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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 10-21-09, 09:06 PM   #1
gerv 
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Tell us about the street you live on...

I've been thinking lately about some of the streets I have resided on in the past 20 years. I keep thinking about various factors that make them liveable and bearable... and what is definitely hard to live with:

- 25 years ago I lived in a small Canadian city, on a street in an older working class district. The streets were narrow, there was virtually no lawn on the front of these single family dwelling and there were always a lot of people in the streets. Most of them were kids. Occasionally, the kids would hijack the street and turn it into a street hockey arena. Car drivers would get a little upset about having to share the street... but they always slowed down and worked their way quitely through.

- 15 years ago, I lived on a busy mid town intersection in Des Moines. Lot of college kid apartments. I was living in a large old house with virtually no lawn (yipee!!) but it was noisy. No place for the kids to play, but there were many people walking on the street. One vivid memory when I first arrived is a police chase that ended in the church parking lot next door with a shootout. There were a few people travelling on the streets, but less than in Canada.

- 9 years ago I moved to a quite older suburb that feels like the city, but has some slightly different features. All houses have a 60 lawn on the front and probably 40-60 feet in the back (yes, I bought a lawn mower ). It's a nice tree street out front, but there's no sidewalk and the street is narrow. Lately, there are more and more people in the street, expecially cyclists who seem to use it as a thoroughfare. But also walkers... who have to keep in the street. Most of the walkers seem to use it for recreation, not transportation. The big benefit is that it slows cars down quite a bit, so almost none of them can barrel through.

One problem with all these streets is the level of noise. In all cases, I lived close to major thoroughfares and the noise was constant.

Another problem is that kids had to be aware of dangers travelling anywhere... even close to home. Usually schools were a good distance and the kids couldn't walk to school.

I'm just wondering what features would make different streets you lived on more liveable.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:29 PM   #2
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I live on sort of a secondary thoroughfare. It used to be a four-lane, but a few years ago it was "traffic-calmed" to a two-lane with on-street parking and little bumpouts to keep people from driving in the parking lane.

I live on busier streets because they're plowed in the winter. Plus it's a bus route. I can see the stop from my window. And did I mention I'm 100 yards from an LBS?

Once upon a time I owned a suburban three-bedroom. That cured me of property ownership for life. I've rented ever since.

Currently I'm in a 46-unit building constructed in 1925. Has plenty of character. Things you don't get these days--like real steam heat (not a hot-water conversion), plaster crown mouldings, real multi-pane windows, glass doorknobs--and updated kitchen, bath and mechanicals.

I'm across the street from a light industrial plant, their parking lot is next door, and there's a church parking lot across the back fence. Thus, on this side of the building there are no neighbors. I seek out buildings situated like this because there are no dogs. I hate barking dogs. That's a big part of why I left the suburbs originally.

I moved from my last place because the landlord changed the no dogs rule. Had to let me out of the lease because it represented a change in terms. I was gone in 60 days, and it was only that long because I liked this place well enough to wait for it. I'm glad I did.
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Old 10-22-09, 05:47 AM   #3
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Grew up all over the place, mostly living in what I would call intown neighborhoods, quite often in towns small enough to walk from one side to the other.

Spent 6-8 years before I graduated from high school in a neighborhood that was established in the early 1920's. It was laid out on a grid system and had everything you could want within a few blocks. The streets were narrow but had sidewalks, however you did not want to be walking on them at rush hour.

Now I live on what is left of my wife's family's old farm. The are is becoming suburban, like it or not. The traffic count on the road we live off of has increased from 2400 cars a day in 1999 to over 9700 in 2008. They have continued to build subdivisions all over the county, but have done little or nothing to improve the roads. Cycling has become much less enjoyable. On the plus side we finally have a grocery store less than 2 miles from the house, it used to be 7 miles one way. But getting there is definitely no fun. The number of wrecks on the road have increased exponentially. It used to average maybe one every couple of months now once a week seems more common. People don't believe the 35mph curve signs.

We are discussing and considering the possibility of a move into town. Our jobs require travel, so where we live is not as critical, but the farm and houses are paid for.

Aaron
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Old 10-22-09, 06:30 AM   #4
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You can see it on the right side of that picture.
I've lived there all of my life near abouts.
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Old 10-22-09, 12:13 PM   #5
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great pic, Allen. I can see why you chose to spend your life there!

I just moved, so I'm thinking about the OP's question a lot. My new place is in a quiet working class neighborhood in one of Lansing's older areas. I'm a block from the Rivertrail, which is a (rare) practical MUP. Old Town is a couple blocks away with lots of cool little restaurants and art galleries but no hardware, drugstore or grocery.

