There was a pretty decent deli in the building behind ours, but rather than having a convenient walkway, there was a fence between the two properties, so reaching it meant taking the long way around 2 parking lots. The building across the street had a downstairs area that used to be another deli/coffee shop, but at one point but when rents went up, the owner couldn't afford rent and closed, but it had been sitting vacant for around 3+ years by the time I worked there.
The roads in the office park had relatively narrow lanes with wide 20 foot green medians - I suppose the green grass in the medians looked nice, but the narrow lanes meant that bike riding was pretty dicey, there was not really enough room for cars to pass cyclists, and the 40mph speed limit meant that cars traveled at 45 - 50mph, making biking much more dangerous than it needed to be.
They had a shuttle to the nearest train station, but it ran on a fixed schedule that didn't even try to sync up with the train schedule, which led to 20 - 40 minute delays while waiting for the shuttle on the way to work or waiting for the train home. I suspect that the management was either required to run the shuttle or got a grant for it, and only ran it because they had to, not to provide a service to workers.
My company moved out of the office park as soon as they had enough money to rent space downtown.
It wouldn't take too many changes to make office parks more "livable" - add sidewalks, bike lanes, encourage retail/restaurants with lower rents.
Fortunately (for them and me) the company is moving downtown this spring, or I wouldn't have taken an otherwise great job.
Probably it has something to do with the long walking distances; even if the roads were walkable with proper sidewalks and pedestrian crossings installed, it would take half an hour just to walk to the nearest corner store.
All those details add up to create a poor and dangerous pedestrian experience. Now, most towns in America have realized that was extremely bone-headed, possibly unsustainable (it costs a lot of money to run all those electrical wires, plumbing, and roads), and we are trying to undo the past 70 years of engineering. Oh, and this was all mandated by building codes (law) so even if one wanted to build a walkable suburban business park, it was not possible.
There is a entertaining talk about all this by James Kuntsler at https://www.ted.com/talks/james_howard_kunstler_dissects_sub...
I suspect this has more to do with fact that walkable areas are much more likely to be located in city centers with higher overall real estate prices than with the desirability of walkable neighborhoods.
One also has to consider that new families with young children are high on the list of demographics looking for suburban homes, and are likely to have less money, so suburban homes are cheaper by necessity.
Cul-de-sacs wouldn't be so bad if they had well-maintained pedestrian lanes that cut between them and neighborhood shops instead of big box stores.
In England at least, a poor area still has little cafés . The menu is similar enough — fried breakfast etc — but it will be served on an actual plate, rather than a chopping board or slate. The choice of restaurant might be a larger pub, or a place that also/only offers take-away (McDonalds or a small Cantonese place, for example). The market probably has less promotion of organic produce, and will sell produce as well as cheap clothes and household goods.
I used to live in a poor area of London, which I think was built in the 1960s. There were cul-de-sac roads, but most of them continued with footpaths so journeys wouldn't take too long. On the main road there was a school, church, doctor's office, dentist, library, small grocery store, beer/wine shop, bakery, cheap café, pizza take-away, Chinese take-away, Indian take-away, fish and chip shop, pharmacy, newsagent, youth club and 'village' green including play equipment. The pub-with-dining had recently closed, I'm not sure if that's still the case. All of this is within 5-10 minutes walk of most people, beyond that distance and they are close to the next cluster of shops.
There wasn't a market, but there was a market selling fruit and veg in the nearest 'town', which was about 5-10 minutes by bicycle, or 10-20 by walk+bus.
 http://www.constructionphotography.com/Details.aspx?ID=11957... — "builder's caf" or just "caf" is a slang term for them.
Most places, the closest thing you're going to find to a little cafe is your local 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts. Or the local package store. Generally, people go to the supermarket once a week, and they stock up enough that they don't have to go to the market every single day - when I spent a few months in Germany, this was one of the differences that struck me most oddly. Art is generally... not held in great esteem.
All of these things end up being plentiful, cost-sensitive, and profitable when the space you live in supports and encourages plentiful foot traffic.
But sure, the real test would be non-walkable neighbourhoods next to city centres.
I can't believe some of the outrageous stuff this Kuntsler guy says:
>We have about, you know, 38,000 places that are not worth caring about in the United States today. When we have enough of them, we're going to have a nation that's not worth defending. And I want you to think about that when you think about those young men and women who are over in places like Iraq, spilling their blood in the sand, and ask yourself, "What is their last thought of home?" I hope it's not the curb cut between the Chuck E. Cheese and the Target store because that's not good enough for Americans to be spilling their blood for. (Applause) We need better places in this country.
