Re: Suburbia

1

Yeah, as much as I am inclined toward urbanism, I do recognize this sentiment. Of course it's only convenient given certain preconditions, like owning a car. And there can totally be paths and parks and green space in urban areas, but it takes a serious commitment to planning for quality of life that not all cities have.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 8:55 PM
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Denver suburbs are supposedly better planned than your regular American residential sprawl, even wealthy sprawl, aren't they?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:03 PM
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Are they? I actually have no idea. They don't come up as a case study of good planning among planners AFAIK.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:07 PM
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I have no idea, either, but I wouldn't have guessed that...what's missing in wealthy sprawl elsewhere?


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:08 PM
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There are definitely types of wealthy sprawl with minimal open space, so maybe that's it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:12 PM
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Maybe Denver's just trendy and that's why I have that impression.

But I'm not sure that planners' sense of good planning would match residents' perceptions.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:27 PM
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I'm not sure that planners' sense of good planning would match residents' perceptions.

Yeah, no, there's definitely no reason that it would.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:33 PM
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Denver is definitely trendy right now, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:33 PM
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My first experience spending more than an hour with people from the suburbs came when I was seventeen and I got trapped in an elevator at band camp with a bunch of kids from Orange County. The shit who was responsible for getting us stuck (he wanted to see what would happen if he pried the doors open) started crying a few hours in after the other three from his school made him feel like shit for getting us trapped. He was rocking back and forth at one point repeating that his parents wouldn't even care if he died in that elevator and then they all awkwardly apologized to him. I thought they were a really remarkable fucking crowd of people.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:35 PM
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Admittedly, I haven't lived in wealthy suburbs out here, but my impression is that parking and traffic are problems for everyone. And I don't mean commute traffic, I mean the long lines of cars I see waiting to exit the freeways near malls on the weekends, and the fact that there can be so many parking lots and yet parking is still a problem in places you might actually want to go.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:37 PM
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snootiness about the lack of anything of interest

People from Texas don't like looking at mountains?


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:46 PM
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Not, like, every day.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 9:48 PM
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The mountains are visible, but these suburbs are not in the mountains.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 10:11 PM
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There things of interest in the suburbs like going to the park and not seeing a single gang member, junkie, or crazy hobo.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 10:16 PM
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I don't think any Denver suburbs are actually in the mountains.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 10:16 PM
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14: Up here the suburban parks are more about increased risk of getting eaten by bears. I'll take the junkies and hobos.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 10:19 PM
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16: I tend to think the opposite. You could probably count the fatal bear attacks in your state this decade on one hand. I go out of my way to spend time places I might see a bear but every time I'm at work and have to go to our junkie park I can't wait to get out of that shithole.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 10:31 PM
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There appear to have been 3 fatal bear attacks in Alaska in the last ten years, so fair enough. Still, I don't feel all that threatened by the junkies or (much more numerous) drunks that I see regularly in and around the parks within a few blocks of my apartment.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 10:39 PM
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And if you really only have one park in SLC frequented by junkies we up here definitely envy you.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 10:43 PM
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Denver is 100% on the plains, unless there's some weirdness on the city limits technically reaching the mountains. If you could post photos in comments, and I'm glad you can't, I'd post one of the pictures I took last year from the train heading west that makes it pretty clear there's no mountains where the city is. You can see the mountains, though, and I guess there are some housing developments going up in the foothills.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 10:43 PM
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Denver is 100% on the plains, unless there's some weirdness on the city limits technically reaching the mountains.

No, it's totally on the plains, hence its nickname being the Queen City of the Plains.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-16 10:47 PM
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14: If that's what you want out of life, you probably can't get it in a big city. I don't really get why it's such a big deal for people, though. I'm not trying to pretend to be tough -- I don't feel at all at risk from street crime where I live or really anywhere around here. But seeing drunks and junkies certainly happens, it just doesn't ruin my day.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:00 AM
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There things of interest in the suburbs like going to the park and not seeing a single gang member, junkie, or crazy hobo.

I can do that in the centre of London, at least unless we posit very well-dressed and well-behaved gang-members, junkies or crazy hoboes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:04 AM
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Where I live in west London there are at least 5 good parks with play facilities for kids within reasonable walking distance.

https://goo.gl/maps/Q32KF6ckVoo

and there are literal world-class parks within a short bus ride or a 10 minute drive.

I wouldn't head out into the outer reaches of some of those late at night but they are junkie and gang free.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:10 AM
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Well, right. There aren't drunks and junkies in all the parks all the time, you just can't arrange your life in a big city to be absolutely certain that you're never going to see someone who's in trouble.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:16 AM
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at least unless we posit very well-dressed and well-behaved gang-members

Carlo Gambino was still a member.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:23 AM
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Well, yeah. To the extent there are gangs in NYC (less than in other big cities?), they're not wearing ID badges on lanyards, or anything else similarly obvious. I mean, there are teenagers in the parks I go to, and I suppose some of them could be gang members, but while they're playing ball or barbecuing, how would I know?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:26 AM
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I have no idea who's a gang member and who isn't. I guess I should start asking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:28 AM
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You could make up ID badges on lanyards and offer them to people.

No, I know! Start your own gang, and then you'll be sure who's a member!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:32 AM
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On the general point, yeah, we're supposed to hate suburbs, and it's easy to do, because they're a compromise option for many people between the joys of rural and urban living, and all compromises are hatable, but as a compromise, they're really not bad. You get some land and some peace and quiet, some stuff to do very close by, and lots of stuff to do not too far away. And for the most part you don't have to worry about physical safety, which is a very big deal to a lot of people (myself included).

Where are you? For reasons I'm not sure I can explain, I find a place like Highlands Ranch horrid, and a place like Lafeyette acceptable (we even house-shopped there) although the differences, at least to an outsider, are subtle at best. I never made it to Littleton, which might be the echt rich burb out there.

(On the point of Denver burbs being well-planned: hmm. The Denver metro area is sprawly as hell, so there's no way the whole area was well-planned, but individual towns have great amenities, lots of open space and trails, and are generally well-governed.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:35 AM
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To the extent there are gangs in NYC (less than in other big cities?), they're not wearing ID badges on lanyards, or anything else similarly obvious

Surely hockey masks, roller skates, baseball uniforms, clown makeup, denim waistcoats? OR HAS THE CINEMA LIED TO ME AGAIN?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:38 AM
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And for the most part you don't have to worry about physical safety, which is a very big deal to a lot of people (myself included).

We live at a time of historically low crime rates. It's not that there aren't dangerous areas, but anyone making a systematic choice between city and suburb (as opposed to very particular dangerous city neighborhood) on the basis of physical safety is an idiot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:39 AM
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Googling sites that catalogue London gangs, there are (supposedly) gangs operating in this immediate area, and a couple slightly further east classed as 'high harm' gangs, but it's going to be groups of teens and twenty somethings selling drugs and preying on each other. From my point of view, as a 40-something with a kid, they might as well be invisible.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:39 AM
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I mean, there are teenagers in the parks I go to, and I suppose some of them could be gang members, but while they're playing ball or barbecuing, how would I know?

When a felon's not engaged in his employment -


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:39 AM
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HIS EMPLOYMENT


Posted by: Opinionated Chorus | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:40 AM
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What 32 said, definitely.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:40 AM
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denim waistcoats?

