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Old 10-23-2014, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I suppose one could make that argument, since all cultures have "spread out" somewhat once they had the means to do so - even though most did not do so to the extent Americans did, as they lived in societies without a largely empty frontier which could always absorb further population growth.

A confounding factor, however, is that very early on in civilization, wealthier people managed to use their power to get larger homes, as well as semi-rural estates if they were really lucky. As such, one could ask if it was actually open spaces people naturally desired, or to be perceived as being high status/wealthy by their peers?

One could also argue that what we find stressful about dense areas is not so much being close to people, but being close to people we do not know. In the average hunter-gatherer band, there are only around 150 people at maximum - many of which will be first or second-order relatives, and the remainder being the social equivalent of best friends and coworkers we see every day. While family and friends can assuredly get on our nerves, it's probably easier dealing with them in close quarters then people who are essentially strangers.
I'd argue that it's the latter.

If you look at Millenials, there's a certain sub-component where materialism has been replaced by, uh, experience-ism. A large part of experience-ism is where you live. Instead of the Lincoln, it's living in a hip neighborhood that differentiates Millenials by class. Just in my social interactions, I'd say there's a lot of ranking going on based on where you live. It's of course, a mix as it always has been. A big house in the suburbs still conveys status, but so does a small studio in a hip neighborhood. Of course, that always has as well, but maybe only in a few places. For example, if you live in the UES/UWS, Greenwhich Village, or what not that's been a strong status symbol for a very long time.

There's nothing particularly desirable about low density as far as that goes. You'll find lots of very poor rural areas that are often times pretty conveniently located. Sacramento has Rio Linda, for example. Very close to downtown, fairly rural, really crappy. Same with high density places. San Francisco has the Tenderloin, which is the densest neighborhood. Sacramento has Oak Park which is pretty dense, certainly for Sacramento, very conveniently located.
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:44 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
There's nothing particularly desirable about low density as far as that goes. You'll find lots of very poor rural areas that are often times pretty conveniently located. Sacramento has Rio Linda, for example. Very close to downtown, fairly rural, really crappy
Except Rio Linda isn't low density enough to give off a "private park" feel. Usually (well, at least here) large lot areas, especially ones surrounded by green space command price premiums. Something like this, if an area near high paying jobs, is generally desireable.
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:03 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
I guess you could also have situations where, say, a downtown merchants association provides subsidized parking to compete with other businesses. Again, even if that's a governmental agency, I don't have any problem with that. Having the general taxpayer, most of whom don't really go to that specific neighborhood pay for the subsidies however... just not into it. If a downtown merchant association wants to form a special tax district to do that, I think that's great. If you want to subsidize that sort of thing, great. Just don't ask people who don't use it to pay for it. Especially if we're talking about taxing the less privileged to private tons of subsidized parking, $20 million subsidies for bars and pizza places, expensive streetcars with low ridership, and so on for the privileged neighborhoods, which is usually how it goes, I'm REALLY against that.
Makes sense… though, the downtown of my town is one of the more successful ones in the area, and a big draw for the area, and perhaps a significant source of tax revenue… if the town thinks subsidizing some parking to keep it healthy is necesary, as long as the cost isn't too high I'm not bothered by it. A lot of the strip malls are in another town. The suburban downtown closest to where I grew up got described (maybe a bit exagerrated, but it was definitely up there) as "best downtown on Long Island". As much I might wish otherwise, the majority probably vast majority drive there. Most of them still drive and then walk around. There's a bunch of free town-owned surface lots there, the town consider that area something worth subsidizing (might be funded via a BID, won't be surprised), it's an area most locals value more than a random commercial strip.

As for pizza places, you associate fancy downtown-ish spots with pizza? Not something I would associate with. Long Island ones tend to be casaul spots everywhere, but I noticed the California pizza format lends towards restaurants
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:14 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,921,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I suppose one could make that argument, since all cultures have "spread out" somewhat once they had the means to do so - even though most did not do so to the extent Americans did, as they lived in societies without a largely empty frontier which could always absorb further population growth.
I think part of it is cultural rather than just available land — Germany spread out more than Italy despite having similar amounts of land. Spain much less than England despite being less dense. Canada doesn't reach as extreme low densities as much of the US. Etc. Part of it was historic wealth at the time, but I don't think that's sufficient. What is "too crowded" varies by person and culture.

