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Commute from Hell, or driving for quality of life?

Dan

Dear Leader
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Anyone else here drive or take public transportation a long way to work?

I work in Painesville, Ohio, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of downtown Cleveland. I couldn't find a place to live in or near Painesville that would allow dogs, so I extended my search radius for housing farther ... and farther ... and farther, until I nearly ended up in Cleveland Heights. It takes about 35 to 40 minutes to navigate the 26 miles (43 kilometers) to work. Housing costs are comparable, but eastern Cuyahoga County is much more dog-friendly than where I'm working.

When it comes time to buy a house, I'll likely stay in the area. Painesville doesn't offer much if you're a young professional, while there are plenty of distractions offered in Cleveland's East SIde suburbs. Painesville feels more like a bucolic rural Upstate New York town than a Cleveland exurb.

The drive goes fast ... Howard Stern in the AM, and All Things Considered on NPR for the drive home. The only real shortcoming aside from the long commute time is that I'm facing the sun both ways.
 
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I have never really done the long commute thing, what with being a homemaker for so long. But when we lived in Kansas, we bought a house 30 minutes or so from my husband's job -- which meant it was also that far from the commissary, the PX, the hospital... Our kids were little and kids that little are sick a lot and I was allergic to something in Kansas so I was sick a LOT too. And if I needed the car so I could go to an appointment, that meant taking my husband to work in the morning -- an hour or more of my time -- and picking him up in the evening. It made for a torturously long day. [irony, sarcasm] On the up side, he was gone six months out of every year we were stationed there, so, half the time, the car was all mine. Yay, Saudi. lol.[/irony,/sarcasm]

I listened to books on tape or certain favorite music tapes whenever I had to make the drive. It was also 'quiet time' if it was without the kids. That was a pretty stressful time in my life so the long drive to the commissary twice a month to stock up and things like that had its upside.

My sister did the long commute thing for a long time when she worked at a nuclear plant. For some strange reason, there were only a few tiny towns with nothing to offer within the 'melt down' radius of the nuclear plant. Go figure. So the nearest signs of civilization were 30 minutes or so away. So I know from her that there are real advantages to a long commute if living near work would mean a long commute to anything remotely resembling A Life. You are so much less likely to go get a life 30 minutes from home than you are to show up at your job 30 minutes from home.
 

tsc

Cyburbian
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Painesville.....too easy to poke fun at...

I commute 32 miles... with the flow of NYMetro traffic... 70+mph (25 mph over speed limit) down 4 lane narrow roads with no shoulders. All the glories of NYC traffic/road rage without going into the City.

Things that make it better:
I drive with my housemate who works in same city.
NPR.... for news.
Volvo sedan....automatic... cars are soo much better than an SUV for commuting (as we have both)

I actually would like to live closer to work... but it is way too expensive. I used to work 2 miles from home and I used to be able to go home and walk the dog at lunch from time to time. This commute chews up 10 hours of my week that I used to spend working around the house and doing errands.

But,,, it the sacrifice I make for a better more interesting job. Also.... the house came before the job.
 

Zoning Goddess

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I'm about 3 miles from work. But I have to take my son to school in the opposite direction, then double back, so it's about a 30-min commute including school unloading time.

I only had a long mileage commute once but was in a carpool, which helped a lot.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
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I only live about 10km from work, but it takes about 45min. to get in by public transit. The one day a week I drive (hockey carpool) it takes about 20 minutes, not including pick-up time.

I get a lot of reading done on the subway, and I catch up on sleep too if need be. I do miss being able to walk to work though - my last job was a 10 minute stroll.

Edit - I hereby claim this thread in the name of the Trains, Planes, and Automobiles Forum!
 

SGB

Cyburbian
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3,388
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26
I live about 40 miles as the crow flies from my office, but it's over 50 miles on the roads. No interstates, just back state and county roads primarily through farms and small rural villages.
 

donk

Cyburbian
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This is the only benefit of my current job. The location of my house would be considered a prime parking space, in a larger community, 8-10 blocks away.

