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  #41  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 2:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Cambridgite View Post
What I don't get is how such a large city doesn't have any kind of mass transit throughout the metropolitan area. In most cities of that size, even in North America, there's at least some kind of park and ride commuter rail. I'm sure that could save time.
Things are so spread out that rail lines wouldn't be cost effective. Employment is highly decentralized.

And desite the sentiments of others on this thread, I have never been in a major metro where it is so easy to get around. I don't know what they are talking about.

My dad commuted from Birmingham area to downtown Detroit for 15 years, (16 miles or so) and it took him about a half-hour each way. In what major metro can one do better?
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  #42  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 3:13 AM
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Detroit has a massive Park and Ride express bus system untill the 1980's, when all but a couple routes were cut out of the system.

The major problem with Detroit is decentralization. It is the most decentralized metro area in the USA, with over 75% of jobs being located 10 miles or more from the downtown core. That is double what it is in most other large US cities.
I just did a report on this for school so I got the facts

Untill jobs are more grounded, you can't have proper mass transit.

That being said, there is still some market for commuter service, and adding it would make downtown Detroit more attractive. There are still about 130,000 workers in the downtown-midtown-new Centre area. So there is some market for it as I said.
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  #43  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 5:56 PM
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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
But the thing is, commutes are not that long on average.

The pro-car people actually use those stats to show that cars have decreased the time people spend commuting.

We all know the average transit rider spends much more time to get to work, yet we don't complain about that.
Despite whether you think commutes are "not that long," average commute times in the US have gone up over time and each census reports an increase in the over 100 minute commute club. I don't think it has as much to do with planning or mode share is it is cultural factors:

Two-income families have to live between two different places of employment. Back in the day you bought a house near dad's workplace and mom only had to worry about running errands. Today families have to balance the needs of two wage-earners.

Careers today are more highly specialized. It used to be easy for a typical laborer to find work in "the mill" or "the factory" down the block. Today we're more likely to have highly specific expectations about work, and because information is so much more readily available, we scour an entire metro area looking for a better job.

And most importantly I think, like the sociologist said, commuting a longer distance has become socially-acceptable and even preferable. People want to distance themselves from their job. The idea of walking to work, once pretty common, is now considered gauche for most Americans. Whereas it used to be desirable to be convenient to work, it's now seen as a grim reminder of your stressful career.

And no, I don't "complain" about people spending ungodly amounts of time on transit to get to work because I think they can do what they want. Tokyo's got an amazing transit system and it's common for people to spend an hour on a bullet train. But I never want such a long commute. The only nice thing about the train is that I can read the paper on my way. Otherwise, an hour train ride is just as unbearable for me.
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  #44  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 8:44 PM
Cambridgite Cambridgite is offline
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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
The major problem with Detroit is decentralization. It is the most decentralized metro area in the USA, with over 75% of jobs being located 10 miles or more from the downtown core. That is double what it is in most other large US cities.
Whoa! That's even worse than the 66% suburban figure for my own metro (which includes 3 downtown cores)! I always thought Detroit's office market was more centralized than that. Driving over the Ambassador Bridge, I could see that Detroit has a pretty decent downtown skyline. However, I guess that doesn't mean much if a lot of the buildings are empty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
That being said, there is still some market for commuter service, and adding it would make downtown Detroit more attractive. There are still about 130,000 workers in the downtown-midtown-new Centre area. So there is some market for it as I said.
With 130,000 workers, there definitely is. Maybe not for subway, but something like LRT should be sufficient. In my own small metro, we only have 20,000 people working in the downtown/uptown areas combined, but we are still starting construction on an LRT line in the next few years :crossesfingers:. There's no sufficient reason for Detroit not to have mass transit other than a lack of money/political will.
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  #45  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 8:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Cambridgite View Post
Whoa! That's even worse than the 66% suburban figure for my own metro (which includes 3 downtown cores)! I always thought Detroit's office market was more centralized than that. Driving over the Ambassador Bridge, I could see that Detroit has a pretty decent downtown skyline. However, I guess that doesn't mean much if a lot of the buildings are empty.
Detroit is one of only two U.S. cities over 250,000 (along with San Jose) that experiences a "daytime population decrease"... meaning more people leave the city for work than enter the city for work.
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  #46  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 9:12 PM
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i do drive, but i probably spend 20 bucks max on gas per week. once gas hits 5 dollars a gallon, i think people will start to dramatically reassess their consumption habits.
I'd like to think so, but part of me is convinced that there is no threshold on gas prices, as long as increases are gradual. Of course, if it suddenly shot up to $5/gallon, people would do something in response. But if it gradually creeps up to that point (or even higher), it will just be factored in to the cost of living. There's a fundamental gap in ideology between people who are willing to live such a lifestyle and those of us who find it objectionable.

The only way most people are going to be dissuaded from this lifestyle is if gasoline becomes so expensive that it's no longer cheaper to live so far from where they work. There's no magic number that will make that be the case; it depends on a lot of factors that differ from person to person.
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  #47  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 1:12 AM
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Originally Posted by passdoubt View Post
Despite whether you think commutes are "not that long," average commute times in the US have gone up over time and each census reports an increase in the over 100 minute commute club. I don't think it has as much to do with planning or mode share is it is cultural factors:

Two-income families have to live between two different places of employment. Back in the day you bought a house near dad's workplace and mom only had to worry about running errands. Today families have to balance the needs of two wage-earners.

