[LMB] Re: OT: Cars. etc.

Scott Raun sraun at fireopal.org
Mon, 24 Nov 2003 23:30:50 -0600

On Mon, Nov 24, 2003 at 10:16:19PM -0500, CatMtn at aol.com wrote:
> That's nice for you city folks, but us country people gotta have our
> wheels when the nearest grocery store is 10 miles away, and there
> isn't a bus, cab, or trolley within 20 miles or so.

<insert suburbia rant>

IMAO, modern America is nearly incapable of designing new living areas
that do NOT require a car!  There are two exceptions - I've seen some
plans (I think out of the Pacific NW) that called for a long, thin
city, with train-based transportation running neighborhood center to
neighborhood center, with a central shopping / socializing /
etc. area, and all living space within walking distance.  Never heard
how that turned out.  The other exception is senior housing.

However, if you want to raise a kid in most of the country, you're
going to end up doing it in Suburbia.  No sidewalks - the kid plays on
the lawn, and either walks across your neighbor's lawn, or in the
street.  Need to buy groceries?  If you are REALLY lucky, there's a
gas station / convenience store within a mile or so.  Otherwise, plan
on driving - ditto for just about everything else you need.

A car is not a luxury in modern America, it is practically a
necessity!  I've tried to set up a lifestyle that doesn't require a
car in Minneapolis - it can only be done if you get VERY lucky with
your job hunt.  Public transportation in Minneapolis / St. Paul is
designed to get you from the suburbs to the city center in the
morning, and back out in the late afternoon / early evening - with a
very few routes that run extended hours.  The late buses either run
within 5, MAYBE 10, miles of city center, or else they run from city
center to the airport and the Mall of America.

Yeah, the buses get cut because they don't get the riders.  But we
don't build with sufficient density that the buses can reasonably GET
the riders, for anything other than those few routes.

<end suburbia rant>

Scott Raun
sraun at fireopal.org