This sentence becomes much, much better if you can confirm that in your dialect, you're pronouncing the second word "weskit". (If it's not true, just lie. It'll make me happy.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:41 AM
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Hold on, I'll go and put my tweed jacket on.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:43 AM
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For many people, the acceptable level of violent crime risk is zero. You can get close to that in a lot of suburbs; not so much in American cities, whatever the crime rate.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:46 AM
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I still think they're idiots. That is, I don't believe that the baseline crime risk is actually noticeably different city to suburb, if you peel out identifiable genuinely dangerous city neighborhoods (and of course there are those in the suburbs too -- no fair comparing a few picked suburbs to the nastiest part of the city of your choice).

What's different is the visuals that make you think about crime: seeing the occasional drunk on a park bench and so on. Not the actual risk of being victimized.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:54 AM
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And passing out lanyards.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:03 AM
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That was to 28. I should have hit refresh, but I thought I had.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:04 AM
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More of 40: That is, I'm a completely physically unintimidating woman -- there's no reason for me to be less likely a crime victim than anyone else on the planet. I'm safer than some people because I'm also never going to start a physical conflict with anyone (barring the occasional "I'm walking here" car-slap, but only on crowded streets in the daytime), but anyplace I'm safe, anyone else should be safe.

And I'm forty years of living in NYC, not being careful (like, there's a fair amount of late night on public transportation. I take cabs home if I've been drinking late now that I'm an employed adult, but that's mostly laziness/luxury rather than caution), and I've never been the victim of a crime that involved physically interacting with me. (My apartment was burgled once, but that was in a neighborhood that did, at the time, count as genuinely dangerous, and that a cautious person would have avoided.)

And I haven't been unusually lucky. Trying to think of people I know where I can come up with 'victim of street crime' stories, I'm going back to the early eighties. Late eighties if you count the time a high school kid grabbed my sister's hat (she took it back from him). I'm not saying there aren't stories I'm forgetting, but not a lot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:11 AM
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Also, if you're forgetting them, they must have been entirely trivial.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:12 AM
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Right. The early eighties story was a genuinely big deal -- a friend of my father's was shot during a mugging (he was fine, but was mugged and shot), but that's one story, from over thirty years ago, when crime rates were very, very different.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:15 AM
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That was back when kids ate lead for breakfast.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:17 AM
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It makes a nice spread on rye with liverwurst.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:18 AM
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On risk, I don't think people weigh the risk of crime against the risk of death from the additional driving.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:19 AM
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Especially for the boys.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:20 AM
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48: You're reading my mind. When I think about raising kids in the city, I am completely comforted to know that there are sober people in yellow cars ready to drive them home at any hour of the day or night.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:25 AM
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(I'm lying on the street crime. I was thinking 'friends'. Broadening it out to acquaintances, I've got two more stories that had slipped my mind. Still no injuries or important property loss, but in-person theft both in the last twenty years.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:29 AM
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23 "at least unless we posit very well-dressed and well-behaved gang-members, junkies or crazy hoboes"

I hear you call them Tories, or, in extreme cases, MPs.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:30 AM
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Imaging that ajay is a Clockwork Orange-style ultraviolence hooligan trying to decide whether it's worth emigrating to NYC based on watching The Warriors is making my day.

Cities are wonderful. I was raised in the rural end of the suburbs (sort of--lived on a not-very-developed mountain near to the city) and it was isolating as all fuck. I still go back to my childhood home a lot and having over an acre of land is nice, but it's not a community.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:32 AM
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If I have time today, I'll compare violent crime rates from the two burbs I've lived in with the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:32 AM
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Imagining, that is. With images, I suppose.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:33 AM
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Shorter LB:NY is the greatest! I just moved here and am inclined to agree so far.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:36 AM
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What LB has been saying. Cities aren't single entities when it comes to crime. Baltimore has about as scary a reputation as US cities get, but it's really a matter of specific dangerous neighborhoods, otherwise it's pretty normal. Of course, the reasons those neighborhoods are dangerous are deeply racist and fucked up, but that's a matter for another thread.

The only "physically menaced by a stranger" encounter I've had in my life took place in exquisitely suburban Orange County.

It occurs to me that I'm kind of a cliche. Grew up in suburban Orange County and have been avoiding suburbs like the plague ever since.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:42 AM
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My first memory of NYC is walking out of the Essex House into Central Park. This would have been about 1983 or so. It was a bit surprising.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:46 AM
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The Turtle Pond! The Carousel! I suppose that was while Wollman Rink was closed, so no skating. Summer or winter?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:56 AM
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I don't remember any of that stuff. It was August and there were whole bunches of people grooming themselves in the park.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 5:59 AM
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Sure, now cities are safe. When I was a kid in the 80s Oakland was capable of menace on its day. Of course I grew up thinking the suburbs were all Blue Velvety anyway and the only black men in Contra Costa work at gas stations.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:06 AM
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Imagining that ajay is a Clockwork Orange-style ultraviolence hooligan trying to decide whether it's worth emigrating to NYC based on watching The Warriors is making my day.

I think I prefer your version of me to mine.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:10 AM
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About big cities and crime, a Lee Atwater quote is relevant here. No offense, gswift, I realize it's literally your job to watch out for junkies, but a lot of people are "concerned" about "crime" with less legitimate reason than you.

As for suburban life, it sounds nice when you put it like in the OP, my biggest complaint about my home is the lack of space. (For context, it's a rowhouse in DC, about a mile from Union Station.) I replaced my desktop computer with a laptop and a regular guest bed with a wall bed, all the space under our bed and our couches is occupied, all the big projects we've done in our house were intended to get more storage space, and it's not enough. A garage and an attic would be a dream. But as for the convenience of suburban life, it really relies on a car for the household. And realistically it relies on a car for each adult in the household, doesn't it? My wife and I are probably going to get a car in a year or two to get our daughter around, but just one. I can't imagine needing or wanting two cars while we're in our current house.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:12 AM
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We have a garage and a basement and still have all the space under our bed occupied with crap. Not the couch though. Having space helps, but life is a constant battle against shit piling up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:15 AM
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62:The bowler looks a little odd with the tweed jacket.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:15 AM
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Crap. I've been doing it wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:20 AM
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The main consistent defect of life in these suburbs is almost certainly the huge soul-draining commutes, which so many avoid examining when considering life in the suburbs. (Not to say commutes are necessarily long, of course, but on average.)

And what does it mean, he asked rhetorically, when people's risk tolerance is effectively zero for violent crime, but they define their frame of risk excluding not just vehicular injury but relationship violence, suicide, gun accidents...


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:23 AM
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60: Oh, fair enough, 83 was probably around peak visible homelessness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:24 AM
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Let's pick a day where we all agree to comment solely in Nadsat.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:24 AM
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I know many people who were shot, but none (except for veterans) were shot by anybody but themselves. Intentionally, accidentally, and "good enough for the insurance company". I think the total is eight or so. It really is remarkable, but that's more rural than suburban.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:29 AM
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Nadsaturday


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:29 AM
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For comparison, I only knew one person who shot somebody aside from himself (again, excepting veterans).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:31 AM
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70 - likewise, given that all the people I know who were shot by someone else are dead and all the people I know who were shot by themselves are still alive.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:31 AM
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Two of the people I know who shot themselves are alive. They shot themselves in the foot with pistols. They weren't trying to get out of anything. I assume they were playing quick draw and pulled the trigger too soon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:33 AM
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Cities are great but they can be expensive. They also can be tough for having kids because they are so expensive.

