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Learning About Long Commutes

Would you agree that there are two basic issues in a long-distance commute: How do you endure it, and what makes it worth enduring?

I had my own version of it: When I worked at the Long Island, N.Y., newspaper Newsday, I commuted 50 miles from my home in Westchester County, north of New York City, to the middle of the island. I did that 100 mile round trip, including two toll plazas and a bridge each way, for five years because I wanted to.

Of course, I could have moved when I took the job on Long Island, but I didn't see anything out there that I lived in my price range, wanted to live near my old friends and had a very nice apartment in a great location. Always drove solo. Transit wasn't a good option on that route at those unstable hours.

Michael Leahy, a magazine writer at The Post, wants to learn more about long, long commutes in the Washington area. He invites travelers who might be interested in participating in his story to get in touch with him and talk it over. He says he's interested in hearing both from people who commute alone, and those who commute in small groups. I've known Michael for years. He's a thoughtful journalist and a terrific writer.

Michael's number at The Post is (202) 334-6182, and his e-mail is leahym@washpost.com

Here's a note from him about the idea:

This is a story about a work-week in the life of someone (or two or three people riding together) with a spouse and a child at home and, most important, a brutal commute into the Washington metro area virtually every weekday -- which we'll define as a minimum of two hours each way. It doesn't particularly matter where the person is from or what he or she does for a living, just so long as the commute is that requisite two hours.
My hope would be to ride with that person (or people) from his/their home to his workplace and back to his home each day. Sometimes I'd go through stretches just observing what the person is doing, learning his/her routines. Sometimes we could talk about the commute and its effect on family time, work time, free time, moods, level of happiness, etc.
I'd probably want to spend a portion of one workday hanging out with the person at his/her job, just to see that side of his life. I'd hope to spend a little time in the person's home and want to have dinner on a couple of weeknights with the person and his/her family (I'd take everybody out one night), so I could get their feelings (particularly a spouse's) about the commute's effect on family life or fun.
Lest anyone thinks he'd need to put up a journalist in his house: I'd find myself a hotel in the area. In the mornings, I'd simply plant myself on the commuter's doorstep before he goes to work.
I'd be delighted to talk about all this at greater length and answer any questions for anybody possibly interested in participating.

By Robert Thomson  |  January 9, 2007; 8:36 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting  
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Comments

I participated in a similar project about 6 years ago for the 'Incredible Journeys' story. I used to drive to work, which occasionally took 2-3 hours each way. A reporter rode with me on two days, one of which DID take 3 hours to get to work! I've changed my work hours and can take a commuter bus now. It's cheaper than parking in the city, gasoline, wear and tear on my car and nerves. On the commuter bus I can nap, read, listen to books on tape, balance my checkbook, look at the scenery when it's daylight. It's my quiet time before work and in the evenings I'm totally wiped out. My alarm goes off at 5:30 am and I'm never home before 7:00 pm.

I do this horrendous routine because I can't afford to live in the District anymore ($400,000 for a one-bedroom condo? Are you nuts?), and there are no jobs that pay enough to pay my mortgage in the County where I live. So we have to choose -- work for a livable salary or lower our standard of living A LOT! They are building McMansions starting at $750,000 and up on former tobacco farms. People have to go somewhere else to work. The brain surgeons on the County Commission can't figure out why the roads are congested. DUH!

Posted by: Southern Maryland | January 9, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

You know what I do to avoid the long commute? I am lucky (and I do mean lucky) enough to be living in a co-operative apartment building which means I pay $850/month for a 2 bedroom in Alexandria City. What that means is I am one of two white people in my building, that I sometimes hear banda and bachata music through the walls (well ok, I hear the bass vibrating my ceiling), I have cockroaches that I have to deal with (though to be honest, I have lived in better buildings that also had roach problems), and I have to harass management to get stuff fixed if something goes wrong in my apartment (unless it is a serious health code violation, then they fix pretty quick but only because HUD has been involved in the loans for the apartments). I am willing to put up with most of it (the DJ with a microphone in the 2 bedroom apartment upstairs for a party was too much but the police broke up the party of more than 60 people) because it takes me 25 min. to drive to Gallery Place from my apartment in the heat of rush hour (8:00 - 9:00 am) and 10 - 15 min. otherwise, plus, I don't have to drive because it takes 20 - 25 min. to bus to a metro and metro into town AND I don't have to be in the poorhouse to do it. My apartment is lovely inside and almost all the people who live in my building are nice and hard-working. A lot of professionals in my position wouldn't live in my building because of the negatives I have stated so they will pay twice as much for a 1 bedroom and 3 times as much for a 2 bedroom and constantly be in debt. While it may take me 5 years to do it, I am saving for a house AND I can actually have a savings because I am not throwing it into rent.

