Gas prices and real estate

Finally – something to distract from all the talk about a possible real estate bubble – gas prices that may reach four, even five dollars a gallon. These current and projected increases raise at least a couple of questions –

Have you changed your daily habits due to the increases? Are companies and their employees going to (have to?) embrace more rapidly telecommuting?

What impact will rising prices have on development patterns? Brian Wheeler has an excellent summary of the (almost incomprehensibly large) Biscuit Run development, focusing on the potential location of the elementary school.

Several members of the Planning Commission and County planning staff have encouraged a site in a more central location to both preserve the rural areas and to create a school that can easily be walked and bicycled to from nearby homes …

Biscuit Run is the type of development we say we want – located close to town and a fairly dense project that will help minimize sprawl. The more people that are able to bike to work or walk to the store, the better the development will be, at least theoretically.

Finally, and this probably deserves its own post – if you were designing a city today, what would it look like?

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8 Comments

  1. TrvlnMn April 24, 2006 at 23:34

    Have you changed your daily habits due to the increases?

    No. But then I don’t like to drive around needlessly. Do I wish the U.S. would move to become oil independant (as Brazil is doing) yes absolutely. But I need to drive I can’t change that.

    Are companies and their employees going to (have to?) embrace more rapidly telecommuting?

    I would imagine that people for whom that would be a reasonable option are *not* what one would consider “traditionally working class. More importantly think about all those jobs where people don’t have that option. And those jobs don’t usually pay enough to begin with. Now add on the higher cost of gas, with the long commute because of housing prices in the area and consider that person’s plight.

    I think the question should be “If High Gas Prices Persist- will employers have to *raise* the wage they are offering in order to attract and/or retain employees? Or will they decide it’s better just to hire illegal immigrants because “american’s just won’t do those jobs.”? (*Tongue in Cheek*)

    🙂

    What impact will rising prices have on development patterns?

    Obviously if things move up to the 4 dollar a gallon range (not unthinkable at this point) then real estate close in to the work place goes up, and living in the country and commuting to C’ville for work becomes something that only the affluent can afford (unless people are carpooling).

    Biscuit Run is the type of development we say we want – located close to town and a fairly dense project that will help minimize sprawl. The more people that are able to bike to work or walk to the store, the better the development will be, at least theoretically.

    I think biking to work, for most people, just isn’t a realistic option, and won’t be especially not from Biscuit Run, unless work is somewhere along avon street extended and or the Willoughby Shopping Center area. The appeal of biscuit run is that it is close in to town by “driving standards.”

    And continuing on that thought, how many city buses have bike racks on them? But then the City Bus system wouldn’t be going to Biscuit Run and Albemarle County doesn’t have it’s own public transit system. (remember the fuss just a few months back about the lack of public transit to the social services building out in that direction?

    Finally, and this probably deserves its own post – if you were designing a city today, what would it look like?

    I would design it around some sort of rail public transit system (think Chicago’s El, Boston’s “T”, or even an elevated monorail system like what I think Seattle has- not sure about that though) and then reserve right of ways and expansion options for possible future growth. With buses to act as extensions for where the rail doesn’t go with the understanding that the rail was the primary and buses secondary.

    I would also probably consider “Higher Density Closer In.” as opposed to Charlottesville and/or L.A. sprawl- which believe it or not *are* very similar.

    Anyway those are just my broad brush ideas.

  2. Jim duncan April 25, 2006 at 11:42

    On the biking question – what is the average distance that is considered do-able by most bikers?

  3. TrvlnMn April 25, 2006 at 14:09

    Jim Duncan wrote:

    On the biking question – what is the average distance that is considered do-able by most bikers?

    I can’t speak for ‘most cyclists’. As for myself I’d say maybe 1/4 or 1/2 mile (I’m also really bad estimating distance). If the terrain is midwest flat then I’d say probably a much longer.

    By citing wiloughby shopping center and Avon St extended I was trying to give an example of what I thought was reasonable distance to bike to from the proposed biscuit run development. I wouldn’t be inclined to bike from biscuit run to the downtown mall though.

    Someone living at the Hessian Hills Condo’s for example would have a wider range of options for places to cycle to.

    Additionally When I cycle somewhere It’s only ever been realistic for me to do so for personal ventures (things I might use a car for on my days off, but could also due to closer location and distance use a bicycle). If I had to bike to work, and that work location was a pretty big distance away, (Say from Biscuit Run to Anyplace at UVA). I’d need another shower before I could start work.

    Now Bicycles in conjunction with public transit. I think that would be a great idea, and would extend the amount of distance with which bicycle travel would be practical. (and I’m of the opinion the way most american’s traditionally shop, bicycle travel and public transit is never practical with grocery shopping- unless it’s only a small handful of items)

    Anyway that’s my 2 cents.

  4. Ray Hyde April 25, 2006 at 16:54

    When was the last time you saw a parent that would let his child walk or bike to work? Mostly I see parents standing guard over their children until the bus comes.

    A quarter to a half mile is walking distance, only ten to 15 minutes. Ten to fifteen minutes by bike is up to three or four miles.

    Bike racks on transit is a good idea, it is just that transit is such a bad idea…..

  5. TrvlnMn April 25, 2006 at 20:54

    Ray Hyde wrote:

    A quarter to a half mile is walking distance, only ten to 15 minutes. Ten to fifteen minutes by bike is up to three or four miles.

    TrvlnMn wrote:

    (I’m also really bad estimating distance).

    I stand by what I wrote.

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