Suburbs are not that bad. Do kids who live in them really find them as boring as kids used to in the 80s or whatever? They have got the internet now.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:35 AM
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You know, there are plenty of small towns where there is significant gang activity and crime and drunk driving! At least my cost of living is very low. (For the record, I'm describing Sad Town where I work slightly more than Heebieville.)

To Ogged, our three families we're visiting are in Aurora, Centennial, and Littleton. On commutes, all three mothers are SAHMs. Of the fathers, one works from home but travels constantly, one owns his own tech company and has nearby office space, and one has a commute of maybe 30-45 min? But then again, so do I.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:40 AM
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(One of the wives had an hour+ commute until very recently! when she lost her job and is enjoying her severance pay. So she may return to work in the future, or maybe not till the kids are in school.)


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:42 AM
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So much drunk driving when I was younger. And drunk shooting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:42 AM
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Its really the sitting at a red light for 8 minutes at some 16 lane road interchange that drives me nuts. To get to a store that if i could have walked like a crow flies, i could have walked to in 5 minutes.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:43 AM
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A crow can't really carry many groceries back.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:43 AM
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79: there is no one within 5 minutes walking of any store anywhere here! There are huge shopping complexes, but just getting from the street to the store you want would itself be 5 minutes. AFAICT.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:45 AM
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Gang members, junkies, crazy hobos and mayors.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:47 AM
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78. AIMHSHB, my dad told me that when he was 20-something before WWII he reckoned he was OK to drive as long as he only saw one of each oncoming vehicle. That was more or less the standard of the time.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:49 AM
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Until about 1984 or so where I lived.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:50 AM
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80. They're working on it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:51 AM
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My dad's sister's kids talk about how when traveling they would mix drinks and pass them up front to the parent who was driving. They couldn't have kept one parent as a sober driver if they'd wanted to (which they didn't) because they were too many for one car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:52 AM
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"Suburbs are not that bad. Do kids who live in them really find them as boring as kids used to in the 80s or whatever? They have got the internet now."

I dunno, i had IRC and AOL chat when I was growing up and i still thought the suburbs sucked (more of living far enough outside a smallish town that while the town wasn't really typically suburban, it would have taken most of the evening to bike to a friends and then bike home)


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:54 AM
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This is not exactly scientific, but on a quick google, I found violent crime stats for Lincoln Park, which is one of the nicest areas of Chicago, and there were 26 instances from June 11-July 11 of this year. In all of 2014, in my suburb, there were zero. (I'm not deliberately cherry-picking; that's what I found stats for).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:55 AM
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||

"Obama's essay on feminism for Glamor magazine totally neglects intersectionality," is one of the least helpful comments I've read in a while.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:55 AM
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89: It totally doesn't, either. I skimmed at best but he explicitly talks about the particular burdens on black women.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:56 AM
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81: Do you actually walk anywhere living in TX? I live somewhere walking distance from a grocery/strip mall and i drive sometimes in summer.

I probably should live in Seattle.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:59 AM
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Seattle was very nice. I was there for like four days, so I know all about it. You can see Mt. Rainer, just like on a beer can.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:00 AM
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"Cities are great but they can be expensive. They also can be tough for having kids because they are so expensive."
But this isn't intrinsic to cities! only to pre-existing cities in places where you aren't allowed to build any more city! OTOH, it seems like a big SUV and the space to park it would be handy with a kid.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:02 AM
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88: Lincoln Park has a population density of 20,000 per square mile. What's your suburb's population density?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:03 AM
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I never know quite how to describe where we live. It's a suburb in that you can see into the city across the river and get there in minutes by car/bike/foot. There are fewer than 20,000 people in the town, but it's considered urban. We don't have suburban scourge of deer, at least in the flats where I live. I usually default to "town" here, but I'm not sure how accurate that is either.

Anyway, I close on the new house this afternoon. This day a year ago is when I publicly announced Lee would be moving out. It's been an extremely grueling year, but things should get so much better from here and even the bad parts have been better than they would be if we were still together.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:04 AM
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N-thing LB on the violence. Driving is bullshit, I don't know how I'll go back to it. That said, suburbs are nice in the ways described. If I had robots to drive me and mow the lawn it might be okay.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:06 AM
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Hooray for real estate and other closings.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:07 AM
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You can buy a robot to mow your lawn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:08 AM
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94: What I was wondering was literal population.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:09 AM
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The driving is higher priority.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:11 AM
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My lawn is tiny and full of weeds and an awesome stump. I'll have no problem mowing it myself, especially because I let Nia talk me into the nicer Fiskars push-powered mower. And there's enough space in the paved area between our house and the next that Selah's getting a street hockey set for her birthday next week so she and the other little kids in the neighborhood can play behind the fence rather than on the sidewalk. The girl next door (black family, as are the two directly across the street) was in Nia's class last year and will be again next year, so the three girls have made plans to walk to school together.

Lee is very nervous about how unsafe it might be compared to the wealthier and almost all-white neighborhood we've been in, but I'm really not worried at all. Even if people were going to be doing particularly unsafe and stupid things, they probably wouldn't want to do them a block from the county jail anyway. I'll be careful and I'm going to buy a lockable shed to keep bikes and the lawnmower in, but I feel no alarm whatsoever.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:11 AM
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I don't think population weighting is sufficient. You need to look at the number of waking hours people spend there. Pittsburgh's bedroom communities have very low violent crime rates compared to the city or the suburbs that have actual jobs/shopping/events in them. If there's no place for people to gather, there's less opportunity for violence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:12 AM
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102: Right, and the comparison on that basis is fair because living in a bedroom community does not protect you from crime that happens when you're not home unless you're a shut in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:27 AM
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With internet porn and food delivery, why not be a shut in?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:27 AM
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Without reading the thread, I'll just note that IME the "community" that you get in such suburbs is heavily cohort-driven. That is, when the neighborhood is new, a bunch of young families move in and the kids grow up together and everyone is close. Then the kids leave and those families drift off and are replaced. But if, at any point, you're living there without kids of the relevant age, you're pretty isolated (unless you're outgoing I suppose; I mean, I don't think it's ostracization). This is based on my dad's neighborhood, where we moved 25 years ago this summer, and a local tony suburb, complete with (older) pool & clubhouse, where I've known 2 generations living there.

You don't need urban design to get a bunch of similar people with a lot in common to cohere.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:29 AM
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There's a slightly weird affect in cities that even at the same crime rate *per person* it's inevitably much higher *per square mile*. So even though where I lived in New York was quite safe, around once a year someone was shot within two blocks of my house. It's not totally crazy for that to feel like a "near miss" in a scary way.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:30 AM
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I was recently at a gathering where a concealed carry permit holder was ranting about how in Maryland you need to show cause why you need a CCW permit. His argument was "look around, the world is dangerous." He failed to convince me. I'm pro CCW permitting, but many of the people who do carry concealed are doing so out of a horribly inaccurate threat assessment.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:32 AM
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His argument was "look around, the world is dangerous."

"For instance, I have a gun."


