If The North Freeway Was Extended to I-680...

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TitosBuritoBarn
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Re: If The North Freeway Was Extended to I-680...

Postby TitosBuritoBarn » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:44 pm

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.
"Video game violence is not a new problem. Who could forget in the wake of SimCity how children everywhere took up urban planning." - Stephen Colbert

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Re: If The North Freeway Was Extended to I-680...

Postby RockHarbor » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:59 pm

I think many people don't go for the "New Urbanism" developments because everybody's aware it is against the norm, they know the development is set apart as unique & different (If they buy/build there, does that make them unique & different people, too? Will their friends laugh?), and many people like the bigger yard & garage/driveway out front. I personally like the look of new homes w/ the garage out front or on the side. It doesn't bother me a bit. AUSTRALIAN FREEWAYS: I checked out Sydney and I agree. They do put the freeways in tighter. I like that better, too. I understand your urbanist mindset and why freeways make you cringe sometimes. Like I said, I especially hate the lower trough ones near a downtown area w/ grassy slopes on each side, with skyscrapers sticking up in the background, like in Fort Worth, TX. It just looks dumb & odd to me. CHICAGO: It sounds neat. Was it a difficult transition from Omaha? Part of me loves how Chicago is set up like Omaha w/ downtown on the edge and the city fanning out westward, but on a much more massive scale, with suburban skylines & huge malls some 30 miles out -- equivilant to the distance from Downtown Omaha to Fremont. It's just huge. Approaching the skyline of lofty towers & needles/antenneas is so exciting. But, still...I dont know. You brought up Houston, and Ive looked at Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, too -- both alluring, growing cities of big business. But, although Texas cities have dazzling skylines, tons of freeways & suburban towers, their urban fabric is disappointing to me, and not that great, imo. Their downtowns lack something, even though they are more urban-feeling than they used to be. I love approaching Dallas from the southwest, but still, their mighty & bold, mirrored glass skyline is edging a broad grassy field w/ a trickle of a river, and seems propped-up tall & flimsy, glass & steel buildings w/ no solid old stone buildings anchoring it, or giving you a sense of time. It doesn't feel like a solid "city city" like Chicago or New York does, it feels almost more "artificial big city" to me. (Even Omaha has a likeable "trainset town perched on riverside hills" aspect that Dallas & Houston don't, as we have old buildings & a significant river.) Plus, it's not that pretty to me (imo) in Dallas & Houston. Not only flatter, but the trees are shorter -- the greenery/foliage is much prettier in the Upper Midwest, imo. (No spruces or typical evergreens are around, or tons of colorful flowers, as too hot down there.) The suburbs are mind-boggling "sprawlzillas" of cookie-cutter brick houses, with an occasional water tower sticking up, each yard in suburban Dallas seeming to have an oak tree, a crape myrtle, a holly tree, and the house edged w/ boxwood bushes. Ugh...it all gets so bland & boring to me. So many huge, popular & fast-growing cities (like Dallas, Houston) are not all that pretty or great to me. Still, I consider them -- they are alluring. I still love their skylines, too. I spent a day in Dallas back in 2013, and I went to two malls, drove around downtown, went to Southfork Ranch, and was just bored. I couldn't wait to get on the plane. It just feels like a place to work in a glass building, shop & eat & shop again afterwards, and go home to your brick house day after day -- and that's it. (I analyze every city. Seriously, no city makes me 100% happy. Aint gonna happen.) Anyways, St Louis is an interesting, ole' river city. Best wishes in your transition, and congrats on your engagement!
"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.

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Re: If The North Freeway Was Extended to I-680...

Postby TitosBuritoBarn » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:22 pm

RockHarbor wrote:I think many people don't go for the "New Urbanism" developments because everybody's aware it is against the norm, they know the development is set apart as unique & different (If they buy/build there, does that make them unique & different people, too? Will their friends laugh?), and many people like the bigger yard & garage/driveway out front.


That sounds accurate. People like to keep up with the Joneses.

CHICAGO: It sounds neat. Was it a difficult transition from Omaha? Part of me loves how Chicago is set up like Omaha w/ downtown on the edge and the city fanning out westward, but on a much more massive scale, with suburban skylines & huge malls some 30 miles out -- equivilant to the distance from Downtown Omaha to Fremont. It's just huge. Approaching the skyline of lofty towers & needles/antenneas is so exciting. But, still...I dont know.


