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Old 02-18-2014, 01:25 PM
 
2,862 posts, read 3,458,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete. View Post
Just as a highway that has strip malls and big boxes will be busy with car traffic, a city street that has buildings scaled to pedestrians will be busy with foot traffic. Yes, in both cases the traveler will need to pass other places to get to their destination. If it's scaled to pedestrians, walkers will be able to pass more properties, increasing the usefulness by having many stores in a smaller space.
Usefulness to who? This probably only means a higher volatility of businesses and greater limitations on the type of businesses that might actually survive.

Quote:
If stores were closer together and adjacent to the sidewalk, the distances would be shorter. It would be scaled for pedestrians. A good example is inside of a shopping mall.
No the distance is not any shorter. You must traverse the entire distance to get to your destination store regardless of how many other stores you pass along the way. Having a sidewalk in front of the store does not make the distance shorter.

As far as using a shopping mall as an example: If Sears is at the other end, you still have to walk to the other end to get to Sears. It doesn't matter whether there are three shoe stores, 5 jewelry stores, 3 department stores, 20 kiosks, a frame shop, or anything else along the way. The existence and number of these stores has ZERO impact on the distance you will be traversing. You will walk the length of the mall to get to your destination. Let's not forget that you took a car to get to the mall to begin with.

Quote:
That's how I feel about "elitist" - it's a nonsense word.
"Elitist" has a very definite connotation. Perhaps "self-absorbed" or "narcissistic" would have been better terms.

On the other hand "urban fabric" and "walkability" are mumbo jumbo speak for "anti-car" and "anti-parking lot". Posters here will talk about "urban fabric" but aren't willing to consider that parking lots are part of the "urban fabric". So urban fabric isn't really an unbiased descriptive term. As utilized by many posters it's code for anti-car, anti-parking lot, and high density.

 
Old 02-18-2014, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,927 posts, read 27,145,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
On the other hand "urban fabric" and "walkability" are mumbo jumbo speak for "anti-car" and "anti-parking lot". Posters here will talk about "urban fabric" but aren't willing to consider that parking lots are part of the "urban fabric". So urban fabric isn't really an unbiased descriptive term. As utilized by many posters it's code for anti-car, anti-parking lot, and high density.
I talk about "urban fabric" and "walkability" as much as anyone on here and I don't consider myself anti-car. I drive a lot. I simply think trading parking spaces for structures is worth it in many cases. Driving somewhere and then parking on the street has never been a big deal to me.
 
Old 02-18-2014, 01:38 PM
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Location: NYC
46,043 posts, read 43,334,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I talk about "urban fabric" and "walkability" as much as anyone on here and I don't consider myself anti-car. I drive a lot. I simply think trading parking spaces for structures is worth it in many cases. Driving somewhere and then parking on the street has never been a big deal to me.
What benefit does it give you that it's worth it? [I agree, too just curious what your reason is]
 
Old 02-18-2014, 01:42 PM
 
2,009 posts, read 3,013,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
You did not read the post. I never claimed that aesthetics was ever a "benefit" of density to begin with.

These arguments about "urban fabric", "walkability", are pretexts for the proponent's subjective personal aesthetic preferences. You won't find me claiming or suggesting that "density" is somehow aesthetically desirable.

So?

The logic is flawed but your objective is exposed.

A greater population density does not inherently eliminate cars. Look at an apartment complex.
A greater store density does not inherently eliminate cars. Look at any typical shopping mall.

What you are really saying is that by adopting an anti-car agenda you will eliminate accidents with cars. But your motivation isn't even elimination of accidents - it's really just "densification" for the sake of densification. Your slip-up above shows that you actually believe densification is aesthetically pleasing. You're spending time trying to come up with reasons why other folks need to conform to your preferences regarding aesthetics. "Saves pedestrians"...not.

How many people die of heart attack? Eliminate hearts and solve the "problem", right?
Pi is hard to understand - so just legislate that it be rounded to 3 to solve the "problem", right?

Yeah, and the "study" claimed "walking one of the most dangerous modes of travel". So following your logic just eliminate walking and you "saved" all those pedestrians. The study also expressly stated "because sprawl was not measured explicitly, the possible association between sprawl and traffic fatalities could not be tested". You have also confused correlation with causation.