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:34 AM
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Population is a little over 30,000. Looks like Lincoln Park is about twice that. I understand that people in Lincoln Park are not walking around scared, nor should they be, but there's a real difference between even nice urban neighborhoods and the kinds of suburbs Heebie is talking about.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:40 AM
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But, if you have to leave the suburbs to go to work, what's the difference to you?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:40 AM
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We have a local park and playground within a 2 minute walk, and most of the time the gangbangers hang out on only one side of the park and don't bother white people. The junkies mostly use in their cars or at home, and the homeless guys aren't too harrassing. It's our own little urban arcadia, rus in urbe.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:41 AM
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People say there's lots of heroin around, but I've never seen a needle. I guess because it's cheap enough to smoke or because junkies are the only demographic in Pittsburgh that doesn't litter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:46 AM
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112.last: Reusing and recycling may both be popular.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:52 AM
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Cans are recycled, but those are all over the ground.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:55 AM
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You get some land and some peace and quiet, some stuff to do very close by, and lots of stuff to do not too far away.

I have no idea what ogged could possibly mean by "very close by" here. Almost by definition suburbs offer nothing to do very close by unless you include getting into a car and driving 5-10 minutes. 1/4 mile is a normal "walking distance"; you can stretch that to 1/2 mile for a desirable destination*. Nowadays 1/4 acre lots are considered small, call them 100' square. If your house is more than 13 houses away from "stuff to do", it's no longer walking distance, except as an excursion.

And don't try to suggest that it's more pleasant walking suburban streets; they've done the studies, and people are much more willing to walk a given distance in an urban environment, because there's much more to look at. 1/4 mile in the suburbs means 26 roughly identical houses, 1.5 acres of mown lawn, and a couple dozen trees; the same walk in a city means 75 or more houses, generally with more variety, and/or storefronts, other pedestrians, probably a pocket park, etc.

Where my dad lives--a bog-standard 1960s suburb--literally the only destination within 2 miles in any direction is the elementary school. We were there last week, and the kids came back because they couldn't even find any freaking Pokemon Go.

*that is, 1/4 mile to a store is no big deal; 1/2 mile to a nice, amenity-filled park is fine as well. You generally wouldn't walk 1/2 mile to a small park with a tot lot in it, unless you just wanted to get the hell out of the house (or were walking explicitly for exercise)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:58 AM
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But, I suppose cans are easier to get. There goes my mental image of the caring heroin addict who wants to protect the earth for the sake of the poppies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 7:58 AM
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115: He's got to be including driving. Which is not unreasonable in context -- if the suburbs are tolerable at all, driving everywhere is the baseline assumption.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:01 AM
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Moby's point is really good. You don't get to claim the entertainment and employment benefits of having a nearby city without subjecting yourself to the dangers of actually going there.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:01 AM
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There's also the danger of subarbs transforming you into a paranoid Republican.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:02 AM
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112: My friend who grew up on this street says that our little park was full of needles when he was a kid, but I'm not sure I've seen 5 in 15 years here. What's remarkable about that is that, as I've mentioned, we used to have a dealer next door, and exchanges certainly happened in the park. But I guess not usage (actually, the clearest sign of a purchaser was a car with WVa plates).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:03 AM
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And, based on my observations, causing dangers in the nearby city because you don't even see crosswalks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:03 AM
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There's also the danger of subarbs transforming you into a paranoid Republican.

My friend who got dragged to the suburbs by his wife subsequently developed the theory that sitting in cars in traffic listening to talk radio is pretty much the entirety of Republicanism.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:04 AM
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Driving is bullshit, I don't know how I'll go back to it.

Agreed. Last year I learned a new word which describes the lifestyle of my city: "micropolitan." Walkable but with limited (but existing) options for food/culture.

I was in Seattle for a wedding last week and driving around was such a pain.

I let Nia talk me into the nicer Fiskars push-powered mower

Good decision. I have one of those and like it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:07 AM
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123.last: Yes, it's wonderful! Also I put our old broken mower in the garbage and then later saw (next town over, on the way to see my brother when we ran across Mara's siblings) it for sale out of someone's garage, not looking particularly fixed. That amused me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:11 AM
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Looks to me like ogged's suburb probably suffers from ~2 driving deaths per year vs. ~1 for Lincoln Park*, for a rate about 3.5X higher. But at least they're not hearing about a guy who heard about someone on the other block who got mugged.

*basis: 0.88 deaths per 100M miles driven; 50% of suburban residents drive 12k miles apiece; 25% of urban residents drive 8k miles apiece


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:11 AM
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I'm not sure what "micropolitan" means, but I figure I spent 95% of my life in a circle with a two mile radius that has a center where Mr. Rogers used to go to church.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:14 AM
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The bulk of the other 5% is spent out of the state.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:15 AM
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119 has it. The suburbs are fine, but I wouldn't raise my children there. They might turn soft and Republican.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:20 AM
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If I opened a bar called "TGI King Friday's," I wonder who would sue me first?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:22 AM
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if the suburbs are tolerable at all, driving everywhere is the baseline assumption.

That's where I dispute "very close". Getting kids under age 7 into car seats is a PITA. Parking is a PITA. 1/4 mile is what I can walk in 5 minutes. In 5 minutes, door-to-door, a car in suburbia is not going more than 2 miles. So now "very close" is I guess a 10 minute door-to-door drive? In 10 minutes I can bike to a 500 acre park, a world class dinosaur museum, and literally countless amenities.

When AB's mom was moving here from Frederick, MD, and generally an adulthood in the suburbs, she would apartment hunt in areas that we identified as way too far away, because they were "only" 15 minutes from our house by car. But for us, that's a long, unpleasant trip, not a trifle. It's the whole suburban mindset. And there's no objective standard by which a 15 minute drive, in urban traffic, is preferable to a 5 minute walk (OK, rain excepted, but I'm not advocating car-free life, just life where a car isn't a prerequisite for going literally anywhere). It's more dangerous, it's more aggravating, it's less healthy. And hell, with phones these days, you don't even get the "I get to listen to my music" benefit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:24 AM
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BTW, I should acknowledge here that the sort of thing H-G is describing, with the trails and such, is certainly pleasant (at least if the trails are well-designed; I've been places where they're just gravel paths on flat land in the sun); I'm not saying that suburban life has no benefits. I'm just saying that so many arguments for the suburbs rely entirely on unfounded assumptions.

I mean, if AB & I lived in a suburb, additional vehicle cost alone would be about $9k a year; IMO that's a steep deficit to make up.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:27 AM
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I will say having a second kid move in has made clear the appeal of a home with a yard you can send children to. But if I left the city I wouldn't be able to get my heroin at my local park. (In all seriousness as folks are mentioning I'd be way more terrified about the kids-as-teens driving drunk if we were in suburbs than I would be about anything they could get into here.) True Crime Story: my parents lived in the South Bronx in the 70s and their apartment got burgled but the thief removed the James Taylor record from their record player (which he took) and left it on the kitchen counter.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:30 AM
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I wonder if that was sweet or contemptuous.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:33 AM
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Why didn't he shatter it, like a normal person?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:33 AM
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123: Eh, I don't mind driving in a rural area. It's just the way things are, and if you don't mind travel time or rural life in general, it's fine. Personally I don't mind it when I'm visiting, and rural life wasn't for me but driving wasn't why. It's just driving in suburbs or cities that's miserable. Stop and go traffic, fighting or paying for parking spaces, shoveling snow off the street to clear a parking space in the winter and the various local norms that go with that (instead of just shoveling places where people walk, which is more reasonable), dodging double parkers, navigating unfamiliar roads while in traffic...

