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America's Killer Commute


biloxifalcon
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By Lauren Barack, MSN Money

Colin Deaso, 30, travels more than an hour each way from his home in Sterling, Va., to his financial-services job in Washington, D.C.

Though he has a newborn baby at home and is needed there, he schedules his drive around commute traffic.

He leaves the house at 6:30 a.m.; in the evening, he waits until he thinks traffic has cleared, getting home by about 7 p.m.

"I despise sitting in traffic," Deaso says. "Don't get me wrong -- it's difficult to leave early in the morning. But we could afford a bigger home here."

Sacrificing hours each day on the road seems like a necessary trade-off to many Americans.

Many are willing to move farther away from their jobs as long as weekend time is spent in communities they like, where they can afford the kinds of homes they want.

"We've seen decentralization for decades now," says Patricia Mokhtarian, a professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at the University of California, Davis.

"People are having to travel further away not just to have a house but to have a three-bedroom house with a yard that we can afford."

Longer commute times translate directly into savings on housing. Take San Francisco, where the average cost of a home was $1.45 million in 2007, according to Coldwell Banker's Home Price Comparison Index.

A 13-mile drive across the bay to Oakland could ve nabbed you a home for $955,000. Make that $874,000 if you didn't mind driving an extra 12 miles inland to Walnut Creek.

That would have been a savings of roughly $575,000 in exchange for a 50-mile daily round trip -- more than $11,000 per mile.

Want another example? Try Dallas, where the average home was $302,000. If you had been willing to trade time on the road for a cut in home prices, you could have driven 21 miles north to Plano to get a house for $204,000 -- or 32 miles west to Fort Worth, where a similar house was just $151,000.

Granted, commuting isn't all downside. In some families -- where the commute time follows rushing the kids to school, dropping shirts at the cleaners and pouring coffee into spill-proof travel mugs -- the commute can be a sanctuary of sorts.

Sometimes the car is the only place to steal a few moments alone.

The rest of us seem to be getting used to long commutes. Nearly 2 million Americans now log at least 90 minutes door to door -- what is sometimes referred to as "extreme commuting."

When Scott Anderegg, 47, took his job as an attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., he thought his family would move from Richmond, Va., to a Washington suburb -- or at least closer to Washington.

But his wife has her own law practice in their community, and Anderegg's children say they are happy where they are -- despite their father's nearly six-hour round-trip commute.

"They're not shy about expressing their opinion," he says with a laugh.

Anderegg has grown accustomed to leaving the house at 5:15 a.m. and driving 50 minutes to Fredericksburg, Va., where he catches a commuter train for the final two hours into work. The reverse trip gets him through the front door at 8 p.m., just in time to tuck his kids into bed.

"When I first started I thought, 'I'm the only crazy person doing this,'" he said. "But when I was walking to the parking lot for the commute rail, I noticed a lot of permit stickers on cars from my area. There were at least 60 or 70 people doing exactly the same thing."

Anderegg doesn't own a BlackBerry, the ubiquitous tool of the mass-transit user, but he does use his train time to review work documents. Longer commutes tend to become working commutes, especially for those who carpool or take public transit.

Forget eight-hour workdays. Counting commute time, Americans are looking at 50 to 60 hours of work a week.

"The boundaries are falling, which is a two-edged sword," says Mokhtarian, the UC Davis professor. "For some people it's intrusive that they're always available for work.

Others find it makes them more effective and frees up time for other things."

Colin Deaso and his wife, Dawn, weren't focused on the work implications when they bought their home. Dawn was seven months pregnant, and they wanted more space and a neighborhood with better schools.

Although the new house doubled their mortgage, along with his commute, Deaso feels they made a good move.

"The neighborhood is more laid-back," he says. "There are great schools. No sounds of traffic. I've been very happy with our decision."

LINK: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Inves...lerCommute.aspx

___________________________________________________________________________________

Now I don't feel so bad about how far I drive. I used to drive around 200 miles round trip (83 miles one way) per day until Nov 2007. I moved a little closer, now I drive about 98 miles rond trip, cut it in half!

What's yours?

