failures art wrote:
1) Where do you live? (city, urban area or suburban area, rural area)
I'm interested in learning about the places people live and about how they feel on their community in regards to civic planning.
I live at a natural edge (the petroglyphs) of the city of Albuquerque, which has a 500,000 population. My neighborhood is a development of one or two story duplexes.
I chose it incorrectly, buying in a bit of a hurry after having put a bid on a house in a neighborhood that was more to my liking and then deciding against that house. (I was staying at friends, and was trying not to overstay.)
Not to whine, as I like my little enclave of neighbors - it's just waaaaay in the wrong place.
2) Describe your neighborhood. (parks, schools, libraries, etc)
It's about two miles to a library, 1 miles to a school, three blocks to a small park, with unfortunate bus service 2x a day for commuters (stops a mile or so away). The bus system was bad news; I had checked the routes before the house purchase went through, but stupidly didn't check the schedules.
3) What types of businesses are within your pedestrian range (walking or bicycling)?
grocery store/drugstore 1 mile (+). I don't bicycle, and the walk is not great in a lot of our weather.
4) What types of recreational places are within your pedestrian range?
I could walk to the petroglyphs trails, but then walking on them is hard for me now, with some of my equilibration in space issues (eyes). Regular old neighborhood walking is more doable. There's some sort of exercise business (hesitate to call it a gym) at probably 2 miles away. There's a golf course, but baby doesn't do golf.
5) Describe the public transportation options you have in your neighborhood and what other areas they grant access to.
See number 2. The bus will go all the way to Old Town Abq and the University, but at only at 7 a.m. and return around 5 pm. As I said, commuter.
There is some sort of van pickup system for disabled seniors, but I don't rank myself there yet.
6) How far is your commute to work? How do you commute? How long does it take?
I'm retired at this point.
I'm interested in knowing what kinds of things you'd like to see in your community as well.
Well, you wouldn't think someone with landscape architecture and planning on her old business cards would have chosen so dumbly. All I can say is I bought too fast, but that's a poor excuse. I have had a decades long bias against housing tracts (though not all), am a very urban type. What was I thinking?
It turns out that Albuquerque has had what seems lackadaisical planning at the city level. There are near endless swaths of housing tracks, with the tracks not easily traversed from one to another. For example, there's no way I can just walk to Dys and Diane's house, which is not all that far as the crow flies, because there's no paved access way. If I had the power, I'd change that.
There are few, if any at all, mixed use areas in the city proper. If I had the power, I'd change the zoning so that some housing property could be changed (buy and move some houses) and some small piazza like spots could be dotted around, as part of the weave of the neighborhoods... a cafe, a bakery, a small market, a patio for walkers to sit and talk.
Further on mixed use construction, I'd have any new neighborhoods much more integrated with small business clusters, and, make the neighborhoods in general much more pedestrian friendly. This is a pet peeve of mine; I've gone on for years about my interest in what I call pedestrian culture.
My side of the river (Rio Grande) is of low charm commercially. I don't think income levels are much different than a lot of the rest of the city, but we are not the area where someone would open an interesting shop. Well, there was one, a good little cafe with a 'gift shop' area, but it's alone in a sea of chain stores. I think we need some artists/entrepreneurs to bring a little style and verve around here.
Obviously, I'd change the bus system. What we have now is an immense amount of housing - miles and miles - where people must use their cars most of the time to get anywhere. Even if I did walk a few miles to the "better" shopping strip, I'd still have to cross Coors Blvd, a high speed street no matter what the signs say, on foot, which isn't easy. Last time I did that, I had to jog across and still barely made it in the time the traffic light gave me to cross.
On a more particular level, I'd have housing construction more closely monitored by whatever the building and safety department is here. Lots of goofy mistakes we missed in my own neighborhood... at the least, contractors should be tested to see if they understand grading and drainage.