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Car Free Apartments in Baltimore

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Car Free Apartments in Baltimore

Old 03-09-19, 09:09 AM
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Car Free Apartments in Baltimore

It's "Car Free" Not Car-Less , the dang autocorrect made a "careless" mistake, LOL
It's only 28 apartments, but it's a start:
"The developer of the 28-unit, five-story complex on South Charles Street, 28 Walker, hopes to discourage tenants from even owning cars and needing a place to park."

https://pilotonline.com/business/con...4r3TtZ3mVpAOEw
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Old 03-12-19, 10:21 AM
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Would love to know how many of the tenants own cars. Would also love to know how many of the tenants don't/won't own cars because of the free bike. If the bike is irrelevant to the equation, it's irrelevant to the equation.
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Old 03-12-19, 11:02 AM
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While I was doing environmental activism in central Florida back when the Earth was young, a developer tried to build a "walkable" community on a river flood plain. The idea seemed good, the location was ridiculous---but the land was cheap. The guy did what it took (use your imagination) to get the various zoning variances needed ... but guess what? No One Walks. The store might only be a five-minute walk down the road---but it is only a three-minute drive, and the car has tunes and air conditioning.

Social engineering projects like this are well-meaning, but as stand-alones, they are meaningless. So long as these housing units (or neighborhoods) are stuck in the middle of a de facto auto-only society, most people still need cars.

Last weekend I did a couple jobs---one in town and one out of town. I carried all my gear on my bicycle for the in-town job---basically fully loaded touring. It was a trial hauling all the gear by bike, but it would have been less easy to use the car and walk back and forth all day---and that would have wasted time, too.

For the other job, I Could have taken the bike---but it would have added many, many hours of commuting time, and cost a corresponding amount of energy, and I would have spent even more time and energy getting around to different parts of the spread-out job site, and probably wouldn't have been able to complete the job successfully in the time allotted. That is the second time I have used my car this year, and i think the third time since last April. But ... I wouldn't be "car-free" so I couldn't live in this unit?

"Kate Drabinski, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County professor who has commuted by bike for a decade, said she’s already noticed an uptick in riders on Baltimore’s streets since the city began adding protected lanes in recent years. Every morning, the 43-year-old Charles Village resident rides about three miles to the University of Maryland Medical Center downtown where she locks her bike and catches a shuttle to her office." Having been car-free or car-light almost forever ... yeah. How many mass-transit routes, how many have room on the bus/train/tram for how many bikes, how many safe lock-ups at mass-transit hubs? I take it the shuttle is on-campus ... nice when you have that option.

"Paff also worked on Port Covington in South Baltimore, the planned mixed-use community where developers have already built protected bike lanes. Those lanes, however, remain cut off from the rest of the city." Exactly. Until the whole city moves comprehensively, tiny individual efforts fail. Bikes become a limit rather than an outlet to healthier, happier commuting.

Here's the bike ($500 retail): https://www.prioritybicycles.com/pro...iorityclassic2 Three-speed IGH and belt drive----but the belt is exposed, so it is still a hazard for people riding in dress pants or skirts. (How much would a chain guard have cost?) Front hand-brake, rear coaster brake. No baskets, no rack, nowhere to put panniers (though all the frames seem to have tapped holes for racks. I guess adding a rear rack at $30 apiece was over budget?)

For $550 one can get vee-brakes. (https://www.prioritybicycles.com/products/thegotham) For $650, a 7-speed IGH. For $1100, a Nuvinci rear hub, dynamo front hub, and Tektro hydro discs. (https://www.prioritybicycles.com/products/continuumonyx)

Sorry, but it sounds to me a lot more like an advertising gimmick than a real attempt to change commuting habits. "Everyone is doing a $500 move-in special. How can we stand out from the crowd?" "We'll offer a $500 bicycle! In bulk they will only cost $300 so we actually come out ahead!"

Who knows? In a few years we might see a follow-up article .. but based on what I have seen elsewhere, in five years there will be two slots in the parking lot full of abandoned bikes and everyone will have at least one car.
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Old 03-12-19, 01:04 PM
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I like the idea in theory, but in practice, I'm skeptical that it will convert people into bike commuters - and I doubt it will appeal to those who are already riding.