As I said, we're expecting to get a car in a year or two, because chances are slim that Atossa will go to a school within walking distance of us or even within easy reach of public transportation. (Our second choice of school is walkable/busable, but I don't want to plan on getting exactly our second choice.) If we do, I almost think it would make sense to just drop Atossa off at school, return the car home afterwards, and continue biking or busing to work like we are now.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:35 AM
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In the canonical version it is contemptuous.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:38 AM
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And I have to go back to early 80s too to think of physically violent crimes perpetrated on people I know but plenty of purse snatching etc. since then. Not in last 10 years though. And even in the early 80s it was really hard to get murdered. Most people didn't.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:41 AM
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1/4 mile is a normal "walking distance"; you can stretch that to 1/2 mile for a desirable destination

That's an extremely constraining definition of "walkable" - I suppose maybe if you live somewhere with a tremendously unpleasant climate, or you're having to carry kids? The park I think of as "really nearby" is (Google Maps tells me) half a mile walking distance from my front door, as is the train station.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:42 AM
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Yeah, my subway stop was about a half mile from my apartment in Queens and it was perfectly walkable.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:46 AM
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FB notifications just reminded me of something: they'll tell me when a friend is attending an event "near me", and it always makes me think of something within, at most, that 10 minute biking radius. But, more often than not, they basically just mean "in the city". But that's the suburban definition of "nearby", isn't it? If I can drive there in ~20 minutes, it's close. Nope.

And I should note here that I like driving; I'm not a car-hater at all. I put almost 20k/year on my pre-AB car, most of it as fast as practical. But traffic? Driving 3 miles for a quart of milk? Kill me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:46 AM
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Almost by definition suburbs offer nothing to do very close by unless you include getting into a car and driving 5-10 minutes.

TBALB, suburbs don't inherently have to be that way. In my study abroad in college my homestay location was 40 minutes out of Kyoto by train, the definition of suburban, but the houses were all two-story and there were all sorts of attractions walkably nearby.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:46 AM
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You have to walk at least 2 kilometers to hatch a Pokemon egg. Most are 5k and some 10k.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:47 AM
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Barry and I probably just have exceptionally desirable subway stations.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:47 AM
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(Two-story with a small footprint, I should say, so it was very dense by American suburban standards.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:48 AM
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My radius of errand-running is about a mile: there's sort of a neighborhood change at around that distance, where there aren't a lot of stores right outside that radius. Further than that I think of as purposefully 'taking a walk'. On the other hand, I'm a healthy adult: I could see the narrower definition as what it takes for 'walkability' including small children and people who are frail for whatever reason.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:48 AM
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138, 139: This is standard urban planning stuff. And, as I say, a transit stop is the kind of destination for which 1/2 mile is standard.

Actually, in transit circles, they tell you that bus stops have a 1/4 miles radius, rail stops 1/2 mile.

Also, you have to bear in mind varying abilities: AB will walk most of a mile each way to get to the post office, but her mom (overweight with bad knees & feet) finds the 1/8 mile from our house to the kids' bus stop a bit much.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:49 AM
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They're building a subway here in Sietch Tabr and I think if I had to move I'd like it to be within a 5 minute walk. Ten minutes would be too long in 100+ degree heat.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:51 AM
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147 That no longer than a 5 minute walk from the station.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:52 AM
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My dad's walking range is probably down to 200 yards. They gave him a parking tag.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:53 AM
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145, 146: And yeah, the nicer the conditions, the greater the radius, which was part of my point to start with. There's a TJ's on the other side of my neighborhood, probably not much farther than the post office (or my barber that I always walk or bike to), but on the other side of some unpleasant conditions (concrete, no shade, no storefronts), and I think I've never once walked there.

The quarter mile is less a hard limit, and more of a "everyone within this range would walk without a second thought." There's no perceived inconvenience at that distance.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:54 AM
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Most people didn't

I'll bet they weren't even trying. Slackers.

If the PSAs are to be believed, the major crime to watch out for here is people snatching iphones and tablets from folks who are walking down the street oblivious to everything around them because they're busy texting.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:54 AM
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And of course, frail people tend to be less frail when they're in walkable neighborhoods. Not everyone or always, light exercise isn't magic, but it does keep a lot of old people functional longer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:54 AM
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That's


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:54 AM
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Can't hang out as I'm prepping for bear country but Ogged's right. Of course there's some regional variations but getting into the suburbs to avoid crime isn't always some made up thing and liberals can get a little blind to these issues. Remember that article Ogged linked that talking about certain Chicago neighborhoods and house prices? He was using neighborhoods like Chatham as an example of whites refusing to live around black people with 0 mention of that neighborhood having a ton of shootings. I've linked it before, but this account of an otherwise liberal guy giving up on Baltimore is a good read. Granted it's a bit of an extreme case but around here I could take you all on tours of neighborhoods where people are paying a premium for a smaller house because of the proximity to downtown but are also being subjected to a higher rate of property crimes and violent crime (that's not even the "junkie park") because of the proximity to the high drug use areas. Lots of those residents probably accept the trade off, but I wouldn't. I'm fine with a 20 minute commute and a lower price on a house where I flat out don't see that kind of shit at all.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:56 AM
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141, 144: Yeah, I think we're all talking about US-style, postwar suburbs. Streetcar suburbs are frequently walkable (at least big chunks of them), and have some physical resemblance to modern suburbia. But the scale is different.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 8:57 AM
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liberals can get a little blind to these issues

I don't have any problem with people living where they want. I just get a little resentful when they work in the city but don't pay any taxes there and then vote for people who consider the highways that run the suburbs to be in the public interest and the bus that runs by my house is apparently not worth a (much smaller) subsidy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:00 AM
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Especially when they don't stop for me when I cross the street with the light to walk to the bus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:01 AM
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Anyway, if they go back home and report about the city being full of crazy people who slap their cars, I hope they mention that the person who slapped their car was crossing the street legally and, this time, didn't have keys in his hand.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:02 AM
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liberals can get a little blind to these issues

By this you mean liberals, who actually live in the cities under discussion, are the ones who are blind to what it's like to live with these issues? Okay.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:02 AM
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Moby gets it exactly right.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:03 AM
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I was about to say something like 138 too. I regularly walk about a mile to a grocery store I like and it's not really something that registers as a serious distance to me.* Even the closer grocery store is a half mile (or almost) and it barely feels like I'm going anywhere. A quarter of a mile is just a bit over a (long) block - it's close to the kind of distance where I'd be debating whether or not to go to the trouble of putting on a coat if it wasn't really really cold out.

I suspect it could feel longer to me if it was in the middle of a suburb though. An awful lot of suburbs either have inefficient ones or just none at all, which makes walking anything more than a few houses over an actual chore whereas if you're in a city once you know where you're going you don't really even need to think about what you're doing - you just kind of point your feet in that direction and listen to music or think about what you're planning to do when you get there or whatever.

*Roughly "far enough that if I'm running short on time I'll use my bike but short enough that I feel a bit silly getting on my bike to go there".


