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Old 11-29-2011, 03:13 PM   #41
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The county I live would be classified by most of you as rural. We're about 45/hr outside DC. However, we're constantly ranked one of the wealthiest per capita counties in the country.

I pop in and out of DC, but don't work there. When I dropped my daughter off at a friends house in McLean I realized, this congestion and traffic make me itch for our country lifestyle. Many people may think they live in a hugely convenient place, but if it takes you 15 minutes to get to your grocery store in the traffic and 15 for me driving 12 miles, is it really any more convenient?

I realize I'd never live in a really densely populated area. At least around here I prefer to visit and go back to where I have a little elbow room.
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:25 PM   #42
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Perhaps this is good news for retirees. We are not tied to a work location and can take advantage of depressed fringe markets.

The $20 gas book was good, but so far has overestimated the speed at which gas prices have increased. My guess is that we are just experiencing a temporary pause in the price rise.

His prediction of big airlines going bankrupt is interesting related to today's news.
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Old 11-29-2011, 05:39 PM   #43
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Many people may think they live in a hugely convenient place, but if it takes you 15 minutes to get to your grocery store in the traffic and 15 for me driving 12 miles, is it really any more convenient?
Likely not, but this is a cherry-picked example. I haven't driven to the grocery store more than 5 times in the five years that I have lived where I live. And when I walk to get gorceries it is less than 5-10 minutes depending on whichn store I walk to. I have an AMazon lockbax within 3 blocks.

I get into my car for social reasons, or if I want to go to Lowes or somesuch. These are easily reached from where I live. But I did choose my location based on walking, or bus/train, and good arterials/freeway access.

I believe it is a matter of taste. I enjoy the frequent low key social interactions. Also, if you walk on most errands, you get a lot of exercise that does not feel like "exercising".

I think my preference is influenced by observing my Dad as he got older in his quality urban neighborhood. He was farther from the center of his city than I am-2.5 miles rather than my 1 mile. But within an old man's easy walking distance he had doctors, dentists, hospitals, a large university with its film society and music, groceries and meat market, library branch, etc. Downtown was a very short bus ride away, and he liked downtown as he had worked there for > 40 years and still had some haunts and many memories.

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:40 AM   #44
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It's a reminder of how subsidized suburban living really was with cheap gas and flush budgets for road construction and maintenance. That train has left the station.
The gas was market priced, no one or thing subsidized it. The official name of the interstate system, the "Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways" clearly shows it was all about allowing suburbs to be built.
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:12 AM   #45
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Around here the highly-touted suburbs are very much into the McMansion lifestyle of mid-brow ostentation, new cars, constant shopping and eating at "upscale" chain restaurants. It's not keeping up with the Jones, it's beating the Jones.

Outside the 635 / LBJ loop of Dallas there is a lot of traffic and people depend on expensive toll roads. There is rail extending to some of the burbs but it's located in sections that most of the McMansion types would turn up their noses at. Besides they would rather drive and show off their vehicles.

I really don't see this as sustainable.
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:10 PM   #46
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Many people may think they live in a hugely convenient place, but if it takes you 15 minutes to get to your grocery store in the traffic and 15 for me driving 12 miles, is it really any more convenient?
FIFTEEN MINUTES!?!?!?! It only takes me 5 minutes to walk to my convenient urban village grocery store. I didn't realize that it would me three times as long if I lived in the boonies.
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:19 PM   #47
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We live in an urban area that's walking distance to most of our needs. Good commute for LA standard as well. We love this area. However, we do have 2 small kids and would likely move to the suburbs when they're school age. That's pretty much the only reason. If they had good schools here, we won't move.

When I talk to my friends/co-workers, they prefer suburb life b/c it's quieter, more space, safer even though their commute is twice as mine. It's a personal choice but I think I'm in the minority when I talk to them.
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:28 PM   #48
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I pop in and out of DC, but don't work there. When I dropped my daughter off at a friends house in McLean I realized, this congestion and traffic make me itch for our country lifestyle. Many people may think they live in a hugely convenient place, but if it takes you 15 minutes to get to your grocery store in the traffic and 15 for me driving 12 miles, is it really any more convenient.
I see your point. I would hate it if it took 15 minutes to get to a grocery store while stuck in traffic. However that experience doesn't seem to jive with what I experience living in the city (not DC admittedly - thank goodness!). Our grocery store, when we drive to it, is about 1.5 minutes away driving, and more than half that time is spent in my driveway or driving through the parking lot. Walking takes a little longer, probably 7 minutes.

Within a 5-10 minute drive, we have a couple dozen grocery stores, and discount grocery stores, big box grocery stores (super walmart and super target), membership clubs (sams, BJ, and costco), high end grocery stores (trader joes, whole foods and the like), and dozens of ethnic (latin, asian, indian, african, middle eastern) grocery stores.

