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  1. #1
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    Car Culture Trend

    This is pretty much what living car-free is all about, isn't it?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...addtopollution

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    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan180iq View Post
    This is pretty much what living car-free is all about, isn't it?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...addtopollution
    - wow! sure makes it easy to find a parking space, huh?

    (i wonder what full-day parking is up to in NYC and Boston nowadays?)

  3. #3
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan180iq View Post
    This is pretty much what living car-free is all about, isn't it?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...addtopollution
    There's the achilles heel of all the ethanol, electric, hybrid answers. They still need parking lots, they still need big streets and freeways. Thats the 900lb gorilla that planners rarely talk about.

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    gwd
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    "Lots on private property and multi-level parking garages were not counted, so Pijanowski says his parking space calculation is a significant underestimate."

    If there were only one space per car the number of free spaces at any one
    time would equal the number of cars on the road at that time.

    Some parking garages have sloping floors so it would be difficult to convert them to affordable housing without tearing them down. My daughter was working at an ice rink that they created from the top level of a parking garage. I guess that when the mall neighborhood went high density, with ped and bike facilities the planned number of cars didn't materialize. The ice rink became a better use of the space.

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    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwd View Post
    My daughter was working at an ice rink that they created from the top level of a parking garage. I guess that when the mall neighborhood went high density, with ped and bike facilities the planned number of cars didn't materialize. The ice rink became a better use of the space.
    Ballston in Arlington?

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    gwd
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    Quote Originally Posted by linux_author View Post
    Ballston in Arlington?
    Yes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    There's the achilles heel of all the ethanol, electric, hybrid answers. They still need parking lots, they still need big streets and freeways. Thats the 900lb gorilla that planners rarely talk about.
    Amen! When Hybrid first came out, I was pretty excited. I've since changed my tune. While they do limit total pollution numbers and consume less fuel, they are still part of the problem. It's nice to see auto makers going in a cleaner direction, but it's just not the solution. Hybrids are like a bandaid for your gunshot wound.

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    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwd View Post
    Yes
    - ha! used to work in the building (4200 Wilson Blvd.) right before i retired... it's the training rink for the DC Caps, IIRC!

    (and i lived right down the street - great place for biking with good trail access!)

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    Disgruntled Planner bpohl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    There's the achilles heel of all the ethanol, electric, hybrid answers. They still need parking lots, they still need big streets and freeways. Thats the 900lb gorilla that planners rarely talk about.
    Been talking about it for years. Nothing planning-related is going to change with alternative fuels. You'll still see vast expanses of parking and giant, super, giga-freeways (24 lanes proposed in phoenix). Car culture will experience a renaissance, and those of us who refuse to submit to its trappings will find cycling even tougher than before. It never ceases to amaze me how much we pimp out our cities to the automobile, but it keeps happening, despite all of the warning signs. WHy is it that this is really only happening in America?
    Last edited by bpohl; 09-19-07 at 04:03 PM.
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    I don't think that it's only happening in America, as it can be seen in other countries as well. That being said, I think we are so entrenched in this type of culture and, on the whole, are pretty much a brainwashed people, that it consumes us.

    Let me ask you something, O/T.
    I've been trying to propose some ideas for public transportation in my growing industrial city and I can't seem to find a good place, or person, to start with. Any ideas? Also, bike lanes are out of the question, as I've been shot down because there "simply isn't enough right-of-way" for bicycle lanes.

  11. #11
    Disgruntled Planner bpohl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan180iq View Post
    Let me ask you something, O/T.
    I've been trying to propose some ideas for public transportation in my growing industrial city and I can't seem to find a good place, or person, to start with. Any ideas? Also, bike lanes are out of the question, as I've been shot down because there "simply isn't enough right-of-way" for bicycle lanes.
    It's always tough to say he best place to start with public transportation ideas. Here in Indy, e actually have a regional staff for dealing with transportation issues. I guess it would depend on the nature of your ideas. If its a something to improve existing service, you'd be best to go to the transit authority. If it's about proposed service (i.e. rail transit where it doesn't exist) that's a bit tougher. The best thing you may do is to see if there's a local transit advocacy group and start attending their meetings. I'd offer that it may be best to attend a few meetings before you get too forward with your ideas. Give them a chance to get to know you and where you're coming from. Also, give them an opportunity to know that you'll stick around t help implement.