Posted by: M.W. | January 9, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

The saddest part of this proposed article is that there is even an idea that it could be interesting. Why do we HAVE to have these commutes? Here's the answer - because the Washington area is full of selfish, unrealistic people who don't understand that you have to invest in infrastructure. So that means no bridge from MoCo to LoCo, shortsighted decisions on metro (above ground, no guaranteed funding), anti-ICC, no funding for Purple line. Most importantly , there is no vision of transportation or a master plan for the immediate counties and exurb counties that ties into the planned growth that is already on the books, which should include job centers and realistic points on where people will commute to and from. Destined to 24 hour gridlock!! Don't worry, I'll look forward to the day I leave DC behind. I won't look back. There's one more house for you to have but a helluva lot less taxes that my family pays and community involvement we believe in. Your loss, DC.

Posted by: Sad | January 9, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I have friend who has a hellacious commute, but he's not married and doesn't have a child so I assume you wouldn't be interested in talking to him. Is that because single and childless people have nothing better to do than commute? Are their hours spent on the road less valuable because they don't have a spouse or child? So a long commute may take time away from their family or friends or hobbies or volunteer work or church activities or sleep, but that doesn't matter?

And M.W., I pay $900 (utilities included) for a 1 bedroom in Alexandria City, and I have no roaches or loud neighbors and the management company is wonderful. It's nothing fancy, but I like it!

Posted by: Dee | January 9, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I have friend who has a hellacious commute, but he's not married and doesn't have a child so I assume you wouldn't be interested in talking to him. Is that because single and childless people have nothing better to do than commute? Are their hours spent on the road less valuable because they don't have a spouse or child? So a long commute may take time away from their family or friends or hobbies or volunteer work or church activities or sleep, but that doesn't matter?

And M.W., I pay $900 (utilities included) for a 1 bedroom in Alexandria City, and I have no roaches or loud neighbors and the management company is wonderful. It's nothing fancy, but I like it!

Posted by: Dee | January 9, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I remember a three month hellish commute in 1999. Mom and Dad had retired to the WV Eastern Panhandle, Dad had died, and immediately in my brand-new computer programming career I had no choice but to live with Mom, who also benefitted from my chores. After a week I figured that the MARC rail from Martinsburg wasn't going to work out. I was granted two days per week telecommuting based on my hardship. Rather than use the MARC, I drove Mom's car into Arlington and back, 180 miles per diem, three days a week. Oh, the wonderful days of WV gas at eighty some cents a gallon! Sometimes I used the Metro from Shady Grove. It was easier coming home because I worked later. Finding rental was hard, but I was on excellent terms with an apartment in Greenbelt, and moved back there. Finally, four years ago, I had a wonderful idea: the Glebe Road office is surrounded by six apartment complexes, why not relocate to one? From a hellish commute to none at all. Nice.

Posted by: Christopher Marsh | January 9, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

And by the way, Dee, M.W., my rent is about $850 a month, utilities extra, on the edge of Alexandria. No roaches, or maybe the cat eats them before I see them. No loud neighbors, and I live silently too on top floor. Arlandria is an excellent place to live a carbon friendly life style. You are surrounded by your bank, your gym, your pet's veterinarian, H&R Block about this time of year, a small strip mall, a large strip mall, and an airport. Metrobus 23 and 10 run through the vicinity between blue/yellow line Metrorail. Still got the car, just try not to use it much. I am not driving the average 29 miles a day, that's for sure.

