« New Convention Center Hotel: Balls! | Main | Pittsburgh's Own: Ron Paul in the New York Times »


Jonathan Potts

In my opinion, people who drive 134 miles to work, every day, are not living what I would think of sustainable, "New Urbanist" lives. And to think my wife and I were marveling yesterday that plenty of people now commute from Wheeling to Pittsburgh.

I suppose if you were going to live 140 miles away from work regardless of what amenities were nearby, it is better to live where you can at least walk to stores and restaurants.

Sam M

What's interesting about, say, Baltimore, is that the natural "edge" of its region might be a town like Frederick. Only Frederick is connected to Washington, DC, by I-270. So you have this perfect storm of congestion pushing the boundary out towards Hagerstown. But now Hagerstown is getting slammed, too, as more and more people decide to commute two-hours each way to get more space--or to live in cramped quarters that they can afford. So now the boundary goes to Cumberland.

What's interesting is that Cumberland does not appear to be the place for "affordable housing." From this article, it looks like the rich people have sort of leapfrogged the masses in order to ge their hands on 12,000-square-foot mansions. Not McMansions. Mansions.

I do wonder what this means for cutting back on "sprawl" by making it cost more and making the commutes longer. Because a lot of people seem willing to do some pretty outrageous things. At the same time, economics is what it is. So maybe there is hope.

But a 134-mile commute. Through mountains.


John Morris

If commuting is not very frequent, this can be a not that crazy. The most crazy stuff is not only people who do things like that every day but also live somewhere in which every trip out of the house requires a car for everything they do and or need.


"... live somewhere in which every trip out of the house requires a car for everything they do and or need."

Yes I know a lot of city folks who've lost sight of the difference between their needs and their desires.

Needing to rely on a car to go somewhere once in a while is a small price to pay in order to go to sleep and wake up to the sound of crickets and birds rather than the sound of random gun fire, police sirens 24/7 and constant hum of electrical transformers.

Having lived in the most urban of cities and the burbs; I wouldn't trade the meals we cook at home then eat outside in sight of the deer and turkey that wander through our yard before an evening of stargazing with the telescope for all the walks to restaurants and theaters I've wasted my time and money on in the past.

People survive in the cities, people live outside of them.

Jonathan Potts


I'm glad you are happy where you live, and I'm sorry your experience in the city was so poor. I know plenty of people share your sentiment. But plenty of people don't. When you make statements like "People survive in the cities, people live outside them", you really are no better than the urban elitists you so obviously despise.


I don't despise the urban elitists Johnathan I simply don't let them get away with broad statements about their lifestyles without offering an alternative view.

Whether it's how much energy and resources they're really using versus what they think they're using or how efficient their living spaces and transportation systems are or what really constitutes a "need," a lot of city dwellers have adopted ideas and expectations that really are only personal choices and not real differences between life in the city and the suburbs.

I don't begrudge anyone walks to their favorite restaurants, theaters, coffee/tea hangout, whatever, I made use of all that stuff when I was in the city. But the truth is close proximity to those thing tends to increase the use and reliance on them and create the illusion that the go go, constantly have to be busy doing something, entertain me NOW life is how everyone lives. It fuels the myth that people who move out of the city simply keep doing the same things, but now rely on a car to do them and it doesn't always happen that way.

In my case, since moving out of the city I eat out less, go to the movies and theater less, I go out to bars less, I shop less, I drink less coffee, there are a lot of things I do less precisely because I would need to drive.

As a result I drive less, have more money in my pocket, more money to give to charity, spend more time with my family, eat better, have less stress, I have a place to grow veggies and I walk more (a lot more) because it's actually a relaxing enjoyable thing to do when you don't have to worry about traffic, crime and constantly having someone shake a cup in your face asking for money.

If you assume that it's simply matter of location change, well then yeah moving out of the city and trying to maintain the same lifestyle doesn't seem to make sense for some. It CAN though, if you choose it to be, be a significant lifestyle change as well.

Jonathan Potts

All I'm saying, Paul, is that the vision of city life you present is as much a caricature as the vision of suburban life that many hard-core urbanists portray. It has some limited basis in reality, but not much. It's laughable that you are accusing other people of making overly broad statements.


Hello I enjoyed yoiur article. I think you have some good ideas and everytime i learn something new i dont think it will ever stop always new info , Thanks for all of your hard work!.

The comments to this entry are closed.