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Old 03-11-2014, 10:58 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,577,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
There are pizza places that delivered near me but I didn't like them at all. Why limit myself when I can just drive and get it. There is only maybe one Chinese place that delivers near me(not sure if they still do). I'd love to see a bike delivery service roll through some of the rougher areas of Chicago(talk about getting jumped/robbed/knocked off the bike).

I live in an walkable neighborhood, it is just that it does not have the density/lack of parking to make car ownership less attractive and I think other than young singles and maybe retired folks the market for those kinds of areas may be limited.

In my view there are a lot of real world scenarios where car ownership trumps non-car ownership but many of those who advocate for urbanity have ways of shielding themselves from the effects. If young and single then you are not hauling groceries for a wife and two kids. If well off and in an area well served by taxis, you can go hail an cab and not have to wait for it to arrive. Maybe there is car sharing. If working 9-5, M-F then transit is fully available. If higher income then more delivery options and more small stores nearby. IMHO I don't see much about needing public transit so that handicapped people can get somewhere, or elderly people or poor people. It is always why can't I bike, walk, when the person asking for it had the option to drive.
When I order out, it's because I don't want to go out--getting in a car and driving to pick up a pizza defeats the purpose of having dinner at home. Of course, this results in yet another beneficial effect: it's healthier and cheaper for me to make dinner from scratch at home. Ordering out is a convenience/treat factor, an occasional treat. Sad to hear you're in a part of Chicago that doesn't make good pizza! And a part of Chicago where cycle delivery guys get knocked over. But crime isn't an inherent property of walkable neighborhoods.

I'm not young nor single, and I live in a neighborhood that is probably less dense and less well-served by transit than most of Chicago. We don't have cabs running up and down the street all the time, except right at the heart of downtown, and even then they are limited (city ordinances limit the total number of cabs to a much lower ratio than other large cities.) There are some young and single people on my block, along with some married couples with kids, senior citizens, and middle-aged folks, but mostly working adults, frequently married couples. But I rack up maybe 2000 miles a year on my car, and have managed to replace most of my auto trips with trips on foot, bicycle or transit. A lot of my neighbors get around in similar ways--the car is a backup, not the primary transportation appliance. If my car wasn't so old (and therefore cheap) I'd junk it sooner, but it's so cheap (insurance, maintenance and gas run me about $15-20/month each) I'm just going to keep it until it dies and shift to Zipcar. The disadvantage to transit, rideshare etc. is that you have to think about it when you need it (taking the time to order a cab and wait for it to arrive) but the disadvantage to car ownership is you have to think about it when you don't need it (paying for insurance, registration, moving the car for street cleaning, etc.) That results in more reasons to not own a car that outweigh the convenience factor of owning it.

Honestly, most of the United States isn't very well-suited for a car-free life, due to the way that American cities have been designed in a gradual shift since the 1930s through the present day. That's a real problem, and currently necessitates those who want to live without a car to move to the limited number of places where it is easier. But that number of people is growing, resulting in a shift in market demand. Will everyone want the same product? No. But we have abundant suburbs and I don't think we're going to stop building them soon--the market shift just results in a new market for a new product that eats into the suburban product's market share.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,272 posts, read 26,286,355 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
The folks who love driving, low density development, big box stores, etc. must care. I mean, you see some people come into this forum casting a lot of disdain at anyone even talking about closing a dense urban street (far far from their house) down from auto traffic. That seems like concern to me.
But that's not something that's by necessity connected to urbanization. Streets don't have to close down to auto-traffic when people move into cities, and in 99.9999% of cases, that doesn't happen. However, people that don't move into cities or dense walkable suburbs are working against the goal urbanists are working towards. That's why you don't see many articles about ways to convince people to stop moving into cities. For the most part, I think suburbanites view city revitalization as a good thing. They have no beef with people moving into cities. But urbanists certainly have a beef with the choice they've made to live in the suburbs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
A LOT of this has to do with two things IMO: 1) Cost, 2) schools. The DC metro has been growing like a wild fire and there isn't enough housing. Costs in Manassas are a lot less than anything close to DC. Of course, you may know more about it than I do, so maybe there's something else to it.
Cost is without a question a factor. But it's not in many cases. It's not that a lot of people can't necessarily afford a house in Alexandria, but rather that they can get a bigger, newer house for the same cost in Howard County. I think urbanists often work under the assumption that most people would rather live in a smaller house on a small lot in a neighborhood with "character," but the reality is that a lot of people want a bigger house with a basement theater. Having to drive places doesn't bother a lot of people as much as it bothers some of the people on here.

