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Urban/Suburban and Transit Development

 
 
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 12:21 am
I'm interested in learning about the places people live and about how they feel on their community in regards to civic planning.

1) Where do you live? (city, urban area or suburban area, rural area)
2) Describe your neighborhood. (parks, schools, libraries, etc)
3) What types of businesses are within your pedestrian range (walking or bicycling)?
4) What types of recreational places are within your pedestrian range?
5) Describe the public transportation options you have in your neighborhood and what other areas they grant access to.
6) How far is your commute to work? How do you commute? How long does it take?

I'm interested in knowing what kinds of things you'd like to see in your community as well.

A
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 12:23 am
@failures art,
Hah, a subject of interest -

I'll be back and nasty, or at least grumpy.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 03:50 pm
@failures art,
I'll answer my own question to kick things off a little more.
failures art wrote:

1) Where do you live? (city, urban area or suburban area, rural area)

I live in greater Washington, DC. I live in the suburb of Falls Church, VA specifically. Being that the Metropolitan area of Washington enters two states and the district itself, being a Northern Virginian Washingtonian is into itself a characteristic.

failures art wrote:

2) Describe your neighborhood. (parks, schools, libraries, etc)

It's kind of like a village of sorts. There is definitely a main street. A few historical sites here since it was founded in 1699. About 6 small parks within a 3 mile radius. I know of a two elementary schools, and one high school in close proximity.

failures art wrote:

3) What types of businesses are within your pedestrian range (walking or bicycling)?

The area definitely has a local commercial street. Mostly street-side restaurants and some small retailers. Of special note, there is a locally owned hardware store here. That seems pretty rare these days. The restaurants reflect some of the local ethnic groups that have large nearby communities, namely: Peruvian, Salvadorian, Thai, and Vietnamese.

failures art wrote:

4) What types of recreational places are within your pedestrian range?

A bowling alley, the parks I mentioned before, a few good bars, an old theater that serves as a local music venue, a store that does free wine tastings, a small skateboard park.

failures art wrote:

5) Describe the public transportation options you have in your neighborhood and what other areas they grant access to.

I live 1.4 miles from the nearest METRO station. train fares are based on how far you travel. There is bus service between my apartment and there. There are two bus systems. The first is the METRO bus which costs $1.15 per ride, but also there is a smaller route bus called the GEORGE with services only Falls Church, and it only costs $25 to ride (funded by a local tax).

failures art wrote:

6) How far is your commute to work? How do you commute? How long does it take?

The round trip to work and back is 32 miles per day. I commute by car. The trip takes anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes one way.

failures art wrote:

I'm interested in knowing what kinds of things you'd like to see in your community as well.

I'd like to see more METRO trains in VA neighborhoods and smarter commercial areas established by the existing stops. I'd like to see pedestrian areas of interest tying neighborhoods together, and not more parking lots and strip malls.It would be nice if the park & ride lots were transformed into commercial blocks for small businesses and the surrounding real estate was developed into higher density housing.

A
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talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 04:48 pm
@failures art,
I visited Washington, BC on a conference. I was surprised to see concrete blocks around the White House to prevent car bombs. I drove along the beltway and may have gotten lost as I seem to go around it twice.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 05:24 pm
@failures art,
I love this arbitrary collection of information. Very Happy


1) Where do you live? Astoria, Queens is considered an urban neigborhood.
2) Describe your neighborhood: I live in a relatively quiet residential street. Traffic on my street is virtually nonexistent in the evening or weekends. I live 2 (long) blocks away from the Queens Public Library. Several public schools in the area. The nearest school is where the election booths are for the neighborhood.

I live (according to Google Maps) about 1.5 miles away from Astoria Park which is on the NW corner of the Queens borough. Never been there though its easily accessible by walking.