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:05 AM
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If you live here you can have a pleasant backyard AND a gang filled park you can walk to AND restaurants of the ethnicities of the globe sufficient to make any smuggerino smile. Best of all worlds.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:06 AM
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I certainly wouldn't walk a mile to the grocery store on the main shopping trip for the week. Even with just a gallon of milk, that's unpleasant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:06 AM
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I occasionally think of myself as living in a suburban situation because I live in a one-family house on a street of one- and two-family houses. Apparently anything less than "solid wall of 5+ story buildings" doesn't quite feel like "city" to me, even with a population density of 20,000 per square mile and a half-mile walk to a subway stop.

Then I have some occasion to actually go out into the real suburbs and it helps me recalibrate for a minute.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:09 AM
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I was actually surprised when I put it into google maps to check the distance. If it's a straight walk over basically flat terrain and you don't have to spend a lot of time pausing at intersections or something it really isn't that far for anyone without constraints on their mobility. Even if it was a more complicated walk though I don't think it would be a very serious distance around where I live at least.

The trick is just to have a bag over your shoulder rather than trying to carry lots of shopping bags and, on days when you buy a bunch of stuff, to practice tying shopping bags to the straps of your bag to carry what doesn't fit in your messenger bag/backpack/whatever (the key is to balance them on both sides).


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:13 AM
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When I was younger I occasionally did big shopping trips (dinner shopping for the co-op) using a webbing strap intended to carry a pair of rollerblades - big velcro'd loop on each end, could easily carry three or four plastic grocery bags on each side, and have the whole thing across my shoulders.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:16 AM
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The other thing is the grocery store is about 400' down from my house. It's not pleasant to carry heavy things up that hill if they are heavy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:20 AM
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Denim waistcoats?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:21 AM
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"My friend who got dragged to the suburbs by his wife subsequently developed the theory that sitting in cars in traffic listening to talk radio is pretty much the entirety of Republicanism."

Conservatives are people who don't get music.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:23 AM
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168: Swoon!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:23 AM
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There's also the danger of subarbs transforming you into a paranoid Republican.

A Republican is just a Democrat on whom a bird has shat.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:24 AM
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159: Not willfully blind or anything, but things like conversations I've had with people from say D.C. who say they and at least half their acquaintances have been mugged in the last five or ten years. I could not probably talk to every person in my neighborhood and not find a single person who's ever been robbed in that way.

Gotta run!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:24 AM
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||
Bonesteel and Coma.
|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:24 AM
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Together, they fight crime. No, really. It's the job description.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:26 AM
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172: Don't forget to hang your food and heroin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:27 AM
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154: Agreed. I think suburbs would be a lot nicer if they were built on grids instead of culs-de-sac. Ie like some of the less central Chicago neighborhoods. Driving is pretty convenient there, because traffic doesn't get funneled down into 1 or 2 huge arteries; you can just drive straight to where you need to go. It helps that things are significantly closer (no huge green space to drive past).

Does anyone here use a skateboard? I had a roomate who used a longboard to get around and I'm thinking of getting one to walk my dog.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:31 AM
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This isn't about my preferences; shit, I'd probably live in Lincoln Park if I could afford it and it worked for my wife's commute, but I'm just saying that there's a real difference in terms of crime in even very nice urban neighborhoods and the suburbs, and that matters to a lot of people, and it's not crazy that it matters to them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:45 AM
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I'm going to pound the same desk as LB and note that it *is* crazy that the difference in driving, and thus difference in driving injuries and deaths, does not seem to matter to those same people.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:48 AM
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I'm just saying that there's a real difference in terms of crime in even very nice urban neighborhoods and the suburbs, and that matters to a lot of people, and it's not crazy that it matters to them.

And it really is kind of crazy. Like, crime isn't random, most of it happens between acquaintances. So looking at the crime rate includes a lot of crime that's not going to happen to you, even if it happens in your neighborhood. And the difference between super low crime rates and even lower crime rates may be statistically identifiable, but it's loony to give up anything at all for it unless the higher crime rate is a problem in itself, rather than just higher than the rate someplace else.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:53 AM
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91: it's very hard to get by without a car in Texas. It's not too hard to live somewhere walkable, though. Our house is unusually walkable - library, activity center, town square, river, grocery store. But the town is mostly not.


Posted by: Heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:55 AM
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crime isn't random, most of it happens between acquaintances. So looking at the crime rate includes a lot of crime that's not going to happen to you

Axiomatically, none of us have any acquaintances.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:58 AM
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People's feelings about driving vary a lot, just like they do with crime*. And the risks of driving also depend a lot on factors that aren't really captured by the raw numbers. Are you driving from a leafy suburb to a rush-hour expressway? You're just very unlikely to die doing that, even if you do get into an accident. I can get to the grocery store and never be on a road with a speed limit over 35. Not likely to kill me. And the other kinds of driving (road trip, trip to Ikea) are done by people in cities, too.

* Some people see strangers as a constant threat, some people see them as background. Some people think of cars as flying hunks of metal death, some people see them as extensions of their living room. These are not feelings very amenable to statistical persuasion.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:59 AM
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Well, I don't, of course. It's the native New Yorker's commitment to interpersonal hostility.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 9:59 AM
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And I guess 182 last to 179. People weigh the risks differently.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:00 AM
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I've now been around here long enough and know so many people, that I usually run into someone I know whenever I go out. Because of the fact that when I'm under stress I tend to walk around while continually swearing under my breath, this is sometimes awkward.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:00 AM
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173: it's a pity they seem to be such effective officers, because it would be terrific if they were the defendants in some sort of landmark police abuse case which became shorthand for a new legal safeguard or arrestee's right or something, like Miranda and Escobedo.
"Officer McNair, was the defendant advised of his right to Bonesteel-Coma protection?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:01 AM
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Some people see strangers as a constant threat, some people see them as background. Some people think of cars as flying hunks of metal death, some people see them as extensions of their living room.

Unless you stick to deserted roads, driving involves being surrounded by both strangers and cars.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:03 AM
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184: Right, but I can call them crazy for it if they're wrong about the meaningful actual danger to themselves. Seeing strangers makes you feel unsafe? I'm not going to argue with you about whether you have that feeling, but I'm not going to say it has a rational basis. Driving home over familiar roads when you've only had a few drinks? If that doesn't scare you, it doesn't. But it's plausibly pretty risky.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:03 AM
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185 to 181, I guess.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:05 AM
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A stranger is just a mugger you haven't met.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:06 AM
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How evenly distributed are automobile fatalities across various demographic categories? I know that fatalities per vehicle mile decline with population density. Are there any other factors?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:06 AM
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The number of times you crash.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:07 AM
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Well, teenage/twentysomething boys, I figure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:07 AM
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This isn't the dating thread.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:09 AM
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Avoiding car crashes has an illusion of control. Muggings seem out of your control unless you avoid risky areas. This is just one big thinking-fast-and-slow example where the heuristic that your gut advises does not lead to the actual safest situation.


Posted by: Heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:10 AM
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But it's not weird that the gut heuristic works as it does.


Posted by: Heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:11 AM
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Yeah, I'd figure age, gender, alcohol/drug consumption, but I don't have the data. Stupid Nation/Statemaster stopped doing correlations.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:14 AM
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Getting rid of the dash-mounted letter opener helps a bunch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:15 AM
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Avoiding car crashes has an illusion of control.