I mean, Loudoun County, Virginia is one of the wealthiest (if not the wealthiest) counties in America. Those people could live somewhere else, but chose to live there. The same goes for places like Great Falls, Potomac, McLean, Rockville, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
It's more complicated than that. In a country that's decidedly suburban in nature, and has been so for 80 years now, change is not going to be dramatic. Cities are growing again, transit is being invested in and there's a spark of interest in urban living again. Those, in and of themselves, are very large trends within an American context. The reason those publications broadcast these types of articles is because current interest in urban/transit living has boomed compared to historic interest/investment. It's an exciting time, and while the nation is still decidedly suburban in nature (and will continue to be), there are major changes happening that are different from any other time in the last 60 year at least.
I don't see it as a major trend. I think you have a relatively monied and homogeneous class that can produce physical changes in cities that previous residents could not. But I think the enthusiasm for urban living does not extend as far outside of that demographic as many urbanists would like to think.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,714,577 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
That was his dumbest argument by far. Even if there are cities where you need exact change for fare, that's a very minorannoyance imo. That's typically not a big problem for commuters who are in the daily habit of getting their coins together.
And so many people are moving to card payments, ticket machines and the like, so it isn't really a big deal. When I went to DC, Boston, NYC, Portland, Seattle..... there were ticket machines and prepaid cards. No big deal.

Quote:
The cargo thing is the second most powerful argument after time savings as I see it. It can be tough getting a Christmas tree or a bag of sheetrock home on a bus.
I don't buy this cargo thing. Because most days, no one is getting a Christmas tree or sheetrock. It obviously makes sense to find a car if you have something huge to carry. But a carton of milk? Your laptop? Gym bag? You can manage just fine. To me, it is like saying you need to drive a huge truck everyday because you gotta tow your boat. Do you bring your boat to dinner? Of course not, you can switch over to your small car on that day.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Nort Seid
5,288 posts, read 7,616,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojj View Post
But more important even than that is the issue of timeliness and reliability.
This is where Chicago transit systems are becoming problematic - they are a victim of their own success.

When there are 2x as many people trying to board a train as can fit on it (much less comfortably), the whole system drags. It takes a long time for people to get off the train, and it then takes more time for people to board - as even though you shouldn't board until people have gotten off, in the real world it never works that way.

And while those truly dedicated to mass transit and higher density living will embrace these challenges as part of the cost of living in a city, just as many will move further away from the City into suburban areas still served by rail, as the commute itself is more pleasant.

I spend about 2 hours a day on the CTA when it's not nice enough to bike, and believe me, I try to get up early enough so I can get a seat, but if the trains are behind schedule (it's not infrequent one flies by my stop as it is running express, so the next one will be packed) it's out of my hands.

Like most people, I'm busy as hell and getting work done on the train is really helpful, and I have a hard time finding the space to flip through flash cards many days.

It's not like this condition improves driving a car, of course. But I do understand the appeal of moving far enough out of the City so that the 2 hours of commuting time is productive and relaxing.

To the poster who suggested there's no bias against public trans in terms of classism, you should go through these images:

People of the CTA | By The People, For The People

The Facebook page has 137,000+ likes. This isn't just a few cranks.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,341,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
But that's not something that's by necessity connected to urbanization. Streets don't have to close down to auto-traffic when people move into cities, and in 99.9999% of cases, that doesn't happen.
But often times, things like that are specific to dense urban environments. Sure, you could close a street in the suburbs, but most of the time that doesn't make sense because there's so much more space to have festivals, events, etc.. Outside of closing streets down, there are other factors that make it harder to drive in cities (less parking, tighter streets, less highways through dense neighborhoods, etc.); and I mean factors such as proposed changes to parking, highways, bike lanes, etc.. I guess all I'm trying to say here is that there has been evidence in these threads, in comments of news articles, and in conversations that I've had that indicates that there are people in suburban environments that don't want things changed.

In fact, I was talking to someone the other day that was moving from a 5 year old suburb because another suburb was being constructed next to their neighborhood and now it was too congested. They bought in and now it's changing dramatically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Cost is without a question a factor. But it's not in many cases. It's not that a lot of people can't necessarily afford a house in Alexandria, but rather that they can get a bigger, newer house for the same cost in Howard County. I think urbanists often work under the assumption that most people would rather live in a smaller house on a small lot in a neighborhood with "character," but the reality is that a lot of people want a bigger house with a basement theater. Having to drive places doesn't bother a lot of people as much as it bothers some of the people on here.