Really? We have a lot worth fighting for, and it's not any physical city, nor should it be. Rather, it's the 300 million people that call this place home, your family and friends among them. It's the idea--the reality--of mankind living in freedom, of opportunity for all, of equal justice before the law, of the dignity of the individual.
>We are entering an epochal period of change in the world, and -- certainly in America -- the period that will be characterized by the end of the cheap oil era. It is going to change absolutely everything. [...] We're not going to be rescued by the hyper-car; we're not going to be rescued by alternative fuels. No amount or combination of alternative fuels is going to allow us to continue running what we're running, the way we're running it.
This guy is just plain wrong. There's no reason why plug-in electrics, and a power grid running on nuclear & renewables, can't replace our current reliance on oil and internal combustion engines.
I've lived in suburbs and in cities, and my take is that the current zeitgeist (that suburbs are evil) is way off the mark. In suburbia, I had boundless privacy and freedom in my home. In the city, I can't play my speakers loud without getting a noise complaint. In suburbia, I could hop in my car and go wherever I want whenever I want. In the city, parking is expensive and public transit is not fun. I have to take several buses, at particular bus stops, at particular times. My door to door morning commute is twice as long by bus as by car. In suburbia, I might have heard a few cars passing by at night, or the occasional loud outdoor party. In the city, I have to choose between burning alive and trying to sleep to the tune of my neighbors' loud conversation on their balcony. There's a lot of great things about the city too--I choose to live in one! Different strokes for different folks. Or even the same folks at different points in their lives.
I hate suburbia. It's isolating and bland. It's always a 10 minute car production to go fetch something quick from a 7-11 or equivalent. It encourages obesity and a lack of walking because you always have to get in a car. It encourages long commutes and rush hour hell on the highway. With a long train commute, I can read a book or do something productive with my time.
If I want to play my music loudly at 11pm, then I will get a unit that was constructed with soundproofing. If a city is hampered by inept NIMBYs that prevent new construction with soundproofing being made, then that has nothing to do with urban vs suburban.
I think you haven't experienced a proper metro system by saying public transit is a bus. Go to new york, and see how there is no 'traffic' delays in taking the subway. Where everything is avialable 24/7 and the city is alive.
My main point is that technology is now changing and I think that de-centralized mass-transit through fleets of automated cars is close at hand. And it can use the infrastructure that we already have. So building super-expensive fixed-line transit infrastructure within cities is not a good investment anymore. Even more so when you consider the turnaround time from initial planning to opening to the public is probably a decade.
2. There is already about one car per person in the US.
3. Automated car fleets would presumably have a cheaper carpooling option, where the car picks up other passengers on the way to the destination. Like UberPool today.
4. Fixed-line transit costs millions to billions of dollars per mile, and easily takes a decade from planning to completion. Building roads takes a fraction of the time and money. And the roads already exist.
Look at this image for example: http://imgur.com/gallery/v3ff7FY
Building & maintaining roads and highways does take a lot of money too. Building new roads vs building new railroad track on new land isn't that much different cost wise.
You can replace gasoline powered cars with electrics, but you can't build enough roads to handle the traffic -- there's going to have to be improvements in public transportation and smart planning to let people live closer to where they work and play.
Retrofitting cities with pub transit is expensive today, but it will be even more expensive tomorrow.
So I kind of agree with parent. Doing something today might be outdated given tomorrow's technology enabling better solutions. But that is always a risk in infrastructure investment.
So to ignore something that is pretty much a sure bet to redesign your city over 20 years, when what you are building is meant to last 50-100 years, is kind of stupid. You do what you can with all information available.
10 - 20 years is more likely for true self-driving cars that can operate completely without human control.
Highways that become automated-only will not have this problem. The cars can communicate with each other and change speed in unison. You don't even need to convert a whole highway, you can just reserve a single lane for automated cars and get most of the same benefits.
And don't say "But self driving cars will fix everything! They don't even need to park, they can drop you off at work and drive away". If the cars aren't parked, they are contributing to congestion. And since commutes aren't generally balanced, it's not like the self-driving car will leave Walnut Creek at 8am, drop you off in SF at 9am and then pick up a new passenger to head back to the East Bay - that car is going to be loitering around SF somewhere, waiting to take someone back home to the East Bay.