Posted by: Christopher Marsh | January 9, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to add further to this string. I lived in apartments in DC for 20 years. Sometimes I was able to walk to work in the Downtown K Street corridor. Two of my apartment buildings were torn down to build offices. The third and final one was turned into a co-op. I was tired of the rental hell -- vaccuming noises coming from upstairs at midnight, roaches from next door, sounds coming through the walls, the cooking smells in the hallway, the laundry room hogs who take up all the washers and dryers then leave their stuff in the machines forever. I very much prefer a single-family-house lifestyle. My community is very quiet, I have a nice fenced yard, I know and enjoy my neighbors. On summer evenings I sit on my front porch listening to the sounds of the Bay lapping the seawall. My house has more than tripled in value since I bought it. Even with a horrendous commute, I wouldn't trade it for a closer-to-work address. I am single but consider my home an investment as well as comfortable shelter. Life is a series of give and take. I could just as well have stayed at home, living with my parents and taking care of them in their old age. (I was the "sacrificial daughter.") But I wanted a life and mine is very nice right now, thank you, commute, mortgage and all.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | January 9, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Someone "with a spouse and a child at home"....does this mean the spouse AND child have to be at home? Or just the child? Is he only interested in talking to people married to stay-at-home parents?

Posted by: Kay | January 9, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

You had me until: "So that means no bridge from MoCo to LoCo..." Have you seen LoCo--it's basically a massively overdeveloped crap-hole. MoCo at that point north is a semi-rural ag preserve. Sure would be great to turn it into Northeastern Manassas.

"Your loss, DC." I'm sure we'll all be crying a river of tears. Buh-bye. "Next!"

Posted by: ibc | January 9, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Where did you people with rents under 1000 in Alexandria City find your rentals?? My fiance and I tried the "only two white people" route described above, and the only direction to escape the unsanitary conditions, perpetually broken HVAC, and neighbors who delighted in dumping their floor scrubbing water over their second or third story balcony onto people entering the buidling below was up. As in more rent. Too bad the middle class doesn't mean jack to the elected officials...

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | January 9, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I live at Glendale Apartments in Del Ray. It's just a half a mile walk to the Braddock Road metro station and we're served by the #10 buses. It's only 600 square feet, has very little closet space, and the laundry room is in the next building, but I'm happy here.

Posted by: Dee | January 9, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

We all get your point -- but does being the "only two white people" really make a difference? Couldn't you express your frustration in your housing situation without being a bit racist?

Posted by: geez | January 9, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Uh..racist? I was referring to the poster who described that concept earlier. As anyone who is or has been a minority in a housing complex can attest, there is merit to the "only two (insert your color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity here) people around" concept. You feel uncomfortable and not always accepted by the community. I chose white as my classifier because that is what I am. White. And there is nothing wrong with identifying myself as such. I lived in a 99 percent african american (black in my lingo but we are being PC here right?) apartment complex. How is my stating reality being racist? Good heavens people read between the lines way too much these days!

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | January 9, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I actually mentioned that I was one of two white people in my building not because I have a problem with it but because I know a lot of people do. For that $850/month, I have a *2* bedroom apartment of about 950 or so sq. ft. For $641/month, I had a 700 sq. ft. one bedroom, but I am hoping to have a child with my husband so we transferred to a two bedroom prior to trying to get pregnant. And I agree with the poster above about trying to find a decent rental under $1K/month in Alexandria City. The only place I can think of that does still have roaches (albeit not as bad) and definitely ants is KingsPort Apartments, but you better not have a car because there is no place to park and the management is just as bad as mine for getting repairs done. Also, in the slightly less than 4 years I lived there my rent went from $585 - $850/month for a one bedroom and when I first lived there you didn't have to pay for water and now you pay for everything so with utilities, you end up paying over $1K. The only good thing is that most units have a washer/dryer in them.

Posted by: M.W. | January 10, 2007 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey ibc, just because you put in a bridge doesn't mean that land next to it gets developed. It's ILLEGAL to develop that land. I'm not arguing that. There shouldn't be any exits from 270 until you get to LoCo, which I agree, is a craphole as you put it. If you want to put on the self-proclaimed environmentalist hat, think of this - by keeping that land undeveloped, you are forcing people to move further out and drive further. So my friend, who lives in Clarksburg, and just got an awesome project in Herndon, either has to take 270 to 495 to dulles toll road or go across to 15 to the greenway. No, he's not moving his family or his kids in school. Gotta love government contracting (which if you didn't notice, is the primary industry here). How many miles wasted every day? I think it's 15 miles by air to his office but 35 or 40 driving. Tell me that a bridge would not be helpful to the thousands of people who could save hundreds of thousands or even millions of miles driven every year. And we aren't even mentioning the time it takes.

