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Old 01-24-2014, 10:59 AM
 
9 posts, read 12,129 times
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The requirement to provide parking is absolutely true. I don't know whether or not sprawl is subsidized more heavily than smart growth or vice versa, but I do know that due to various regulations you basically cannot build a traditional urban environment today. Maybe everyone would prefer to live in sprawl anyway, but the deck is stacked in its favor.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:01 AM
 
1,714 posts, read 3,138,216 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
I will chime in and say no, we have not. Cities/metro areas grow as population expands, and growth for the most part has to go "out". Who exactly is subsidizing this supposed sprawl? People in the city core certainly are not paying for water mains or roads in the suburbs, they are not paying for the land stores use as parking lots. That is paid by those local residents and those municipalities- people in Seattle don't pay anything for what I use up here in the suburb of Lynnwood.
This is a common argument I've never quite agreed with too. Many argue that people living in the city subsidize for the roads used in the suburbs. But in most cases (at least in SoCal), the suburban cities themselves pay for road maintenance and repairs. For example, the City of Los Angeles doesn't pay to build and upkeep the cul-de-sacs in Santa Clarita... Santa Clarita draws from its own general fund or public works fund to do that.

Freeways/highways belong to the county and the state, and everyone uses those... urbanites, suburbanites, truckers, tourists, etc.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,247,479 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
I will chime in and say no, we have not. Cities/metro areas grow as population expands, and growth for the most part has to go "out". Who exactly is subsidizing this supposed sprawl? People in the city core certainly are not paying for water mains or roads in the suburbs, they are not paying for the land stores use as parking lots. That is paid by those local residents and those municipalities- people in Seattle don't pay anything for what I use up here in the suburb of Lynnwood.
I barely glanced at the article, but I didn't think he meant that someone was necessarily paying for anything. I thought he was saying that the regulatory framework in many places dictates that less dense and varied development occur than might otherwise occur absent such regulation. So in this sense, sprawl has a "leg up" on denser development.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,674,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
You know what's even less convenient? Going to the bread store for your bread, the carrot store for your carrots, the egg store for your eggs, the milk store for your milk, the cheesemonger for your cheese, the potato market for your potatoes... when you're doing it on foot/transit. The car actually encourages you to shop at multiple business because it makes it so much easier to get to them.
I used to think that. But then by the time you factor getting back in the car, driving somewhere else, parking again...it is way more annoying.

And the bread in the bread store is tastier. The produce in the produce mart is tastier. The cheese at the cheese shop is fresher. And well I don't buy all of the things in one trip, I hit the store multiple times to get all my stuff on different days. I generally find it way faster to park once, and walk to all the different places, gather the best choices and then go back home. It is also pretty pleasant when it is on a nice pedestrian friendly sidewalk. But if making those trips means traveling a huge strip mall parking lot? Send me to the mega mart. That isn't fun at all.
Quote:
It does get one thing right. There isn't any money for the huge subsidies we bestow on multi-modal transit and "fixing streets." Just looking at Sacramento, the city has spent hundreds of million of dollars subsidizing K Street. It's still mostly a dead zone. San Francisco spends about 900% as much subsidizing transit as it does on roads in total. It gets some of the tiny fracture of money it spends on roads from gas taxes. On top of that, San Francisco generates millions with toll fees and parking taxes which further goes to subsidizing transit. Still, general taxes have to be raised frequently to further subsidize it. Much is made about the admittedly very expensive and very overbudget Bay Bridge. Not much is made about the $4.5 billion Transbay Terminal project. They're both projects of ego. Wilson's simple "freeway on stilts" may not have been suitable to placate the ego of San Francisco, but it would have more than sufficed.