SF Muni carries 600,000 passengers/day. BART carries 400K (though not all to SF). Caltrain contributes another 50K. How could you possible accomodate all of these people without transit?
Like I said, building effective transit in existing cities is very expensive -- the BART system cost around $1.5B when it was built (around $20B today), but few would argue that SF would be better off without it.
You're right, traffic patterns are not balanced, so the cars returning to the hot areas for pickups will not be contributing to the traffic in the most-congested direction.
Also, SF already has BART, Caltrain, and SF Muni. I'm not familiar with the specific history here, but transit and housing are the limiting factors for where people live in the first place, so the number of commuters will expand when capacity increases. The better question is, what if SF didn't build those systems? It wouldn't be San Francisco today minus the trains, it'd be a totally different San Francisco. So you can't really take the ridership numbers from today as evidence that city couldn't cope without trains.
Also, this was all happening when self-driving cars were not around the corner. It's a different story today.
Except that in a city, all traffic contributes to congestion,there is no single "commute direction".
>Also, this was all happening when self-driving cars were not around the corner. It's a different story today.
That "corner" is decades away, meanwhile, people need to get to work today -- and you still haven't explained how self-driving cars can replace a million+ trips/day on city streets that are already at capacity during rush hour. They may be self-driving, but they still drive on roads.
Heck, I don't much care of the suburbs, but being a software developer outside DC means the best job prospects are along the Dulles corridor (Tyson's Corner through Dulles Airport) or other suburban areas. So, like many others, I bought a house in the 'burbs, where the public schools are good, jobs are bountiful, and traffic makes me feel like kicking puppies.
Now that I'm here, I'm pretty ambivalent about it. I'd move downtown, but I'm not convinced the pay would be high enough to offset the increased cost of real-estate ($400k for a 3-bed row houe in the outer 'burbs, $700k+ for the same downtown).
I'd love to live downtown, and am actively trying to do so. But it's the worst decision I could possibly make in every measurable metric.
Living downtown triples my housing costs. Even if I downsize 50% of my current living space, moving downtown would still double my housing costs. Working downtown cuts my salary by ~15%, and I'd loose my good health insurance for some fake HSA. I'd love to raise my child downtown, but the school systems are significantly worse in every metric.
Yes, I could give up a car. That would save me about $350/month in total expenses. But to live downtown would cost me an extra $1000/month in housing costs, and cut my income by about $900/month (pay cut + benefits reduction + increased taxes). Loosing $1,900/month to save $350/month is insane.
And taking public transit, while slightly cheaper and healthier than driving, would increase my commute time by 2 hours every single workday. (How much is an hour of your time worth? How much is 40 hours per month of your time worth?)
I'm still trying to live in an urban area -- it's been a goal of mine for my entire life. But it feels like all of society is working against me for trying to do this.
Our perverse incentives are setup in such a way that suburban sprawl is the most rational choice for non-subsidized individual households to make in the vast majority of the US, despite all of the problems associated with it.
Do this. Even if temporarily. I've lived in the suburbs all of my life (and currently still do). The year I spent in a real city gave me great perspective. I quite enjoyed some parts and hated other parts. If anything it made me really understand myself more (and appreciate the suburbs!)
You could send a child to a private school in the suburbs, but that's doesn't gain you anything over sending the kid to a private school closer to home. Plus, it costs an additional $6000+/year. That's tuition at my local Catholic high school; it's an average school, no better than the publics in the same area.
State budgets are abstract, and it's easy for school boards to ask for more money over time.
3+ BR apartments are fairly table stakes in central and Eastern Europe. It's still a culture shock to me to be unable to find one here in the US, and I've lived here since I was six!
They are frequently aimed at retirees downsizing from even larger free-standing homes. Or, wealthy buyers looking for an urban crash-pad, in addition to their mansion outside the city center.
edit - a quick search of Washington DC shows 14 units available with 3+ bedrooms and <$700,000. Of those, about half are in really rough neighborhoods, where no professional likely to move.
is that supposed to sound like burp?
Most people can't even come up with a sane rationalization of their environmentally hazardous laziness. Instead it's "America is such a big place", which is like saying you can't bike because Russia is the biggest country on earth while you live in Moscow.
oh ya think? I think you should just continue to assume it's just because Americans are too lazy to walk.