Posted by: Sad | January 10, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I have a house in Centreville that has two rooms available for rent. Townhouse living at very very cheap prices, never paying more than $700 total in rent and utilities for either of the rooms. I like it there, it's close to my own business sites and close enough to my other full-time job which is also close enough to those sites. Though my day-time full-time job I really could do from home two or three days a week.

Posted by: Centreville | January 10, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I know that the majority of my co-workers easily commute 90 minutes or more each way so 2 whole hours each way wouldn't surprise me. What is surprising is that the majority feel that sacrificing their health for real estate and a tax break is a smart decision. And, by their actions, not their words, people have, indeed, decided that health takes a back seat to owning property. Their children are usually obese, or extremely fat, or soft and pudgy, too, because of the parents obsession with owning property. Living in communities where one cannot walk anywhere except to another housing developement promote ill health. The lust for real estate is the cause of the obesity-diabetes epidemic in this country, not food. If you live in a community where there is no place to walk, you are going to be obese. There is nothing a person can do to defeat obesity except to move to a place where walking to stores and other activities is an option. People don't want to face the fact that we are all meant to be close in together with each other, not far away and all spread out. Peer pressure also keeps people from going against the norm and breaking out to making an independant decision that would save they very health of their children, if only they could walk instead of riding around in huge trucks every where they go. It is a shame that the press does not challenge people on their presumptions of what good living is. Living far away from work so that one can avoid less roomy alternatives where one has to mingle with other humans is a recipe for physical disaster. If one looks at pictures of crowd scenes from before 1950, when the majority did not drive, one will not see all the humongous people we now have. Communities used to have a main street with housing and jobs mixed in together. Having housing zoned off in a separate area from shopping and work is a relatively recent development that was forced upon the public when car companies bribed city and county representatives back in the 1950s. We have been paying the price for this ever since. It is unnatural but now appears normal because people have no memory of how things used to be. The way the suburbs are currently constructed is an anomoly, not the norm. We have been manipulated into living as consumers instead of as human beings with initimate social interactions. We are the loneliest people in the world because of this. Talk about it and watch people squirm

Posted by: Dave | January 10, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm waiting to see if the writer of the blog or the proposed article will have the courtesy to respond to Dee's very good point, the question about how about a single person's hellacious commute apparently not meaning anything since, after all, it does not affect a spouse, a child, 'family life' and the time away from a single person's hobbies, friends, volunteer activities, or car repairs or grocery shopping, well so what, it's just a single person who has nothing else to do,right? I suspect the writer of the proposed article has a stereotype in mind and a mere single person enduring a tough commute simply does not fit the profile, and Dee is right to ask about it!

Posted by: Ritamae | January 10, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm waiting to see if the writer of the blog or the proposed article will have the courtesy to respond to Dee's very good point, the question about how about a single person's hellacious commute apparently not meaning anything since, after all, it does not affect a spouse, a child, 'family life' and the time away from a single person's hobbies, friends, volunteer activities, or car repairs or grocery shopping, well so what, it's just a single person who has nothing else to do,right? I suspect the writer of the proposed article has a stereotype in mind and a mere single person enduring a tough commute simply does not fit the profile, and Dee is right to ask about it!

Posted by: Ritamae | January 10, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

How about an 18 mile commute that takes 2hours like it did this am.

Where you spend 20 minutes on the ramp between the beltway and the freeway?

Those are the marathon commutes-not the ones coming from a beach house on the bay.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

M.W.,
If that's all there is for a selection of affordable living in the city, that's sad. I came from the midwest, where rents were 450 for an entire HOUSE. We moved to a no bedroom (efficiency) at Crestview Commons for 835 a month and stayed for a year, enduring roaches, overzealous towing agencies, children playing in the stairwells and leaving all manner of trash in the halls and laundry room, said neighbor with a pananche for getting rid of her scrubbing water on the heads of other people in the lot below, and a broken HVAC that allowed mold to grow over every inch of our belongings in the warm seasons and frost to cover everything in the cold seasons. The management company, KSI, couldn't be bothered to fix anything but dang it, they were there to spray poison in the house for potential mice like clockwork.

We tried the overpriced closets at Barton's Crossing. Except for the neighbors (mostly young and white) who refuse to follow heath codes requiring them not to take their soaking wet, smelly dogs in the elevators at any time, that place was decent.

