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Carfree community going up in South Carolina

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Carfree community going up in South Carolina

Old 06-11-10, 10:01 PM
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Carfree community going up in South Carolina

According to its website, Bicycle City will be a car-free community with an eco-friendly design. Opening plans include 10 homes powered by solar and wind energy. Property sizes will range from 800-1,600sq ft, and prices will start at $100,000. Residents who own a car will be able to park it on the edge of the community nearest their home.

Gaston was chosen as the location for several reasons, including:

* Weather is mild and suitable for riding year-round.
* Columbia Amtrak train station is just a 50-minute bike ride away, with a closer extension expected to open by the end of the year.
* Good air and water quality.
* Nearby organic markets.
* Access to mountains and beaches.
* Nearby college.
* Columbia has earned a bronze level status with the League of American Bicyclists Bike-Friendly City programme.

“South Carolina in general has a lot of bicycle-friendly areas and communities,” Nesper said. “It makes sense to do something like this in a state where the people already understand the concept. It's also an affordable place to live, with a mild temperature, and it seems to make sense.”
https://www.bikeradar.com/news/articl...ommunity-26499

What do you all think?
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Old 06-11-10, 10:13 PM
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It says there's a 50 minute bike ride to the Amtrak? I know Amtrak does long haul passenger service, but is it also the commuter train there? Fifty minutes seems like too far if it's for commuting, but if they mean for weekend trips to Atlanta or DC, or holidays across the country it might be okay.

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Old 06-11-10, 11:03 PM
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Opening plans include 10 homes... Residents who own a car will be able to park it on the edge of the community nearest their home.
Ten homes with car parking slightly away from the front door? Wow, all those folks living in apartments are actually living in "carfree communities". Also, any P.R. that gives distances in times is definitely car-centered. Your 50 minute ride takes you one distance and mine takes me another. The difference can be a fairly large factor, like four.

Last year there was a temporary gasoline shortage in the South. As I recall, there was a city in South Carolina where, in response to this temporary shortage of fuel, the community college was closed but the Wal-Mart was open. Interesting priorities and likely shared by nearly our entire nation.
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Old 06-12-10, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker
It says there's a 50 minute bike ride to the Amtrak? I know Amtrak does long haul passenger service, but is it also the commuter train there? Fifty minutes seems like too far if it's for commuting, but if they mean for weekend trips to Atlanta or DC, or holidays across the country it might be okay.
Big Whoop on the Amtrak access. It is 15 miles by bike, and the roads are not particularly cycle friendly. That Amtrak is mainline twice a day, one north bound and one southbound. The northbound comes thru at 4:08am the south bound at 1:44am. The last time I was in downtown Columbia that was not exactly the friendliest part of town to be in after dark.

AFAIK the local bus service does not service the Gaston area. I haven't been in Columbia in a couple of years so things "might" have changed but somehow I doubt it.

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Old 06-12-10, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
Big Whoop on the Amtrak access. It is 15 miles by bike, and the roads are not particularly cycle friendly. That Amtrak is mainline twice a day, one north bound and one southbound. The northbound comes thru at 4:08am the south bound at 1:44am. The last time I was in downtown Columbia that was not exactly the friendliest part of town to be in after dark.

AFAIK the local bus service does not service the Gaston area. I haven't been in Columbia in a couple of years so things "might" have changed but somehow I doubt it.

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The article said that Amtrak service is going to be extended closer to Bicycle City by the end of the year.
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Old 06-12-10, 08:21 AM
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Was this a joke? Ten homes? I suppose making ten houses with solar panels and wind power is a step in the right direction. Of course it does say "opening plans" without mentioning the ultimate size of the new community.

I live in the first of a row of ten fourplex apartment buildings. We have a parking lot. If there were solar panels on the roofs we would be considered as living in an eco-friendly community. The whole town is just seven or eight miles wide.
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Old 06-12-10, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Smallwheels
Was this a joke? Ten homes? I suppose making ten houses with solar panels and wind power is a step in the right direction. Of course it does say "opening plans" without mentioning the ultimate size of the new community.

I live in the first of a row of ten fourplex apartment buildings. We have a parking lot. If there were solar panels on the roofs we would be considered as living in an eco-friendly community. The whole town is just seven or eight miles wide.
Personally, I think Bicycle City is a joke. But I love the fact that some marketers now think that "carfree" is a concept that sells.
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Old 06-12-10, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody
The article said that Amtrak service is going to be extended closer to Bicycle City by the end of the year.
The British article said so? Then it MUST be so, eh? Hourly service by the end of the year too? Did the article have anything to say about the arrival date for the tooth fairy?

Thoughts about the project? $100,000 for an 800 ft sq house in the middle of nowhere, limited access to transportation and a limited market for resale? Good luck with that.
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Old 06-12-10, 09:08 AM
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It's a 140 acre site and the ten homes are just the first wave. so perhaps when it is done it will be an actual compact and self contained community. However, to be truly functional, they need to be a walkable node on a transit grid, so if they have regular express bus or rail service into the city that would be good. After all, it is hard to believe it will have enough local services to actually walk to, like a traditional small town main street - hairdresser, hardware store, grocer, medical clinic, newstand, drugstore, highschool, etc.

The fact that it is "50 minutes from Amtrak" is not particularily meaningfull. Basically the station is in downtown Columbia, so effectively they are saying the community is 15 miles from downtown, which happens to have a train station. Whatever...