When I was a child, I road a big yellow school bus to my elementary school, at the time it seemed very far away, when my parents had to go to the school for any reason, they drove their car.
But now, looking at a map, I see that it was literally only a half mile from my house, but I never walked because it meant walking along some streets with heavy car traffic and no sidewalks, just an ungraded shoulder with no curb or other separation from the roadway.
It wasn't until I moved to San Francisco that I realized that walking (or biking) is a far nicer way to get around.
We looked on the map. The rental return was a mile away from the hotel, with sidewalks the whole way. We walked.
So the walk was from the rental car return to the hotel, not the rental car return to the terminal.
I'm hostile because the whole "look how shitty america is" narrative gets old after a while.
There are many people in the world who would literally kill for such a lifestyle, and you think it's a symbol of how "shitty" America is?
Why do you think that America's car culture could be perceived as a bad thing? And if you can understand why others think it's bad, why do you take such offense when they point it out?
That was almost certainly the legal minimum. I have seen (and walked!) similar sidewalks and it is infuriating. Code says they need a sidewalk, but doesn't say it needs to connect to anything.
Because the people who design modern suburbs are bad people. I used to work in an office park in the Atlanta suburbs. Looked at what it would take to get there on public transit from the city. Even if I did the two mile walk from the nearest bus stop, there was no sidewalk in-between.
But good thing we live in a society where a fresh college grad with zero credit can still get a car loan!
The only bus that actually crossed that section of the road to get to my internship location stopped running at 8am, so the days I had classes in the morning and was working in the afternoon I had to travel 1 1/2 hrs by public transport and then walk 35 mins to reach work, as opposed to a 1 HR 15 min public transport ride (also a 20 min drive by car).
What were you even supposed to do in that case?
I've seen that happen too many times, and have to wonder what the hell the owners were thinking. It feels like sweet justice though.
In the same time, I could get to a 20-30 mile radius around my parents house in suburban maryland (if my math is correct, this is 1200-2800 square miles). I could drive to downtown Baltimore, or downtown Annapolis, or close to DC.
Interestingly, that Grist article doesn't attempt to quantify how much of the deduction goes to city vs. suburban property owners, so it's hard to get a grip on how "massive" a subsidy it is vs. say, community development grants and public transit set asides.
Remote work is the best. Having to get all your employees breathing the same oxygen will hopefully seem like an insane anachronism in fifty years.
Open the window to the office, listen to the birds outside, smell the fresh air. Go for a walk in peace and quiet, no busses, ambulances blaring, people shouting, stepping on your toes etc.
The problem is, most don't.
Cities inherited their industrial zoning so they developed the urban architectural development.
But people didn't like how businesses and industries were involved in making products with dangerous processes which sometimes resulted in public danger, so they came up with zoning to restrict and segregate business and industry away from areas where people lived.
If you are fighting for parking downtown you're doing it wrong. Instead take the train/metro.
The thing about cars is that they work fine in small numbers, but fall apart at scale. I grew up in fairly small cities with little traffic, so I know how painless cars can be. But I live in California now, and I can see how someone who has only known this could dislike cars.
I think remote work is probably our best bet right now. The trend of companies moving their offices to urban areas only seems to be gaining momentum.
Living in city for me, also means, more trafic, more people in your face, stepping on your toes. Apartments are fine, except when the neighbor above floods you, or has a party. When people piss in the elevator. When there is crime. When public transportation is packed and you are carrying home some stuff your bought and have a hard time getting onto a bus in rush hour.
So am quite happy in the suburbs. I understand it is the uncool choice here, but I like my flower garden, my grass. I like my neighbors but if they have a party, unless they light fireworks it won't bother me. I have to drive places but roads are well maintained and I don't got out in rush hour.
Also a big city (Washington, DC) is nearby and I can go there and experince all the energy, night life and other such things. But when it is over, I want to go back to my flowers and the green lawn.
I live somewhere that we have a CBD but no "downtown" as such. If you wanted to park at the building, good luck, and if you wanted to park on the street, it would be better to shoot yourself early.
But there are quite a few dedicated parking buildings so for $15 a day you can park there, with only a 10-15 minute walk to work (if you didn't want to catch a train in, which I will never).
