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Paul Galvanek

More silliness from urban liberals. The fundamental flaw here, in places like Pittsburgh, Cleveland or and every other dysfunctional urban center, is the ridicuouls belief that building stuff attracts people. Not stadiums, not commercial buildings, not fancy tunnels or subsidized housing. Stuff gets built by people once they've decided that a place is desirable to live in and start moving there.

Baltimore can build gold plated palaces if it wants and at the end of the day they're going to be gold plated palace in the middle of ghettos, surrounded by decay, drugs, violence, high costs, high taxes, oppressively regulated environments monitored by more surveillance cameras than you can count in an area populated by functionally illiterate people "educated" by a school system that prizes political correctness and diversity over academic achievement.

No young family is moving their kids into Baltimore or any other rust belt city until the environments in those cities change. And that's not going to happen there, here or in any rust belt city until the PC progressives pull their heads out of their butts and start dealing with the cultural, social and economic problems they're largely responsible for creating.

John Morris

I just don't know that much about the specifics here-- the distances involved and transport options, but logically it makes a huge difference which direction people are commuting and when in terms of road capacity, parking and other infrastructure. It's the peak transit load that forces the building of new roads so people commuting in the other direction do not cause the same problems.

This trend is happening in the NY area with a lot of people commuting to offices in Jersey City and also downtown Brooklyn from Manhattan. San Francisco a leader in the trend, with a lot of people commuting out to jobs in the Valley or near the Airport.

One of the biggest issues in the case of Baltimore is that it's crime statistics alone would deter most people from living there.

Sam M


Agreed across the board. I think one of the most interesting things would be in terms of public transportation. People living in a dense neighborhood would be easier to serve with bus service. Of course, not all city neighborhoods are more dense than all suburban neighborhoods. So I guess it would depend on what gets built and where. But honestly, I really think it would be tough to get modern families to move into Baltimore's old-school rowhouses. I lived in one, but with one roommate. And it was barely enough for us. Living in it now would be really, really tough. I could do it, of course, but I would pay a lot of money not to. And in a struggling Rust Belt city, there are usually some options.

As far as the reverse commute goes, agreed again. But I think this does pose an interesting question about the MORAL element of many of these arguments. That is, some people see suburban living as inherently WRONG. Part of that argument is that these people just live too far from work. Yes, you can argue that they would just be utilizing infrastructure that already exists. That is, the roads. But I wonder: Once those roads become more fully utilized, meaning that they get used in both directions a larger portion of the day, does that lessen the "wrongness" of living in the burbs and communting into the city? Then, some day, if the base closes and those city jobs go away and the roads get utilized less, does living in the burbs become more wrong again?

John Morris

I agree with Paul here. I think that bad government and it's effects, crime, high taxes, and poor services are the major reasons most people choose not to live in many cities.

I also think in the case of Baltimore that you do have a housing stock with a pretty limited appeal. They provide neither the density level, needed to support lots of stores and services nor an adequate amount of space for a family. they also are not a good choice for single or retired people who usually like no hastle apartments and condos.

Paul Galvanek

Having lived in both the city and suburbs I routinely have battles over the whole notion of the morality of city living with my former neighbors and friends. Most of their arguments are based on a set of convenient fictions they've adopted relating to environmental issues and the false premises they're built on. They see suburban living as wasteful and they just don't get that they're wrong.

I point out to them that their 80-100 year old home will never under any circumstance be as energy efficient as the ones built from the mid fifties on, like the one we own, and show them that since moving we've reduced the amount of energy for home heating and cooling by than 60%. They are irrationally unaccepting of the fact that they're consuming significantly more energy resources when I show them my biggest gas bill from the past winter of $240 and compare it to the $600 and up bills they were paying. When I point out to them that the per person consumption rates of their one child families are even more out of balance these well educated people shut their brains down and simply won't accept the numbers they see.

Oh but us suburbanites use so much more gasoline to commute they counter... ahh not exactly. Where once I lived 2.5 miles from work and it took 25 minutes door to door to get to work I now live 10 miles away and it take 20 minutes to get to work. Instead of idling behind buses, stopping every block for a stop sign/light and driving at an extremely inefficient 25mph the whole way in, I now zip in 35 to 55 miles and hour. Throw in the fact that most of the shopping and entertainment venues that I used to have to drive to are now in my neighborhood and they're become incredulous at the numbers showing my gasoline consumption is down by 20%.

One of our friends just bought a five bedroom four bathroom house in Squirrel Hill for her family of three and like most of the other residents of that neighborhood and nearby Shadyside refuses to accept that their lifestyle requires far more energy consumption and are far more wasteful than ours... People believe what they want to believe.

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