Skip to comments.Commutingís Hidden Cost
Posted on 10/28/2013 12:05:08 AM PDT by Cronos
According to the Census Bureau, more than three-fourths of all commuters drove to work in single-occupancy vehicles in 2009. Only 5 percent used public transportation, and 2.9 percent walked to work. A mere 0.6 percent rode bicycles, although cycling has finally begun to rise in popularity as cities like New York create bike lanes and bike share programs.
But workers are not the only ones driving for hours a day. The mid-20th century suburban idyll of children going out to play with friends in backyards and on safe streets has yielded to a new reality: play dates, lessons and organized activities to which they must be driven and watched over by adults.
In My Car Knows the Way to Gymnastics, an aptly titled chapter in Leigh Gallaghers prophetic new book, The End of the Suburbs, she describes a stay-at-home mom in Massachusetts who drives more than her commuting husband 40 to 50 miles each weekday, just to get herself and her children around each day.
..Suburban sprawl has taken a huge toll on our health, wrote Ms. Gallagher, an editor at Fortune magazine. Research has been piling up that establishes a link between the spread of sprawl and the rise of obesity in our country. Researchers have also found that people get less exercise as the distances among where we live, work, shop and socialize increase.
..Erika Sandow, a social geographer at Umea University, found that people who commuted more than 30 miles a day were more likely to have high blood pressure, stress and heart disease, Sandow found that women who lived more than 31 miles from work tended to die sooner than those who lived closer to their jobs. Regardless of how one gets to work, having a job far from home can undermine health.
(Excerpt) Read more at well.blogs.nytimes.com ...
Can’t disagree with any of it. The trick is figuring out how to support yourself but also have a short or nonexistent commute without living in the horrid city. I would go mad if I had to live in a city again.
The Constitution requires an enumerated Census every 10 years; it does not required a fantastically bloated government agency with thousands and thousands of employees working full time, all the time.
Anyone who has seen the Census Bureau facilities in Maryland and well understand just how bloated this agency is.
This article has nothing to do with the incidence of high blood pressure among commuters, this article is an opening gun in the campaign on the left to destroy our federal system of cities, counties and states.
It is the plan of the Obama administration to do away with governmental jurisdictions being delineated by states and cities within states and to redraw our maps both geographically and governmentally so that the inner-city can suck taxes from the suburbs and achieve wealth distribution through this transformation. Do not think about New York, think Detroit.
More, the left's ambitions do not stop merely with taking over your property taxes and funneling them into the inner-city but those ambitions extend to controlling the school system, the road system, the tolls on those roads, and, through the zoning boards, to actually, literally control where you will be permitted to live. Do not think about easing highway congestion, think about how Obamacare federalized the health delivery system, the health insurance business, and inserted federal control over your doctor's decisions.
Same game new playground.
These are not merely my paranoid ravings, these are explicit ambitions of this administration reduced to writing and made public.
The trick is to find, nurture -- and when absent, rebuild -- strong, safe, attractive neighborhoods within the city. Most big cities have them, just not enough of them, and they are great places to live if you are fortunate enough to find one close to your work. If we could figure out how to make good neighborhoods the norm, we would have done something worth doing.
My current view is that the disaster in urban public education is the single biggest factor. Cities still attract young people. They come for a job, are attracted to the urban amenities, and prefer not to spend the lion's share of their free time in a car. But time passes, and they marry and have kids. And then, more than any other single factor, it is the lousy schools that drive young families out.
A walkable, bikeable neighborhood with job, stores, schools, and church within a mile or two radius is golden. These are places where one could easily live without a car. We abandoned that model in the 60's when LBJ and the Great Society smashed so much in their wrongheaded pursuit of a misguided master plan, and a lot of cities have been building poorly ever since. Cities across the country are now trying to rebalance. You see the same dynamic in reverse in some of the denser suburbs, which nowadays are often trying to create mini-city centers with a small town feel.
“It is the plan of the Obama administration to do away with governmental jurisdictions being delineated by states and cities within states and to redraw our maps both geographically and governmentally so that the inner-city can suck taxes from the suburbs and achieve wealth distribution through this transformation. “
I lived outside the city limits. We had our own volunteer local fire department down the road. The property tax was $700/years. The county forced new development to make themselves part of the city. My area got surrounded and annexed. The taxes went to $1600/year and the local fire house was shut down. Now fire trucks had to come from the city 20 miles distant. It was purely wealth redistribution.
The city owns the electric utility. They have the highest rates in the northern part of Florida. Five hundred dollars/ month is not unusual for an average household. The city has on numerous occasions attempted political moves to seize the local cooperative which has the lowest rates in the state. (I’m not sure how the cooperative has held on so far.) But it’s all about wealth redistribution.