When I end up moving, commute time will be a hard thing to adjust to. I will be planning where I live so that I have no sun in the eyes during the drive.
 

Budgie

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I'm two weeks away from trading in my 1 hour one-way commute by car to a three block 2 minute walk. I'll be living in downtown, so the only place I'll need to glide to is the grocery store 1 1/2 miles away. My car will be parked everyday of the week. I consider this the greatest change to my quality of life I could possibly make.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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I work 30 miles from home. It's is exactly 30 miles door to door, and averages 1 hour to 11/2 hours, depending on the variables.

I work in the northwest suburbs, so I drive the west bound I-90 corridor, which puts me on the road with about 100,000 other people a day.

I have developed a technique (good or bad) that helps me deal with it. I generally get right into the far left lane and stay there till I get to the exist I need.

I really despise the commute, but this is the only thing for me at the moment.

Luckily, I drive in the opposite direction of the sun.
 

Seabishop

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I'm about 25-30 minutes now and will be applying for a job about 45 minutes away. Planning is not like Nursing where there are dozens of jobs on every corner.

Dan, what you're doing might be better in the long term. If you want to eventually get another job in the Cleveland area you don't want to be living out in Painesville.
 

Cardinal

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I did the long commute a couple of times. Once was from Chicago's north suburbs to the west suburbs, but at a time of day when there was light traffic. The second time was four miles. They both took about a half hour. Funny, but the twenty minute, twenty mile drive I accepted when I first moved to Wisconsin only bothered me when the roads were covered with snow. There's a difference between an eight lane highway in the city and two lanes through the hilly countryside and small towns, half of it parallel to a great trout stream. Wherever you end up, Dan, I hope the women find you geographically desirable.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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I'm guessing maybe 2 or 3 miles to work. If I take the bus about 20 minutes, train 10/15. No more driving for me to work, free bus/train pass. I'd probally kill somebody if I was still driving thanks to the rage. If I drive, about 5-10 minutes.
 
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My job is approximately 42 miles away (roundtrip) from where I live. I have to drive from one suburb to another using the out-dated and at-capacity interstate. Taking local streets is out of the question because they are also at-capacity and this area lacks a true regional transit system that would encourage transit use.
 

Budgie

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For the past 1 1/2 years I have felt like a hypocrit because as a planner I profess job/housing balance and reductions of auto dependency, yet my commute has been an hour one-way. How can I with a clear conscious believe in the quality of life benefits of living near work yet live so far from work. This has been eating at my gut for awhile. I recognize when I'm being hypocritical and try to make life changes to reduce this. Does anyone else feel the same way? I try to practice what I preach and that's part of my reason for my move in 2 weeks.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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I have a short 15 minutes on the freeway to my current and future jobs. Not bad at all, since I'm always driving opposite the morning rush, and always opposite the sun (not that the sun is a factor this time of year!).

I used to commute from the north side of Milwaukee to the east side of Janesville every day. About an 80 minute drive each way. Not fun.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
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I have a 20 minute commute over 2 lane country roads. Not looking forward to snow season when it will take longer.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Budgie said:
I recognize when I'm being hypocritical and try to make life changes to reduce this. Does anyone else feel the same way?
I feel bad about my commute too, but the muni. I work for is just not anywhere I want to live. I only really drive my car for the work commute, because my neighborhood is a great urban, pedestrian environment, so we don't need to use the car for anything at home.

I really want to drastically reduce the drive, because it is turning me into a zombie and melting my mind. Though it's tough right now. (seriously)
 

jordanb

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It takes 25 minutes on the L to get to work, 45 to get to school, but then I have to add another ten minutes for walking, etc. I don't mind it, I actually get a lot of reading done.
 

SGB

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RichmondJake said:
I have a 20 minute commute over 2 lane country roads. Not looking forward to snow season when it will take longer.
[ot]We had our first significant snow event last Thursday, including white-out conditions from gusting winds.

It took me 2 hours 15 minutes to drive the 70 miles home after an evening meeting.

