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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 3:39 PM
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In Defense of the Urban Freeway

In Defense of the Urban Freeway


APRIL 2016

BY WILLIAM FULTON



Read More: http://www.governing.com/columns/urb...n-freeway.html

Quote:
.....

We’re getting used to the idea that people want to live at the center of American cities, where they don’t have to rely as much on their cars and have ready access to culture, sports, food, entertainment and, yes, jobs. But one trend that’s been overlooked is the reverse commute. Many of the people who choose to live downtown actually work in the suburbs. And, ironically, it’s the much-maligned urban freeway system that makes this lifestyle possible.

- Urban freeways are often blamed for dividing and damaging urban neighborhoods, especially in poor and minority areas. There’s a growing movement to tear them down and replace them with surface streets. --- But our urban freeway systems are one of the drivers of today’s urban renaissance. They originally plowed through city neighborhoods to make it easy for suburban commuters to get to jobs in downtown areas. Now they make it easy for commuters to get out. And that’s helping fuel the downtown housing boom.

- In San Diego, for example, close to 50,000 people now live downtown, and that number is growing fast. But the number of people who work downtown is holding steady at around 60,000. There is even some concern that that number will decline as more jobs move to suburban job centers. It’s housing, not jobs, that’s driving downtown San Diego’s success. The same is true in other cities as well. If these housing markets had to depend on downtown job opportunities, there’d be much less construction.

- At the same time, these suburban job centers are becoming denser. Think of the Galleria, or Century City in Los Angeles, or Tysons Corner in Northern Virginia. Someday all these centers will likely not only be well served by freeways but by transit too. Tysons already is, Century City may soon have the “Subway to the Sea” and a potential light rail line to the Galleria is a perpetual topic of controversy in Houston. Until then, the freeways are a lifeline to and from downtowns.

.....
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 6:03 PM
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The solution to this is not urban freeways, it's re-locating commercial activity from the suburbs to the city. Turn those corporate campuses into ghost towns and build more office towers near commuter rail stations.
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 6:13 PM
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So long as the cities have decent commuter rail and or mass transit service available in the first place.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 6:28 PM
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I think the article misses the point a little. We do need urban freeways coming into and out of the city but we don't need them crossing or transiting the city. The reason for that is that most of what we city dwellers eat and buy has to be brought into the city for us . . . on freeways mostly (in some places, sometimes by rail). And when we want to leave the city, for recreation or whatever purposes, the idea of having to do so on mile after mile of unlimited access suburban surface streets to get to the country is off-putting.

On the other hand, freeways intended more to carry people "just passing through" should not--they should go around. Most freeways should end a few miles inside the city line (if not at it). City neighborhoods should not be cut off from one another by freeways, even if those are elevated (providing dark cavernous spaces underneath that too often become homeless encampments or good rain-free places for hookers to congregate).
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 7:38 PM
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i know people who reverse on metra
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 8:13 PM
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Originally Posted by maru2501 View Post
i know people who reverse on metra
Right. But that only works if your place of work is near a suburban Metra station, and not in the middle of 300 acres of parking somewhere along I-94.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 8:21 PM
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But that only works if your place of work is near a suburban Metra station, and not in the middle of 300 acres of parking somewhere along I-94.
not necessarily.

my cousin lives downtown and reverse commutes via metra up to her job at Discover in riverwoods (lake county) once or twice a week (she telecommutes the other days).

discover runs a shuttle from the lake-cook stop on the MD-N metra line straight to their corporate campus for their metra commuters.

my cousin says that it works pretty well because the shuttle is exclusively timed for metra riders, so if a train is late, the shuttle waits.

i'm pretty sure that walgreen's, baxter, mondelez and the others up that way do the same.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 8:35 PM
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Interesting. Still seems like it would make more sense for those companies to move downtown.
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 9:00 PM
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Still seems like it would make more sense for those companies to move downtown.
of course it would.

and some suburban companies have been relocating to downtown chicago, or at least opening satellite campuses downtown to attract young talent, but many of these 20th century corporate titan entities are still being run by dinosaur baby-boomers.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 9:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
The solution to this is not urban freeways, it's re-locating commercial activity from the suburbs to the city. Turn those corporate campuses into ghost towns and build more office towers near commuter rail stations.
Corporations don't want office towers. They want the campuses and are moving out of downtown skyscrapers left and right. Most of the largest companies have sprawling campuses; Apple, Google, ExxonMobil, etc.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 9:17 PM
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Corporations don't want office towers. They want the campuses and are moving out of downtown skyscrapers left and right.
Did you you just step out of a time machine from the 1990s?

The trend over the past decade or so in Chicagoland is 100% the exact opposite of that.

I mean, just last year McDonalds (fucking McDonalds, the goddamn alpha symbol of postwar suburban sprawl) announced they were moving their global HQ from suburban oak brook to chicago's west loop neighborhood. Their new downtown HQ is under construction right now.

And Google's Chicago office has also recently relocated in chicago's west loop neighborhood.



here's a list of chicagoland companies that have recently made the HQ move downtown from the burbs, or at least opened satellite offices downtown to attract young talent.