Quote:
A confounding factor, however, is that very early on in civilization, wealthier people managed to use their power to get larger homes, as well as semi-rural estates if they were really lucky. As such, one could ask if it was actually open spaces people naturally desired, or to be perceived as being high status/wealthy by their peers?
Perhaps the elite tend to care more about status, maybe it would be better to look at non-wealthy interested in open space. Some are relatively indifferent to status, and those who want to totally get away from society can't care much about status at all. Traditionally, the very rich lived in places with lots of servants, not a setup that gives one lots of personal space.

Quote:
One could also argue that what we find stressful about dense areas is not so much being close to people, but being close to people we do not know. In the average hunter-gatherer band, there are only around 150 people at maximum - many of which will be first or second-order relatives, and the remainder being the social equivalent of best friends and coworkers we see every day. While family and friends can assuredly get on our nerves, it's probably easier dealing with them in close quarters then people who are essentially strangers.
Everyone's tastes are different, but perhaps many desire space not for its own sake but the elimination of the negatives of crowding — lack of greenery, lack of quiet. At home, I'd like to look out to some greenery and neither hear a rumble of traffic or a constant din of people out my window. There are some who say they don't like to be too close to their neighbors, wouldn't want anyone peering in. I can't really relate, if I want privacy I'd close the blinds/shades. Otherwise, I don't care if someone can look in and see me on my computer or reading a book. Anyone who grew up in towns typical of Mediterrean Europe would probably never have that objection, having homes right next to each other would be taken for granted.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Except Rio Linda isn't low density enough to give off a "private park" feel. Usually (well, at least here) large lot areas, especially ones surrounded by green space command price premiums. Something like this, if an area near high paying jobs, is generally desireable.
Well, depends what part of Rio Linda. You can certainly get small acreage (1-5) in Rio Linda.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,056 posts, read 16,063,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Makes sense… though, the downtown of my town is one of the more successful ones in the area, and a big draw for the area, and perhaps a significant source of tax revenue… if the town thinks subsidizing some parking to keep it healthy is necesary, as long as the cost isn't too high I'm not bothered by it. A lot of the strip malls are in another town. The suburban downtown closest to where I grew up got described (maybe a bit exagerrated, but it was definitely up there) as "best downtown on Long Island". As much I might wish otherwise, the majority probably vast majority drive there. Most of them still drive and then walk around. There's a bunch of free town-owned surface lots there, the town consider that area something worth subsidizing (might be funded via a BID, won't be surprised), it's an area most locals value more than a random commercial strip.

As for pizza places, you associate fancy downtown-ish spots with pizza? Not something I would associate with. Long Island ones tend to be casaul spots everywhere, but I noticed the California pizza format lends towards restaurants
Pizza places is just an example. Sacramento has K Street, which I mockingly refer to Welfare Street due to the overwhelming concentration of taxpayer-funded buildings there. The building that houses Ed Hardy Pizza, Dive Bar, and District 30 (small night club) was a Redevelopment project that received about $20 million in taxpayer funding because Sacramento didn't have enough pizzerias, bars, or night clubs. Park Ultra Lounge and Morton's Steakhouse and so on are also occupying Redevelopment properties.

Again, just my opinion but the people who want to eat at places that are going to cost maybe $100/person with food/wine, they can pay for their own buildings. They don't need to be subsidized by the taxpayer for their pricey steakhouses, trendy night clubs, or basketball stadiums. Especially somewhere like Sacramento that can't fund it's parks, shuts down public swimming pools, has a low ratio of peace of officers and high crime. Basically, there's actual problems. Focus on them instead of spending money to fancy up the marina for the wealthy to park their yachts. Said marina is on the brink of filing bankruptcy and then being just another bad investment the taxpayer will be on the hook for as it doesn't bring in enough revenue to cover the government bonds used to pay for it. Stop taking out bonds on the revenue of productive, revenue-generating assets like the parking garages to pay for things that typically do not justify their cost in economic return like stadiums.

That stuff is certainly more egregious than subsidizing parking for a downtown commercial area... but it's a slippery slope. So you subsidize some parking. Then you can't get enough businesses to your joke of a downtown that's decaying so you spend 30 years throwing money at it. That was easy to do in California since it was "free money." Sacramento didn't spend any money on it since the State coffers backfilled all the revenue the Redevelopment District siphoned off. Of course, the money wasn't free. That's why Redevelopment was killed during the financial crisis, but not before they illegally stole (and lost the court case) the money from local component of the gasoline tax fund to pay for the ridiculous spending.

