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Oh those poor motor commuters...

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Oh those poor motor commuters...

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Old 09-12-07, 12:11 PM
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noisebeam
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Oh those poor motor commuters...

Just another of those often repeated articles about how motoring to work is ruining everyones lives.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...ensus0912.html

"And a killer commute. Gone are the days of leisurely evenings in front of the TV,"

"big sacrifices in relationships and lifestyles. "

Those folks just had to buy the biggest house they could afford, which meant in the far away new developments so they could get those extra thousand square feet at the same price as an older house in town.

The title is what I loved "Leisure time wasted on the road" My leisure time is on the road!

Al
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Old 09-12-07, 12:17 PM
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This is the main reason why I moved away from Southern California. My buddy's would spent 4 hours a day driving in traffic to work and back. There simply isn't any affordable real estate in SoCal that isn't in the desert. All the work is naturally closer to the coast where houses start at 500k-1M.

Now I live in beautiful New Hampshire with a 12 mile bike commute to work. Score!
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Old 09-12-07, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Industrial View Post
This is the main reason why I moved away from Southern California. My buddy's would spent 4 hours a day driving in traffic to work and back. There simply isn't any affordable real estate in SoCal that isn't in the desert. All the work is naturally closer to the coast where houses start at 500k-1M.

Now I live in beautiful New Hampshire with a 12 mile bike commute to work. Score!
I have 6 mile commute to work here in So Cal. Of course we had to spend $800k for a two bedroom house, but I'd rather have the time than the house. I think that's what people don't get when weighing their housing options, yes I could buy a bigger house 2 hours from the city, but you can't get those two hours back. So in effect my wife and I are buying time. IMO it's worth it.
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Old 09-12-07, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Treespeed View Post
I have 6 mile commute to work here in So Cal. Of course we had to spend $800k for a two bedroom house, but I'd rather have the time than the house. I think that's what people don't get when weighing their housing options, yes I could buy a bigger house 2 hours from the city, but you can't get those two hours back. So in effect my wife and I are buying time. IMO it's worth it.
Definitely man. If I could afford it, I would've stayed. 200k buys a crack house in the desert that's still 2 hours away from work in Socal. In NH it buys a nice 2 bedroom house in a great town, close to work. 800k you'd be living in a castle in the middle of town.
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Old 09-12-07, 01:03 PM
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I was irritated this morning with all of the cars back on the road since the start of school. Lots of back-ups on my way in where there had been mostly empty roads a few weeks ago. I was irritated, that is, until I realized how grateful I was not to be in one of the cars stuck in the back-ups. Not going to set any speed records with traffic this thick, so I just took it easy and enjoyed passing up all the stopped cars.
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Old 09-12-07, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by newbojeff View Post
I was irritated this morning with all of the cars back on the road since the start of school. Lots of back-ups on my way in where there had been mostly empty roads a few weeks ago. I was irritated, that is, until I realized how grateful I was not to be in one of the cars stuck in the back-ups. Not going to set any speed records with traffic this thick, so I just took it easy and enjoyed passing up all the stopped cars.
Hehheh, same here. I just started commuting by bicycle in May. My route was very predictable throughout the summer and now traffic patterns changed a bit now that school has started. I'm just glad that I'm on my bike and not stuck in my car.
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Old 09-12-07, 01:33 PM
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An intersection on my route has been torn up for a month, and it's only getting worse. Now they're working on it from all 4 directions! The backups especially in the morning have been between 1/2 and 1 mile long. I've been enjoying passing them all on the shoulder, although I do get into line a half dozen or so cars back from where the pavement ends and we go through a section of narrow muddy gravelly road that hasn't been resurfaced yet. It's still a bit annoying, but not as much as doing it after sitting in crawling traffic for 20 minutes. Thankfully, the drivers have been very considerate of me. I find a gap and try to make eye contact with the driver behind it indicating I'm going to pull in there, and no one's given me a hard time yet. It helps that no one's going fast so I can easily keep pace through the entire section.

Gosh, Industrial, I used to live "just" 15 miles away from work and never considered bike commuting. We were then fortunate to find a house in Westbrook, a small town just outside of Portland, whose property values had been depressed for years by the smell of a paper mill's pulp line, which had just closed. (Just the pulp line, fortunately, not the whole mill, although that is still much smaller than it was a few decades ago.) Now I'm just 5 miles from work (which happens to be with the company that owns that mill).
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Old 09-12-07, 02:28 PM
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Suckers. I'm one of relatively few people in my office who lives closer into DC than the office. I'd rather pay thru the nose for an average sized house in Arlington, walking distance to all my local stores/bars/restaurants than pay slightly less for a new McMansion way the hell out in Loudon County and not be able to enjoy it because I'm burning gas for 2+ hours a day on 66 or Rt.7...
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Old 09-12-07, 02:37 PM
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haha, yeah, I bought a place in SE DC, because it's hella cheaper than arlington (I don't go to bars, generally) and the commute to Alexandria is only 12 miles! On a day like today, I'm thankful for every mile of it! I ride the Mt V trail and the streets in SE aren't all that congested, so I don't get the pleasure of passing people, but if I were in a car I'd be stuck on the Beltway or one of those other 8-lane highways.
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Old 09-12-07, 02:41 PM
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Boo-hoo, poor poor motor commuters! *sniffle* Poor, poor motor com...