    Bike lanes are a different story. The right-of-way issue is certainly valid sometimes, BUT, you may also ask about ROW dedication for rezonings, variances, etc. I say this because planning staff will frequently request that a petitioner dedicate additional right-of-way to have a petition approved. This usually takes the form of some kind of commitment for rezoning that reads, something like, "Petitioner shall dedicate a 75-foot half right-of-way within 180 days of the approval of this rezoning" In some cities they add specific language as to what the right-of-way is to be used for. You may approach your planning staff and see if that is feasible. However, as with most things in planning, there probably has to be some guiding plan in place that dictates when that is appropriate. If your city has a recommended cycling routes map or official bicycle mobility map, I bet your local planning staff would be pretty receptive to requesting the additional right-of-way during the rezoning or variance process, based upon the guidance of that plan. The problem would be that, if there is no plan in place, any lawyer could make a pretty strong argument that the request for additional right-of-way for bike lanes is arbitrary and should not apply. The other thing would be to request bicycle parking facilities along any corridor designated as a bike route, again, if you have a bike route plan in place. A key here is to be consistent. One of my usual routines when I have a petition in front of me is to check that route map to see if the case I have is located on one of these routes. If it is, you best believe I'm asking for bike parking facilities. (and I say "parking facilities" so as not to preclude bike lockers).
    Don't waste your breath to save your face when you have done your best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan180iq View Post
    This is pretty much what living car-free is all about, isn't it?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...addtopollution
    Those massive large parking spaces are blight that no one wants to live near. That why the motorist REQUIRE them to be built because they don't want to live in that neighborhood. The motorist only wants to drive there for work and live somewhere else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Those massive large parking spaces are blight that no one wants to live near. That why the motorist REQUIRE them to be built because they don't want to live in that neighborhood. The motorist only wants to drive there for work and live somewhere else.

    Here in Whitfield County Georgia, they have been spending lots of money rennovating the sidewalks, streets and medians in the downtown area ( with no thought to bicycles, by the way).
    In doing so, they have effectively created a giant heating-pad. This new paved/bricked area covers what was once a round-a-bout with some large vegetation. All of the natural cooling has been eliminated and in the heat of summer it is pretty bad. Riding away after work, after the sun is settling down, the radiated heat feels as if someone opened the door to an over. It can be pretty unbareable(sp?).

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    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    Yes, I'd much rather see a small footprint parking garage next to a big box store. But hey land is cheap. In addition to the reasons listed it's impractical to pedestrians to navigate a 1/4 mile large parking lot just to enter a Wal-Mart.

    One benefit about my former congested home of L.A. is that businesses are forced to think of alternative parking solutions. The Beverly Center and that mall where Virgin and Crunch gym are have deep deep parking spiral garages built underground. The West L.A. Best Buy has parking on the roof! Perhaps city planners need to create the "problem" of not allowing a business to surround itself in an inproportionate sea of asphalt.

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    We're currently experiencing the problem you just described. We're a population of 100,000 and growing and the county is just now realizing that they have thousands of acres of previously unused land. So, what did they do with it? They allowed a second Wal-Mart and a Home-Depot to come in and completely pave 30 acres of land with joining parking lots, which are never more than half full, and nothing in between.

  16. #16
    Disgruntled Planner bpohl's Avatar
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    I think you guys overestimate the power of city planners. When it comes down to it, in most jurisdictions, planning is mostly a response to what the public wants (unfortunately). The public wants big parking lots and ease of automobile commuting.
    Don't waste your breath to save your face when you have done your best.

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    No no. I realize that. That's the problem. But, those same city planners are members of this community. I work right in the middle of this govt. It's currently only thinking about cars and expansion of our residential areas outside of the downtown development. I'm lucky enough to live within 6 miles of my office. Most residences here are 20-30 minutes away from downtown, in a car.

  18. #18
    Disgruntled Planner bpohl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan180iq View Post
    No no. I realize that. That's the problem. But, those same city planners are members of this community. I work right in the middle of this govt. It's currently only thinking about cars and expansion of our residential areas outside of the downtown development. I'm lucky enough to live within 6 miles of my office. Most residences here are 20-30 minutes away from downtown, in a car.
    Yeah, the funny thing here is that it's very popular to move downtown and enjoy all of teh cultural amenities it has to offer. However, even the people who live downtown are trying to bring down the density and make driving easier downtown. It's like you think the paradigm has finally shifted, yet the very people who, you thought, would be on your side are working to make our urban center more suburban. You should see some of the guiding plans here. Dense, urban neighborhoods have recommendations to cut the density in half. Any time you get a petition for a higher density development, you have to fight teh recommendation of a plan that's treating density and urbanity like it's a bad thing. You feel like you're constantly swimming upstream. I just want to get out of this whole game, live my life the way I want, and not be part of regulating sprawl anymore (and by regulating I don't mean slowing it, I just mean keeping a close eye on it).
    Don't waste your breath to save your face when you have done your best.

  19. #19
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    I really enjoy your comments.

    By the way, your signature is pretty inspiring. Good work.

    I'll just say that if you leave what it is you are doing, which is obviously planning, then your community will have no one advocating for what we believe in.

  20. #20
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    I think new suburban construction has just about run out of gas, so to speak. What's on the horizon for real estate development?

    Gentrification of old inner city areas seems to be a trend that's already well underway.