I mean, Loudoun County, Virginia is one of the wealthiest (if not the wealthiest) counties in America. Those people could live somewhere else, but chose to live there. The same goes for places like Great Falls, Potomac, McLean, Rockville, etc.
Yes, it is absolutely true that a substantial number of people like to buy big houses with big yards. What's always considered less is that there are people who buy those types of houses that wanted to live someplace more walkable and convenient, but couldn't afford it. It's easier to rectify the first because the numbers are straight-forward; less easy to see what the numbers look like for the second.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I don't see it as a major trend. I think you have a relatively monied and homogeneous class that can produce physical changes in cities that previous residents could not. But I think the enthusiasm for urban living does not extend as far outside of that demographic as many urbanists would like to think.
I suppose we'll see as the decades progress. I'll put a reminder in my calendar for 2035 so we can dig this thread up to see who was right.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,272 posts, read 26,286,355 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
But often times, things like that are specific to dense urban environments. Sure, you could close a street in the suburbs, but most of the time that doesn't make sense because there's so much more space to have festivals, events, etc.. Outside of closing streets down, there are other factors that make it harder to drive in cities (less parking, tighter streets, less highways through dense neighborhoods, etc.); and I mean factors such as proposed changes to parking, highways, bike lanes, etc.
Those aren't really things that are impacting the lives of suburbanites on a daily basis. Cities like Boston or DC were already dense with tight streets prior to mass suburbanization so I don't think that's something most suburbanites are going to complain about. Again, suburbanites don't need urbanists to enjoy their car-centric lifestyle. But urbanists need people to choose the city over the suburbs in order to enjoy the lifestyle they want. Transit, "amenities," and such need density, and you can't get that if people move to the suburbs. That's why many urbanists view suburbs as a great evil that must be combatted for cities to thrive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
I guess all I'm trying to say here is that there has been evidence in these threads, in comments of news articles, and in conversations that I've had that indicates that there are people in suburban environments that don't want things changed.
I don't encounter many articles where suburbanites oppose cities getting bike lanes, taking away parking, etc. If anything, it's the people living in the city who oppose those things. Why would someone living in Gaithersburg really care whether DC eliminates minimum parking requirements or not? A lot of those people only come into the city for work (and often take transit) and couldn't care less about the parking woes of the central city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
Yes, it is absolutely true that a substantial number of people like to buy big houses with big yards. What's always considered less is that there are people who buy those types of houses that wanted to live someplace more walkable and convenient, but couldn't afford it. It's easier to rectify the first because the numbers are straight-forward; less easy to see what the numbers look like for the second.
Such is life. We have no way of knowing where people would ideally like to live (I imagine there are people in cities who are "trapped" too). But that's really getting beyond the scope of this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
I suppose we'll see as the decades progress. I'll put a reminder in my calendar for 2035 so we can dig this thread up to see who was right.
In 2035, I'm sure cities will be much richer, whiter and better educated. But can we really conclude that something "revolutionary" is happening in America based on the preferences of the Creative Class? I mean, this view is based almost entirely on one narrow demographic in American society, which I think is a bit myopic and ego-centric.
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,341,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Those aren't really things that are impacting the lives of suburbanites on a daily basis. Cities like Boston or DC were already dense with tight streets prior to mass suburbanization so I don't think that's something most suburbanites are going to complain about. Again, suburbanites don't need urbanists to enjoy their car-centric lifestyle. But urbanists need people to choose the city over the suburbs in order to enjoy the lifestyle they want. Transit, "amenities," and such need density, and you can't get that if people move to the suburbs. That's why many urbanists view suburbs as a great evil that must be combatted for cities to thrive.

I don't encounter many articles where suburbanites oppose cities getting bike lanes, taking away parking, etc. If anything, it's the people living in the city who oppose those things. Why would someone living in Gaithersburg really care whether DC eliminates minimum parking requirements or not? A lot of those people only come into the city for work (and often take transit) and couldn't care less about the parking woes of the central city.
The bold isn't really true for those that visit and/or work in the city. This is why I assume the suburban folks in this forum seem to care about urbanites not wanting as many highways through dense urban neighborhoods.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Such is life. We have no way of knowing where people would ideally like to live (I imagine there are people in cities who are "trapped" too). But that's really getting beyond the scope of this thread.
Maybe, but so was the fact that lots of people choose big yards and big houses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
In 2035, I'm sure cities will be much richer, whiter and better educated. But can we really conclude that something "revolutionary" is happening in America based on the preferences of the Creative Class? I mean, this view is based almost entirely on one narrow demographic in American society, which I think is a bit myopic and ego-centric.
Is that true? Is it just the creative class? I'm asking honestly. I know lots of people who aren't in the creative class, but have chosen cities over the past 5 years. As anectodal as that is, I just wasn't aware that that's the case.

Also, I'm not sure it's egocentric, unless it's all creative class people boasting that they are revolutionizing cities solely....I haven't seen anything like that (or thought of it till you said it just now).
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,080 posts, read 16,113,519 times
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I am being tongue in cheek here (this is sort of an american value here, comments about the expansion of transit always seem to imply criminals come too).

