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Seattle Bubble Forum Archive • View topic - Seattle the top "time-saving" city?

Seattle the top "time-saving" city?

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Seattle the top "time-saving" city?

Postby blueskitten » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:59 am

CNN.com reposted an article from Real Simple about the top 21 urban areas where life is "surprisingly easy."

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/wayoflif ... google_cnn

I expected that Seattle wouldn't even be on it, what with our lack of reliable, easily accessible public transit, and the dearth of grocery stores or schools downtown, but look who's #1!:

"1. Seattle -- Score: 22.5 -- Population: 598,541
With extensive public transit, one of the country's most on-time airports, and 50 miles of new bike lanes in the last two years, our winning city, Seattle, is an icon of urban efficiency. It has more Wi-Fi hot spots and more coffee shops (no shocker there) than any other U.S. city and impressively short waits for a doctor's appointment.
"Our 13 Neighborhood Service Centers are huge time-savers," says Karin Zaugg Black, a spokesperson for the city's Office of Economic Development. "At many of them, you can apply for a passport, pay utility bills or parking tickets, or have a hearing with the magistrate."
Also cool: The city's state-of-the-art signal-optimization program, which synchronizes hundreds of traffic lights, thereby allowing smoother travel through the city.

Getting around: 3.5
Health and safety: 5
Information and technology: 4.5
Green time-savers: 5
Lifestyle: 4.5"

Seeing as we moved out of Seattle proper and into the sticks to get away from this "icon of urban efficiency" where even going to buy groceries felt like an ordeal, I have a hard time believing that whoever wrote this article actually lived here. A plethora of wifi hotspots does not a "simple" life make.
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Re: Seattle the top "time-saving" city?

Postby The Tim » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:12 pm

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Re: Seattle the top "time-saving" city?

Postby WestSideBilly » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:50 pm

This is what happens when you rank things based on arbitrary measures and don't use any weighting. Our bus system *is* extensive, but is a victim of congestion because it's street based. NYC's subway system is good because it's a subway and because NYC is so dense, making walking a useful option. Any other means of getting around is absolutely horrible. Chicago's El is good if you live near a line, but if not it's basically useless.

If you look at just the transportation scores, you get:

Portland, Minneapolis 4.5
Seattle, Denver, Pittsburgh, Miami, Baltimore 3.5
San Fran, Boston, Philly, Chicago, Cleveland, LA, San Diego, Phoenix 3
NYC, Austin, Houston 2.5
DC, Dallas 2
Atlanta 1

I've been to over half of those and all the rankings are basically right. Our congestion sucks, but the airport is good, and you can get most places by bus, bike, or walking. Portland's airport is good, their mass transit is better, roads less congested, just as many trails, etc. Atlanta is a nightmare to get to/around - basically no mass transit, massive congestion, lousy airport, no bike trails, not at all walkable. DC just sucks in general, but at least has some bus/train options. The Texas trio and Phoenix all have the same problem - they're huge. NYC has transit and walkability, but is otherwise a total cluster****. Chicago is basically NYC with a bit more sprawl and a marginally more functional airport system.

Of course - these things should be weighted. The airports don't mean a lot if you live there, and good bike trails don't really offset 4-5 hours of congestion per day. Of course even if you exclude the airports and bike paths altogether, the sorting wouldn't change a lot.

All that said, I don't really see how Seattle beat Portland.
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