So, in that example, anywhere outside of SF in the South Bay isn't an option. Beyond highly concentrated cities like Manhattan where there's a huge confluence of jobs in a particular industry, job mobility causes issues in any case (especially once the jobs of partners and kids' schools are involved) in any case. It's rare industries and location where you can generally change jobs without commute being a factor.
They are saying that many, in fact most, 'local' jobs exist with relatively little opportunity cost for change.
Contrast this with a hypothetical future of (E.G) New York, where in 30-50 years they've gone full caves of steel: banishing cars to the edge and having a multi-layer dense mesh of rapid electric motor powered transit and living which intermingles living, working, recreational and (deep underground) industrial productivity. There the opportunity costs might also be the same, but the cost (in time) of migrating might be less, and favor walking on moving belts for a combination of speed and exercise.
There are certainly jobs that won't work remotely, but there's not a lot of manufacturing and hands-on work going on in high rises.
Right at the turn of the century people were thinking about "revenue per employee" as a metric for how efficient a business was. That was silly off the charts when you get to some software startups where a group of 15 or 20 people are generating 20 - 30M$ a year in revenue.
The thing that stuck out for me is the cost of offices as a cost of doing business. For years folks have been working to fit more and more people into fewer and fewer square feet because the office expense was a serious impediment to profitability, it added to the "loaded cost" of your employees, and that combined with salary was your biggest cost.
But here is the thing, if your employees are generating these huge revenue per employee numbers, what that means is that small percentage changes in their productivity has a huge impact on your company's revenue and profitability.
Employers need to look at what would be the impact if your employee was 10% more productive, which means your revenue per employee number went up 10%. How much cost would you be willing invest to make that happen? Even at crazy SF levels of $100/sq ft / year, that is $10,000 for an additional 100 square feet for an engineer. $10,000 represents perhaps a 5% increase in the loaded cost of that employee. But if they boost their productivity by 10% they return 200 - 300% on that investment annually.
Bottom line, build environments that maximize the productivity of your employees, not ones that minimize your real estate costs. Its a better investment than hiring more people.
Second best: living eastside seattle (i.e. Redmond) or SF Peninsula, and an easy (off-peak, or viable mass transit, so basically off-peak) commute in, with flexible wfh. I generally prefer entire-building-for-company vs. shared spaces, but not necessarily at the scale of the googleplex. However, minimum of 200 sf/person and ideally private offices or shared offices per small team, not open plan hell.
Suburban office building would be fine (the old vmware/fb/etc. buildings, or current googleplex/apple/etc.), and would be better than the super crowded cobbled together multiple offices of old Facebook or Palantir in downtown Palo Alto).
If suburban office parks in good locations (anywhere north of Mountain View) become substantially cheaper than DTPA or SOMA, I'd be happier with 500 ft/person there for $18-24 vs. 100/ft/person for $60-100. The trick would be having Facebook (or, it appears as is better today, Dropbox) quality catering and other amenities onsite, and a $25-50 pax/day shuttle system.
Here’s his TED talk from years ago: https://www.ted.com/talks/james_howard_kunstler_dissects_sub...
Microsoft's Redmond campus occupies around 11M sq feet, with another 1.6M sq feet in Bellvue.
Shouldn't office parks be easier to convert than industrial buildings?
I fully expect bohemians to start illegal squats in unused office parks in the coming years.
There is certainly some percentage of younger employees who prefer true urban locations but this often won't be economically viable for companies nor is it preferred or perhaps even tolerable for those many people who live outside a city and have to commute in.
Furthermore, the data in the US around increased urbanization mostly points to a preference for certain very specific urban locations by an educated young demographic.
Having said that, office park locations without convenient lunchtime and other amenities in that vein are a pain.
To go further, low occupancy rates of offices further from mass transit [and that's not quite the same thing as being walkable] may be a sign of impending redevelopment as leases are not renewed and older properties undergo less maintenance in preparation for redevelopment. Given the 30 year cycle that mortgages, depreciation schedules and institutional real-estate investors often operate on, things may not be as cut and dry as the article makes out. I wouldn't discount recent zero interest rates and the bottom falling out of the economy as factors either. 
Then again, in the big money long time horizon world of real-estate that's usually the case. Stable internal rates of return are the name of the game.
: That transportation infrastructure was a major source of "shovel ready stimulus" projects is less direct but plausibly related to the public investment.