Thank (insert deity of choice here) for all wheel drive, snow tires and no traffic.[/ot]
 

jresta

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i live at 12th&Ellsworth (between Washington and Federal)and "commute" to 5th&Market - the Bourse. 7 blocks over and 11 blocks up.

walking 35 minutes
biking 7-10 minutes
subway 15-20 mins
car 15 minutes (for kiss&ride but add 10 minutes for parking)
bus 25-50 mins

around these parts it's typically - "walk 'til you qualify".
In the shaded portions of the map, center city proper, half of all adults walk to work, extend that to the map as a whole and about 1/3 of adults walk to work.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
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31 mile commute. Takes about 30 minutes except on Fridays on the way home with the tourist traffic on I-93.

Much better than the hour plus commute I used to do for my former job.
 

plannerkat

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3 miles, which translates to 10 minutes in the car and another 5 walking from my remote parking lot. I'm always amazed by people who drive 45 minutes each way, since I really have better things to do with my time.
 
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plannerkat said:
3 miles, which translates to 10 minutes in the car and another 5 walking from my remote parking lot. I'm always amazed by people who drive 45 minutes each way, since I really have better things to do with my time.
I know exactly where you are coming from. I mostly take online classes these days and I homeschool my kids. I am home much of the time and I get a lot done, all things considered. When I had to take some classes on campus at the "local" college 30 minutes from my home, I made up an elaborate Excel sheet for the days of the week and times of when the classes I needed were available and, ultimately, went with the evening classes that met once or twice a week for a block of 3 hours rather than the daytime classes that met more frequently for shorter periods of time. I calculated I was saving at least 4 hours of driving per week and that was 4 more hours I could study (or whatever).
 

BKM

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My current commute is about 8 miles. door to door-its about 15-20 minutes-unless there is a major accident at "the bottleneck" (I-80/I-680 intersection)

I SHOULD live in my workplace town (I did for about five years), but I lucked into a townhouse I really like-and I prefer my downtown Vacaville neighborhood to downtown Fairfield for reasons I have repeatedly described ad nauseum. I would hate a longer commute.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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27
Before we made the move to where we area now, I drove 95 miles each way until we sold the house. Prior to that, I drove 50 miles each way through a mountain canyon, watching the deer, elk, moose, fox, and bald eagles, and NO traffic. Made the drive worth the time.
 

Trail Nazi

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At my last job, one other person and I would drive together sometimes, which was about a 35 minute commute (29 miles away in Florida). I now live 12 miles away and it takes me about 45 minutes. I guess 45 minutes is not bad for the DC area.
 

Richmond Jake

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My normal 20 minute drive took twice that long this morning....we had over a foot of snow last night and it's still coming down. :(
 

passdoubt

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I live and work on campus at a small college in a small town. It's a minute walk from my building to the places where I work.

10 minutes walk to the grocery store, 5 minutes to the nearest late night convenience store, and 15 minutes to the main street with about 10 restaraunts, the post office, and all the other necessities.
 

nuovorecord

Cyburbian
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444
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I have a 100 mile daily round trip commute from Portland to Salem, which is a grind. But I carpool, so that helps. Plus I work from home one day a week. After I had worked at my job for about a year, I moved to Salem to reduce my commuting time. My daily commute time dropped from two hours to 20 minutes. But my quality of life dropped even more dramatically. I missed Portland and found that I was driving up there for entertainment and socialization almost as much as I was commuting. Salem pales in comparison to Portland in many ways. After two years of this noble experiement, I gave up and moved back to Portland.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Today was a pretty brutal commute home. It took about 30 minutes to drive in, but snow started accumulating on the roads in the afternoon, and the plows and salters were nowhere to be seen. Driving on the expressways when they're covered with wet snow is extremely dangerous, especially because you've got SUV drivers zipping along at 50 or 60 while cars poke along at 25 or 30. I took surface streets home, where I knew the drivers would be slower. Took about one and a half hours desk-to-door tonight.
 