We now live in a townhouse. To afford the rent (2K), we have taken on two roommates, who happen to be good friends as well. Its 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 3 floors, and private parking. We even have a yard, and the house is free of pests. We'd buy it from the owner in a heartbeat id it were for sale. We do not plan to move unless rent increases beyond what anyone can afford or a similar house in the development goes up for sale for under 450K. Yeah right...

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | January 10, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

M.W.,
If that's all there is for a selection of affordable living in the city, that's sad. I came from the midwest, where rents were 450 for an entire HOUSE. We moved to a no bedroom (efficiency) at Crestview Commons for 835 a month and stayed for a year, enduring roaches, overzealous towing agencies, children playing in the stairwells and leaving all manner of trash in the halls and laundry room, said neighbor with a pananche for getting rid of her scrubbing water on the heads of other people in the lot below, and a broken HVAC that allowed mold to grow over every inch of our belongings in the warm seasons and frost to cover everything in the cold seasons. The management company, KSI, couldn't be bothered to fix anything but dang it, they were there to spray poison in the house for potential mice like clockwork.

We tried the overpriced closets at Barton's Crossing. Except for the neighbors (mostly young and white) who refuse to follow heath codes requiring them not to take their soaking wet, smelly dogs in the elevators at any time, that place was decent.

We now live in a townhouse. To afford the rent (2K), we have taken on two roommates, who happen to be good friends as well. Its 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 3 floors, and private parking. We even have a yard, and the house is free of pests. We'd buy it from the owner in a heartbeat id it were for sale. We do not plan to move unless rent increases beyond what anyone can afford or a similar house in the development goes up for sale for under 450K. Yeah right...

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | January 10, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

M.W.,
If that's all there is for a selection of affordable living in the city, that's sad. I came from the midwest, where rents were 450 for an entire HOUSE. We moved to a no bedroom (efficiency) at Crestview Commons for 835 a month and stayed for a year, enduring roaches, overzealous towing agencies, children playing in the stairwells and leaving all manner of trash in the halls and laundry room, said neighbor with a pananche for getting rid of her scrubbing water on the heads of other people in the lot below, and a broken HVAC that allowed mold to grow over every inch of our belongings in the warm seasons and frost to cover everything in the cold seasons. The management company, KSI, couldn't be bothered to fix anything but dang it, they were there to spray poison in the house for potential mice like clockwork.

We tried the overpriced closets at Barton's Crossing. Except for the neighbors (mostly young and white) who refuse to follow heath codes requiring them not to take their soaking wet, smelly dogs in the elevators at any time, that place was decent.

We now live in a townhouse. To afford the rent (2K), we have taken on two roommates, who happen to be good friends as well. Its 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 3 floors, and private parking. We even have a yard, and the house is free of pests. We'd buy it from the owner in a heartbeat id it were for sale. We do not plan to move unless rent increases beyond what anyone can afford or a similar house in the development goes up for sale for under 450K. Yeah right...

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | January 10, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

M.W.,
If that's all there is for a selection of affordable living in the city, that's sad. I came from the midwest, where rents were 450 for an entire HOUSE. We moved to a no bedroom (efficiency) at Crestview Commons for 835 a month and stayed for a year, enduring roaches, overzealous towing agencies, children playing in the stairwells and leaving all manner of trash in the halls and laundry room, said neighbor with a pananche for getting rid of her scrubbing water on the heads of other people in the lot below, and a broken HVAC that allowed mold to grow over every inch of our belongings in the warm seasons and frost to cover everything in the cold seasons. The management company, KSI, couldn't be bothered to fix anything but dang it, they were there to spray poison in the house for potential mice like clockwork.

We tried the overpriced closets at Barton's Crossing. Except for the neighbors (mostly young and white) who refuse to follow heath codes requiring them not to take their soaking wet, smelly dogs in the elevators at any time, that place was decent.

We now live in a townhouse. To afford the rent (2K), we have taken on two roommates, who happen to be good friends as well. Its 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 3 floors, and private parking. We even have a yard, and the house is free of pests. We'd buy it from the owner in a heartbeat id it were for sale. We do not plan to move unless rent increases beyond what anyone can afford or a similar house in the development goes up for sale for under 450K. Yeah right...