Careers today are more highly specialized. It used to be easy for a typical laborer to find work in "the mill" or "the factory" down the block. Today we're more likely to have highly specific expectations about work, and because information is so much more readily available, we scour an entire metro area looking for a better job.

And most importantly I think, like the sociologist said, commuting a longer distance has become socially-acceptable and even preferable. People want to distance themselves from their job. The idea of walking to work, once pretty common, is now considered gauche for most Americans. Whereas it used to be desirable to be convenient to work, it's now seen as a grim reminder of your stressful career.

And no, I don't "complain" about people spending ungodly amounts of time on transit to get to work because I think they can do what they want. Tokyo's got an amazing transit system and it's common for people to spend an hour on a bullet train. But I never want such a long commute. The only nice thing about the train is that I can read the paper on my way. Otherwise, an hour train ride is just as unbearable for me.
I understand what you are saying but I feel the opposite of what many americans think. To me living a long distance from work is adds stress to work not close proximity. I probably have the shortest commute of anyone I know who doesnt work at home and living here doesnt remind me of work stress, I mean unless I litererally squatted inside my work place I wouldnt feel that way and even then if I worked at a place like a super high floor in the Sears Tower I could even like that. Honestly the reasons many people tolerate long commutes are stupid. I mean why in God's name would you want to work 40 plus hours a week and then commute an extra 20 hours a week and then there are the other things in life like sleep, personal hygeine and household chores of a big house and yard that take up even more of your time, I mean how much of your life are you truly enjoying at that point.

I mean is a fucking 3,000 square foot house and acre lot of grass that orgasmic that working and commuting like a dog is worth it for a few hours a week of true enjoyment of these said things? I mean I share 550 square feet but at least I get a chance to enjoy it and the rest of the city for hours every day.
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  #48  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 1:16 AM
Cambridgite Cambridgite is offline
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Originally Posted by Chicago103 View Post
I mean is a fucking 3,000 square foot house and acre lot of grass that orgasmic that working and commuting like a dog is worth it for a few hours a week of true enjoyment of these said things? I mean I share 550 square feet but at least I get a chance to enjoy it and the rest of the city for hours every day.
Exactly.
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  #49  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 1:26 AM
miketoronto miketoronto is offline
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Originally Posted by Chicago103 View Post
I mean is a fucking 3,000 square foot house and acre lot of grass that orgasmic that working and commuting like a dog is worth it for a few hours a week of true enjoyment of these said things? I mean I share 550 square feet but at least I get a chance to enjoy it and the rest of the city for hours every day.
What about transit riders who don't really live that far, but spend tons of time getting to work, because transit is slow.
People would say I am stupid for commuting 45-60min to work(that is by transit). But the fact of the matter is I really am only 20min from work if I drove. For most transit riders, they might as well live in the exurbs, as their commutes are similar in travel time length to people living farther out and driving in.
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  #50  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 1:28 AM
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Oh and to expand on what was said about people years ago living near works which often meant hard labor factory jobs and how people today dont want that, well few people work in factory conditions of the 19th century today, especially middle class people. We are talking about people who work office jobs here so you dont have to worry about pollution by living near your job site like the stockyards. So work places are less dangerous and less polluting on average so the reasons for living far away from work are negated and today is mostly just what is just all in your head.

I felt the same way when I was in college at UIC in Chicago, many students living in the dorms wanted to go home for the weekend (usually suburbanities) because they wanted to be away from school but not me, I never felt the need to physically be miles away from campus to feel I am not in school. For that reasons I spent summers, spring breaks and most weekends sleeping in the dorms because I was out and about enjoying things in the city. I am not in school unless their is a class and I am not at work unless I am clocked in at my work place.
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  #51  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 1:35 AM
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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
What about transit riders who don't really live that far, but spend tons of time getting to work, because transit is slow.
People would say I am stupid for commuting 45-60min to work(that is by transit). But the fact of the matter is I really am only 20min from work if I drove. For most transit riders, they might as well live in the exurbs, as their commutes are similar in travel time length to people living farther out and driving in.
Well its tailored to your specific life situation. I also am of the school of thought that transit commutes although maybe longer are less stressfull and certainly more cost effective thus freeing up commute time for leisure (reading while on transit, etc.) and freeing up more disposable income to enjoy your home and neighborhood/city. I dont consider your situation that extreme because you dont live an hour away for a huge house, from what I understand you share your modest house with your family and its economical for you. Thats different from someone moving to a perfectly good house closer in even if its an hour transit commute for a place further out that costs the same or more but more money will be spent on commuting costs and possibly property taxes just for a bigger place. So its not just how long your commute is but how much it costs to commute and why you are commuting so far. Sure many middle class people can afford to commute by car but its a matter of why? Why spend all that extra money and time that could be used elsewhere?
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  #52  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 3:55 AM
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But Ms. Reiling sees some positives, too.

"A longer commute can be beneficial. There's some sort of symbolic distance from the workplace," she explained. "You're caught between two worlds, a stressful home and a stressful workplace. A long commute can be a godsend. All those minutes, shut the cell phone off and no one can ever find you."

To outweigh the con of bad nutrition, cholesterol, fuel prices, time lost on your life, etc, it seems Ms. Reiling is really doing nothing more than grasping desperatley for a legitimate excuse, but fails miserably.
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