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Shiney_McShine (2/13/2008)
When gas hits $10 a gallon in the very near future, lets see how far these surbanites are willing to drive.

The problem is that it won't be how far are they "willing" to drive, it'll be how far are they "able" to drive.

We've invested nearly all the country's wealth since WWII into the decentralization and suburbanization of our landscape. We used the most fuel-demanding model possible to develop our society, and we based it on a fuel that is not only finite, but the majority of which is imported into the country.

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alfred e. neuman (2/13/2008)
Shiney_McShine (2/13/2008)
When gas hits $10 a gallon in the very near future, lets see how far these surbanites are willing to drive.

The problem is that it won't be how far are they "willing" to drive, it'll be how far are they "able" to drive.

We've invested nearly all the country's wealth since WWII into the decentralization and suburbanization of our landscape. We used the most fuel-demanding model possible to develop our society, and we based it on a fuel that is not only finite, but the majority of which is imported into the country.

I need to finish watching that documentary. I had to turn it off because it made me feel so uneasy. Not that it will happen, but that we were warned and did nothing. Today is a prime example of our idiotic priorities. Congress is questioning a baseball star on his alleged use of steroids......A substance that in a round about way, encouraged players to take(See the home run battle of 1997). The real disappointing part is the ones who needed to take action to prevent our future woes, will be least affected.
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Shiney_McShine (2/13/2008)
alfred e. neuman (2/13/2008)
Shiney_McShine (2/13/2008)
When gas hits $10 a gallon in the very near future, lets see how far these surbanites are willing to drive.

The problem is that it won't be how far are they "willing" to drive, it'll be how far are they "able" to drive.

We've invested nearly all the country's wealth since WWII into the decentralization and suburbanization of our landscape. We used the most fuel-demanding model possible to develop our society, and we based it on a fuel that is not only finite, but the majority of which is imported into the country.

I need to finish watching that documentary. I had to turn it off because it made me feel so uneasy. Not that it will happen, but that we were warned and did nothing. Today is a prime example of our idiotic priorities. Congress is questioning a baseball star on his alleged use of steroids......A substance that in a round about way, encouraged players to take(See the home run battle of 1997). The real disappointing part is the ones who needed to take action to prevent our future woes, will be least affected.

What documentary are you referring to? I'd like to see it.

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Biloxifalcon (2/13/2008)
Shiney_McShine (2/13/2008)
alfred e. neuman (2/13/2008)
Shiney_McShine (2/13/2008)
When gas hits $10 a gallon in the very near future, lets see how far these surbanites are willing to drive.

The problem is that it won't be how far are they "willing" to drive, it'll be how far are they "able" to drive.

We've invested nearly all the country's wealth since WWII into the decentralization and suburbanization of our landscape. We used the most fuel-demanding model possible to develop our society, and we based it on a fuel that is not only finite, but the majority of which is imported into the country.

I need to finish watching that documentary. I had to turn it off because it made me feel so uneasy. Not that it will happen, but that we were warned and did nothing. Today is a prime example of our idiotic priorities. Congress is questioning a baseball star on his alleged use of steroids......A substance that in a round about way, encouraged players to take(See the home run battle of 1997). The real disappointing part is the ones who needed to take action to prevent our future woes, will be least affected.

What documentary are you referring to? I'd like to see it.

http://www.endofsuburbia.com/

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Shiney_McShine (2/13/2008)
alfred e. neuman (2/13/2008)
I need to finish watching that documentary. I had to turn it off because it made me feel so uneasy. Not that it will happen, but that we were warned and did nothing. Today is a prime example of our idiotic priorities. Congress is questioning a baseball star on his alleged use of steroids......A substance that in a round about way, encouraged players to take(See the home run battle of 1997). The real disappointing part is the ones who needed to take action to prevent our future woes, will be least affected.

Peak Oil is definately a problem that will creep in from the bottom up. Not only on an American society level, but on the world level. The poorest customers will be incrementally priced out as fuel prices increase.

