Public transit and housing in the GTA are still configured for regular jobs. If you are a precarious worker of odd hours compelled to live where you can afford to live, as opposed to where the employment is, things get awkward.
Whoa! we knew it could be rough out there but this is nasty, depressing (and familiar) reading. Ten hours a week of commuting would be about the same as a twelve week leave of absence.
The astonishing human potential wasted on commutes
image: staci myers via Flickr/CC
image: Billy Hathorn via Wikimedia/CC
Four, five and six hours of commuting is crazy.
Why Americans live farther from work than they did a decade ago. A new Brookings report finds that jobs have sprawled outside city centers and away from poor and minority suburbs Atlantic CITYLAB
Long commute to Silicon Valley increasingly the norm for many
KQED News (video 3:42)
Suburbs such as Montgomery County rethink transit to court millennials
This man walks 21 miles a day to get to work. Help James Robertson get a car
Help James Robertson Get a Car
Amazing: almost 30k raised on gofundme.com in the first seven hours!
If we could throttle back on the regional mega-commuting a little we’d be better off. It’s hard to escape that conclusion when you ask friends or family about their experiences of commuting. This posting links to an opinion piece in the Toronto Star that urges the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area to go beyond a simplistic determination of what sprawl is costing us. A single study done in the mid 2000s pegs the region’s losses due to congestion at six billion dollars a year. There’s a very important human health and quality of life argument that needs to be attached to long distance commuting. Such an approach must surely push that six billion dollars up significantly. Mentioned is a 2012 Brown University study published in the Journal of Urban Health that found commuting the way we do in the GTHA has a truly punishing effect on our quality of life.
image: backed up traffic on Yonge Street after a fire (late 1920s?) via Library & Archives Canada
From suburban-poverty.com’s rooftop garden we often see the super commuters of the Greater Toronto Area: weaving in and out of lanes, cruising well above the speed limits in their sharp cars by the thousands. Gotta make time, gotta make money! They connect workplace and homeplace via more time and gas on our ever crowded multi-lane arteries. These motorists are a component of sprawl and part of a continental trend. Much has been written and said about what this means personally and socially. So it was with great interest we came across word of a human resources finding at Xerox. Those fast movers covering greater and greater distances between points in the sprawl are in a lifestyle that doesn’t seem to fully lend itself to reliability and a sense of engagement in the workplace. Two things that corporate employers like Xerox are said to cherish. It seems the extra hassle, time and expense involved in super commuting can reduce what a given employee has to offer when she arrives in her boardroom or cubicle morning after morning.
Gentrification is a dirty word to many observers of North America’s urban dynamics.
It is often seen as an unfair force, as change that benefits a few investors while putting the poor under additional pressure. Echo Park in Los Angeles, California hosts something of an extra twist to the effects of gentrification in that criminals once living and operating there who cannot afford the cost of housing now must travel to and fro to to ply their trade.
With gentrification, Echo Park gang members move outside their turf. Displaced by trendy coffee shops and rising rents, many gang members have been forced out of Echo Park, returning to their old turf on weekends. A new injunction targets those who are left. LA Times
image: Los Angeles City Hall in 1931 via Wikimedia Commons
Swedish researchers have linked marriage stress and failure with long commutes. In sociological enquiry of any kind the underlying idea seems to be to constantly generate new questions. This study does that in droves. Big mortgages for suburban homes require major time investments in commuting. Many now live in one suburb and commute to another suburb. Not easy.
Long commutes bad for marriage
“A long commute to work might further job prospects and put more money in the bank but it could also increase the risk for divorce by 40 percent, a new study from Umeå University in northern Sweden shows”
Towards the tail end of the boom the media in North America coined the term “supercommuter” for people cruising as much as ninety minutes each way between home and workplace. Presumably that was by choice. Now, the Great Recession seems to be incentivizing some long drives.
Recession breeds wave of supercommuters