3) What types of businesses are within your pedestrian range?[/color]
Convenient stores: Less then 2 minutes away from a Duane Reade.
Grocery stores: Within 2 minutes walk (actually slightly less), 2 grocery stores. A 10 minutes walk brings me to a 24 hour grocery store.
There are restaurants and main stores are on Steinway St. and 30th Ave. and Broadway.
The Big 3 burger joint franchises, several pizza joints, countless bakeries, etc....
4) What types of recreational places are within your pedestrian range?
A megaplex cinema is less then 10 minutes away, a pool hall, several clubs and bars, a karaoke bar, and 3 gyms (at least 1 with a pool).
5) Describe the public transportation options: The MTA is quite accessible where I live. I live 5 minutes away from the R and M Steinway St. stop. A 10 to 12 minute walk west and I can get the N and Q train.

There are dozens of Queen and Brooklyn bound buses though to be honest I don't use them on a regular business. I think I used them about four times while living in this neighborhood ... going on 4 years.

By bus or taxi, I am about 15 minutes from LaGuardia airport.
10
6) How far is your commute to work? How do you commute? How long does it take?
I take the M train or the E train and it takes about 35 minutes when I leave my door, walking to the train and from the train to the front door of my office building.

I'm interested in knowing what kinds of things you'd like to see in your community as well.

More public sitting areas. In Manhattan, there are plenty of minipublic parks where one can sit on benches under tree cover, eat lunch, and read.

0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 05:31 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

but also there is a smaller route bus called the GEORGE with services only Falls Church, and it only costs $25 to ride (funded by a local tax).

I hope this is a typo. 25 dollars for the bus is a bit too expensive! Is it supposed to be a quarter?
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 05:41 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

I'm interested in learning about the places people live and about how they feel on their community in regards to civic planning.




1) Where do you live? (city, urban area or suburban area, rural area)
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.


0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 06:06 pm
Quote:
1) Where do you live? (city, urban area or suburban area, rural area)


Small city (Madison, WI, USA), 20 or 30 minute walk to city center.

Quote:
2) Describe your neighborhood. (parks, schools, libraries, etc)


Two cemeteries across the street. 300 yards from bike path. Bar and coffee shop two blocks away. Large wooded park with trails and fire pits a 10 minute walk up the hill. Large public high school up the block, grade school down the road. Post-war tract housing in my immediate neighborhood, an interesting and attractive assortment of Prairie and Craftsman derived architecture up the hill (and up the tax bracket).

Quote:
3) What types of businesses are within your pedestrian range (walking or bicycling)?


By foot: bar, coffee shop, several restaurants, regular-folk grocery store, specialty food and wine shop, insurance and brokerage offices, and a mall with a state-of-the-art movie theater, excellent sushi, and a few other restaurants, a high end grocery store, a local brewery outlet/pub, university bookstore. By bike -- well, my city is very well linked for bikes, and I can get to pretty much anything you can think of in 15 minutes on bike.

Quote:
4) What types of recreational places are within your pedestrian range?


Bar, coffee shop, bike path, restaurants, tennis court, basketball court.

Quote:
5) Describe the public transportation options you have in your neighborhood and what other areas they grant access to.


Bus, bike, car. That's all we've got here.

Quote:
6) How far is your commute to work? How do you commute? How long does it take?


10 miles to the very edge of the other side of town, takes 15-30 minutes by car, depending on traffic. About 12 miles by bike, takes me about 40-45 minutes if I work up a sweat.

Quote:
I'm interested in knowing what kinds of things you'd like to see in your community as well.


Well, we just got approval for high speed rail links to Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, and I'm stoked about that -- though I might move away before I get a chance to use it. My immediate neighborhood could really, really use a small corner grocery and liquor store. A little bakery nearby recently went out of business, and that location would be perfect for said enterprise. I got spoiled by this in Santa Cruz, Chicago, and Seattle, and haven't had it anywhere I've lived in Madison (last house had a cafe up the street that almost fit the bill). Otherwise, I'm very happy with what we've got -- which is why we bought a house here, I suppose. Close to downtown, but also at the edge of a large wooded park, good schools, excellent access on foot or bike, attractive homes, mature trees. It's nothing glamorous, but ours is the only neighborhood in the county where home prices haven't gone down since the economy went in the shitter, which I think says a lot about quality of life in our tiny corner off the world. About the only other thing I'd change is the grading/drainage of our property, which is pretty much a puddle during the thaw.

