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Old 11-29-2014, 07:44 PM
 
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With gas prices dropping and expected to stay low for at least a few years, how will this affect cities and suburbs? Could the push back to the urban core be stalled with low gas prices, and suburbs continue to sprawl?
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:24 PM
chh
 
Location: West Michigan
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I don't think high gas prices were fueling the push back to the urban core either though. Since high gas prices didn't effect urban sprawl, I don't think low gas prices will, either.
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Michigan
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It might make people less willing to invest in mass transit but not necessarily discourage them from moving into urban cores. As long as parking garages are still attached to every building, the urban core won't be affected. Suburbs will always continue to sprawl so as long we kept making families.
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Old 11-30-2014, 11:51 AM
 
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I love how we're just assuming gas prices will be low for the next few years. Because they're always so stable and predictable....
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Old 11-30-2014, 02:18 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,749 posts, read 54,373,866 times
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No one really believes that gas prices will go much lower and/or remain this low
long enough to base a relocation decision on it. What it does mean, is that people like me that love road trips will make a lot more of them in the near future, which helps the economy as I buy not only more gas, but hotel rooms, restaurant meals, and other items along the way. While I live in a suburban city 23 miles from work in Seattle, I take the bus, so gas prices make no difference to my commute.
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:22 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,981 posts, read 102,527,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
No one really believes that gas prices will go much lower and/or remain this low
long enough to base a relocation decision on it. What it does mean, is that people like me that love road trips will make a lot more of them in the near future, which helps the economy as I buy not only more gas, but hotel rooms, restaurant meals, and other items along the way. While I live in a suburban city 23 miles from work in Seattle, I take the bus, so gas prices make no difference to my commute.
Even though buses are subsidized, they have to recoup a certain amount of money via the farebox. If gas prices go up, bus fare will go up. If the converse happens, of course, fares won't go down.
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:58 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,749 posts, read 54,373,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Even though buses are subsidized, they have to recoup a certain amount of money via the farebox. If gas prices go up, bus fare will go up. If the converse happens, of course, fares won't go down.
Ours is not as subject to the rise and fall of fuel prices, since they will do one-two year contracts for fuel at a fixed price. In fact, they are currently paying more than they would without that contract. More of a problem is the union contracts and raises for drivers and maintenance staff, which despite fare increases caused severe cuts in service this fall. I would not drive to work even if gas fell to $1/gallon, because of the traffic. The bus can actually be faster despite multiple stops with it's own lanes.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:31 PM
 
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The effect of gas prices is overrated. Perhaps distant suburbs won't be as undesirable. Mostly it's a matter of time commuting. Perhaps people will visit the city more often because gas is cheaper? The gas is a pretty small part of any visit, considering parking, theater or game tickets, and purchases.
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Old 11-30-2014, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,759,267 times
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Yeah I agree it wasn't really about gas prices, major factors imo were

-congestion/commute times

-demographic changes like fewer families

-decrease in industrial and increase in commercial (office and probably retail) and institutional employment which can benefit from clustering and don't have to locate in single storey buildings (most likely in the suburbs)

-improvements in desirability of downtown areas, like through safety improvements
--> Also related but during the suburbs' golden age, I think there was a grass-is-always-greener mentality towards suburbs as a solution to the problems of cities with none of the drawbacks and all of the benefits. But now, most people have experienced living in the suburbs and are more aware of the drawbacks like congestion being not much better than in the urban core, being boring and isolating (at least to some people), plus in some cases declining schools, poverty and crime are beginning to spread to the aging suburbs

-in the 50s and 60s, you could argue there was an undersupply of suburban style neighbourhoods relative to people's preferences, so the US was basically building 100% suburbs (or even more than 100% when you consider urban abandonment) but now there is much more suburbia than truly urban neighbourhoods so the US is building more of a mix. And it really has only ever been a mix in the last decade or two (depending on the city), in fact generally there's been more suburbia getting built even in recent years, but if a metro area is growing by 500,000 per decade and even just 10% of that is in the urban core, that's a big deal for the urban core since its total population is usually not that big*

-environmental concerns


*generally when I talk about urban core I mean the greater downtown, more distant streetcar suburbs tend not to be growing as much although they can be gentrifying. Only for a few cities does it apply to a big chunk of city, mainly NYC and to a lesser extent cities like Philadelphia and Chicago. Typically areas with 20k+ ppsm (maybe less if there's high job density) and 80+ walkscore.
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:27 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,554,265 times
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"Cheap" is a relative term. $3 a gallon isn't exactly pocket change, it's just the new "cheap" after spikes into the $4-5 a gallon range. But we don't know how much longer that will last--and "cheap" often means that other costs are externalized--someone else pays for it, or its long-term costs (not just economic but social and environmental) are paid farther down the road.
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