drive on outrageously bad roads, inconvenient and/or expensive parking in many places, traffic, high risk of accidents, slow buses, annoying pedestrians who jaywalk, pretty much all the crap you'd expect as a car owner in one of the biggest cities in the world...however people are still driving by the thousands..every day, all over the city. Into the city, out of the city, around neighborhoods, over bridges, through tunnels. Even as a pain in the ass, for most trips, the relative pain in the ass that it is still FAR outweighs taking transit...most people's exception is the daily commute to Manhattan since it's Manhattan..but from my experience living here..the guy who commutes by subway to Manhattan who lives in "walkable" East Flatbush Brooklyn or Forest Hills Queens or along Grand Concourse in the Bronx or in New Dorp Staten Island...after work, on the weekends, going out, shopping, doing what he's gotta do...he's probably gonna be driving somewhere, because it's a certain freedom that transit simply cant replace for most door to door trips...in cities, suburbia, whatever. In pretty much any place without super density like Manhattan, mass transit is not competing in terms of speed, comfort, ease of use, time or really freedom. And not everybody wants to live in super density either, so it's not as easy as just "build more of it" to solve all of these "car problems" that people seem to have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
I can't say that I love American cities, but two characteristics that I really like are the freeways and the skyscrapers. American skyscrapers don't really have a counterpart in Europe. Asia has pretty much surpassed the United States, but skyscrapers are still a feature of American cities. Also, I just don't get this hatred of cars and roads - freeways are awesome. End of story . Not that there isn't a lot to be said for rapid transit, mind you, but I really like freeways.
Excellent post, couldn't agree more.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
True, but even in New York City, which is not auto-centric, a huge chunk of the population use automobiles on a regular basis. Automobiles are often the best way to get around even in a "balanced" transit system, and the automobile is a good transportation method. That's why people started using cars in the first place.
Exactly, just as I stated above in my response to another poster. Living in the outer boroughs of New York, I couldn't imagine living without a car, no matter how "good" they make the transit. The only theoretical way I could see huge amounts of driving somewhat offset by transit use is by building up the density of the whole city to some kind of Manhattan-style density, and even then, the shear size of the city would still make auto trips viable for much of the place. Not to mention that not everyone wants denser neighborhoods, "NIMBYs" or not, they like their neighborhoods the way they are, and if they wanted more frequent trains, "walkability" and taller, denser development, they can move to a place which has that.
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Old 03-16-2013, 11:27 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
14,800 posts, read 17,710,950 times
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^

Good post, I hate the density of those large cities like Chicago and NYC, I prefer the density you see out in Suburbia but the homes are way too big. I'm living in the perfect area right now, small cozy homes but very low dense compared to out east.

You can google map the area. search "Eastern Heights Luthern Church, Ruth street, St Paul, MN"
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