When I worked in SF, my getaway area was Grace Cathedral and the park near by. Uphill, no people, no trash, quiet overall.
But some office parks have walkable spaces, places to eat, etc. Some are easier to reach commute-wise than others.
Suburban does not rule out walkable. Walnut Creek is completely suburban, but the office complexes there have become (or been developed for) being walkable over the years -- one of the places I reference above was part of this.
And honestly, depending on the definition of "walkable" many suburban places are more "walkable" than big cities -- traffic, sidewalks, bums spread on the sidewalk etc.
Is the end goal a live/work situation where you don't have to commute a long way, have reasonable rent/mortgage, and a good quality of life? Honestly, pick two of three, if you want to be in the bay area.
Born here in South San Jose. Grew up/still live in in San Jose, Sacramento, the east bay, and Santa Cruz. Seen a whole bunch of things.
I do agree with your statement but it is also complementing what the article is also suggesting should happen to office parks.
Myself, I like living in a suburban area (though here in North Europe it's definitely walkable, and cyclable) but people here don't really choose between city core and suburban lower-density houses because of schools. Some love the city core, others prefer suburban areas.
(With the recent immigration and development of urban-but-not-nice satellite cities, there are a few areas that people like to avoid if they can afford it, including for reasons of school, but that's not a problem of city cores).
So, it looks like a major step in American urban planning would be to fix failing schools.
When a space doesn't intuitively tell you which way is North, what is behind the building in front of you, whether the road to the left or right will continue straight or curve and meander, how to find the main road etc, you create a fairly user-hostile space. Cities and even suburbs (usually inner city suburbs) with grid-like layouts tend to have more foot, bicycle and car traffic whereas most other layouts favor only one of those modes.
Grids are easier to intuitively interact with than shotgun-spaghetti layouts, removing the primary barrier to increased usage.
To eat lunch required standing in long lines no matter what time you went. San Jose/Cupertino had pretty ridiculous rules about buildings being set back from the highways, so the nearest sushi place required quite a hike across several parking lots and a highway to get to.
Also friends that got moved around would be shuffled to remote campuses that seemed so far away with disconnected transportation.
Not saying any of this would be better in a denser city like SF, but I am saying there were definitely tradeoffs to working in what was basically just another office park. As traffic in the bay has gotten worse, it makes them seem less appealing for sure unless you're okay with moving every time you get a new job.
Right now I work and live in the city, so I just walk to work and it's been a dream come true. When friends leave to other city jobs, its easy to meet back up for lunch and coworkers and I can hop on Muni when want to try a new place for lunch. Not perfect by any means, but right now it's way more of an appealing working environment.
I wish we could get over this idea that it has to be one way or the other. Cities don't have to be densely stuffed with a grid of monstrous mixed use high rises to be a city. Suburbs don't have to zone stores a million miles from housing to be a suburb. Both places can share development patterns and still give people what they want. There's a middle ground that can be found here, but municipal planners and real estate developers seem to be fixated on these narrow visions of growth.
What's wrong with tearing up a few office parking lots to add a few shops and houses? What's wrong with building a few 4 floor walk-up apartment buildings instead of yet another block-sized, doorman-guarded fortress?
Hopefully the next century of urban development in America is spent at least partly figuring out how to blend these environments together better.
It requires a huge amount of capital to build things that have to last 20+ years. They go with what works. Unfortunately, the revolutionary dreams of urban renewal and theme park millionaires never really got us any closer to our ideal human habitat.
Increasing density around transit accessible hub areas is a strategy championed by city planners these days, with somewhat good intentions. I just don't think anyone has really thought through what happens when entire neighborhoods are dominated by massive mixed-use condo buildings. What happens if these areas lose property value? What form does a contemporary condo complex take when blight sets in 20 years from now?
I think the article is talking about those multi-story office buildings that a lot of people work in.
I see lots of breweries in semi-industrial/semi-commercial areas, single story buildings that have a lot of warehouse space and a small office area.
Sadly my work has a no alcohol policy; both inside of the office and anywhere else during business hours including lunchtime and even at home during standby.
It seems that they want to keep things "standard" whether you're operating a million dollar rig, or sitting in the office :-(
The solution of course is to build more robust mass transport systems, but that seems to be getting harder and harder.
So walking through the giant parking lots meant that my otherwise thirty minute commute, became 40 minutes.
I wasn't happy.