Plannerbabs

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Eesh, the joys of living in the Midwest in the winter, eh? The icy stuff has just started hitting us here, which means the morning commute will be slippery and slow. I live about eight miles out from my job, and for some reason the morning commute (coffee, NPR) takes less than half an hour, usually. The evening commute takes a good 45 minutes (no coffee, can't drink when constantly shifting from 2nd to 3rd and back again). It's gotten increasinglyl frustrating because I live in the far edge of a booming exurb, and there are three arterials that run near my house. All are completely clogged in the evenings with minivans and SUV's heading out to their "country" mini-manors, and the public transportation in that direction is impractically scheduled, although they're working on that. At least there's some interesting architecture along the way, nice old Sears houses and such.
 

Bear Up North

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Dan: My older brother and his wife live in PainesvilleTownship, just a mile away from beautiful downtown P-ville. His commute, before his retirement last year, was to the high school in Fairport Harbor. Her commute was to Warrensville Heights, so she had the same as you,without the sun problem.

(Nice restaurants and bars along Grand River....)

For many years, I lived in very rural Henry County, Ohio, and drove 35 miles to Toledo's bedroom surburb known as Perrysburg.

Talk radio, great FM rock and soul music, news.....all helped relax me driving to or from hectic and stressful workplace.

Now I drive 13 miles, country roads. My kind of commute, and have to make sure I don't hit the deer that are wandering the roads just about every morning.

Bear
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
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-10 minutes on the bus due to the lack of people waiting because I caught the bus right after it ha ha aaah haaa. Best run in the afternoon yet.
-Schools were closed and it was friginn' cold out. Waiting for the morning bus was rough at 6:15 this morning. A lady waiting to catch a bus to a connector up the street missed it (bus never showed up) on the other side of the street, so she took the bus to the rail-line with me because she needed help walking in the snow. She was late to opening the store she managed, which was suppose to open at 6:30. She gave hell to the bus driver (who's our red-headed step parent for my work). I laughed all the way downtown.
 

plankton

Cyburbian
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750
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21
3 miles to work - half of it on a bridge across a bay.

Reading this thread makes me realize just how long I've lived in rural towns where nearly everyone lives within a few miles of work. A commute of 30+ miles seems crazy to me but thinking back to my days of growing up in Detroit I remember all too well spending an hour or more each way on I-94, 696, & 75 to get to and from work. I have to admit missing listening to WDFN (or any sports radio for that matter) though.

Saw a pair of bald eagles today out in the bay. Good stuff for the morning commute.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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8 minutes to go 3 miles if I hit the lights.
12 minutes if I hit them all RED.
15 minutes in a snowstorm by back streets.
45 minutes in snow on a major route.

Get to know your local minor road system! :)
 

Chet

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Dan said:
[snip] Driving on the expressways when they're covered with wet snow is extremely dangerous, especially because you've got SUV drivers zipping along at 50 or 60 while cars poke along at 25 or 30.[/snip]
As a seasoned SUV driver those people irritate me too. They give "us" all a bad name because they dont realize or stop to think that maybe that 4WD helps you GO but doesn't help you STOP. And not to troll, but most of the accidents I see in my commutes that I see involve SUVs do tend to be the car or other SUV vs. SUV soccer mom.
 

AubieTurtle

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My commute is a hellish eight minute walk :) Atlanta's traffic is so terrible, it's a dream come true to not have to get stuck in it. I don't even miss the morning radio shows because what I really want driving to work is music, which most radio stations seem to have taken a cue from MTV (videos? we don't need no stinkin' videos) and done away with music during drive time.

Sadly, the project I'm working on will eventually end and if the next client isn't downtown or along a MARTA line, I'll be stuck in the traffic again. The client has inquired if I have any legal agreement with my company that keeps me from going to work directly for a client... and I must say it would be tempting, even if it would be a cut in pay, to know that my walking commute is permanent and be able to get rid of my car.
 

DA Monkey

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4
Commute to work

Its a concept I never really thought about until I started Town Planning. I grew up in places like mid western NSW and country Victoria so I have always taken for granted that long drives were neccessary to get anywhere.

I now live on the coast north of Brisbane, about 45km's from where I work. My commute to work takes about an hour and its a combination of bus and rail. Some days its a bother (like when the weather is perfect for fishing) but most times its good to have that time to prepare for a hard day with unreasonable clients.