I used to drive up north to take one kid to boxing, out south to take daughter to horsebackriding, south west to take son to football, it was very time consuming but I don’t regret it. I like living in the suburbs and my drives were nothing compared to the commute my New Jersey living New York working cousin put up with until she moved here.
I’ve never had to give Colin Ferguson a ride in my car.
If ‘sprawl’ is so awful, why are leftists trying to build ‘afforable’ housing (sec 8) in the suburbs?
Just say Agenda 21
You hit the nail on the head with exact force.
This coming from the NYT, an extreme left-wing rag, as liberals LOVE cities and want us all to live in them. They write articles like this impugning those that do not live in the cities.
I say demolish the cities, outlaw congested living, force the spreading out of businesses, and prevent these vote robbing geographic embarrassments.
Manhattan doesn’t need any more expressways and cars than it has already!
As you may have noticed, the borough has no trouble attracting employers and employees.
Very true! Union control of big-city schools is a large part of what ultimately forces NYers out to the ‘burbs. Of course, I don’t know where they’d fit all the incoming young talent if the old farts didn’t peel off to the suburbs to raise their spawn.
The problem is the destruction of towns and small cities. Those environments provide a much better lifestyle for health, jobs, safety, and a feeling of inclusion. It would involve jobs and retail coming back to “downtown”.
I live on the outskirts of warsaw. It takes me about 45 minutes by bicycle to get to my office. I have forests close to me. A small/medium sized city is the way to go :)
Life’ll kill ya.
Anyone who ever watched a meeting of the Dallas City Council, will understand why I have absolutely no desire to live in Dallas.
But you are not living in the city. You are living 45 minutes away from it. That is the suburbs.
I live outside of Washington DC, just where the suburbs stop and the countryside begins. In some ways my situation is perfect, because I have a house and garden, and am a five minute drive from horses but yet a ten-minute drive from the terminus of the DC metro (subway) system that takes one into DC. I have also lived in or near several other large US cities, and have traveled and stayed throughout both Eastern and Western Europe. Cities are fascinating and exciting to visit for cultural purposes or to stay in briefly, but I cannot endure living in or near so much hardscape. I need trees, fields, soil beneath my feet, horses.
Like many Americans, I also want to be less dependent upon and controlled by government and less vulnerable to the behaviors of most city-dwellers. If the Lord allows, I will move further out into the countryside soon.
It makes no sense for Manhattan to be a manufacturing center.
There’s no benefit to manufacturing being in such a tight space, whereas financial services and other type businesses thrive in such proximity.
I see. It makes more sense for the city and its suburbs to be welfare cesspools, then?
Self-driving cars are here and are going to make living in a dirty city old fashioned. The suburbs will grow and the cities will become primarily reservations for the welfare class. A long distance commuter can shower, dress, and enjoy a quiet breakfast then walk 10 seconds to work.
“Self-driving cars are here and are going to make living in a dirty city old fashioned.”
Many people can already telecommute. I do and it is rare I ever have to go into the city. What office work cannot be done at home? The majority of people I know that commute into work are those that don’t have a home office and kids at home.
You gotta make decisions in this world. When you decide to live “away from it all” you have to remember that “it all” is where you spend most of your not at home time, so you drive. That’s why I live in quiet corners of midtown, near “it all” but still with space and peace. Almost none of my drives are more than 15 minutes.
; obamacare; zerocare; abortion; deathpanels
The “commuting” described is that of a soccer mom taking her overscheduled kids around to various activities in the suburbs. The need for this could be obviated by — ta dah! — not overscheduling the kids.
That said, using the family vehicle (or more than one) to get around is 200% to 400% more time efficient than using public transportation, give or take wrongheaded public policy. In a few urban areas (LA comes to mind) so many single-occupant vehicles are on the road in the same two periods (one in the morning, one in the afternoon) that the same handful of major roads are jammed. And there’s a vacant carpool lane. This is a consequence of very few pairs of people both living in proximity to each other and having exactly the same (or reasonably similar) destination at more or less the same times.
Got to work by carpool, and not your week to drive, and the kid gets sick at school? What then?
Public/mass transporation is grossly inefficient in terms of time spent getting around, it simply cuts out more hours per day in by far most cases. It happens to be the best of the worst choices in a (very) few jam-packed urban areas, or (most obviously) for people who either have no personal vehicles (somewhat common in NYC, and in the ‘hood), have lost their licenses (DUI offenses and whatnot), or can’t find or perhaps afford the cost of, parking at their daily destinations. And of course, adding stupid bike paths while cutting out a driving lane — in parts of the country where winter eliminates 99% of the bike traffic — is another one of those Sunshine State one-size-fits-all “solutions” that warrants hunting down its advocates for extrajudicial executions.
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