Personally, I'd find a situation like this more appealing if I could choose my own bike (but then again, I already ride, so perhaps I'm not the target audience). I know nothing about this part of Baltimore or parking costs, but there's another thing that developers sometimes forget: people without cars in areas with high-cost parking can already benefit by leasing/selling their parking spaces. (I knew of some people in downtown Denver who did precisely that: bought a condo, ditched the car, and sold off the parking space for as much as $40K.)
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Old 03-12-19, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
...people without cars in areas with high-cost parking can already benefit by leasing/selling their parking spaces. (I knew of some people in downtown Denver who did precisely that: bought a condo, ditched the car, and sold off the parking space for as much as $40K.)
Conversely, if a developer is renting/leasing apartments without parking spaces in an area of high cost parking, prospective renters will need a better financial sweetener than a one-time gift of a $500 bike, since the apartment has materially less value than a similar apartment in that area that includes a valuable parking space.

In the case of the development cited in the OP this is not really an issue since according to the article, the developer will be building 1˝ parking spaces for each apartment as required by zoning.

"The developer wanted to reduce the number of costly parking spaces, enabling a rent rebate for tenants without cars. But after an outcry by neighbors worried about the large number of new apartments and the effect on limited street parking, the project won’t cut the spots."
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Old 03-12-19, 10:28 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Conversely, if a developer is renting/leasing apartments without parking spaces in an area of high cost parking, prospective renters will need a better financial sweetener than a one-time gift of a $500 bike, since the apartment has materially less value than a similar apartment in that area that includes a valuable parking space.

In the case of the development cited in the OP this is not really an issue since according to the article, the developer will be building 1˝ parking spaces for each apartment as required by zoning.

"The developer wanted to reduce the number of costly parking spaces, enabling a rent rebate for tenants without cars. But after an outcry by neighbors worried about the large number of new apartments and the effect on limited street parking, the project won’t cut the spots."
I looked back in the way back machine and noticed we had a thread much like this one in 2016. https://www.bikeforums.net/living-ca...complexes.html

I looked up the suggested development in my Austin Apartment program and didn't notice the project went through. does anyone know if they ever built an apartment building for people without cars in Austin?
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Old 03-13-19, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
I looked back in the way back machine and noticed we had a thread much like this one in 2016. https://www.bikeforums.net/living-ca...complexes.html

I looked up the suggested development in my Austin Apartment program and didn't notice the project went through. does anyone know if they ever built an apartment building for people without cars in Austin?
I believe it went to the happy hunting ground of "good ideas" that weren't so good after all when the "thinkers" woke up.

See https://www.bikeforums.net/19095425-post47.html

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Old 03-17-19, 11:50 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Would love to know how many of the tenants own cars. Would also love to know how many of the tenants don't/won't own cars because of the free bike. If the bike is irrelevant to the equation, it's irrelevant to the equation.
Personally I have an aspiration of getting rid of my car. If I moved to a place with no parking, it would push me over. Right kw I have free parking at my apartment. My bike was recently stolen, so I am driving more. I have upoed from 3-4x a month to 8-10x a month.





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Old 03-17-19, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
While I was doing environmental activism in central Florida back when the Earth was young, a developer tried to build a "walkable" community on a river flood plain. The idea seemed good, the location was ridiculous---but the land was cheap. The guy did what it took (use your imagination) to get the various zoning variances needed ... but guess what? No One Walks. The store might only be a five-minute walk down the road---but it is only a three-minute drive, and the car has tunes and air conditioning.

Social engineering projects like this are well-meaning, but as stand-alones, they are meaningless. So long as these housing units (or neighborhoods) are stuck in the middle of a de facto auto-only society, most people still need cars.

Last weekend I did a couple jobs---one in town and one out of town. I carried all my gear on my bicycle for the in-town job---basically fully loaded touring. It was a trial hauling all the gear by bike, but it would have been less easy to use the car and walk back and forth all day---and that would have wasted time, too.

For the other job, I Could have taken the bike---but it would have added many, many hours of commuting time, and cost a corresponding amount of energy, and I would have spent even more time and energy getting around to different parts of the spread-out job site, and probably wouldn't have been able to complete the job successfully in the time allotted. That is the second time I have used my car this year, and i think the third time since last April. But ... I wouldn't be "car-free" so I couldn't live in this unit?

"Kate Drabinski, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County professor who has commuted by bike for a decade, said she’s already noticed an uptick in riders on Baltimore’s streets since the city began adding protected lanes in recent years. Every morning, the 43-year-old Charles Village resident rides about three miles to the University of Maryland Medical Center downtown where she locks her bike and catches a shuttle to her office." Having been car-free or car-light almost forever ... yeah. How many mass-transit routes, how many have room on the bus/train/tram for how many bikes, how many safe lock-ups at mass-transit hubs? I take it the shuttle is on-campus ... nice when you have that option.

"Paff also worked on Port Covington in South Baltimore, the planned mixed-use community where developers have already built protected bike lanes. Those lanes, however, remain cut off from the rest of the city." Exactly. Until the whole city moves comprehensively, tiny individual efforts fail. Bikes become a limit rather than an outlet to healthier, happier commuting.