Nah... somehow I don't feel sorry for them.
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Old 09-12-07, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by knucklesandwich View Post
Suckers. I'm one of relatively few people in my office who lives closer into DC than the office. I'd rather pay thru the nose for an average sized house in Arlington, walking distance to all my local stores/bars/restaurants than pay slightly less for a new McMansion way the hell out in Loudon County and not be able to enjoy it because I'm burning gas for 2+ hours a day on 66 or Rt.7...
Sitting on 66 makes me cry. Try to avoid that one. And you think that's bad, I know people that commute into Arlington from Fredericksburg - even some that come in from WV. That makes the old Loudon Co. commute look positively refreshing!

Most of my commute is on the W&OD trail. Much nicer than 66.
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Old 09-12-07, 02:49 PM
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i know a guy who lives across the street from his office in downtown NYC. after he brushes his teeth and gets dressed, it's literially a 200 foot walk and a 2 minute ride up the elevator to his office.

now, that is sweet!

also, because of his short commute time, he can easily work a couple of extra hours a day and still be home before his co-workers. he has been able to finish projects on-time or early and has been promoted twice in 5 years.
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Old 09-12-07, 06:55 PM
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As much as it's fun to ridicule people that make foolish choices, it's not entirely their fault. When residences are moving farther away from the city centres, but workplaces aren't moving with them, that's a serious fundamental flaw in city planning. Couple that with the fixation on the 9-5 work day (with some small leeway either side) resulting in heavy concentrations of traffic during limited times of the day and you can only conclude that we are a monumentally stupid society.

Couple of reasonably simple solutions (simpler than building more roads at least):

- Provide incentives for large companies to decentralise. Rather than one large office in the city centre, have two or three regional offices as well. Teleconferencing makes distance of little relevance for many, many office jobs. I really can't comprehend why mixed use zoning is such a no-no these days.

- Encourage staggered work hours. It'll spread the traffic load more throughout the day, and if done cleverly, you can have fit more employees into a smaller, cheaper office space. Shift working office jockeys? Why the f*ck not?

I understand town planning is taught in universities, but from the evidence I'd say the people taking the courses are the ones that weren't smart enough to get an arts degree.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:12 PM
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I started a new job a month ago in downtown Rochester, and I live only 1.7 miles away. I get to work in about 9 minutes on average (about 12 if I take the cruiser in). Then I take my bike into the building and up the elevator to my office. I get there before most other people in my cube cluster, not even on purpose, it just happens that way, and then when they all get there, all they do is complain about what a pain in the ass their morning drive was, how they couldn't get onto 490 or traffic was backed up downtown or they couldn't find a spot in the parking garage (that's a block away) because of some event that is happening in town... and I just sit there and try to stifle my laughs.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
Just another of those often repeated articles about how motoring to work is ruining everyones lives.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...ensus0912.html

"And a killer commute. Gone are the days of leisurely evenings in front of the TV,"

"big sacrifices in relationships and lifestyles. "

Those folks just had to buy the biggest house they could afford, which meant in the far away new developments so they could get those extra thousand square feet at the same price as an older house in town.

The title is what I loved "Leisure time wasted on the road" My leisure time is on the road!

Al
See, I live in San Diego about 10 miles from where I work and I love riding my bike to work because it is so close. I see so many of my co-workers who live out in Temecula because they can buy a house that is 1,000 sq ft larger than mine for the same price but I'd much rather live where I do and not spend 2-3 hours a day sitting in a fricken cage everyday. It really amuses me when gas prices go through the roof and they sit there and ***** about that while driving their Ford Expedition 70 miles a day.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Allister View Post
As much as it's fun to ridicule people that make foolish choices, it's not entirely their fault. When residences are moving farther away from the city centres, but workplaces aren't moving with them, that's a serious fundamental flaw in city planning.
People are still free to make choices. If they refused to buy houses ridiculous distances away from their workplaces, then developers wouldn't build houses far away and concentrate on infills and denser 'hoods instead.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:46 PM
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Mwa ha ha! My current commute is 1.5 km - I can bike it in about 5 minutes or less (if I get the lights right).