Oh, and there's no chain fast food within at least 2 miles, which I think is way cool.
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 06:15 pm
@patiodog,
So how does it feel to live in the city that founded the greatest newspaper in the history of the medium ... The Onion? Very Happy
http://media.www.spectatornews.com/media/storage/paper218/news/2007/02/08/Showcase/Layers.Of.The.Onion-2706494.shtml
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 06:18 pm
@tsarstepan,
$0.25

A
Really expensive... oops.
T
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 06:21 pm
I'm having some flashes of envy here... both re Pdog's area and Tsar's, and, of course, F'art's.

I'll probably write up my Eureka and Venice neighborhoods too, but not today.
farmerman
 
  4  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 06:27 pm
@failures art,
Quote:
1) Where do you live? (city, urban area or suburban area, rural area)I live in a very rural area but within 45 minutes of a moderate size urban area
2) Describe your neighborhood. (parks, schools, libraries, etc)my area has mostly farms and woodland with two Amish schools within a two mile radius of each other
3) What types of businesses are within your pedestrian range (walking or bicycling)?farming and some horse shoeing and blacksmithing
4) What types of recreational places are within your pedestrian range? many city folks use our area as a destination for hiking or biking on weekends. I have access to a nice stream and a few ponds for fishing
5) Describe the public transportation options you have in your neighborhood and what other areas they grant access to.NONE
6) How far is your commute to work? How do you commute? How long does it take? anywhere from zero time (I can work virtually) to about 45 minutes to our actual office and another 2 hours to the core and rock lab


I have no desire to change anything. I live here by choice. For 25 years I was travelling all over the world for a company that meant a daily commute of two hours to Princeton NJ if I wasnt otherwise travelling. NOPE, I live in the midst of "preserved" farms which means that we have signed covenants not to develop and for that covenant we were payed a per acre "open space" payment. The amounts payed for several farms adjacent to each other has amounted to about 12K per acre (3K) if there were only one farm 25 Acres or larger. I live in a cluster of about 1500 acres of preserved farms and more are in line to be contiguous preservers.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 06:49 pm
@farmerman,
Do you live anywhere near Pittsburgh FM? I love Downtown Pittsburgh and the area around the University of Pittsburgh. What a great city.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 07:28 pm
@failures art,
1) Where do you live? (city, urban area or suburban area, rural area)
Cairns (160,000 peeps) in the burbs it's a remote regional city in the tropics of far north queensland.

2) Describe your neighborhood. (parks, schools, libraries, etc)
There's a big park with a circular paved track around it about 6 houses away. The nearest school is about 3km. I can see Walsh's Pyramid from my back balcony and moutains rise up from my suburbs west about 500 meters away. There are a couple of rainforest-lined creeks running through. The nearest library branch is probably 4km away.

3) What types of businesses are within your pedestrian range (walking or bicycling)?

The local shops (150m) have a liquor store, an IGA (grocer), and combine Thai/Australian (hamburgers and fish and chips) takeaway. About 2km away is a larger shopping centre with another grocer, liquor store and thai takeaway, but also some govt shopfronts, a baker, a butcher and a newsagent. In the opposite direction about 3km is a small 'mall' with a chemist (drugstore) hairdresser, clothes shops, large grocer, chicken shop, baker, florist, post office, bank, green grocer, takeaway food joints video hire et al.

4) What types of recreational places are within your pedestrian range?
Bugger all unless you think churches are recreational. There is a public swimming pool about 5 km away (cycling distance). Oh yeah there are three pubs within a 4km radius. Oh yeah there is gymnastics club and an indoor sports facility quite close.

5) Describe the public transportation options you have in your neighborhood and what other areas they grant access to.
There is a bus stop close but they are slow and sparse.

6) How far is your commute to work? How do you commute? How long does it take?

I work 30 km away, it's just over 30 minutes drive. Sometimes I drive half way and ride the rest which makes the entire journey one way about 45 minutes.

What I'd love in this region?
An independent cinema
A proper dog exercise area (fenced with obstacles)
A decent restaurant closer than 15 km away.
A pub that wasn't washed out with a hose each morning.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 03:50 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

I'm having some flashes of envy here... both re Pdog's area and Tsar's, and, of course, F'art's.