But I'll just say, here in CA, our MTC (the transportation commission) has a favored agency....BART which mostly serves the suburbs. When they did the math on both representation and funding priorities, the agency had higher representative for the communities who use transit less, and also spent more money on the agencies that benefited the suburban areas. Aka the choice riders. We prioritize the needs of the choice riders in general.....
BART is also the most efficient system in the area. It's the only one that makes sense to spend much money on. AC Transit was overfunded, which is the primary driver behind its dropping from ~25% farebox in the late '90s/2000 period to ~15% farebox by mid 2000s. They had to spend the money somewhere, so they made a bunch of stupid routes.

AB 1107 was passed in 1977 which provided for 3/4ths of the 1/2 cent sales tax to go to BART with the remaining 1/4th to AC Transit and Muni. That was done because Muni and AC Transit already had existing revenue sources from other local taxes. The 1/4 that was allowed for Muni and AC transit was contingent on a 33% farebox recovery ratio which was quickly abolished since they did really want to give some increased funding but it was obvious that Muni and AC were too inefficient to ever have a chance at reaching a 33% farebox recovery ratio. BART operates at about 66%.

Environmentally, bart is better. I don't know about AC Transit, but BART uses between 1/2 and 1/5th of the energy per passenger mile as Muni's buses (depending on type of bus). The one thing BART is just horrible at is operating costs, which they come in at $.33 per passenger mile. Basically, BART isn't any less expensive to operate than a car when including the capital costs of a car. A small car bought new every five years per AAA costs $.46 a mile (divided by 1.56 passengers per car is just under 30 cents a mile). Even there where it does worst, it's still better than Muni.

Basically, why do you want to spend a bunch of money encouraging people to take something that is more expensive to operate than a car and less environmentally friendly than a car? That's not the way transportation has to be, but the it's the way it has been designed to operate in most of this country. Since especially in California cutting carbon emissions is the #1 priority for MTCs, subsidizing buses and getting people out of their cars isn't necessarily what they want to do. If they can get them to travel less miles by bus than by car, sure, but not otherwise. Cars are more energy efficient than buses on average.

Last edited by Malloric; 03-11-2014 at 01:37 PM..
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,080 posts, read 16,113,519 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
In 2035, I'm sure cities will be much richer, whiter and better educated. But can we really conclude that something "revolutionary" is happening in America based on the preferences of the Creative Class? I mean, this view is based almost entirely on one narrow demographic in American society, which I think is a bit myopic and ego-centric.
Creative class is concentrated in cities and represents around 40% of the workforce in many metro areas. In some like San Jose that number is approaching 50%. It isn't a narrow demographic in American society. It will soon be the majority in a few parts of the country. Almost all of the country already has more than 25% creative class.
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,272 posts, read 26,286,355 times
Reputation: 11734
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
The bold isn't really true for those that visit and/or work in the city. This is why I assume the suburban folks in this forum seem to care about urbanites not wanting as many highways through dense urban neighborhoods.
The people who visit and work in the city are already accustomed to using transit or paying for parking in the central city. Even in a sprawled out city like Atlanta, the parking isn't free. You have to pay something for it. The people who get most pissed off about parking are city residents. For example, in my old DC neighborhood, DDOT and WMATA eliminated some parking to make more room for the bus, and my neighbors went bezerk. The impact of parking is felt most strongly by the people living there who have to circle the block several times before finding a space. The person visiting a trendy area of a city can always pay for parking, but a resident trying to park near his or her house doesn't always have that option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
Is that true? Is it just the creative class? I'm asking honestly. I know lots of people who aren't in the creative class, but have chosen cities over the past 5 years. As anectodal as that is, I just wasn't aware that that's the case.
I definitely think so. I started a thread a long time ago asking why there are hardly any Republican-voting enclaves in central cities (outside of Hasidic Jewish communities in NYC). Go to Williamsburg, Columbia Heights, Haight-Ashbury, Cambridge, W. Mount Airy, Midtown Atlanta, etc. and the politics and tastes of the residents are largely the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
Also, I'm not sure it's egocentric, unless it's all creative class people boasting that they are revolutionizing cities solely....I haven't seen anything like that (or thought of it till you said it just now).
That's not what I mean. I mean that they assume that something that's occurring within their demographic applies across the board.

And to be honest, we're dealing with a demographic that's coming from an entirely different perspective than much of America. Many (not all) of today's urbanists are white people who grew up in suburbs and have a certain resentment towards suburbs. There was a thread in this forum asking whether posters have lived in the suburbs before and it was pages and pages of venting about being "trapped" in safe neighborhoods without access to public transportation, etc. If that's where you're coming from, and you're surrounded by people who share that background, then I can see how you view the transition of young whites from suburbs to cities as something revolutionary.
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