I don't think it's an illusion. Obviously it's not totally under your control, but you can make your driving significantly more or less safe (don't drive drunk, don't drive tired, don't drive at night, don't drive in bad weather, avoid two-lane highways when you can, etc.) These stats are sorta-kinda on point.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:18 AM
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You're just very unlikely to die doing that, even if you do get into an accident.

None of the Lincoln Park crimes you linked were homicides. Not right to compare aggression (that is, a robbery where there's threat but no injury) with death. A robbery is about the equivalent of squealing brakes and a near-miss by a few inches.

I think the issue is a perception of interpersonal malice.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:19 AM
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199: but the typical suburb parent is kidding themself if they don't think their high school kid is high risk.


Posted by: Heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:21 AM
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Nearly all of those things are much easier to minimize if you don't live in a distant suburb. Unless you can just say you aren't going to work in December and January because there isn't enough daylight.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:21 AM
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Yeah, that's true. You're not going to get murdered in Lincoln Park, unless you deserve it. People were talking about road fatalities, and I responded, but I think it's all kinda beside the point, for the reason you note.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:21 AM
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202 to 199.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:22 AM
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203 to 200.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:22 AM
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The reason I note is crazy. Interpersonal malice is normal, every Xth person I interact with will hate me for not much reason at all. Welcome to humanity.

Having a nice yard doesn't change that, though a yard and plenty of inside space are great when kids are little.

Hands up, suburb fans who do not have little kids (say, under 11).


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:25 AM
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if they don't think their high school kid is high risk

My oldest is five and I'm already scared to death of when they start driving.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:25 AM
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You've got another three years to prepare.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:26 AM
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If I remember right, during my HS years 2 classmates died from heroin, 1 a friend, and 1 from a car crash. How have the last 4 years at New Trier been?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:30 AM
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If I remember right, during my HS years 2 classmates died from heroin, 1 a friend, and 1 from a car crash. How have the last 4 years at New Trier been?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:30 AM
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No idea. But we're not in that district anymore. One hears of substantial drug use, but I don't know about fatalities.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 10:35 AM
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As for walkability, JRoth's numbers seem about right to me. I wouldn't think twice about walking a mile for the fun of it, but if I'm going shopping or otherwise running errands, speed and carrying stuff is relevant. A week's worth of groceries would be more than 20 pounds if I tried to get it all in one place.

About crime, 179 is right. I've long thought something like that to myself to explain my experiences living where I do, and since it's relevant, I looked up actual numbers. The numbers: nationwide violent crime rate excluding murders, 2014, 20.1 per thousand. Stranger violence rate excluding murders, 8.1. If you're looking at murders, the number is even lower - about a quarter of them are committed by strangers.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:02 AM
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There was an article a while back saying, among other things, "Statistics suggest bicyclists who wear helmets get much fewer head injuries, but the same is likely true for motorists, so eh..." Well, maybe motorists should in fact wear helmets. Head injuries are horrible.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:12 AM
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I worry my kid crosses against the light on foot at intersections on one-way streets with really steep hills where it is pretty impossible to see cars barreling up, e.g. Franklin, Gough.

Pretty much endorse all LB sentiments herein. There are a LOT of people living rough in SF, I don't feel it as dragging down my own quality of life except at the main library where sometimes it is excruciating to dive into the stacks bc there is a person in the vicinity without the means or will to bathe, but then I have an extremely acute sense of smell. Yes I daily see many we have collectively decided to consign to immiseration, untreated and/or self medicated mental and physical health issues. No it doesn't at all make the suburbs appealing to me. I'm pretty sure it sucks for those living rough.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:21 AM
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Violent crime rate in Chicago is 0.8%. Nationwide average is 0.4%. Not a big difference.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:34 AM
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0.8% means "on average one person you know will be a victim of a violent attack every ten months".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:40 AM
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Most of the discrepancy between my number and 212 is that Cyrus' number includes simple assaults.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:40 AM
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216

But clearly it doesn't, because I've been living in a similar city for 12 years and I know no one who was a victim.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:42 AM
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215: That's OR = 2.0. That's big enough to matter in my line.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:43 AM
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218: nicely trolled.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:44 AM
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Traffic fatalities rate is more than double the murder rate in the US. Traffic injury rate is 3 times the violent crime injury rate.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:47 AM
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Thanks. But I was really just reiterating the point above that victimization is not randomly distributed.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 11:48 AM
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I'm sorry, I'm going to pull the dead mother card on 182. My mom was permanently disabled (and eventually died) from a brain injury incurred in a crash that happened driving from her suburban house to the bowling alley a few miles away, not one whit less safe than the drive ogged makes every few days and declares completely benign for some reason. Christ, suburbanites really are completely blind to the dangers of driving.

Also, if you think no one is exceeding 30 mph on suburban streets, I don't even know what to say. The design of suburban streets--15' lanes, no street parking, 30'+ corner radii--induces speeds greater than that. The only way to drive typical suburban roads and stay under 30 mph is constant vigilance (or a bazillion stop signs that never get run; it's not literally impossible, but it's vanishingly rare).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:00 PM
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Oh, and to 199, my mom was the best driver I've ever known. It was night, so she was being risky there. I'm sure that most suburbanites don't drive after dark, though, since their tolerance for physical danger is, literally, zero.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:04 PM
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216: but, as previously established, I don't know anyone.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:11 PM
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Sorry to hear about your mom, JRoth. I didn't know that.

I've actually been t-boned by a guy who ran a light; luckily it was on the passenger side and I was alone. But it still seems to me that you can drive a lot and be pretty damn safe. When was your mom's accident? (Which is to say, what was standard safety equipment when it happened?)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:12 PM
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Isn't it common knowledge at this point that most car accidents happen really close to home? People are more likely to be distracted by random things, have a false sense of security (ogged), not think much about whether what they're doing is risky, and so on when they're inside their own neighborhoods than in places they aren't used to or large highways or something.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:20 PM
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Isn't that just an artifact of that's where people are?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:25 PM
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People drive most of their miles close to home, senses of security needn't enter into it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:27 PM
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227: On the other hand, car accidents in the home are extremely rare.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:27 PM
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Suburbs do have space to install roundabouts, though, which are much safer.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:28 PM
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226
it still seems to me that you can drive a lot and be pretty damn safe

Exactly the same thing can be said of living in a city, but people sure are afraid of crime.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:31 PM
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230: You'd think that, but not so locally. People drive into houses fairly often.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:32 PM
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I like small cities/towns better than either big cities or suburbs, although I've lived in big city neighborhoods that felt like smaller towns.

Or you can just be a shut-in like I am now, and then it doesn't matter where your house is.

Somebody still might drive into the house, I think Heebie's house is positioned in a way to minimize that danger, though.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:37 PM
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I live in a city, technically, and one that's thought locally to be scary, but out West it feels like there's less of a distinction between city and suburb. We have a backyard, and there's not much in walking distance besides public parks and, well, a mountain with trails. If we were to move to "suburbs" the main difference would be that the houses are bigger and newer, and probably people would care more that my lawn has gone unevenly dormant in the heat.