.................................................................................................... ..........
OK, after re-reading it I think the main point is probably not that it will totally support car-free living, but rather that it will be a car-free zone, where cars will be kept our of the core of the town, making it a safer and more pleasant walkable/bikeable experience. Presumably a lot of residents will own cars and keep them in the lot at the edge of town.

It'll be like the town in that Jim Carrey movie where he's on a reality show and doesn't know it.

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Old 06-12-10, 09:55 AM
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The article also mentions the German car-free-ish town of Vauban, on the outskirts of Freiburg. Here's a blurb from wikipedia on that community. I hope Gaston is as successful, but for that to happen they desperately need the "tramway":

Within Vauban, transportation is primarily by foot or bicycle. The development is connected to the Freiburg city center by a tramway, and is laid out linearly along the tracks such that all homes are within easy walking distance of a tram stop. As of 2009 around 70% of the households had chosen to live without a private car. The level of car ownership has fallen over time. An earlier survey showed over 50% of households owned a car; of those who were living carfree, 81% had previously owned one and 57% gave up their cars on or immediately after moving to Vauban.[4].

Both this and an earlier study [5] found that cycling was the main mode of transport for most trips and most activities, including commuting and shopping.

The preference for walking and cycling can be partly attributed to the layout of the district. Building on previous experience, the plan departs from the simple inherited grid, and creates a network which incorporates the principle of “ filtered permeability”. It means that the network geometry favours the active modes of transport and, selectively, “filters out” the car. This is accomplished by reducing the number of streets that run through the neighbourhood. Instead, most local streets are crescents and cul-de-sacs (see drawing)


A diagramatic depiction of the transportation network in Vauban, Freiburg, Germany. It shows the departure from the traditional simple grid and the adoption of a complex combination grid. The drawing shows the threetypes of connectors: roads in red, local streets in orange and pedestrian bicycle paths in green. While they are discontinuous for cars, they connect to a network of pedestrian and bike paths which permeate the entire neighbourhood. In addition, these paths go through or by open spaces adding to the enjoyment of the trip. The logic of filtering a mode of transport is fully expressed in a new comprehensive model for laying out neighbourhoods and districts – the Fused Grid.

Most of Vauban's residential streets are described as stellplatzfrei - literally "free from parking spaces". Vehicles are allowed down these streets at walking place to pick up and deliver but not to park, although there are some infractions as the system depends essentially on social consensus - there are few official controls. Each year, households are required to sign a declaration stating either that they do not own a car, or that they do, in which case they must buy a space in one of the multi-storey car parks on the periphery, at a cost of 17,500€ (in 2006). The city-wide car club has the greatest concentration of its 2,500 members in Vauban – at least ten of its cars are stationed around the district[6].


see the wiki article for pictures and references: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vauban,_Freiburg

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Old 06-12-10, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
The British article said so? Then it MUST be so, eh? Hourly service by the end of the year too? Did the article have anything to say about the arrival date for the tooth fairy?

Thoughts about the project? $100,000 for an 800 ft sq house in the middle of nowhere, limited access to transportation and a limited market for resale? Good luck with that.
I just presented an article for discussion, I don't have a dog in this fight, so lose the snarky attitude of your first paragraph.

As for your personal opinion, I pretty much agree, but I'm not sure why you say the place is in the middle of nowhere? I thought it was in a suburb of Columbia.
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Old 06-12-10, 11:33 AM
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as a concept, it sounds nice, but reality has a history of killing off concepts, for example, the flying car. but i do like the idea of a car free/ car lite town, so for the sake of all the investors i hope it works out well.
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Old 06-12-10, 12:14 PM
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It's too bad it's so far out - 15 miles from the city centre. That'll make it hard to work downtown and not drive. In contrast, Vauban is 2.5 miles from the centre of Freiburg.
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Old 06-12-10, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody
I just presented an article for discussion, I don't have a dog in this fight, so lose the snarky attitude of your first paragraph.

As for your personal opinion, I pretty much agree, but I'm not sure why you say the place is in the middle of nowhere? I thought it was in a suburb of Columbia.
Looks like 20 miles away from Columbia , for a car free person with no public transportation to the city, a desire to do regular frequent/daily trips to Columbia and the financial ability to purchase a new house in the area, it might as well be 200 miles away. Google Maps makes it appear that there is not too much in between Gaston and Columbia.

Anyone who believes that Amtrak is about to expand its coverage to the "suburbs" of Columbia SC is likely to believe in the Tooth Fairy, so why post a bogus reference from an obviously unaware British source?
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Old 06-12-10, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker
It's too bad it's so far out - 15 miles from the city centre. That'll make it hard to work downtown and not drive. In contrast, Vauban is 2.5 miles from the centre of Freiburg.
And Freiburg has excellent train service/connections to everywhere in Europe, not just one passenger train/day.
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Old 06-16-10, 05:26 PM
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Nice idea but I think it may be doomed before it is built. I can't see ten houses supporting this car-free community really. It doesn't seem enough to warrant any type of real support in terms of alternative/nearby public transportation. I would wonder about the supportive services available (doctor, dentists, schools, drug stores, supermarkets (not just organic ones). How far are they by bike, walking distance. You still need a public transportation option to make this reasonably car-free or car-lite or else folks will dive for their cars the moment they can't use their bikes.

Again, nice marketing concept but I'd hate to be one of the "guinea pig" home owners.

Honnestly, it sounds like some bright eye realtor thought this up to "hook into" the general "trying to live green trend.
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