I think we're at the point in most of the country where there isn't room for ego anymore. San Francisco and NYC may still be exceptions, but most of the country doesn't have an extra $5-6 billion to build a nice looking but functionally no better than a "highway on stilts" bridge or a $4.5 billion (est.) facility for people to switch from BART to the slowest bus system in America. There really wasn't much benefit added to San Francisco for the $11 billion spent. But they do (will) look nice.
We need to get logical, we don't have unlimited money to fund roads to everywhere. We don't even have money to maintain the infrastructure we have, and we need to do better at using our infrastructure more efficiently.

I wouldn't call this a suburb vs city issue. It is a land use issue, we can build more compactly and more efficiently. Everyone wins when we do this. If we put more uses on a single site, it reduces car trips, pollution and makes life easier for people. Our development policies over the past 50-70 years haven't prioritized that at all. There are plenty of places where the zoning rules require inefficient land use rules.

Let's go back to San Francisco for a minute. There has been a proposal for a 15 unit condo building at a former gas station in the Mission district. It has been floating around for about 10 years now. The Mission district is pretty dense, and one of the most transit friendly areas in SF. The 15 unit proposal included 2-3 units deemed affordable. The developer did not want to provide parking on site. This particular neighborhood has some of the lowest car ownership in SF and offers the best transit connectivity. It is also pretty self sustaining, it is a quick walk to groceries etc. And only a 5 minute train ride to Target. Anyone could easily live car free in this location. No brainer....and there is pretty much no street parking, so having a car would be obnoxious. Car ownership is less than 50% over there.

So apparently people didn't want to make this development car free. They thought it would impact traffic too much. Remember this is a whopping 15 units. So the developer had to go back to the drawing board. Now the proposal only has 9 units, I think 3 parking spaces, and since it is under the 10 unit threshold, affordable housing is no longer required.

It should not be that hard to get a 15 unit development approved. Now let's pretend that every person who lives there brings a car.... are 15 more cars in an area with 20k residents really going to impact traffic. More likely 8 people would have a car based on car ownership patterns in the area. And likely even less...as the car people would rather have a guaranteed spot, it is a known issue looking for street parking around there takes 30 minutes.

This is what I'd call, not using land efficiently. And this happens daily in places all over the country, sensible development is blocked by nonsense.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,068 posts, read 16,085,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
And the bread in the bread store is tastier. The produce in the produce mart is tastier. The cheese at the cheese shop is fresher. And well I don't buy all of the things in one trip, I hit the store multiple times to get all my stuff on different days. I generally find it way faster to park once, and walk to all the different places, gather the best choices and then go back home. It is also pretty pleasant when it is on a nice pedestrian friendly sidewalk. But if making those trips means traveling a huge strip mall parking lot? Send me to the mega mart. That isn't fun at all.
Hence why large stripmalls are so popular. There's one near my neighborhood. The only thing it's missing is a real grocery store. It's got a Target which has a grocery section, but that's not really a grocery store. Super convenient though. No farmers market there at this time of the year, but usually I hit it once and get everything done for the week when there is. The landscaping and sidewalks are a nice touch. They're actually in most new strip malls these days as that encourages people to stay longer and spend more money.

There's another one that has a couple restaurants, REI, a nice coffee shop where I get my beans generally, as well as some offices and clothing stores. It's also nice. If I need something for a camping trip I don't have to make two trips. I can just go when I go to get my coffee beans, maybe have lunch at the same time. My consumerism is pretty limited and I hate shopping, but I agree that having more things onsite and single-use land policies that cluster retail together is desirable. I wouldn't be opposed to opening up the commercial areas to residential apartments, but discouraging the random little bakery in the middle of a residential neighborhood is good landuse policy.

Quote:
Let's go back to San Francisco for a minute. There has been a proposal for a 15 unit condo building at a former gas station in the Mission district. It has been floating around for about 10 years now. The Mission district is pretty dense, and one of the most transit friendly areas in SF. The 15 unit proposal included 2-3 units deemed affordable. The developer did not want to provide parking on site. This particular neighborhood has some of the lowest car ownership in SF and offers the best transit connectivity. It is also pretty self sustaining, it is a quick walk to groceries etc. And only a 5 minute train ride to Target. Anyone could easily live car free in this location. No brainer....and there is pretty much no street parking, so having a car would be obnoxious. Car ownership is less than 50% over there.

