From Pine View Farm

Urban Hellholes 0

Atrios is fond of talking of life in his urban hellhole. Of course, though it’s urban, it’s hardly a hellhole; it’s a nice residential neighborhood a few steps from shopping, services, and transportation.

Speaking of transportation, transportation costs are seldom figured in with housing costs and, in a commuting environment, they should be:

Many people are familiar with federal guidelines that suggest households spend 30 percent or less on housing, but fewer people consider the transportation costs associated with a home or community because of an absence of data, Cisneros said.

“When transportation is figured in there — because that’s what it takes to get home — it becomes untenable,’’ he said.

The study found that across Greater Boston, the average household spends $22,373 on traditional housing costs and $11,927 on transportation, from car payments and gasoline to T passes and bike tires. That $34,300 represents 54 percent of median household income in the region.

There’s more at the link.

I have lived in suburbs my whole working life. Many times, I would have rather lived in the city, but could not afford the housing prices for a house I would have wanted to live in.

When I lived in the Washington, D. C., area in the close-in Arlington and Alexandria burbs, I carpooled or took the Metro to work. We were able to be a one-car family for several years even though both of us worked.

When I lived on Philadelphia’s Main Line, I took the train. Best commute I ever had: five minute walk to the station, 12-minute train ride, elevator ride to the office. My car did not move from Monday through Friday.

When I moved to Wilmington, I drove (12 minutes) or bussed (20 minutes) to the Wilmington train station and rode my rail pass to work in Philly. Later, when the office moved to the Wilmington train station, it was even simpler. Back then, there was even street parking if you knew where to look for it.

The only time in which I was a car-bound commuter was when I was commuting from Wilmington to New Jersey (just about three miles due east of Philadelphia International Airport). There was no feasible public transportation, so I was putting 200 miles a week on my vehicle. It was mostly an easy open-road commute at highway speeds (20 miles in 30 minutes), but even that beats hell out of a vehicle real quick.

But we are so wedded to our cars that we don’t see them as costs.


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