It would certainly be nice to live closer to work, but then I'd be away from the ocean and that just wont do.

Never seen snow, sounds awful stuff, especially the way it affects an already sh*#ty way to travel (by car).

Im interested to learn what REM experiences in a commute, Sydney does not have the best of reputations in that area.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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DA Monkey said:
.........Never seen snow, sounds awful stuff, especially the way it affects an already sh*#ty way to travel (by car).........

Nah, you have the wrong idea about snow. It is an amazing form of precipitation. It beutiful and awe inspiring. You just have to respect what it does to the environment. That lack of respect coupled with a rigid sense of time in our culture combine to make it VERY dangerous.

Speaking of fishing, I am sure you would like ice fishing. You drive your car out on the lake, drill a few holes in the ice, set your lines, and then settle down on a bucket with a nice cold beer waiting for the fish to bite as you play cards. If nothing else, it beats being locked inside for 4 months. :)
 

jresta

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It was 10 degrees (that would be -6C) on my way into work this morning. Sick. It's up to a whopping 20F (-4C) right now. Tomorrow we might get above freezing. My coworker and neighbor asked me if i wanted to join her yesterday, she walked the 17 blocks home with a windchill that was -16F (i'm guessing that's about -20C). Plus it snowed on Wednesday night. I told her to be sure she picked up some crack along the way. She admitted this morning that it was a big mistake. Subway for me. The platforms aren't heated but at least they're sheltered from the wind.

Our cold month is January but in December and February our daily highs are not normally below 40F (5C). I take it for granted, i guess, that there are a lot of places out there that are this cold for most of the winter. Not that it doesn't get cold here but it's just funny to see people bundled up like it's Chicago or Boston.
 

michaelskis

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Ahhh those where the days. My last year of school my room mate and I where arguing about where to get a new place. He lived in a town called Ishpeming, and I worked and went to school in Marquette. Well his uncle owned an apartment building in Ishpeming, and he gave us a great deal… and then I negotiated a better deal for me. ($150 a month rent for me and $350 for my room mate). The reason for this is because Yahoo Maps say the distance from my apartment to school was only 20 miles, and 35 min. But during a snowstorm, it has taken as much as an hour to get those 20 miles. Most days it was a nice drive, but at times (car sliding out of control from 3 FEET of snow and –10 degree (F) tempatures) where not so fun.

Now I live less than a mile from work, but 15 from my gym that I go to every day after work.
 

DA Monkey

Cyburbian
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84
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4
Are you sure that is fishing, what do you catch (besides a cold) :)

Its currently 36C at the moment, its so hot you cant swim, it feels like your swimming in soup. Still fishing early morning or late evening is an experience not to miss. I have a small tinny with a 35 outboard. I head out into the bay and drop a few crab pots. I try to go for the big fish but inevitibly end up catching whiting (average size about 24cm). No time to play cards because once you hit a patch of fish there is no time to do anything else.

Still not convinced about the snow thing.
 

Rem

Cyburbian
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DA Monkey said:
Im interested to learn what REM experiences in a commute, Sydney does not have the best of reputations in that area.
DAMonkey I am not currently in Sydney - rather Lake Macquarie which is about 2 hours drive in your direction from Sydney. Currently I live 7 kilometres from work and drive around the Lake's edge to get there. I could walk but need the car at work (it is my employer's car) - aah and I am slack.

I lived in Sydney and had the horror commute in my first job - from the southern most suburbs to the north western most suburbs - best day about 45 minutes - average about 60 mins, bad day 120 mins. There was no public transport option and Mrs Rem wasn't moving for anyone (well, not for me at least).

Sydney's bad reputation for car comuting is deserved but there are many options to avoid it and continuous improvements are made. Mind you, I wouldn't move back unless I could afford a home in the centre of everything and that is not likely to happen. Urban living in Sydney, if you have a family, is now for the rich.

BTW DAMonkey I saw your crabbing reference - see My Gallery for a picture of a typical Lake Macquarie blue swimmer.
 
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