RockHarbor wrote:Then every city looks clunky then -- including Chicago. Regardless of your nice ideals, freeways are always going to be needed.
Yes, I do believe every city looks a bit clunky from freeways. And that's not to say that I think we shouldn't have freeways at all. Mostly I have a complete lack of confidence in state departments of transportation to do a remotely good job of integrating freeways into what's already there, especially the NDOR. They'd be the types to go "oh, Rock Harbor is right, we need a freeway between the northwest burbs and downtown" and then proceed to bulldoze half of northwest Omaha because the'll probably feel the freeway needs an absurd buffer between it and neighboring development and every interchange will need to be a massive cloverleaf. And it'll NEED to terminate at some arbitrary street downtown like...Leavenworth or something and "require" obnoxious flyovers all over the eastern portion of downtown in order to get there.
I started wondering if I'm a little overly-passionate about the topic and went on StreetView to see how Australian cities do their freeways. Their cities are very similar to ours, but denser. They have freeways everywhere, but they are so much better integrated into the environment around them, with few exceptions. Their freeways snake through cities on paths of least disruption to the urban environment instead of pile driving through the with reckless abandon. Where there is lots of disruption, they tunnel underneath the city. Cloverleafs are small and minimal and most off ramps abut the freeway instead of extending out from them for no apparent reason. Underpasses are sometimes decorated or at least look somewhat inviting instead of ignored and left to look like they house colonies of evil trolls. Freeways need to be treated more like a necessary evil.
It's kinda like how an "urban idealist" hates cul-de-sacs & houses w/ garages in the front, but those mostly continue to be built while the "New Urbanism" neighborhood is very small on the edge of town, and only people who choose a "unique lifestyle" choose to live there. What the "urban idealist" thinks is best is just not popular -- and for a reason.
I think many would agree that garages can be in the front, they just shouldn't be the front. Your standard Omaha ranch house built these days has a facade that's like 66% garage. How lovely.
For one thing new urbanist style neighborhoods are expensive. I can't imagine why, but the lower priced homes seem to usually go for over $300,000. New homes and renovated homes in old urbanism tend to be more favored than built from scratch new urbanist developments it seems, particularly as schools in those areas improve. For one example, go on realtor.com later and check out Houston's 77006 zip code and areas around it. Despite Houston's reputation as a sprawly oil town, you might be surprised to see what's there (literally hundreds upon hundreds of brand new row homes and small lot single family homes). I'll contend that urban homes are probably still not as popular as post-war suburbia, but old habits die hard.
(I need to talk to you about Chi-town sometime. I always planned on moving to Chicago growing up. It's still my favorite, or one of my favorite, cities. I visit about every 3 years, and stay out in the Schaumburg area. But, something always stops me when I really consider moving there -- to that Midwest MONSTER. Do you love it?)
I do but I'm leaving for St. Louis in about a month... partially for grad school, partially for a girl I decided to give a ring to. It is a monster, but you get used to it as you learn the city and then wonder how you could do without all of its numerous elements. We have at least one of everything and two of most things. Having been here for so long its weird some of the things that I've gotten used to, like having people and traffic around literally all hours of the day, never having a layover when flying, and there being no such thing as a restaurant or bar with a unique concept because at least two others have copied it within a two mile radius.