It's a real pretty urban area. Most people tell me that it must be the best place in town to be carfree. But ironically, a lot of less quaint semi-suburban areas are more practical for my lifestyle.
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Old 10-22-09, 03:03 PM   #6
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I like AllenG's place too...reminds me a lot of mine and yes it does snow in NC

Aaron



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Old 10-22-09, 03:34 PM   #7
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I grew up in a tiny village, on a very quiet single track lane, with tarmac, but no road markings, and no traffic, except for residents. It wasn't prohibited, it just didn't go anywhere, so there was no point anyone else driving down it. As a kid, it was great - I could walk to school, then cycle to school when I got old enough to go the big school, there were fields on 3 sides. When I was a teenager it was horrible, I felt trapped in the middle of nowhere, when elsewhere things were happening.

The house I live in now is on a quiet singletrack residential road in the middle of a very small town. There are houses on all sides, which actually help to block the noise from the main road.

Soon I will be moving into the city, to a new flat on a busy 4 lane main road. I always said I'd never live on a main road, but after a few nights in a hotel on a main road, I realised it actually wasn't that bad. There are few residences near me, mostly shops and offices, and opposite, no buildings - just a view over the harbour. There certainly won't be kids playing in the street, as there were in the other two places I've lived, but as I'm not likely ever to have kids, that doesn't bother me - in fact as I get older and more grumpy, it suits me. It's a quarter of a mile from the city centre, and even closer to the bus and train stations, and has no parking.
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Old 10-22-09, 03:50 PM   #8
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Soon I will be moving into the city, to a new flat on a busy 4 lane main road. I always said I'd never live on a main road, but after a few nights in a hotel on a main road, I realised it actually wasn't that bad. There are few residences near me, mostly shops and offices, and opposite, no buildings - just a view over the harbour. There certainly won't be kids playing in the street, as there were in the other two places I've lived, but as I'm not likely ever to have kids, that doesn't bother me - in fact as I get older and more grumpy, it suits me. It's a quarter of a mile from the city centre, and even closer to the bus and train stations, and has no parking.

What about noise levels? Or just the intimidation factor of so much traffic? Doesn't that both you?

While I am okay with having less traffic at my latest digs, I still have a problem with traffic noise. It can be very quiet after 10:00pm, but then there's the occasional roar of a motor cycle or some semi pulling out of the local grocery store.

I think most people believe themselves immune to background noise, but I suspect they are just kidding themselves.
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Old 10-22-09, 04:06 PM   #9
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Tell us about the street you live on...

I live on Commonwealth Avenue (Comm Ave) considered to be one of the most beautiful boulevards in America, modeled on those in Paris. But I live on the "wrong side of the tracks" as it were, in Kenmore Square. Kenmore has been likened to Boston's equivalent of Times Square, but it never descended to those depths. It is an intersection of three major thoroughfares as well as a point of convergence of three branches of the Green subway line (the (T)) before they emerge from underground to fan out westward. Kenmore is the home of Fenway Park, so on game day, street and subway traffic is horrendous. It is also home to Boston University, so all-in-all is a lively place.

On the day of the Boston Marathon, traditionally is a Red Sox ball game beginning at 11:00 AM so the crowd is just letting out as the first of thousands of runners are making their way through Kenmore to the finish line a mile away through an already massive crowd of onlookers. Gotta love the place. Bicycling? Don't get me started.
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Old 10-23-09, 10:19 AM   #10
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I grew up on streets which didn't have a sidewalks in Crystal Mn

I have lived on the oldest toll road in America RT230 in Steelton PA across from the largest Steel Mill in America.

I have also lived on a road with 60,000 cars a day 7th street Phoenix Az.

After that it gets rather boring. Mostly residential streets.
Currently right now I live on a bicycle BLVD which goes from one edge of the valley to the other in Scottsdale AZ. It has bike lanes which are voided when cars park on them. (legal)
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Old 10-23-09, 04:34 PM   #11
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Before moving out on my own, I lived w/ parental units in 3 different houses; 1st was in what is now the ghetto, had sidewalks, light traffic, about a block off anything near a busy street. 2nd was in suburbia, no sidewalks, but for some reason, noisier. 3rd was an older neighborhood in town, small lots, sidewalks, lotsa traffic, even though main drags were 2+ blocks away.

Boy, did I get spoiled overseas! Tiny little villages with little traffic, quiet as can be! Coming back stateside was a bit of culture shock! I have yet to live anywhere that was NEARLY as quiet -- my place right now, kind of on the cusp of urban/suburban, is 2x louder than it was 5 years ago. Thugs have taken to 'laying low' -- at least, as low as idiot thugs can while they thump their stereos @ 2AM.