I think it really is neat. There's always something new and interesting to do no matter where in the metropolitan area you live. We have great suburbs to complement the city. Being a rail hub, there are several rail lines that radiate out from the City that were initially built in the 1800s and still function today. Those rails lines helped sprout many of the towns that are now Chicago suburbs. So many of our suburbs have large, historic downtowns with commuter rail service into the city. They also have vibes that vary greatly from each other. With 284 of them, there's a suburb for almost every type of person.

The transition wasn't too bad. I was thrilled to be living in a megalopolis like Chicago. I started off in the western burbs and moved to the City after a couple years. There's somewhat of a divide between the city people and the suburban people I wasn't expecting. Many of the city folk kind of look at the suburbanites as less cultured (though many came from suburbs themselves) and perhaps weak, especially if you're in your twenties or thirties. Many of the suburbanites see city folk as odd for wanting to live like sardines and under so much taxation and corruption (and liberal-ness depending on how far out into the suburbs you go). The drivers can be frustrating - they're a little aggressive. You might say reasonably aggressive given that many of the roads are over capacity, but aggressive nonetheless.

You brought up Houston, and Ive looked at Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, too -- both alluring, growing cities of big business. But, although Texas cities have dazzling skylines, tons of freeways & suburban towers, their urban fabric is disappointing to me, and not that great, imo. Their downtowns lack something, even though they are more urban-feeling than they used to be. I love approaching Dallas from the southwest, but still, their mighty & bold, mirrored glass skyline is edging a broad grassy field w/ a trickle of a river, and seems propped-up tall & flimsy, glass & steel buildings w/ no solid old stone buildings anchoring it, or giving you a sense of time. It doesn't feel like a solid "city city" like Chicago or New York does, it feels almost more "artificial big city" to me.


Oh no, I didn't mean to imply that they are great cities. They have been poster children for suburban developers trying to create urban spaces and not bothering to learn what the essence of urban spaces is (or just suburban developers creating suburban spaces). My only point was that there might be hope for Houston as developers there have been building a unique amount of dense townhomes on grided streets where there used to be vacant lots and rundown buildings, creating the beginnings of legitimately urban neighborhoods for upper-middle class families. But it has a long way to go though before you can really look at it as a city in the full sense of the word.

It just feels like a place to work in a glass building, shop & eat & shop again afterwards, and go home to your brick house day after day -- and that's it. (I analyze every city. Seriously, no city makes me 100% happy. Aint gonna happen.)


Agreed and I do the same. I visited Houston immediately after visiting Boston around 2010 and it was kind of depressing. All this growth and potential in Houston squandered on generic blandness. Oy.

Anyways, St Louis is an interesting, ole' river city. Best wishes in your transition, and congrats on your engagement!


Thank you! I definitely feel that St. Louis is a diamond in the rough that's slowly being polished. The French style old row homes throughout the city are gorgeous and I'm excited about the thought of owning one. So many of them are being rehabbed now which, according to our realtor, is due to some of the public schools becoming decent. And honestly, the insecure Omahan in me is somewhat excited that I soon get to be the smug new resident about the city I moved from (oh.. there's only one IKEA in this town? How precious..). We didn't get to do that often in Omaha.
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Re: If The North Freeway Was Extended to I-680...

Postby RockHarbor » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:43 pm

Lol...you make me laugh....the way you say things... 1) Yes, St. Louis has a lot going for it -- that I appreciate more now at my age, then when my family lived there in the 90's and early 2000's. Back then, I was so focused on L.A. w/ palm trees practically reflected in my shades. Now, over L.A., I appreciate their downtown more, as well as the Clayton area, and older sections. As far as Tudor architecture goes, it is one of the best cities in the country, imo. Glad you're excited about moving there. 2) I thought I would do the same thing you did if I ever moved to Chicago: Move to the suburbs first as a "stepping stone", then into the city when ready. Same with New York City. 3) Houston is surely bland compared to Boston -- for sure. My personality is more "Houston" than "Boston", but that doesn't mean I can't tell the difference between a gorgeous, urban coastal city and a blander sprawling giant near the Gulf. 4) Great chatting. I learn a lot from you all...
"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.


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