    Also, razing old industrial areas and reconstructing them as large private projects is another thing that seems to already be happening. Old industrial areas don't have existing neighborhood associations to campaign against redevelopment.

    I don't know if other trendspotters have noticed it yet, but there might be a big opportunity in redeveloping large areas that were zoned in the 1970s for apartment complexes. I wonder if every city doesn't have a square mile of those apartment complexes that's dilapidated into a low rent, high crime area that no one knows what to do about. One example I've been studying is Vickery Meadows in Dallas. Very nice close-in location but the area suffers from every urban planning mistake that could have possibly been made. The question there seems to be, which is better: to tear everything down and start over, or to make a limited number of improvements that would increase the liveability and value of what is left.

  21. #21
    Disgruntled Planner bpohl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan180iq View Post
    I really enjoy your comments.

    By the way, your signature is pretty inspiring. Good work.

    I'll just say that if you leave what it is you are doing, which is obviously planning, then your community will have no one advocating for what we believe in.
    Thanks on all accounts. It means a lot to hear that. It's hard not to feel like throwing your hands in the air sometimes.
    Don't waste your breath to save your face when you have done your best.

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    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    I don't know if other trendspotters have noticed it yet, but there might be a big opportunity in redeveloping large areas that were zoned in the 1970s for apartment complexes.
    Many of ours are being turned into condos...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdenver View Post
    Many of ours are being turned into condos...
    Excellent! Let me explain.

    If you have a square mile of straight rental apartments, it's easy to buy up big blocks of complexes from a few owners, raze everything, then replace it with a standard car dependent subdivision.

    If maybe half the apartments have gone condo, it's much harder to tear down everything and redevelop from scratch. Too many ownership interests. In my dreams, a redeveloper would acquire several dilapidated rental complexes, tear down part of the units, reallocate space for schools, grocery stores, local retail, transit stations, public plazas, etc. Not parks! (Parks & greenbelts provide a place for criminal activity and violate the fundamental rule that the inhabitants of a neighborhood should be able to keep an eye on everything.)

    One fundamental reason private property owners might want to provide space for schools, transit stations, plazas, etc. is so that someone has the authority to call the police and eject problem people.

    The idea behind this kind of redevelopment is to take a dense urban development that already exists and to improve its value. Liveable, dense, urban areas tend to favor or at least support car free living.

  24. #24
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy View Post
    Excellent! Let me explain.

    If you have a square mile of straight rental apartments, it's easy to buy up big blocks of complexes from a few owners, raze everything, then replace it with a standard car dependent subdivision.

    If maybe half the apartments have gone condo, it's much harder to tear down everything and redevelop from scratch. Too many ownership interests. In my dreams, a redeveloper would acquire several dilapidated rental complexes, tear down part of the units, reallocate space for schools, grocery stores, local retail, transit stations, public plazas, etc. Not parks! (Parks & greenbelts provide a place for criminal activity and violate the fundamental rule that the inhabitants of a neighborhood should be able to keep an eye on everything.)

    One fundamental reason private property owners might want to provide space for schools, transit stations, plazas, etc. is so that someone has the authority to call the police and eject problem people.

    The idea behind this kind of redevelopment is to take a dense urban development that already exists and to improve its value. Liveable, dense, urban areas tend to favor or at least support car free living.
    I agree for the most part...I lived in a neighborhood that was build around a small park that was in the square in front of the houses. Everybody kept an eye on it and didn't hesitate to call the police if a problem arose. The park(s) there were quite a few, were exposed on all sides and vegetation was kept well trimmed to avoid hiding spots. I think green areas are a necessity and a viable part of planning, if done properly.

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  25. #25
    gwd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy View Post

    Not parks! (Parks & greenbelts provide a place for criminal activity and violate the fundamental rule that the inhabitants of a neighborhood should be able to keep an eye on everything.)
    I agree with the "eyes on the street" concept but here in DC we have both kinds of parks. I like being able to hike in the woods in the stream valley parks. I recently served on a grand jury for a month hearing over 50 violent crimes and not one occurred in our wooded parks. A few occurred in the open parks but out of sight of homes. Most occurred on the street, in homes or in school yards and rec centers. Our wooded parks close at dark so if the police see anyone in there they don't need any more probable cause to stop them. Our wooded parks seem to separate neighborhoods rather than be a part of the neighborhood while the more open parks are a part of the neighborhood. Another thing about the wooded parks is that the homes adjacent to them command a high price so the property crime risk must not be so high. One crime in my neighborhood associated with the wooded areas is window shopping. The rumor among car drivers is that if you park at night near the woods you'll be more likely to have your window smashed by someone who will escape through the woods. I see broken car windows on all streets not just on the ones near the park so I don't know about the window shopping prevalence near the park. Some of the bike paths through the wooded park are open at night. I use some of them at night and others I avoid just based on stories I hear or read in the papers. In sum, I'd hate to see DC's urban wooded parks disappear.

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