Bunk. I work 1 week a month in Atlanta and even the people who empty the trash and make your coffee drive themselves to work in their own cars. I ride the MARTA and it's barely used, much less full at capacity. I'm not holding Atlanta up as a shining example of a well organized city, or even one that has "good" traffic (If there is even such a thing) but it being a physical impossibility for everyone to drive to work is bunk. Here is what happens instead: Ghettos. Interspersed between the rich parts of town and filling in corners between interstates and parks there are small and medium sized pits of despair, leftovers from 50 and 60 years ago that are decrepit, ill serviced by police or fire and not even driven through at night no matter what your GPS says. But they are close to the service jobs and populated by the blue collar and immigrant classes. The elites live 20 miles away on the verge of green grass and plenty of strip malls, but they drive 40-60 minutes in to the city center to work. Others live 5 minutes away in the old city of brownstones and park-front condo-ized turn of the century apartments and trade their commute for $6000 mortgage payments. But the blue collar workers drive 10 minutes from their slumlord shacks to their jobs and back home again.
You just have to get out of the idea that office buildings should be clustered in the city center and factories need to be clustered around them and then the houses have to be even further out. That's what kills your soul. There is no reason any more for the banks to be near the insurance companies and the modern EPA does a pretty good job of keeping smokestacks from being too odorous for the neighbors. Let zoning break up big cities into smaller 20-50k family unit sized chunks of blue and white collar jobs and housing and don't freak if someone wants to put up a skyscraper where you can see it from your house. Then people can be near their jobs and not have to fight every other soul to squeeze onto the same transportation artery within 15 minutes of each other.
You just have to get out of the idea that office buildings should be clustered in the city center and factories need to be clustered around them and then the houses have to be even further out. That's what kills your soul.
World's oldest existing balloon aerial. Boston Harbor, 1860-10-13.
One of my great, great, great grandfathers built the rail line to the sleepy hamlet I inhabit - (photo), (obit) - and by 1860, it rivaled the present day commute into the SHITHOLE above. There's 160 yrs of progress, huh? The track still exists but for all practical purposes, it's limited to hauling trash off Cape Cod and the islands. There's no bus service, either.
I hailed a cab home last week (please don't ask why) and the fare was $160, not including tip.
Last edited by choad (2018-01-28 20:34:19)
There's 160 yrs of progress, huh?
It made some sense 100+ years ago to live further away if you wanted to be free of the smell of burning sulfur from boiler-room coal furnaces and away from the wash of heavy metals and other assorted poisons that pervaded the manufactories of the time. Let your kids play where grass grew and you could see the sun without the smokey haze. But kids don't play outside any more and there is often more public grass in the city these days than in the 'burbs.
Now drive through a modern industrial park with your windows down and you don't smell much, their runoff isn't flowing down the gutter past your front door and the biggest social friction comes from the legions of trucks that service industry. I get more disgusted being down wind of a KFC than a factory or office building. Everyone now lives in air conditioned splendor behind double insulated windows and if something bothers them they just turn up the volume on the idiot box. So why not let houses be in the shadow of the jobs instead of building cities like giant donuts?
There's a difference between factories and foundries. It was not unusual at all to live near the Ford or Chevy plant, if you were lucky enough to have one, or near factories or warehouses. Nobody wanted to live anywhere near the steel mills or foundries. Zoning laws, especially in the 'burbs, helped put the kibosh on living near your job and so led the nickname "bedroom communities".
Now we're seeing downtown areas become revitalized as younger professionals who work downtown are moving into newly developed high-rise apartments and condos. I remember being in Vancouver about 10 years ago and the entire downtown area looked like some post-apocalyptic scene with dozens of high-rises in various stages of construction at the same time. We were told that they were all going to be living spaces.
Now if they could only overcome the NIMBY crowd and let them build those high rises out in the 'burbs so you can ride the elevator to work instead of the train, it would be great. It's not like you need your company to be situated near the main rail trunk or on the harbor when 99% of the raw materials of the new economy flows in and out on a glass fiber.
After a certain point in our lives most of use crave the quieter and more stable life style provided by the 'burbs or rural towns. The Hive People can go elsewhere and leave us alone. We'll take the longer commute to have the weekends with our little parcel of land that is our own.
Effective light rail and well designed roads will keep us happy since we don't actually have to go to the office in this fiber broadband world of ours...