You also ignored the self-admitted flaws of the study which included:
1. "It treats each county as a unit of homogeneous density and accessibility and assigns to it a single fatality rate, though large differences within borders are likely." So in other words, "increasing density" elsewhere for density's sake alone isn't going to solve the location specific problems that gave rise to the conclusions to begin with because of assumptions and averaging.

2. "We recognize that the fatality data studied are based on the location of a crash, whereas the population density and street accessibility data are based on place of residence, which may be different. To the extent that fatalities occurred during the morning or evening commute, a (reassuring) bias toward the null may exist. In other words, because most commuters who cross county borders live in lower-density bedroom communities and work in higher-density central areas, the traffic fatality rate in urban counties would be inflated relative to the population living there."

3. Of course there is the manner of characterizing "sprawl" to begin with

4. etc.

I've never said anything about eliminating cars. Saying we should have more density is not saying we should have no cars. Even the densest places still have cars.
You don't have to eliminate cars to reduce traffic accidents. But the study suggests that increasing density may (not definitely) reduce traffic accidents.
You misread the study. The sentence "because sprawl was not measured explicitly, the possible association between sprawl and traffic fatalities could not be tested" was referring to previous research on the matter that this study is trying to improve on.

The two flaws you point out are not reasons to throw out the study's conclusion of a possible positive relationship between sprawl and accidents, and a possible negative relationship between density and accidents. The two points are just reasons why it is difficult to precisely measure the relationship. The study even says that further study is needed. This is not the end of the discussion.

The study came out in 2003, and it is interesting to find out if more definite conclusions have come out.

But my point in raising it was not to reach a definite conclusion. My point was that, yes, there are concerns about sprawl that go beyond the aesthetic.

I don't know why you are so resistant to the possibility that sprawl might increase accidents.
The point is this is a question worth exploring. It does not help to close the door on the question by flatly saying that there are no objections to strip malls and sprawl beyond aesthetics.

You really seem quick to judge people and paint me with a broad brush as somebody who wants to take away your car. Relax.

Last edited by stateofnature; 02-18-2014 at 01:52 PM..
 
Old 02-18-2014, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,927 posts, read 27,145,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
What benefit does it give you that it's worth it? [I agree, too just curious what your reason is]
Street vibrancy. I don't mind sacrificing parking spaces for a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape. I don't really see that as iron-fisted communism.
 
Old 02-18-2014, 01:59 PM
 
2,862 posts, read 3,458,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
That's density done poorly - no one (well, no one but sub urbanist) think this is a good idea. Now, mix the uses, front the streets with buildings, design streets that are pleasant to be on with shade, trees, on-street parking - and it starts to resemble the kind of city where people cannot wait to park their car and get out and walk.
Your "on street" parking is wholly incapable of supporting your multi-story densification scheme. So on-street parking is completely inadequate.

Downtown Austin is a perfect example. For example, moving the post office from a location with plenty of surface parking to a "storefront" with 3 parking spaces competing with all the other businesses with insufficient parking was not an improvement for customers or the post office.

There are LOTS of places to get out and walk in Travis and surrounding counties. Downtown Austin isn't one of them. You have to deal with the drive, finding and cost of parking the car, risk of damage to your car, bums, thugs, meter maids, constantly torn up streets, - and for what? To look at the ghetto towers presently called condos? To look at the desperate and high in the park? To go shopping at expensive grocery stores? There is absolutely no allure whatsoever to drive to downtown Austin. The "once a year" visits that people might make aren't distributed evenly throughout the year. They tend to occur on event dates which only makes your "on street parking" that much more useless.
 
Old 02-18-2014, 02:11 PM
 
2,009 posts, read 3,013,401 times
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Also, IC_delight, you don't need to condescendingly suggest that I didn't read your post. I read it quite well, thank you. I never said that YOU personally think that aesthetics are a benefit of density. Yes, it is quite clear you don't like the aesthetics of more density. You are welcome to that opinion.
When I said "the only benefit of density..." I thought it was clear that I meant "benefit CITED BY PROPONENTS" because I was responding to your claim that all the arguments by proponents boil down to aesthetics. I thought that would just be assumed based on the context of our discussion, but obviously I was wrong.
 