It's already happening in Asia and Africa. Entire nations are beginning to be priced out of the oil market because they can't afford to pay $90 a barrel for oil. That's one of the few things that has kept world prices at a somewhat managable level - each price spike prices entire populations out of the oil game, freeing up more oil for the countries that can still afford it.

I think the real sad thing is that our government sees no problem in subsidising our continued use of oil, including the military involvement it takes to keep the supply safe, yet they aren't willing to spend the money to completely eliminate the problem at it's roots. And it would be FAR cheaper to eliminate the need for oil than it is to secure oil for the status quo.

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When gas hits $10 a gallon in the very near future, lets see how far these surbanites are willing to drive.

That would be a fine point if not for the reason of the article. People arnt moving farther out because they all want to, they are because they have to.

I work in Reston,VA (Fairfax County) but live in Strasburg,VA (74 miles away). I bought a 3 bedroom 1400 square foot condo for $139,000. That same condo in Fairfax County would cost nearly $400,000.

I left work at 2pm yesterday and got home at 5:30 because of traffic and accidents. If I could actually afford to live even close to where I work I would do it in a heartbeat.

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The_ ATL (2/13/2008)
When gas hits $10 a gallon in the very near future, lets see how far these surbanites are willing to drive.

That would be a fine point if not for the reason of the article. People arnt moving farther out because they all want to, they are because they have to.

I work in Reston,VA (Fairfax County) but live in Strasburg,VA (74 miles away). I bought a 3 bedroom 1400 square foot condo for $139,000. That same condo in Fairfax County would cost nearly $400,000.

I left work at 2pm yesterday and got home at 5:30 because of traffic and accidents. If I could actually afford to live even close to where I work I would do it in a heartbeat.

Your last sentence is what it's all about!

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The_ ATL (2/13/2008)
When gas hits $10 a gallon in the very near future, lets see how far these surbanites are willing to drive.

That would be a fine point if not for the reason of the article. People arnt moving farther out because they all want to, they are because they have to.

I work in Reston,VA (Fairfax County) but live in Strasburg,VA (74 miles away). I bought a 3 bedroom 1400 square foot condo for $139,000. That same condo in Fairfax County would cost nearly $400,000.

I left work at 2pm yesterday and got home at 5:30 because of traffic and accidents. If I could actually afford to live even close to where I work I would do it in a heartbeat.

Yeah, AEN corrected my incorrect statement. I'm in the same situation. Affordable homes are the furthest away from my job. I can get a closet sized condo in midtown for the same price I can get a 1500 sq ft ranch home in Lawrenceville.

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The_ ATL (2/13/2008)
Your last sentence is what it's all about!

I usually do what the guy in the article does and just work over for some extra cash and to avoid the traffic.

Unfortunatly the two things I hate most are my job and traffic, either way it sucks.

I can't earn any extra by working later, I'm on salary. They would LOVE for me to work later! :laugh:

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The_ ATL (2/13/2008)

I usually do what the guy in the article does and just work over for some extra cash and to avoid the traffic.

Unfortunatly the two things I hate most are my job and traffic, either way it sucks.

I went an entirely different route to solve the same problem. I moved to one of America's most livable communities.

I can walk wherever I want to go in town, or take the public transit system if I need to go farther. We haven't used a gallon of gasoline total since October, and my quality of life is much higher than it was when I was driving an hour and a half a day to fund a car and a house payment in the rural suburbs. Stress level is near zero now, where I used to fume about everything due to the pent up road rage.

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alfred e. neuman (2/13/2008)
The_ ATL (2/13/2008)

I usually do what the guy in the article does and just work over for some extra cash and to avoid the traffic.

Unfortunatly the two things I hate most are my job and traffic, either way it sucks.

I went an entirely different route to solve the same problem. I moved to one of America's most livable communities.

I can walk wherever I want to go in town, or take the public transit system if I need to go farther. We haven't used a gallon of gasoline total since October, and my quality of life is much higher than it was when I was driving an hour and a half a day to fund a car and a house payment in the rural suburbs. Stress level is near zero now, where I used to fume about everything due to the pent up road rage.

Who has a list of America's most livable cities?

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I went an entirely different route to solve the same problem. I moved to one of America's most livable communities.