So apparently people didn't want to make this development car free. They thought it would impact traffic too much. Remember this is a whopping 15 units. So the developer had to go back to the drawing board. Now the proposal only has 9 units, I think 3 parking spaces, and since it is under the 10 unit threshold, affordable housing is no longer required.

It should not be that hard to get a 15 unit development approved. Now let's pretend that every person who lives there brings a car.... are 15 more cars in an area with 20k residents really going to impact traffic. More likely 8 people would have a car based on car ownership patterns in the area. And likely even less...as the car people would rather have a guaranteed spot, it is a known issue looking for street parking around there takes 30 minutes.

This is what I'd call, not using land efficiently. And this happens daily in places all over the country, sensible development is blocked by nonsense.
San Francisco is stupidly anti-development. That's no surprise to me at all. From what you're describing, that wasn't at all a zoning issue. It's simply that community groups are very powerful in San Francisco and vehemently anti-growth.
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,378 posts, read 59,846,787 times
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When I think of subsidizing development, I think of it largely in the form of freeways, access roads, and other infrastructure built with public dollars to accommodate retail, commercial and especially industrial development.

As for a bakery, I certainly could open one in my neighborhood, just not on my street. But I could open one in a commercially zoned block as close as one block away. I could live above it, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Great comments in how we pay lots for chains that do not give back to the community
Businesses -- chain and otherwise -- pay taxes and employ people (allowing them to pay their taxes and support other businesses); most participate in some sort of charitable giving. The organization I worked most recently received annual grants and smaller contributions from Target, WalMart, and Home Depot. How is this not giving "back to the community"?

Quote:
and how it difficult to find ways to reuse huge developments.
Funny, just off the top of my head I can think of about two dozen commercial sites that have been redeveloped, remodeled and/or reused; one -- a former standalone Sears store now the headquarters of a company that employs 900 people -- I can see out my kitchen window. Within a mile or two of my house, a former Frank's nursery is now an Aldi grocery store, an entire strip shopping center has been partially rebuilt to accommodate new tenants once the anchor store (I think it was Wal-Mart) left, the old K-Mart is a Sears hardware store, and a former grocery store has been a furniture store, a book outlet, and a thrift shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
There! I read it all.
You're a better woman than I am. I got hung up on the ASSumption that I couldn't open a bakery in my neighborhood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
And the bread in the bread store is tastier. The produce in the produce mart is tastier. The cheese at the cheese shop is fresher.
And I can drive to a market out in the far 'burbs that supplies me with all that -- all much fresher and tastier than you're going to find in your neighborhood stores because it comes from neighboring farms that morning.

I have to park only once, too ...

Last edited by Ohiogirl81; 01-24-2014 at 12:09 PM..
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:10 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,008 posts, read 102,606,536 times
Reputation: 33064
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Yes, but without going way deep into the racism inherent in the early days of FHA, it used red-lining to purposely exclude homes that were older, and in neighborhoods majority non-white, while refusing to offer loans to the non-white people. FHA didn't start opening the loans up to everyone till the latex 70s early 80s when a lot of damage was already done: white flight and housing inequality for about 2-3 decades.
We've discussed this before. I'm not going to get into it now, b/c my daughter is visiting from out of state and we're going shopping on the Pearl St. Mall. But you can do a search. Briefly, it was NOT the FHA that red-lined, it was the banks, though I'll agree the end result was much the same. The Fair Housing Act of, I believe, 1968, helped. Of course, it's not a perfect world, yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I barely glanced at the article, but I didn't think he meant that someone was necessarily paying for anything. I thought he was saying that the regulatory framework in many places dictates that less dense and varied development occur than might otherwise occur absent such regulation. So in this sense, sprawl has a "leg up" on denser development.
What do you think "subsidize" means? The thread title, and the article title both use that word, or a form of it.
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,427 posts, read 11,929,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I barely glanced at the article, but I didn't think he meant that someone was necessarily paying for anything. I thought he was saying that the regulatory framework in many places dictates that less dense and varied development occur than might otherwise occur absent such regulation. So in this sense, sprawl has a "leg up" on denser development.
Well, if the regulation really stops mixed-use development and provides for parking minimums, someone does pay a penalty - the owner of the real estate.