I'm ready to live about a mile outside of town.
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Old 10-30-09, 01:40 PM   #12
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There actually are lilacs on my street, but you can't hear any larks, as far as I know.
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Old 02-04-14, 03:28 PM   #13
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Our street is sandwiched between a highway and the esplanade. It's fairly quiet, and we can reach cycleways in just about any direction. The closest is about 50 metres away.

We are on top of a hill, so no matter where we go for a ride, there's a climb at the end.
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Old 02-04-14, 04:59 PM   #14
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Machka, did you ever think about just starting new threads? When you continually bump these old threads, I feel burdened by the weight of the past. New wine in old skins, and all that....
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Old 02-04-14, 08:27 PM   #15
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Machka, did you ever think about just starting new threads? When you continually bump these old threads, I feel burdened by the weight of the past. New wine in old skins, and all that....
It feels like a time machine. I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now...
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Old 02-05-14, 01:10 AM   #16
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It feels like a time machine. I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now...
I know I live on a different street now, Mr. Dylan.
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Old 02-05-14, 01:13 AM   #17
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Machka, did you ever think about just starting new threads? When you continually bump these old threads, I feel burdened by the weight of the past. New wine in old skins, and all that....
To quote someone …

“Do you have some psychological issue that compels you to comment on every thread, whether you're interested or not?”

You don't have to respond to these threads if you're no longer interested in them.

Meanwhile, this thread is interesting and timeless ... so why not respond to it rather than cluttering things up with new, repetitive threads?



Are you still on the same street? Has it changed or have your thoughts about it changed?
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Old 02-05-14, 02:44 AM   #18
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I live on a corner at the edge of a neighborhood. My street is covered with too much snow this week which makes it difficult to ride the bicycle. There aren't enough cars and trucks traveling on this section to flatten it very quickly.

On one street across from the house is a big empty lot owned by the city. It takes up half of the block. On the other street is a pasture that had cows in it. I haven't seen them in a while. Maybe they are now hamburgers. The pasture is about a half mile in one direction and one mile in the other. The main roads border the other sides of this field. I can see the street lights and even some cars that far away.

I suppose one benefit to living on the edge of a neighborhood is less traffic and noise. It is really pretty at night and when the weather is warm and I can stand outside, it is fairly quiet.
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Old 02-05-14, 03:34 AM   #19
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Our street is sandwiched between a highway and the esplanade. It's fairly quiet, and we can reach cycleways in just about any direction. The closest is about 50 metres away.

We are on top of a hill, so no matter where we go for a ride, there's a climb at the end.

I don't think I've got a photo of the street right out in front of our place, but this is just down the road a little way, with the cycleway along side the road ...



I just wish there was more of it ... more of our quiet road, more of the cycleway ...

[HR][/HR]

Prior to this, I've lived in many different places. A very rural location, several small towns, mid-sized towns, and cities. I've moved a lot!

In answer to this: "I'm just wondering what features would make different streets you lived on more liveable." I'll mention a couple of the features I've liked where I've lived:

1) Quick access to the country. Since I've been cycling "seriously", every place I've lived (with the possible exception of where we live now) I've had very quick access to open country roads.

2) Wide roads and/or roads with shoulders ... roads with room for both vehicles and bicycles.
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Old 02-05-14, 02:30 PM   #20
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I lived in "the projects" for 20 years. As townhouses, they're not as bad as tower blocks, but outdoor bike storage was not allowed. We had bikes in the living room and laundry room. The evening's or late night's entertainment was frequently the neighbors' domestic disturbances and crying kids. No thru traffic, but cops sometimes stopped by to escort people to other accommodations. When the dumpster lids were replaced, the contractor that cut the old hinges with a torch ignored the trash in the dumpsters, which burned. The fire department was called for each street.

Now I live on an ordinary suburban street with separate houses, dogs, lawnmowers, etc. I take all trash out on a specific day instead of dumping a bag whenever it's full.
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Old 02-05-14, 03:04 PM   #21
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Crosses US 30 1/2 block down hill .. 1 block further .. Is the Columbia River..
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Old 02-05-14, 03:07 PM   #22
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The street I live on is about 1.2 miles long. The first .4 miles is dominated by 3 huge apartment complexes. There's a small business strip with two self storage places, a convenience store, a club, a smoke shop, a Subway, a church and an independent mom and pop drug store. South of that, the street wanders up and down, right and left through suburban homes and finally comes out at the top of the hill, once again to a final .3 miles of apartments and condos.
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Old 02-05-14, 03:53 PM   #23
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It's the burbs. Artirial roadway is about 40 feet away. Other than that it's just nice(ish) homes.
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