On Tue, 06 May 2008 14:47:05 -0400, george conklin wrote:
The clumping of population is much less affected by social policy than
by natural resources and voluntary social interactions. "policy"
certainly will have an effect; especially tax policy and such things as
zoning. But zoning and such as that are the candles on the cake. People
live where they do much more because of climate, jobs, family, and all
sorts of stuff that is not "policy". Good local policies regarding local
development can be very beneficial. But people will tend to clump
together near natural water and such without any "policy".
"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers
of society but the people themselves; and
The stated goal of Smart Growth IS population concentration. It is the
same in UK. Urban growth boundries for example. Infill for another. This
not "natural." It is manipulation for ideological reasons by people who
have an agenda, and the public good is not a part of the agenda either.
Smart Growth wants urban growth boundaries. This is population
concentration. Smart Growth wants infill. This is population
concentration. Smart Growth wants "shared walls." This is population
concentration. The Sierra Club wants "efficient urbanization." This is
population concentration. Population concentration is social policy and it
does not good to hide the fact.
Sprawl happens because around every city land is hoarded in anticipation of
price appreciation. Land users must bypass this high priced land. This
means a settlement footprint greater than land users actually want.
There is nothing natural about millions of people spending two or more
hours a day in their cars just to get to and from work. It is a symptom of
If all land were up for lease bid, what kind of settlement pattern do you
suppose would result? Would people prefer to live farther from their jobs,
friends, shops, entertainment, and services?
Why is land much more expensive where population is dense rather than in
What makes a great retail location?
On Wed, 7 May 2008 19:57:46 -0400, "George Conklin"
And then there is the person who drowned in the stream with an average
depth of 6 inches (15.24 cm.). Averages on this are misleading for
several reasons. The accuracy of the reporting of commute time may be
open to question (I suspect that transit may be more underestimated
than automobile). My wife did have about a 20 minute commute when she
was working. The transit or drive portion of my commute when I lived
and worked in Bloomfield, NJ varied from 2 minutes (train) to 5
minutes (bus) with the car being in between. Given parking the
walking varied from 2 - 5 minutes so the time spent moving was about
10 minutes. Add 5 - 10 minutes wait for the transit depending on how
closely I timed it (and if I ate breakfast and read my newspaper I
timed it fairly close to the schedule), I spent less time waiting in
the morning. I would time my departure from work to the transit
schedule. You can tell I was lazy in a sense since the walk was 20 -
25 minutes door to door.
I would assume the commute time includes people who work from home. I
don't know how they account for people who have varying work locations
(housekeepers, visiting nurses, electricians, consultants, etc.).
The distribution of commutes and the sources of information would be
of great interest.
Another interesting thing to look at would be minimum commuting
times. If you take out people who work out of there homes, what does
the distribution at the very short end of commuting look like? What
is the minimum distance that people want to live from their
employment? That could have a profound impact on Smart Growth and
I've never once hear anyone say "I have to live at least 10 miles from where
I work." I would think that unless you're in an unpleasant business, like
sewage treatment, there's more likely to be a _maximum_ difference people
want to live from their employment.
On Thu, 8 May 2008 13:20:36 -0500, "Amy Blankenship"
Actually my wife found that the 20 minute commute (about 15 miles) was
useful in separating work from home and I have heard the same thing
from other people. The idea of a minimum commute or separation
distance is worth exploring.
George. If the average commute is 24 minutes, the minimum commute
ain't 20 minutes.
Overall 20 minutes is the minimum a society is likely to obtain. Even in
bicycle-oriented societies, like India used to be, it takes quite a bit of
time to get through crowded streets to get to work.
No, the APA has been trying to LENGTHEN commutes for many years now to FORCE
people out of their cars.
If reducing communting time and congestion were the goal, they've been using
some really bizarre tactics.
Note, too, that of all the money garnered from fuel taxes, how much winds up
in the general fund and hou much is poured into road funding of bridges
(Ted Stevens) and roads to "no where" (Robert Byrd).
(See earlier post regarding the fallacy of government planning)
As well, local traffic departments have been playing with traffic controls
to encourgae violations and increase revenue from traffic fines.
And the whole premise is wrong, given the points above.
If an overall co mmute time of 20 minutes is "ideal" (to which Amy
will demand that you cite something); then an average of 24 is pretty
darned good. Free markets prevail. People know what they want.
Apparently in Europe too people are willing to spend 1 hour to get to work.
We are a long, long ways from that. Amos Hawley is known for that rule in
I agree that for most people, they need "decompression time" on the
way home -- plus a grocery store in many cases. Most people wouldn't
like working from home -- especially people in manufacturing.
I can just see it now...assemble your Toyota at home. Really?