So I wonder if people out West who choose rich suburban areas aren't thinking of the choice as between suburb and thriving urban center as much as wealthy suburb-looking-place and less wealthy suburb-looking-place.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:42 PM
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2.3 million people were injured in car accidents in 2014.
0.85 million people were injured in violent crimes in the same year (many of those more than once).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:52 PM
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And you're one third as likely to be a victim of a violent crime if you're married or widowed as if you're single or divorced.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 12:54 PM
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So, shooting a spouse that tries to leave you is a safety measure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:03 PM
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Now you tell me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:11 PM
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I assumed you'd know how to make it look like an accident.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:14 PM
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I--maybe to an irrational extent --feel unsafe driving on the kinds of suburban streets described because there's always some chance that despite my best efforts *I* might hit someone; accidentaly mugging someone, meanwhile, not a big concern no matter how high the crime rate in the area.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:16 PM
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That's one of the downsides of urban living -- the scarcity of guns in the home makes accidental shootings implausible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:16 PM
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True, but just try a suburban defenestration.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:17 PM
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A Suburban defenestration would work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:23 PM
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241: As a kind of incompetent driver (I'm okay, but I don't do it nearly enough) there's a fairly dense kind of suburbia that scares me driving a little (call it 'Jersey'). A lot of roads with a 55 speed limit, but they're not highways, they're streets with occasional lights, and idiosyncratic merges into other roads. That kind of thing, when there's a lot of traffic, makes me nervous: too many decisions at high speed.

Real highways with exits and so on are fine, real city where you're driving 30 is fine (people are doing insane things, but slowly). But ad hoc, illogical, road layout at 55 upsets me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:25 PM
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accidentaly mugging someone, meanwhile, not a big concern

Accidentally stabbing someone is probably what you should worry about.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:26 PM
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For the record, the real highways with exits and so on in New Jersey scared the shit out of me. People would switch lanes for no reason at all and with no space at all. And for no fucking reason at all. Just had to be in between those two cars instead of ahead of them both or behind them both where there was tons of room.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:34 PM
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245 same. Maybe it's a growing up in NYC/learning to drive relatively late thing, but it seems like a justified anxiety.

246 I've considered switching to some pseud that makes me sound less hostile but then I'd sound less hostile.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:34 PM
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My mom never learned to drive until she was close to thirty years old. She was a nervous driver from then until she lost her license for not being able to remember where she lived. She also had fewer crashes than anybody else in the family.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:38 PM
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200: I think the issue is a perception of black people interpersonal malice.

I'm honestly shocked that almost 250 comments into this thread, that comment is the closest anybody came to this idea.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:38 PM
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Theoretically speaking, just not being able to find your way home doesn't seem like you should be required to lose you license for. You should just have to have somebody else in the car who knows where you live.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:45 PM
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2.3 million people were injured in car accidents in 2014.
0.85 million people were injured in violent crimes in the same year (many of those more than once).

I'm actually surprised at how close those are. I would have guessed that auto accidents would have accounted for 5 or 6 times as many injuries.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:52 PM
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You're demographically insulated from violent crime in a way you're not insulated from car accidents. I bet people you know have a lot more car injuries and close calls than violent crime injuries and close calls, by more than the factor of three that would suggest.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 1:56 PM
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But the news is working in the opposite way here. You pretty much have to kill somebody or drive into a grocery store to make the news here with a car collision, but every time somebody tries to grab a purse (at least in my part of town) it makes the news.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:07 PM
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250: That's been consistent subtext, I believe. It certainly was in my 67.2.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:11 PM
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And age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population, 2014, excluding diseases (CDC):

- Unintentional injuries: 40.5
-- Motor vehicle-related injuries: 10.8
-- Poisoning: 13.1
- Suicide: 13.0
- Homicide: 5.1

Not germane but interesting: The death rate from motor vehicle injuries peaked in 1970 and has steadily decreased since. Poisoning leaped from 2.3 in 1990 to 10.6 in 2010 and continues to rise - ODs, maybe? Or changes in reporting? Homicide peaked in 1980 and is now back down to its 1950 level.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:24 PM
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I think drug ODs are classified as poisonings. And most of that increase is from opioid overdose.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:29 PM
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So where should you live to minimize the poisoning risk? Not Australia, I guess.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:29 PM
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258: Australia's top 3 most death-dealing animals, in order: Horse, cow, dog. (Of course, precautions taken with venomous animals could have something to do with that.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:34 PM
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North and South Dakota or upstate NY.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:34 PM
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258 or they have poison horses, could be.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:38 PM
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261 to 259


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:38 PM
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259: Or the cows have evolved venom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:38 PM
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D'oh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:39 PM
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You're demographically insulated from violent crime in a way you're not insulated from car accidents. I bet people you know have a lot more car injuries and close calls than violent crime injuries and close calls, by more than the factor of three that would suggest.

In my general circle of acquaintances I can think of two people with serious injuries from accidents in which they were on a motorcycle, one person with injuries from an accident in which they were on a bike, and nobody with notable injuries from car accidents or violent crime. This suggests that (a) my circle of acquaintances is small and non-representative and (b) I'm almost certainly forgetting some incidents of car or violent crime and will be embarrassed when they do come to mind.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:50 PM
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The horse, cow, or dog grants you a mercy killing after you've been gutted by a cassowary, so it gets the credit.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 2:51 PM
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Sort of on topic: Riding a bus through city traffic is a good way to catch Pokemon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 3:03 PM
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Or the flu.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 3:14 PM
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||

Hillary Clinton had her first press conference in 200 days. I've been listening to it at work, and she comes across really well -- she really is much better in that format than giving speeches.

There are some tough questions and she's dodges them less than any politician that I've heard; she talks like somebody who really cares that what she says is accurate and meaningful.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 3:33 PM
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A lot of roads with a 55 speed limit, but they're not highways, they're streets with occasional lights, and idiosyncratic merges into other roads.

Oh yes. When I first moved to NJ from NYC, I was surprised to discover that I found driving in Jersey a lot more stressful. I guess I'm mostly used it by now; but, like most surburb-dwellers, I do underestimate (or refuse to dwell on) the dangers of driving.

I also thought I would really like NJ's no self-service gas stations quirk. Wrong. Turns out I'd rather get out of the car and pump my own gas than have to wait for a surly attendant to do it for me.

My son is 15. I dread the day he comes home with a learner's permit.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 3:44 PM
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Wow, reading the data in 256, the dramatic increase in ODs is no joke, especially among white people: the heroin OD rate in white females is up 800% since 99, 400% in white males.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 3:53 PM
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I'm about to eat food from a truck. Apparently, it's not just stale sandwiches and chips these days.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 3:54 PM
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Apparently, sending a ten-year old to the beer table is illegal no matter who the beer is for.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 3:59 PM
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Why is the government interfering with how I raise my child?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:06 PM
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The only reason they don't call this "Performing Whiteness in the Park" is because so many white people are lacking in irony.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:23 PM
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If you're willing to move to Quebec, you can send your 10-year-old child out for beer with no fear of government interference. Even if the beer is for the 10-year old!


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:40 PM
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141: Roc North has suburbs like that too. I'm about 2km from a metro stop. It's ok but wouldn't be if I were using it daily. And it's harsh in summer.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 4:45 PM
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I live in a suburban town with a bus. I'd prefer to live closer in, but you can get around without a car. I work in 2 places. One is out in the suburbs without real public transportation. The traffic there can be terrible, but at the right time it's 15-20 minutes. When I go to my other offices downtown, it takes me an hour by public transit. I'd like to move closer in, but I don't know if we can afford it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08- 5-16 6:22 PM
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