I don't feel sorry for my co-workers who choose to live 25+km away - there's a lot of housing around my workplace that is nice and relatively affordable (<$350 000 Canadian), as long as you don't mind small or condo (lots of much cheaper options) or rent. Too many north americans feel that 1000 square feet per person is a minimum requirement for housing... For me, ample leisure time is far more important.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Allister View Post
As much as it's fun to ridicule people that make foolish choices, it's not entirely their fault. When residences are moving farther away from the city centres, but workplaces aren't moving with them, that's a serious fundamental flaw in city planning. Couple that with the fixation on the 9-5 work day (with some small leeway either side) resulting in heavy concentrations of traffic during limited times of the day and you can only conclude that we are a monumentally stupid society.
It is largely their fault. I noticed on my recent trip to Scotland just how much smaller the urban sprawl of those cities is than what we have here in Australia (a.k.a State 51). Glasgow, for example, uses roughly the same land are as Toowoomba to house 10 times the population.

The reason modern residences are moving further from the city centres is simply because it's what people want. They want this whole ideal of "living on an acreage", even if it's 10 miles from the truth. This whole idea that workplaces might somehow move with them is fine in theory, but what about the guy who has to leave the office to visit clients during the day? This happens quite often, and is the main reason so many workplaces choose a CBD location and happily pay the higher rents to do so. It probably works out cheaper than paying their employees to drive all over the city everytime they need something from another office. It's not city planning, it's just people making choices.

That said, my take on this issue is let them whine. There are far worse things that could be used to fill newspaper space, and as I've said before, the prospect of all of these people moving into my neighbourhood and cycling to work at the same time as I am doesn't really appeal to me.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
It is largely their fault. I noticed on my recent trip to Scotland just how much smaller the urban sprawl of those cities is than what we have here in Australia (a.k.a State 51). Glasgow, for example, uses roughly the same land are as Toowoomba to house 10 times the population.

The reason modern residences are moving further from the city centres is simply because it's what people want. They want this whole ideal of "living on an acreage", even if it's 10 miles from the truth. This whole idea that workplaces might somehow move with them is fine in theory, but what about the guy who has to leave the office to visit clients during the day? This happens quite often, and is the main reason so many workplaces choose a CBD location and happily pay the higher rents to do so. It probably works out cheaper than paying their employees to drive all over the city everytime they need something from another office. It's not city planning, it's just people making choices.

That said, my take on this issue is let them whine. There are far worse things that could be used to fill newspaper space, and as I've said before, the prospect of all of these people moving into my neighbourhood and cycling to work at the same time as I am doesn't really appeal to me.
Oh I agree totally with all of that. I did say 'not entirely their fault', but I should've added that it was still mostly their own fault. I just think there are plenty of missed opportunities to implement policies to help mitigate the problem, and encourage more sensible choices. Trouble is, the people that could do that are just as stupid as the rest of them. Higher density inner city living certainly helps too, and at least that seems to be increasingly popular here in Brisbane.

That said, I live on a 1000sqm block, but it is only 20km from the city, which is easily cyclable, and a train station is about 100m from my door. I got lucky there, getting in just before the boom. There's no way I'd be able to afford it if I was buying now.

I don't have any sympathy for people that whinge about how hard their car commute is either.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Industrial View Post
There simply isn't any affordable real estate in SoCal that isn't in the desert.
Are you kidding. When I lived in the desert I saw a house on our block sell for $30,000 and then 6 years later sell for $300,000. Even desert property is getting outrageous unless you live somewhere like Rice Valley.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
Are you kidding. When I lived in the desert I saw a house on our block sell for $30,000 and then 6 years later sell for $300,000. Even desert property is getting outrageous unless you live somewhere like Rice Valley.
Sadly, for SoCal $300,000 qualifies as dirt cheap.
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Old 09-13-07, 08:06 AM
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median house price in King County (Seattle) recently topped $500,000.
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Old 09-13-07, 08:12 AM
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And just wait until gas prices rise again to more realistic (aka holy crap we're seriously running out) levels.

Parking their suv on a road for 2 hours every day not only will eat all their free time but all the money they thought they were saving by moving to the 'country' to begin with.

If I was hunting for a job, one of my primary requirements is proximity to home. Sure I could get a job that pays up to 10% more if I just drive for one hour each way... but when you calculate the cost of car ownership, maintenance, repairs and your own costs of frustration, missing the family etc it's just not worth it.
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Old 01-07-08, 03:29 PM
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Another article about excessive motor commutes:
"n Arizona, about 42,800 drive at least 90 minutes - one way"
http://www.azcentral.com/business/ar...tophx0107.html
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Old 01-07-08, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Allister View Post
I understand town planning is taught in universities, but from the evidence I'd say the people taking the courses are the ones that weren't smart enough to get an arts degree.
As someone with both a Bachelors and a Masters in that, i'm going to take offense to this. It's actually a structural problem; when graduates arrive in the field, they are bound by archaic regulations that they have only minimal power to change which are vigorously enforced by NIMBY homeowners who will scream bloody murder at the slightest hint that a business or apartment development might be allowed in their pristine neighborhood. They learn the way it needs to be, then get dropped in an office who's task it is mainly to uphold rules that none of them agree with, which they are sometimes able to make relatively small adjustments in.
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