Would it be "assemble the Toyota at home" or would it be "live at the
Remember all of the old worker-cottages and crappy row housing built
next to factories that spewed out who-knows-what from back in the
Industrial Revolution days (before good transportation). Well, people
left that model and headed to the suburbs to get away from it. People
wanted to be away from work. I don't think things have changed too
Can you imagine living over McDonalds? What about over Wal-Mart?
Those particular businesses are optimized to work best when _nobody_ lives
within walking distance of them, especially Wal-Mart. So of course they'd
be unpleasant to live over.
OTOH, I'd _love_ to live over a curry house, as my friend in London did.
Ranking tables [PDFs]:
State | County | Place
Americans Spend More Than 100 Hours Commuting to
Work Each Year, Census Bureau Reports
New York and Maryland Residents Face Most Time Traveling to Work
Americans spend more than 100 hours commuting to work each year,
according to American Community Survey (ACS) data released today by the U.S.
Census Bureau. This exceeds the two weeks of vacation time (80 hours)
frequently taken by workers over the course of a year. For the nation as a
whole, the average daily commute to work lasted about 24.3 minutes in 2003.
"This annual information on commuters and their work trips and other
transportation-related data will help local, regional and state agencies
maintain, improve, plan and develop the nation's transportation systems,"
said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon. "American Community Survey data
will provide valuable assistance to agencies offering housing, education and
other public services as well."
Based on a ranking of states with the longest average commute-to-work
times, the ACS showed that New York (30.4 minutes) and Maryland (30.2
minutes) residents spent the most time traveling to their jobs. New Jersey
(28.5 minutes), Illinois (27.0 minutes) and California (26.5 minutes) were
also among states with some of the longest one-way commute times. States
with some of the lowest average commute times included South Dakota (15.2
minutes), North Dakota (15.4 minutes), Nebraska (16.5 minutes) and Montana
(16.9 minutes). (See state rankings [PDF].)
Of the 231 counties with populations of 250,000 or more covered by the
ACS, Queens (41.7 minutes), Richmond (41.3 minutes), Bronx (40.8 minutes)
and Kings (39.7 minutes) - four of the five counties that comprise New York
City - experienced the longest average commute-to-work times. Additionally,
workers living in Prince William County, Va. (36.4 minutes); and Prince
George's County, Md. (35.5 minutes); - suburban counties located within the
Washington, D.C. metro area - also faced some of the longest commutes. (See
county rankings [PDF].)
In a ranking of large cities (with populations of 250,000 or more), New
York (38.3 minutes); Chicago (33.2 minutes); Newark, N.J. (31.5 minutes);
Riverside, Calif. (31.2 minutes); Philadelphia (29.4 minutes); and Los
Angeles (29.0 minutes) had among the nation's highest average commute times.
Among the 10 cities with the highest average commuting times, New York and
Baltimore lay claim to having the highest percentage of people with
"extreme" commutes; 5.6 percent of their commuters spent 90 or more minutes
getting to work. People with extreme commutes were also heavily concentrated
in Newark, N.J. (5.2 percent); Riverside, Calif. (5.0 percent); Los Angeles
(3.0 percent); Philadelphia (2.9 percent); and Chicago (2.5 percent).
Nationally, just 2.0 percent of workers faced extreme commutes to their
jobs. (See extreme commutes rankings [PDF].)
In contrast, workers in several cities are fortunate enough to
experience relatively short commute times, including Corpus Christi, Texas
(16.1 minutes); Wichita, Kan. (16.3 minutes); Tulsa, Okla. (17.1 minutes);
and Omaha, Neb. (17.3 minutes). (See city rankings [PDF].)
Chicago; Riverside, Calif.; and Los Angeles were the only cities among those
with the highest average travel times to work that are not located on the
Among the 10 counties with the highest average commuting times, the highest
percentages of extreme commuters were found in the New York City metro area:
Richmond, N.Y. (11.8 percent); Orange, N.Y. (10.0 percent); Queens, N.Y.
(7.1 percent); Bronx, N.Y. (6.9 percent); Nassau, N.Y., (6.6 percent); and
Kings, N.Y. (5.0).
Among the 10 states with the highest average commuting times, the highest
percentages of their workers commuting 90 or more minutes to their job were
found in New York (4.3 percent), New Jersey (4.0 percent) and Maryland (3.2
The new ACS is the cornerstone of the government's effort to keep pace
with the country's ever-increasing demands for timely and relevant
population and housing data. Being mailed to about 250,000 (roughly
1-in-480) addresses a month nationwide, the ACS will provide current
demographic, housing, social and economic information about America's
communities every year - information previously available only once every 10
- x -
The American Community Survey data are based on responses from a sample of
households across the nation. The estimates and rankings may vary from the
actual values because of sampling or nonsampling variations. The statistical
statements have undergone testing, and comparisons are significant at the
90-percent confidence level. Additional information and data profiles for
the nation, states, counties and places may be accessed at
<http://www.census.gov/acs or <http://factfinder.census.gov .
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