Needless to say, ample choice and variety from the low end to the high end. I would hate to have to drive 15 minutes to get to the nearest grocery store and have that be the de facto choice for groceries. Different strokes...
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:40 PM   #49
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However that experience doesn't seem to jive with what I experience living in the city (not DC admittedly - thank goodness!).
Uh, Fuego, I suspect you speak from ignorance . I have lived in DC in a Capitol Hill row house for almost 30 years. I love it and plan to spend my ER years right here.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:07 PM   #50
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Uh, Fuego, I suspect you speak from ignorance . I have lived in DC in a Capitol Hill row house for almost 30 years. I love it and plan to spend my ER years right here.
I am sure it is from ignorance! I have only driven around downtown DC a few times, and once I was in downtown around the Capitol, it wasn't bad at all. Maybe the hours of sitting on I-95 very close to DC is was left me permanently scarred!
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:24 PM   #51
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I did the long-distance commute from the exurbs of DC and I probably lost a year's time on I-95. I now have a 30 second walking commute in Arlington Virginia. We're empty nesters and the long-distance commute was ostensibly done our children, though I'm not sure that was really ideal for all of us. (My adult children now claim they would have flourished much more by living in an inner suburb or urban environment in contrast to the rural, exurb area they spent most of their childhood, but I think it safe to say that it's hard to argue against our initial decision to provide what we thought was the safest environment for our children. And they grew up fine.)

I believe I'm in an ideal area; I'm 100 yards from the Metro; I walk to work; I can walk to grocery shopping (Giants, Wholefoods and Traders), the library, my doctors and dentist are a 2 minute walk away from me, and I rarely have to use the car to get around unless I want to go to a different Starbucks or Movie theatre than the ones within 15 minutes walking time from me. However, I miss the privacy afforded by living in a single family house with ample space between neighbors. And I miss the ability to sit out on a big porch to take in fresh air and I miss doing a little gardening on a decent sized lot. The available housing stock for SFHs with ample space and room in Arlington is just too prohibitive for us.

I think the article comports with my understanding of how things will play out in the future. The current economic situation is killing housing in my exurb; and I don't believe housing has hit rock bottom yet; unemployment is very high in local economy in the exurbs and not many people want to do the long-distance commute unless affordable housing is lacking in the closer-in suburbs. It's funny but I think this recession has made housing more affordable to middle-income wage earners than prior private sector and governmental policies, if you have stable employment.

I think the wave of the future lies in smart growth development like the Rosyln-Ballston corridor in Arlington and the new development taking place in Tysons Corner, where multiple work-life high density residential and commercial projects will converge with good mass transit. I suspect we'll see more of this type of smart growth.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:14 PM   #52
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The gas was market priced, no one or thing subsidized it. The official name of the interstate system, the "Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways" clearly shows it was all about allowing suburbs to be built.
But they didn't allow the gas tax to keep pace with the increased costs of road maintenance and construction, so eventually cities, counties and states had to start using general sales and income tax money to subsidize road projects that were needed to maintain a functioning suburban/exurban infrastructure, money that came from everyone, not just the drivers. I distinctly remember several sales tax initiatives in California which raised general sales taxes primarily to build and upgrade the ability of people to get from the suburban/residential areas to the cities and job centers.

Add to that federal money that sometimes goes to states and localities for these projects, and I stand by my point: Suburban life is subsidized. I'm not necessarily saying that's a horrible thing, but I do know the S-word has a negative connotation to many folks.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:30 PM   #53
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Subsidized or not, suburbs among other phenomena were largely made possible by very cheap oil for many decades. Cheap oil won't go on indefinitely...
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:48 AM   #54
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True, interstates have crash rates and fatality rates around half of non-limited access surface streets in general. However crash rates go up during rush hour, when most of us commute to work. And the most deadly roads (measured in fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled) are suburban and rural secondary roads. Guess which roads you have to take to get from the interstate to your fringe suburb neighborhoods?

We could get into a very detailed analysis of exact breakdown of vehicle miles traveled by city vs fringe suburb residents at different times of day and come up with some comparison of fatality rates. But I think my point holds that the risk of dying in a car crash due to having to drive a long way outweighs the risk of death due to crime that comes from living in a gentrifying neighborhood. I want to maximize my safety to the extent possible, and the stats, to me at least, says minimizing driving will keep you alive better than worrying about crime (assuming you don't live in the middle of a gang warfare shooting range drive by zone).

I think that the death rate is very minor in either situation, so I would ignore it in my decision...

However, the robbery or theft rates are very different.... in my mom's old neighborhood it was pretty common to see a neighbor's house or car broken into or stolen... there was one time when her neighbor complained because his house had been broken into three times in three years and ours had not been robbed once... (we did get robbed the next year)....

Where I live now, it is unusual to have more than one house or car broken into or stolen a month... for a big neighborhood...

