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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Condo buyers: Putting the "dense" in density

Frankly, it’s hard to imagine that someone living in a multimillion-dollar penthouse in a city like Las Vegas or Los Angeles surrendering their car for a bus pass. Instead, these developments are luring people—and their cars, and their carbon footprints—into an already crowded urban environment. They’re putting the dense into density.
The whole thing is here.

Comments (8)

Off topic: I'm surprised you haven't mentioned the PDC layoffs yet. Sources say it went down on Thursday.

We had the story here, but haven't heard who actually got the ax.

I'm sure any Adams bathroom buddies will survive the purge.

Living near the New Seasons on Division and 21st, I'm of the impression that transit oriented development is a joke. Even when you have good transit options (Ladds and Clinton are imminently walkable, several bus lines stop right in front of the store), people don't use them -- at least not enough. That store's parking lot is a train wreck daily, with parking spots too small for many cars, and far too few of them. As a consequence, the surrounding neighborhood is crammed with cars, leaving virtually no parking for those who live there.

Bottom line is, cars are really convenient, and people like using them, notwithstanding the lip service Portlanders give to walkable neighborhoods and transit oriented development. I just wish a local leader could see through the mountains of BS coming out of Portland city government.

It's because city leaders/planners are obsessed with Amsterdam and Copenhagen. They go on vacation, sit at a sidewalk cafe watching all the bikes and choo-choos go by then say, "Golly gee, wouldn't it be swell if America was like this?"

As much as I think the planners and the bureaucracy at the CoP works against us, I just don't agree with Curtiss. I agree the the parking lot at New Seasons in Clinton is a train wreck (as all NS parking lots are), and the the surrounding area has been negatively impacted by cars and traffic, but how is this the City's fault? New Seasons renovated an existing building, and their use is consistent with the zoning...the problem has been that NS consistently opens these stores knowing that there isn't enough parking, and knowing that surrounding neighbors will bear the brundt. If NS were smart, they'd change their model and have smaller stores, but more of them.

No one uses bus transit for grocery shopping if they can possibly help it. It's just not practical. But I'd bet that most of the people who drive to that New Seasons rather than walk there are coming from areas that are more than a ten-minute walk from the nearest supermarket. I disagree that people "like" using cars in an urban environment. I sure don't. It's expensive, it isn't convenient at all, and there's no way to make it so. We need more, not fewer, areas where residents can take care of basic needs on foot.

I should have been more accurate. While people may not "like" driving their car in some circumstances (Lord knows I hate driving downtown), people almost always "prefer" their car to the available alternatives. Call me crazy, but I see it every day.

Furthermore, is a grocery store 10 minutes from every house really the Portland vision? From what I can tell, that means heavy trucks in every neighborhood at ungodly hours. Have you been on 21st in the morning near People's Coop? For all the green cred that place has, it's a daily stream of heavy freight with large trucks idling outside of otherwise quiet homes. Not exactly my vision of a quiet neighborhood.

It's a given.

The folks in the established, "urban meccas" of N.W. 23rd, the Pearl District and South Waterfront are clamoring for more parking. Traffic congestion is much worse today than ever before in the Pearl. And in Orenco Station, that "urban mecca" location in that awful suburbia called Hillsboro (but not even located in downtown Hillsboro), every arterial and collector in the area had to be widened from two lanes to five, plus the Sunset Highway/Cornelius Pass Road interchange redesigned with additional on/off ramps. So much for everyone who would gleefully walk to their centrally located MAX station and enjoy a scenic, friendly trip into downtown Portland to take in the cultural events.

Then you get comments like this one:

No one uses bus transit for grocery shopping if they can possibly help it...We need more, not fewer, areas where residents can take care of basic needs on foot.

Unfortunately not everyone can live within two blocks of their favorite downtown Safeway. Yet it is quite ridiculous to spend millions after millions on streetcar lines when a bus does the same, exact function (sure, bus stops could be made more convenient so there is no step from curb to bus, and bus shelters and Transit Tracker signs could be installed - but that is a problem with TriMet, not of bus service.) Poor bus service is much of the reason why people in the 'burbs take their cars - because TriMet's bus service is frankly poor. It isn't because it's a bus (as the streetcar supporters would claim). What would you ride: A gold plated, brand new Streetcar with lots of room, ample seating, air conditioning, level boarding, and for most folks a free ride? Or an ancient 20 year old bus that is dirty, crowded, has three steps to get on and off, no climate control, is cramped, and your bus stop is in a drainage ditch on the side of the road (shelter? What shelter?!!) - and don't forget you have to pay $2.00 to ride?

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