Company
Aon Corp.
Aryzta LLC
Assurance Agency Ltd.
AT&T
Bel Brands
BP Trading
Capital One Financial Group
Careerbuilder.com
Checkfree Electronic Commerce (dba Fiserv)
Chicago Office Technology Group
ConAgra
Flor
Gibbs & Soell
Gogo
Guggenheim
HealthSpring
IDEO
IfByPhone Inc.
Insight Global
John Crane Inc.
Legal & General Investment Management America
Maximus
McDonald's
Mead Johnson
Medix
Medline
Monitor Liability Managers (Berkley Insurance Co.)
Motorola Mobility
Motorola Solutions
Nokia Xpress Internet Service
OpinionLab
Presence Health
Reznick Group
Sara Lee
Sawdust Investments
SCOR
Silliker
SIM Partners
Spins
Stats
Sterling Partners
The Marketing Store
Thomson Reuters
Transystem Corp.
UHC
United Airlines
University Health Systems Consortium
Veolia
Walgreens
Warrantry Group
Willis Group Holdings

source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...htmlstory.html
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Apr 18, 2017 at 10:10 PM.
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 9:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Corporations don't want office towers. They want the campuses and are moving out of downtown skyscrapers left and right. Most of the largest companies have sprawling campuses; Apple, Google, ExxonMobil, etc.
Where on earth are you getting this from?

Google and Apple and all the tech companies were never in San Francisco, they've always had sprawling campuses in the suburban Santa Clara Valley. Google also has plenty of offices around the country in urban centers.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 9:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Corporations don't want office towers. They want the campuses and are moving out of downtown skyscrapers left and right. Most of the largest companies have sprawling campuses; Apple, Google, ExxonMobil, etc.
towers also aren't the only option for urban office space.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 9:36 PM
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Reverse-commuting on transit rarely works becuase bus schedules are written to push people to the core in the morning and to the suburbs in the late afternoon based on commuting patterns.

Even for places that work for that transit is rarely efficient running in both directions.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 9:48 PM
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
Where on earth are you getting this from?

Google and Apple and all the tech companies were never in San Francisco, they've always had sprawling campuses in the suburban Santa Clara Valley. Google also has plenty of offices around the country in urban centers.
Just watching what's going on where I live. ExxonMobil just finished building one of the largest corporate campuses in the country and completely vacated (and sold) their downtown offices. Obviously not everyone is moving to the suburbs (Steely's post) but many companies are locating to be closer to the bulk of their workforce as well as ability consolidate plus access to airports, etc. Shell is also vacating it's downtown HQ and moving to the suburbs. There are more medium sized companies/ accounting and law firms than the huge corporations in the CBD than there used to be.

Google, Apple, Facebook also could have relocated to SF and/or SJ if they wanted to but they obviously prefer their current location(s). Amazon is really the only tech giant that I know of with an urban presence. Even Microsoft is in suburban Seattle.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 9:56 PM
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^ It sounds like metro houston and chicagoland are on radically divergent trajectories as far as the geography of white collar employment goes.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Corporations don't want office towers. They want the campuses and are moving out of downtown skyscrapers left and right. Most of the largest companies have sprawling campuses; Apple, Google, ExxonMobil, etc.
Really, what planet are you living on. In any city with a good downtown and transit, locating downtown is an advantage for staff recruitment and retainage as well as the need for proximity in some fields.

Further, every downtown has smaller buildings along its periphery.
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by maru2501 View Post
i know people who reverse on metra
I "reversed" on BART for 4 years.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Google, Apple, Facebook also could have relocated to SF and/or SJ if they wanted to but they obviously prefer their current location(s). Amazon is really the only tech giant that I know of with an urban presence. Even Microsoft is in suburban Seattle.
Google, Apple, and Facebook are all locating in Downtown Seattle as well. Google has leased multiple buildings on the edge of Downtown that will have building permits possibly this month. Facebook has leased two buildings that are under construction near its other two buildings. Apple, Oracle, Twitter, Snap, HBO, and many others are in multi-tenant highrises.

It's not just techs. Safeco, Russell Investments, and Weyerhaeuser have all moved to Downtown Seattle in recent years. Recruitment is always a stated reason.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Corporations don't want office towers. They want the campuses and are moving out of downtown skyscrapers left and right. Most of the largest companies have sprawling campuses; Apple, Google, ExxonMobil, etc.
Salesforce.com just leased 2 towers, including San Francisco's tallest and bought a third. They did it because they were about to build a "campus" on a brownfield site (former railyard) but first asked the employees what they wanted and they wanted to be downtown.

Apple, Google and Facebook all have substantial owned and leased space in downtown SF because so many of their younger employees want to live in the city, but the older ones, including management, are well established in Silicon Valley and would not move for many reasons (schools being a big one: I just read an article listing the "best schools in California" and many, including #1, were in the Valley; also they all have nice mansions down there).

http://www.sfgate.com/technology/art...ng-5619063.php

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfranci...-hpp-soma.html

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfranci...ment-soma.html

https://www.macrumors.com/2015/07/30...san-francisco/
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