The other thing is that you would NOT go out walking in the evening at the old place... you would pass drug dealers selling their products and it was not safe... now where I live, you can go out at almost any time and feel safe....
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:07 AM   #55
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I think that the death rate is very minor in either situation, so I would ignore it in my decision...

However, the robbery or theft rates are very different.... in my mom's old neighborhood it was pretty common to see a neighbor's house or car broken into or stolen... there was one time when her neighbor complained because his house had been broken into three times in three years and ours had not been robbed once... (we did get robbed the next year)....
What you are describing is not just an urban neighborhood, it is a bad neighborhood. True there are more bad neighborhoods in many cities than in their suburbs. But these are separate issues.

Ha
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:12 PM   #56
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I think that the death rate is very minor in either situation, so I would ignore it in my decision...

However, the robbery or theft rates are very different.... in my mom's old neighborhood it was pretty common to see a neighbor's house or car broken into or stolen... there was one time when her neighbor complained because his house had been broken into three times in three years and ours had not been robbed once... (we did get robbed the next year)....

Where I live now, it is unusual to have more than one house or car broken into or stolen a month... for a big neighborhood...

The other thing is that you would NOT go out walking in the evening at the old place... you would pass drug dealers selling their products and it was not safe... now where I live, you can go out at almost any time and feel safe....
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What you are describing is not just an urban neighborhood, it is a bad neighborhood. True there are more bad neighborhoods in many cities than in their suburbs. But these are separate issues.

Ha
I was just pointing out the death risk as an example. Injury and property damage to your own car, and major liability to other drivers are also big concerns when you drive a long way to get to where you are going (work, school, shopping, social, etc).

And I think Ha illustrates what I am talking about well. Urban neighborhood doesn't mean bad neighborhood, even though that is the pattern in most cities where suburban flight has caused the inner cities to turn to deserts of poverty.

I am not proposing living in the ghetto if that is what city living means. Just saying I would trade a lot of driving (more than an hour a day) for a close in neighborhood that has a slightly elevated crime rate. But I would never put myself in a position of significant risk by living in a bad neighborhood. Crime happens regardless of where you live, and fancy houses with nice stuff inside are more lucrative targets than smaller older houses in lower income areas.
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:20 PM   #57
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...media reports about the “death” of fringe suburbs seem to be more a matter of wishful thinking than fact.

Is Suburbia Doomed? Not So Fast. | Newgeography.com

...cars let us escape with our lives. We’re way the heck out here in Valley Bottom Heights and Trout Antler Estates because we were at war with the cities.

The End of Our Love Affair with Cars - WSJ.com
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:30 PM   #58
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Crime may be off-topic a little, but I think it is the limiting factor on urban revitalization in many areas. Until crime in most urban areas is under control, I cannot live there. I hate that, because sometimes the bad neighborhoods are full of small, inexpensive, charming older homes that are most suited to a single person.

Right now we live in an inner suburb, one of the oldest suburbs of New Orleans, and Frank and I are only about 1 and 2 miles from the city respectively. My neighborhood is probably as low crime as we have in the relatively high crime New Orleans metro area. Still, I do not feel comfortable leaving the house or driving after dark.

In cities where crime is under control, I can certainly see the attraction of living in the city.
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:31 PM   #59
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...media reports about the “death” of fringe suburbs seem to be more a matter of wishful thinking than fact.
The 2010 census doesn't tell us anything new. We're looking into our crystal balls here.

It's cloudy...wait, it's clearing up. I see the rising price of oil causing a fundamental shift in the suburbs and how we live. Even with telecommuting, moving goods to small enclaves will be cost prohibitive. The cost of living in the burbs will rise and people will have to make hard choices.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:07 PM   #60
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Crime may be off-topic a little, but I think it is the limiting factor on urban revitalization in many areas. Until crime in most urban areas is under control, I cannot live there. I hate that, because sometimes the bad neighborhoods are full of small, inexpensive, charming older homes that are most suited to a single person.

Right now we live in an inner suburb, one of the oldest suburbs of New Orleans, and Frank and I are only about 1 and 2 miles from the city respectively. My neighborhood is probably as low crime as we have in the relatively high crime New Orleans metro area. Still, I do not feel comfortable leaving the house or driving after dark.

In cities where crime is under control, I can certainly see the attraction of living in the city.
All our unique experiences and varies locations of nearby metros definitely affect our thought process. To a life long rural, small town person, like myself, W2R, I would think your location would be right in the city! I know that is wrong obviously. A lot of rural people like myself, tend to lump the metro area into the proper city, even though that is not the case. But, I guess suburbian people can sometimes think this way, too. I recently read an editorial in the paper concerning the economic decline of certain areas in the city of St. Louis. The writer commented that the problem wont change until people from the suburbs wont get over their ridiculous fear of getting shot, at 2 oclock on a tuesday afternoon in the city (they were referring to good areas, not bad, as many misinformed people tend to lump them all together).
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