Old 02-18-2014, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,330 posts, read 30,531,980 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
What benefit does it give you that it's worth it? [I agree, too just curious what your reason is]
I find it way more fun to park once and walk around. I can stop for coffee. I can stop at the art gallery or look at the street mural. When things are closer together in a convenient way, it is easier to consolidate trips. I didn't come to this realization till over the weekend, but since parking my bike is way easier than parking my car, I am happy to stop in multiple neighborhoods in my way home for different stuff. But if I was in my car and i needed to feed the meter and circle the block, it wouldn't have happened.

Today I biked to jury duty, and on my way home I stopped for lunch and coffee in different parts of downtown.
 
Old 02-18-2014, 02:23 PM
 
2,862 posts, read 3,458,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
I've never said anything about eliminating cars. Saying we should have more density is not saying we should have no cars. Even the densest places still have cars.
You don't have to eliminate cars to reduce traffic accidents. But the study suggests that increasing density may (not definitely) reduce traffic accidents.
You misread the study. The sentence "because sprawl was not measured explicitly, the possible association between sprawl and traffic fatalities could not be tested" was referring to previous research on the matter that this study is trying to improve on.

The two flaws you point out are not reasons to throw out the study's conclusion of a possible positive relationship between sprawl and accidents, and a possible negative relationship between density and accidents. The two points are just reasons why it is difficult to precisely measure the relationship. The study even says that further study is needed. This is not the end of the discussion.

First off you need to decide whether you are increasing population density, shop density, etc.
Read other admitted flaws:

A. "We recognize that the fatality data studied are based on the location of a crash, whereas the population density and street accessibility data are based on place of residence, which may be different. To the extent that fatalities occurred during the morning or evening commute, a (reassuring) bias toward the null may exist. In other words, because most commuters who cross county borders live in lower-density bedroom communities and work in higher-density central areas, the traffic fatality rate in urban counties would be inflated relative to the population living there. Using these databases, we could not determine the extent to which such bias, if any, existed. "

Increasing population density in the higher density central areas isn't going to affect traffic fatalities from commutes other than to perhaps increase them. More people on the same roads. (The urbanistas tend to oppose adding or expanding roads)

B. "Finally, the journey-to-work data used to adjust the pedestrian fatality rates may not accurately reflect the overall amount of pedestrian activity occurring within a given county. For example, some people may not walk to work but may prefer this mode for shopping trips, school trips, and errands. Leisure time walking may be prevalent in sprawling places even if there are no shops, workplaces, or other destinations nearby and people are simply walking for exercise. "

So you can't say that increasing density for leisurely-type shopping activities will decrease fatality rates. You can't say that adding buildings or people will decrease fatality rates. You don't know where the accidents are happening or why.

Quote:
The study came out in 2003, and it is interesting to find out if more definite conclusions have come out.

But my point in raising it was not to reach a definite conclusion. My point was that, yes, there are concerns about sprawl that go beyond the aesthetic.
The admitted flaws in the study are large enough to render your conclusion meritless.

Quote:
I don't know why you are so resistant to the possibility that sprawl might increase accidents.
The point is this is a question worth exploring. It does not help to close the door on the question by flatly saying that there are no objections to strip malls and sprawl beyond aesthetics.
Feel free to state a non-aesthetic objection.
"Sprawl" is not an objective term to begin with.

Quote:
You really seem quick to judge people and paint me with a broad brush as somebody who wants to take away your car. Relax.
You won't be successful in that objective. Let's be clear that you claimed I identified "aesthetics" as a "benefit" of densification. That couldn't be further from the truth. You'll be hard-pressed to find me promoting building density or suggesting that increasing building density is aesthetically pleasing or that aesthetics is in any way a controlling issue.
 
Old 02-18-2014, 02:30 PM
 
1,035 posts, read 1,710,617 times
Reputation: 2157
I wonder if a lot of the anti-strip mall sentiments here are a part of the reasoning behind why so many areas are being given "open air mall" makeovers.
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