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Old 03-30-2014, 10:44 PM
 
Location: East coast
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Or are there other reasons like more individualism and car culture in the South compared to the West and East (Southern California has famously a reputation for a "car culture" too and it seems like public transit is still more mainstream there than in the South)?

I just perceive public transit to be less available in the South (besides college towns) than elsewhere (even in the Sunbelt areas in the SW). Is this a fair impression?
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:46 PM
 
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Southern California had the best public transit system in the world, once. Lots of Southern cities had great streetcar systems--New Orleans never stopped using theirs. I don't see how transit use has anything to do with "individualism."
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:51 PM
 
Location: East coast
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But it seems like the South today has the least public transit use or public transit available. I noticed of all the regions, people in the South are more perplexed as to why anyone would voluntarily choose to use a bus to get around in a town.

Even places that urbanized equally as late in the West or West coast or even later seem to have transit a bit more. For instance, more transit use in Vegas or Phoenix than Nashville, from the stats.

Actually, it seems like the Southeast uses public transit the least. Anyone have any idea why? Is it just urbanization?

To be fair I'm basing my impression partly on firsthand experience but since I haven't been riding public transit in all the places I've visited, I'm also basing it on what some people I hear tell me regarding it and also what stats I see for transit use.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:55 PM
 
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I don't think so--a lot of the cities of the South were centuries old when the West Coast's major cities were farm towns.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I don't think so--a lot of the cities of the South were centuries old when the West Coast's major cities were farm towns.
The West Coast cities caught up in size a while back though. In terms of % increase post-WWII, I suspect Southern cities grew more. The exceptions being mostly small cities and towns.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:32 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Southern areas tend to have little density outside if the city and plenty of available land for sprawl. Sure Charleston has dense pockets, but a few miles out if the city is trees.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Southern areas tend to have little density outside if the city and plenty of available land for sprawl. Sure Charleston has dense pockets, but a few miles out if the city is trees.
I think an element is that they have less "choke points" that limit sprawl.

San Francisco's a peninsula, Seattle has the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, in NYC Manhattan is an island and none of the boroughs have unimpeded 360 degree access (and the NJ "Gold Coast" is similarly isolated from NJ). Boston has similar cutoffs on ~2.5 sides of the city.

In places where this isn't the case so much, like in LA, or even Philadelphia, you see much more sprawl.

In my home of NJ for example, we can't all drive into Manhattan, because there's only 3 river crossings. That's the real limiter. Up until the river crossing, there's no real insurmountable issue for me to commute into NYC every day from 50 miles outside the city by car, even at rush hour it isn't too bad to get there. But then I'll have to sit in traffic for an hour to make it through the last couple miles to actually cross. So these couple crossings, entirely negate the tendency to drive in that all the highway construction elsewhere would encourage.

SF is another great example. Only so many people can get across the Golden Gate or Bay Bridge. If the delays there are too long to stomach, there's no more sprawl to develop that way unless people are going to use transit to get in.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:01 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Western cities with or without barriers never are much denser than southern cities. Check the urban density comparisons thread. Atlanta is much less dense than western cities, with houses with big yards not far from the city center. Too low for transit to be useful. Texan cities are denser, I suspect in general they're less pedestrian friendly.
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:05 PM
 
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Aren't those choke points a coastal thing, rather than a western vs. eastern thing? How are coastal cities in the Southeast? Or "western" cities with lots of room to sprawl, like Phoenix, Bakersfield, Salt Lake City, Denver?
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:25 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Originally Posted by markovian process View Post
Or are there other reasons like more individualism and car culture in the South compared to the West and East (Southern California has famously a reputation for a "car culture" too and it seems like public transit is still more mainstream there than in the South)?
There’s an element of classism/racism as well. Transit is perceived to be the domain of the poor, minorities, or both. MARTA in Atlanta was specifically routed to avoid white neighbourhoods.
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