I'll probably write up my Eureka and Venice neighborhoods too, but not today.

I have envy of my girlfirend's neighborhood. I think when my lease is up on my apartment I'll move in district to her area or we'll get a place together.

A
R
T
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 04:54 pm
@failures art,
Sounds good. I don't know Washington well, though I lived there as a five year old, and spent a good week there twenty years ago. My niece may end up going to Howard, so then I'd be visiting her at some point, fun for both of us if it happens. We always have good long walks and talks.

I did study the layout of the city, back in my school days...

Which brings up, has anyone here ever lived in Moscow? I've just finished reading an eye opening article about Moscow's traffic insanity combined with city design, in the New Yorker. Ai yi yi, do they need planners, someone besides the mayor. Here's the abstract -
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/02/100802fa_fact_gessen
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 05:54 pm
@failures art,
Quote:
I'm interested in learning about the places people live and about how they feel on their community in regards to civic planning.

1) Where do you live? (city, urban area or suburban area, rural area)
2) Describe your neighborhood. (parks, schools, libraries, etc)
3) What types of businesses are within your pedestrian range (walking or bicycling)?
4) What types of recreational places are within your pedestrian range?
5) Describe the public transportation options you have in your neighborhood and what other areas they grant access to.
6) How far is your commute to work? How do you commute? How long does it take?

I'm interested in knowing what kinds of things you'd like to see in your community as well.


1) Urban (what's the diff between city and urban?)

2) Residential neighborhood. We have a Swiss Consulate nearby, a beautiful and new public library, a high school which shares it's athletic facilities with the townies, a variety of parks (kid, dog, general), and a couple of Ivy League universities, more higher-level ed facilities...

3) I can easily get to pharmacies, liquor stores, restaurants, cafes, thrift stores, boutiques, bookstores, banks, mechanic, bars, music venues, doctor offices, hospital complexes, farmer markets, urban markets (pricey). Slightly farther away (bike?) are major grocery stores, malls with department stores...

4) Rec Facilities - high school as stated above, YMCA, sailing on the Charles, Esplanade, tennis and basketball courts, museums (art, historical, natural, etc) - lots of movie theaters (indie close to and megaplex by bus).

5) Bus, subway, trains and ferry routes (is 'public' limited to state run?)- all of Boston, sports arenas, harbor islands, conservation areas, major hospitals, more colleges and universities, historical towns and sites, more parks, zoo....

6) My commute is around 14 miles. I drive a reverse commute. It takes about 30 minutes, but the subway would take more than 1 hour.

We have lost a lot of good businesses in the last 10 years. We have one local laundry mat Used to have more), one main CVS (used to have one at the end of my street), too little competition in mid-sized groceries (hence the $$$$ rating of the one nearby). We still have good independent bookstores, but indie music, movie rental, etc places are lacking. Harvard U owns a LOT of Cambridge and rents for businesses are unbearable, so old establishments leave and new ones don't stay around for long.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 07:15 pm
@littlek,
City is perhaps tall apartment and condominium buildings like Manhattan and urban is just high population density residential areas that are on the outskirts of the heart of cities?
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 07:18 pm
@littlek,
Thanks for inadvertently reminding me ... I would love to see either an independent or big chain book store in Astoria. The closer to my house the better.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 07:25 pm
@tsarstepan,
I consider those both cities.

Which brings up the book, Design of Cities, by Edmund Bacon, an elder relative of the actor. Major book for me. There was later a tv series based on it (a riff, of sorts), with various authors talking about their cities: Ustinov in then Leningrad, Burgess in Rome, Glenn Gould in Toronto, Germaine Greer in Sydney. I didn't see the whole series. I might kill to see it now. (It was on the Discovery Chanel, probably in the early eighties).

http://www.amazon.com/Design-Cities-Revised-Penguin-Books/dp/0140042369

I dunno about the revised book, am confident I read the original.
Ok, semi confident. The one I read had good diagrams..
0 Replies
 
 

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