I posted a thread many months ago with an article from a public finance magazine (I can try to search for it if people would like). The authors did an analysis and found on a square foot basis that mixed-use development was always better for public finances, resulting in far higher property tax revenues.

Why are property tax revenues higher? Because the value of the property is higher. Hence the widely used practices in zoning actually result in land values far lower than they might otherwise be. Which makes sense, because (non-ghetto) urban areas are generally far more expensive on a square foot basis than suburbs of similar desirability. And in general an asset which has restrictions put on it is worth less than an asset which is unrestricted.

Now, that's not to say that the same trends would continue forever. While I do think the current system still has tremendous unmet demand for "urban-like" development, it's not infinite. Eliminating limits on real estate in one area of a metro would result in lower prices elsewhere, and at some point if zoning was loosened enough, the demand for things like apartments, townhouses, and walkable commercial areas would be met. But it's pretty clear we're not there yet.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,674,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Hence why large stripmalls are so popular. There's one near my neighborhood. The only thing it's missing is a real grocery store. It's got a Target which has a grocery section, but that's not really a grocery store. Super convenient though. No farmers market there at this time of the year, but usually I hit it once and get everything done for the week when there is. The landscaping and sidewalks are a nice touch. They're actually in most new strip malls these days as that encourages people to stay longer and spend more money.
The problem is most strip malls are stupidly pedestrian unfriendly, that people drive over to the other side instead of walking over, when with tiny small tweaks, it could still be car and per friendly. (I am talking to you Hacienda Crossing in Dublin). You can easily design a "strip mall" where pedestrians can walk easily, and you still have a huge parking lot. The outlets in Livermore did this really well. It is very easily walkable, even though it is a huge strip mall. And walking from store to store is pretty pleasant. We have a trip mall in Oakland that is very suburban and out of scale for the area (the Rockridge shopping center). When Safeway sent over its first pitch, it was quickly shot down by neighborhood groups because it was totally led/transit unfriendly when it is in the middle of a dense neighborhood with lots of walkers and transit users. There was a huge parking lot and a 1000 feet or more from sidewalk to storefront. The approved version has stores at the sidewalk, and rooftop parking, so it is more in scale with the neighborhood.

It is definitely doable, but rarely prioritized. This strip mall has like 1200 parking spaces, and on the busiest day maybe 700 are full.
Quote:
There's another one that has a couple restaurants, REI, a nice coffee shop where I get my beans generally, as well as some offices and clothing stores. It's also nice. If I need something for a camping trip I don't have to make two trips. I can just go when I go to get my coffee beans, maybe have lunch at the same time. My consumerism is pretty limited and I hate shopping, but I agree that having more things onsite and single-use land policies that cluster retail together is desirable. I wouldn't be opposed to opening up the commercial areas to residential apartments, but discouraging the random little bakery in the middle of a residential neighborhood is good landuse policy.
Actually, we have one of those random little bakeries in my neighborhood. I heard it sucked, it looks crappy and worn. Yet, it has been open for like 15 years. Who knows! It is pretty funny, there is this little commercial strip in a converted victorian with an accountant or tax attorney, a Pilates studio and Don Perata's campaign HQ were there when he was running for mayor of Oakland.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Businesses -- chain and otherwise -- pay taxes and employ people (allowing them to pay their taxes and support other businesses); most participate in some sort of charitable giving. The organization I worked most recently received annual grants and smaller contributions from Target, WalMart, and Home Depot. How is this not giving "back to the community"?
The metric that I am discussing is let's call it spend in the community. I don't have the metric handy right now, but a locally owned business ends up spending way more in local communities directly and indirectly. A chin retailer circulates about 13% of its revenue in the local economy. An indie circulates 40%. Huge difference! This is pretty replicable in all sorts of communities across the country.
Here is a study on this: AMIBA | Local Multiplier Effect