Last edited by Malloric; 10-23-2014 at 07:44 PM..
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:50 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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In any case, taxing rather than subsidizing downtown parking garages is common. While Boston's proposed tax uses anti-car justification, I suspect some of the others are just looking for something to tax.

http://www.cityofboston.gov/images_d..._tcm3-3304.pdf
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:46 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,554,265 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Except Rio Linda isn't low density enough to give off a "private park" feel. Usually (well, at least here) large lot areas, especially ones surrounded by green space command price premiums. Something like this, if an area near high paying jobs, is generally desireable.
Rio Linda (and its neighbor to the north Elverta) isn't all that low-density because it was a streetcar suburb...

SACRAMENTO NORTHERN ON-LINE

They were served by Sacramento Northern's interurban passenger trains, and in the 1920s by the "Elverta Scoots," a suburban service intended to carry kids to school but equally useful to get Rio Lindans to department stores and movie theaters downtown on K Street. Rio Linda, and its smaller neighbors Elverta and Robla were marketed as "agri-burbs" of small multi-acre lots, the owner was encouraged to plant a couple acres of orchard or truck garden as a means of supplementing their domestic income with produce--Rio Linda in particular was known for its poultry and egg production. Electric freight trains carried goods to downtown Sacramento for distribution and manufacture, and passenger trains carried kids to school and parents to downtown jobs and shopping. Of course, cars and roads were becoming common enough to supersede the Scoots by the early 1930s, and the "agri-burb" concept wasn't all that viable in the long run: Farming is hard work, and the agriburbs either turned into commuter neighborhoods (subdividing their 1-5 acre lots to build more housing) or more deliberately rural/farming neighborhoods (as Rio Linda did.)

But downtown Rio Linda still has a traditional grid-patterned street, walkable to its own extent, and once they had features like a library, school and grocery stores, a bit more self-contained. The Sacramento Northern passenger depot was moved a couple of blocks away (it's still around, as a residence) but it was reconstructed on the site of the SN line (now a bike trail) in a neighborhood park, used by the local Chamber of Commerce as an office.

Rio Linda has a funky reputation locally as home of meth labs and rusted-out cars on blocks, but it has its own quirky character that I kind of like. Check out Bowinkle's for their 1-pound "Rush Limbaugh Burger"!
Rio Linda, Good or Bad
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:52 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post

San Francisco's municipal garages, at least under the Park SF pilot are actually priced to be ~85% capacity rather than maximize revenue. They might make more by increasing the price and having slightly lower occupancy. So, yeah, I realize there can be other priorities than simply maximizing revenue for municipal garages, although I honestly think SF Park is pretty close to maximizing revenue. The expectation, of course, was that parking was under priced, but the finding has been more that it's over priced for the most part except certain streets. But anyway, I think SF Park is fairly revenue neutral all in all, but I have nothing backing that up.
Here are the results!

SFpark Evaluation Shows Parking Easier, Cheaper in Pilot Areas | SFMTA

Some areas were cheaper, some were more expensive but parking was easier! And that's the goal of "right-pricing parking" Cutting down on people circling the block!

Quote:
  • Average on-street meter rates dropped by $0.11 per hour, or 4 percent;
  • Average garage rates dropped by $0.42 per hour, or 12 percent;
  • Target occupancy of 60-80 percent was met 31 percent more often;
  • Blocks were full (i.e., no available parking) 16 percent less often;
  • Average time spent searching for parking decreased by 5 minutes, or 43 percent;
  • Meter-related citations decreased by 23 percent; and
  • Vehicle miles travelled and greenhouse gas emissions from cars circling for parking decreased by 30 percent.
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
That stuff is certainly more egregious than subsidizing parking for a downtown commercial area... but it's a slippery slope. So you subsidize some parking. Then you can't get enough businesses to your joke of a downtown that's decaying so you spend 30 years throwing money at it. That was easy to do in California since it was "free money." Sacramento didn't spend any money on it since the State coffers backfilled all the revenue the Redevelopment District siphoned off. Of course, the money wasn't free. That's why Redevelopment was killed during the financial crisis, but not before they illegally stole (and lost the court case) the money from local component of the gasoline tax fund to pay for the ridiculous spending.
I don't spend much time on your side. But redevelopment dollars in Oakland were a key catalyst in the revival of downtown. And other parts. The city has added about 200 restaurants over 3 years.* In the past 3 years, around 30 new restaurants have opened downtown.

Downtown real estate is actually selling after 40-50 years of being ignored.

Rents are up about 30% in the past 2 years in Oakland as well. There are positive and negative changes, but downtown has improved a ton in 5 years, due to the kickstart form redevelopment a decade ago.

*There are another 2 dozen or more that have opened since this article was published!

Redevelopment, can work, if done well.
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