I can walk wherever I want to go in town, or take the public transit system if I need to go farther. We haven't used a gallon of gasoline total since October, and my quality of life is much higher than it was when I was driving an hour and a half a day to fund a car and a house payment in the rural suburbs. Stress level is near zero now, where I used to fume about everything due to the pent up road rage.

Yeah but the problem is Northern Virginia is one of the fastest growing areas in the US now. So anything even remotely closer will cost me double.

Heck I payed $139k for mine 20 months ago, had it appraised and refinanced the other day and its worth $203k.

My house payment is only $890 per month. Wont get somthing for that in Reston.

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alfred e. neuman (2/13/2008)
The_ ATL (2/13/2008)

I usually do what the guy in the article does and just work over for some extra cash and to avoid the traffic.

Unfortunatly the two things I hate most are my job and traffic, either way it sucks.

I went an entirely different route to solve the same problem. I moved to one of America's most livable communities.

I can walk wherever I want to go in town, or take the public transit system if I need to go farther. We haven't used a gallon of gasoline total since October, and my quality of life is much higher than it was when I was driving an hour and a half a day to fund a car and a house payment in the rural suburbs. Stress level is near zero now, where I used to fume about everything due to the pent up road rage.

How are things up there btw? Sounds like you're lovin' it. We can't all dig up and move that far though. I mean, are there a lot of jobs where you are, or were you able to take your skillset/income with you?

I might actually consider something like this if I were able to find employment - one day. Right now, I have extended family in the SE, both of my parents (and step parents) are alive and in their twilight years, so I feel like I need to stick around closer to home for a while. My own family did move closer to our jobs, but only out of necessity. Our home was foreclosed on, and we can't afford the gas to live as far in the burbs as we used to. So now we're renting closer, and I can vouch for the stress decrease, that's for sure. I guess you get used to the commute, but when we first moved in closer, I was getting home and just looking around going, "Now what am I supposed to do?" Used to be the minute we hit the door, it was a race to get dinner on, homework done, and kids to bed, and then it was time to go to sleep.

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This article made me feel slightly better about moving away from the city. The office is approximately seven miles from my house. If I had to, I could walk/bike. I definitely don't miss the 60-90 minute commute, nor the interstate that has been under construction for most of my life. The trade-off is subpar shopping and lack of great Thai or Italian food. It all comes down to priorities and the choices we're willing to make.

Btw, is End of Surburbia on DVD now? It was showing in a local theater a week or so ago, and I didn't make it.

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Found a list: Denver, Fayetteville, Ft worth, Kansas City, Richmond, Riverside, Roanoake, San Jose, St Louis, St Petersburg, Tacoma, Tulsa, Winston-Salem.

Link: http://www.mostlivable.org/most-livable.html

Winston-Salem is the closest to me, but the thing is, the more people hear about them, the more people will move there, deja-vu all over again.

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Biloxifalcon (2/13/2008)
alfred e. neuman (2/13/2008)

Who has a list of America's most livable cities?

It varries depending on what you consider "livable" and the size of the city you want to live in.

My search criteria is a city of <100,000 people, a centralized downtown with many shopping options, public transportation options, anti-sprawl legislation that ensured the surrounding farm land is doing what it should be doing: feeding the town rather than providing bedrooms for people who have to have an acre and a lawn, massive investment in public spaces like parks, low crime rate, and a climate where 100 degree days are just a bad rumor.

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alfred e. neuman (2/13/2008)
The_ ATL (2/13/2008)

I usually do what the guy in the article does and just work over for some extra cash and to avoid the traffic.

Unfortunatly the two things I hate most are my job and traffic, either way it sucks.

I went an entirely different route to solve the same problem. I moved to one of America's most livable communities.

I can walk wherever I want to go in town, or take the public transit system if I need to go farther. We haven't used a gallon of gasoline total since October, and my quality of life is much higher than it was when I was driving an hour and a half a day to fund a car and a house payment in the rural suburbs. Stress level is near zero now, where I used to fume about everything due to the pent up road rage.

Yeah, but what's the quality of beer?
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