Quote:
Funny, just off the top of my head I can think of about two dozen commercial sites that have been redeveloped, remodeled and/or reused; one -- a former standalone Sears store now the headquarters of a company that employs 900 people -- I can see out my kitchen window. Within a mile or two of my house, a former Frank's nursery is now an Aldi grocery store, an entire strip shopping center has been partially rebuilt to accommodate new tenants once the anchor store (I think it was Wal-Mart) left, the old K-Mart is a Sears hardware store, and a former grocery store has been a furniture store, a book outlet, and a thrift shop.
Lucky you....I can think of some strip malls nearby that have been waiting for something to fill the space for 5+ years. It took around 8 years for the former expo design center to get converted into a Target in my city. The expo design center in another nearby city took 6. At the same time as new stuff was being infilled into the same strip mall. When Mervyns closed in the Bay Area, those took 5-8 years to filled up with new stores, at least the ones I encountered. I am still waiting for someone to take over the Good Guys or Circuit City that closed in the town next door. It has been at least 8 years and I am still waiting! And oddly enough, new buildings have sprung up near these abandoned buildings....

Quote:
And I can drive to a market out in the far 'burbs that supplies me with all that -- all much fresher and tastier than you're going to find in your neighborhood stores because it comes from neighboring farms that morning.

I have to park only once, too ...
We do have quite a few bakeries in town that supply local stores daily and of course others that bake on-site daily. I have one on my main street + and italian deli/cheese shop that makes bread too.

I don't know if I'd call those the "far burbs" that sounds like the rural area to me. It is an excellent source for stuff if you live close, I wouldn't be willing to make that drive to farm country.

I am pretty fortunate, I live in California. There is a farmers market almost every day of the week with fresh from the farm stuff, but I get most of my produce (locally grown) via weekly delivery from the farm. I restock at a weekend farmers market. I've got 4 to choose from within 3 miles. It is pretty farmers market (and food crazy) crazy in the Bay Area.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,674,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Well, if the regulation really stops mixed-use development and provides for parking minimums, someone does pay a penalty - the owner of the real estate.

I posted a thread many months ago with an article from a public finance magazine (I can try to search for it if people would like). The authors did an analysis and found on a square foot basis that mixed-use development was always better for public finances, resulting in far higher property tax revenues.

Why are property tax revenues higher? Because the value of the property is higher. Hence the widely used practices in zoning actually result in land values far lower than they might otherwise be. Which makes sense, because (non-ghetto) urban areas are generally far more expensive on a square foot basis than suburbs of similar desirability. And in general an asset which has restrictions put on it is worth less than an asset which is unrestricted.

Now, that's not to say that the same trends would continue forever. While I do think the current system still has tremendous unmet demand for "urban-like" development, it's not infinite. Eliminating limits on real estate in one area of a metro would result in lower prices elsewhere, and at some point if zoning was loosened enough, the demand for things like apartments, townhouses, and walkable commercial areas would be met. But it's pretty clear we're not there yet.
I'd be happy if we just build more 3 story mixed use buildings together. Where you have one block with offices, residences and shops all concentrated together. The thing is, you don't even need many of those to make an impact. 2 blocks like that in the middle of a neighborhood of single family homes would have huge benefits. Everyone would have a place to hang out. The micro neighborhood would generate tax revenue. The nearby residents would generate foot traffic. And you might even have enough density for a tipping point of improved transit.

This looks awesome to me!
How many Permanent Better Blocks can fit in this closed grocery store? | The Better Block

Would you complain if the abandoned grocery store parking lot turned into something like this?
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