Posted by: Cyansquirrel | January 10, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

M.W.,
If that's all there is for a selection of affordable living in the city, that's sad. I came from the midwest, where rents were 450 for an entire HOUSE. We moved to a no bedroom (efficiency) at Crestview Commons for 835 a month and stayed for a year, enduring roaches, overzealous towing agencies, children playing in the stairwells and leaving all manner of trash in the halls and laundry room, said neighbor with a pananche for getting rid of her scrubbing water on the heads of other people in the lot below, and a broken HVAC that allowed mold to grow over every inch of our belongings in the warm seasons and frost to cover everything in the cold seasons. The management company, KSI, couldn't be bothered to fix anything but dang it, they were there to spray poison in the house for potential mice like clockwork.

We tried the overpriced closets at Barton's Crossing. Except for the neighbors (mostly young and white) who refuse to follow heath codes requiring them not to take their soaking wet, smelly dogs in the elevators at any time, that place was decent.

We now live in a townhouse. To afford the rent (2K), we have taken on two roommates, who happen to be good friends as well. Its 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 3 floors, and private parking. We even have a yard, and the house is free of pests. We'd buy it from the owner in a heartbeat id it were for sale. We do not plan to move unless rent increases beyond what anyone can afford or a similar house in the development goes up for sale for under 450K. Yeah right...

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | January 10, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Sighs...another day, another glitch. Sorry folks.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | January 10, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Sighs...another day, another glitch. Sorry folks.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | January 10, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Sighs...another day, another glitch. Sorry!

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | January 10, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"You had me until: "So that means no bridge from MoCo to LoCo..." Have you seen LoCo--it's basically a massively overdeveloped crap-hole. MoCo at that point north is a semi-rural ag preserve. Sure would be great to turn it into Northeastern Manassas."

"LoCO" is the nation's fastest-growing county for many reasons - nice planned communities, relatively affordable housing(MUCH more house for the money than Montgomery County), good shopping, great schools, elbow room, plently roads, proximity to an easily-reached international airport - I could go on.

Meanwhile, Montgomery County lacks easy access to an airport and has horrible traffic thanks to narrow-minded, selfish people who oppose every effort to improve traffic flow and want to pretend MoCo is still "rural". I've seen your " ag preserve" and I've lived in Kansas. The ag preserve ain't rural, pal. It's not even SEMI-rural.

The day will eventually come when MoCo's NIMBYism and the prevalent mindest that "everything built after my house is sprawl" will bite them in the form of lost jobs and lost tax revenue. It's only a matter of time.

FYI, Marriot nearly left MoCo a few years ago, citing the trafic and the endless controversy over the Montrose Parkway and the ICC as the reasons. It took tens of millions in tax abatements to get Marriott to stay. Guess whose taxes were increased to make up the revenue shortfall.

As another poster so accuratetly stated, the existence of a bridge or a road is not what causes over-development, it's lax zoning regulations that allow overdevelopment to occur.

And I agree that any REAL environmentalist would realize that stopping development closer-in will result in development further out along with longer car trips and more fuel use and pollution.

I've learned from the mouths of many self-proclaimed environmentalists that the average so-called "environmentalist" couldn't care less about the environment. They don't care about traffic congestion or wasted fuel and its attendant pollution. Neither do they care about "sprawl", all their claims to the contrary.

These self-ofessed "environmentalists" care only about stopping road-building, preventing suburban development, preserving land, crowding as many people as possible into as small an area as possible, and forcing them to use transit.

"Your loss, DC." I'm sure we'll all be crying a river of tears."

Yeah, because we'll be left with too many who think like like you. Thanks for the bad traffic.

" Buh-bye. "Next!""

Right! Another psuedo-environmentalist exposed.

Posted by: CEEAF | January 10, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to add: is it really necessary to move 4,400 pounds for every single transaction, major or minor? Pick up a small coffee, move 4,400 pounds there, move 4,400 pounds back. Buy a shirt: move 4,400 pounds to the mall, move 4,400 pounds back to the house. Nothing excessive about that, right?

Posted by: David | January 11, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

"The day will eventually come when MoCo's NIMBYism and the prevalent mindest that 'everything built after my house is sprawl' will bite them in the form of lost jobs and lost tax revenue. It's only a matter of time."

They're not NIMBYs, they're BANANAs: "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone."

