How to solve the "last mile" problem in traffic

You are very correct, Cameron. Wide open space has dictated the way the infrastructure in this country has developed.

However I whole-heartedly disagree with your assertion that there is a relationship to suburbia and properly kerned type. Suburbia is Comic Sans, there’s very little good that can come out of using it. Period. And I can say that with conviction as a Suburban resident.

I can see the downsides too, Nurb. But I still think a pluralistic solution is best. We shouldn’t force everyone to live in metropolises. I also assert that suburbia is not as grotesque a violation as comic sans. =)

For me personally, having a private back yard for the kids would be the main reason it is ideal. I had one growing up and it was the source of many fond childhood memories and creative experiences. I could do without a large home or a new home or the burdens of home ownerships and mortgages, if I could just get an affordable place with a nice back yard. Parks are nice too, but they’re not the same as a private spot to share with siblings and family.

Well, the traditional european small towns and villages, that have a much smaller scale than most
US mega city structures do provide both.

  1. Enough urban density to justify having stores and state service down the center.
  2. Enough space at each private building to allow for privacy and a “yard”.

The Contrast of downtown high rises vs. vast spaces of suburban homes with pools
and not much else looks like a parody to me. We won’t change it though, as we are
not architects and because of the worth of those structures we will live and work with
them.

Best regards

mo-i

Thirdnorth: Amen brother. So true. I’m sure there is a term for it, but people always assume the worst about others. Traffic contains police, firemen, ambulances, deliveries of food/medicine/important stuff that can’t be carried. Public officials should take all stakeholders in consideration.

Two years ago, a neighborhood in Montreal elected a militant anti-car party to majority on their city council. They have closed roads, narrowed roads, converted two-way roads to one way, and added a bunch of speed bumps. Now, the metropolitan regional government has changed the rules about a lot of these changes because of the effect on emergency services (who were not adequately alerted to the changes). Firemen were being injured as their vehicles were hitting speed bumps that weren’t there the last time or hidden by snow. All emergency service response times are up as they are now stuck because of road closures and traffic.

Cameron: I am an only child from the suburbs. I hate backyards to this day. I always wanted to go to the park, that’s where I could find someone to play with!

Nurb: I agree with you.

However, I think there is a fundamental defect in habitation. People need housing just as much as food, water, air. Any housing. Very rarely are developments really analyzed for ability to support the occupants. They are mostly designed to have the greatest profit margin. Sometimes that means cheap construction. Sometimes, it means adding things to “create value” rather than be useful.

For example, my old condo had a fireplace. I bought it, in part, because I thought it would be a great selling point when I would sell the place! I barely used it and don’t miss it at all, but I paid for it! How backwards is that?

It’s the same for suburbs. They aren’t built the way they are because of “market demands” or user needs. They are built to be perceived as good value…a very different criteria.

I am an only child from the suburbs. I hate backyards to this day. I always wanted to go to the park, that’s where I could find someone to play with!

Me too. But unlike most modern housing developments, the post-war II suburban development that I grew up in had no fences between properties, and the backyards were much, much, larger than the front yards were. We seldom had to cross a street.

We roamed up and down the neighbor crossing boundaries at will like a band of wild Indians, the “collective motherhood” watching out for all of us (and not afraid to reprimand anyone when necessary). The public park was large, but it was used almost solely as meeting place to decide where we were going to terrorize next. It was a safe place to be a kid.

It’s the same for suburbs. They aren’t built the way they are because of “market demands” or user needs. They are built to be perceived as good value…a very different criteria.

The houses of the 50’s, even the big ones, we not “McMansion” is scale; my parents 3-bedroom house was roughly 1,600 square feet [150 sq. meters], and they weren’t built to be “flipped”… they were built to be lived in. In the cognitive fifteen years after age five, I don’t remember a single home in my parent’s neighborhood changing ownership. My folks owned the place for fifty years. Within three years of selling it, after my mom passed, it was resold twice!

I’m currently a little outside the burbs, but here are a few reasons why I prefer this to the city where I used to live. I no longer work in the city either, so that makes a difference too.

  1. Not having to waste an extra 3 hours a day in inner-city traffic.
  2. Not having to live in an apartment where I had to listen to hip hop through the walls all weekend because my neighbors were out of town and left the stereo on so the dogs wouldn’t freak out.
  3. Not having to listen to my other neighbor get it on at 3 am.
  4. A private garage where I can set up a small shop.
  5. Lower crime rates
  6. Less frequent drug exposure to my kids.
  7. Smaller class sizes means my kids get more attention from the teachers.
  8. Lower cost of housing, gas, and food.
  9. I can watch the sun rise and set over the horizon instead of behind tall glass buildings.
  10. Freedom from bloated central planning.

It’s interesting too, but my wife taught in public schools in city systems and where we are now, and the rate of kids diagnosed with ADD is about 75% less here than in any of the city schools where she taught. I wonder if there’s a connection.