Posted by: Rich | January 11, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

For those so angry that single people are apparently excluded from this request, I'd say that a single person making an extreme commute is far from the norm. What are the most common reasons for living far from where you work? More house for the money, better schools, a spouse with a job close to home, etc. All of which apply more typically to a family. For the most part, single people have fewer ties to a specific location and can more easily live closer to work. If they MUST live in a certain place, then they probably seek a job closer to home. It's not saying that the single person's time is less valuable, just that there are far fewer single people in this situation.

Posted by: Baltimore | January 11, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

My parents lived close to where they worked when they first met. They both lived in Crystal City, dad working for the government, mom working for a company who had an office in CC.

After getting married, they wanted to buy a house because they wanted some space and a commute was fine. Dad still worked in CC, Rosslyn and the Pentagon, while mom had a job around the house off Braddock Road.

When I moved back here, I got a room in the basement of a house so I could be close to my primary work. Now that I have a girlfriend and we're thinking about more, we want the house we're living in to ourselves so we can plan our future. When you're by yourself, you don't need much. When you add more people, it becomes a problem of two people looking for the perfect place, not just one saying "yeah, good enough".

Posted by: Singles and Couples | January 11, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"They're not NIMBYs, they're BANANAs: "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone."

A MUCH more accurate definition. Thanks.

Posted by: CEEAF | January 11, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"I forgot to add: is it really necessary to move 4,400 pounds for every single transaction, major or minor? Pick up a small coffee, move 4,400 pounds there, move 4,400 pounds back. Buy a shirt: move 4,400 pounds to the mall, move 4,400 pounds back to the house. Nothing excessive about that, right?"

Well that's the way it is, thanks to the market.

Not everyone can live in the cute little neo-urbanist 19th-century replicas called "walkable communiies". And not everyone wants to live 10-15 stories off the ground just so they can walk or ride trains to run their like you might want them to.

Some people actually want a spacious house, a yard decent schools, and local government that works, all at a proce they can afford.

Many peiople, in fact MOST people, would much rather "move 4,400 pounds for every single transaction" than live in a crowded neighborhood and risk getting mugged while walking with a five-pound bag just so environmentalist control freaks can feel good about themselves.

Posted by: CEEAF | January 11, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to add: is it really necessary to move 4,400 pounds for every single transaction, major or minor? Pick up a small coffee, move 4,400 pounds there, move 4,400 pounds back. Buy a shirt: move 4,400 pounds to the mall, move 4,400 pounds back to the house. Nothing excessive about that, right?"

Well that's the way it is, thanks to the market.

Not everyone can live in the cute little neo-urbanist 19th-century replicas called "walkable communities". And not everyone wants to live 10-15 stories off the ground just so they can walk or ride trains to work or run their just because you might want them to.

Some people actually want a spacious house, a yard, decent schools, and local government that works, all at a price they can afford.

And yes, a vehicle to haul themseves in.

Many people, in fact MOST people, would much rather "move 4,400 pounds for every single transaction" than live in a crowded neighborhood and risk getting mugged while walking with a five-pound bag just so environmentalist control freaks can feel good about themselves.

Posted by: CEEAF | January 11, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

CEAFF,
It's not entirely up to the market what types of housing get built and where. There's a little thing called government regulation. Especially in regards to land use laws that segregate commercial and residential zoning, sprawl has been virtually mandated by localities.

I live in a relatively new community (about 10 years old - it combines townhomes, single family homes, condominiums and apartments) in the suburbs where I can walk to the grocery store, a Starbucks, the cleaners, the gym, a few restaurants and numerous outdoor recreational facilities including a state park. And yet I still have a suburban home within 2 1/2 miles of a commuter rail line that drops me a block from work. To me, that's the ultimate in suburban living: a more spacious home with some green around it in a safe neighborhood, close to amenities and a quick, easy commute via reliable public transit. I'm not an extreme environmentalist but I certainly try to do my part to reduce energy consumption, trash output and wasted driving trips, and my home allows me to do that. It also allows me to live somewhere that I don't worry about getting mugged while carrying home my groceries or latte. Smarter land use and denser development don't have to mean Americans completely abandoning their cars or living in dangerous neighborhoods. "Smart Growth" can mean a wonderfully diverse neighborhood with nearby amenities and manageable commutes.

I should also mention that I purchased my townhome last summer for less than 85% of the area's median home price, and my wife and I make less than the area's median income as well, so this is hardly an upper-income exclusive community.

Posted by: Baltimore | January 12, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: william | January 25, 2007 2:37 AM | Report abuse

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