Here's the bike ($500 retail): https://www.prioritybicycles.com/pro...iorityclassic2 Three-speed IGH and belt drive----but the belt is exposed, so it is still a hazard for people riding in dress pants or skirts. (How much would a chain guard have cost?) Front hand-brake, rear coaster brake. No baskets, no rack, nowhere to put panniers (though all the frames seem to have tapped holes for racks. I guess adding a rear rack at $30 apiece was over budget?)

For $550 one can get vee-brakes. (https://www.prioritybicycles.com/products/thegotham) For $650, a 7-speed IGH. For $1100, a Nuvinci rear hub, dynamo front hub, and Tektro hydro discs. (https://www.prioritybicycles.com/products/continuumonyx)

Sorry, but it sounds to me a lot more like an advertising gimmick than a real attempt to change commuting habits. "Everyone is doing a $500 move-in special. How can we stand out from the crowd?" "We'll offer a $500 bicycle! In bulk they will only cost $300 so we actually come out ahead!"

Who knows? In a few years we might see a follow-up article .. but based on what I have seen elsewhere, in five years there will be two slots in the parking lot full of abandoned bikes and everyone will have at least one car.
you realize belt drives are cleaner than chains right? They are perfect on a chain guard free bike as they are not messy!
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Old 03-17-19, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
I like the idea in theory, but in practice, I'm skeptical that it will convert people into bike commuters - and I doubt it will appeal to those who are already riding.

Personally, I'd find a situation like this more appealing if I could choose my own bike (but then again, I already ride, so perhaps I'm not the target audience). I know nothing about this part of Baltimore or parking costs, but there's another thing that developers sometimes forget: people without cars in areas with high-cost parking can already benefit by leasing/selling their parking spaces. (I knew of some people in downtown Denver who did precisely that: bought a condo, ditched the car, and sold off the parking space for as much as $40K.)
gonna tell my own story. So I had casually considered biking more but I was afraid and didn’t have a bike. I ended up winning a bike in a raffle. It was a city cruiser style. When I went to pick it up the shop was super helpful getting me hooked up with the right resource and making recommendations for gear. I got a rack on pick up day. I started biking on short trips.

1 or 2 months later I got a basket (more money for the shop), a couple months later I traded up to a leather saddle. Then I got lights. I started biking anywhere within 3 miles or so.

Fast forward a year or so and I added a dynamo hub. I got involved in bike advocacy too.

And 18 months later I traded up to a better bike. And traded the bulk of my car trips for bike trips. All because of a free bike.

Sometimes people need a nudge. I imagine people who sign the lease there vs all the other options were already bike-curious.
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Old 03-17-19, 01:52 PM
  #11  
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Zero mention about What the rents are , for those apartments .. $ 2~3000 a month + ?
probably could not afford a car after paying that much..
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Old 03-17-19, 03:05 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post

Here's the bike ($500 retail): https://www.prioritybicycles.com/pro...iorityclassic2 Three-speed IGH and belt drive----but the belt is exposed, so it is still a hazard for people riding in dress pants or skirts. (How much would a chain guard have cost?) r.
FWIW, I use Squirt wax lube on my pakiT. Apply and let dry overnight. Next day it is absolutely clean and non-transferable. I use public transit a LOT with my pakiT folded and I have to carry it chain-side next to me - zero grease on my clothing. No grease on my hands if the chain drops and needs to be replaced. I rarely have a bit of white wax which just rubs right off. And, no, I'm not affiliated nor own Squirt. Just gotta start with a perfectly clean chain. A belt drive is very clean also. Just not a big deal.
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Old 03-17-19, 05:13 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
you realize belt drives are cleaner than chains right? They are perfect on a chain guard free bike as they are not messy!
Are you saying I could not catch a trouser leg between a chain ring and the belt? Are you saying a woman could not catch a skirt or dress between a chan ring and a belt?

Pardon me for being a richard about it, but did you think about what I typed?
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Three-speed IGH and belt drive----but the belt is exposed, so it is still a hazard for people riding in dress pants or skirts. (How much would a chain guard have cost?)
What did you think I meant when I said the belt was exposed,so Still a hazard?

Look, I understand people have different opinions, but we need to have respect for Rational, well-explained, sound and sensible objections. I made such (IMO.) I have never seen these sorts of deals pay off (apparently this has been tried in several places ... and no one can name one which worked out.) I expressed the thought---as have others---that having a bike does not magically grant one a safe place to ride that bike.

Apparently the developer is still including just as many parking spots because so many people objected that what would likely happen is that no one would ride the bikes and thus would end up parking on the already crowded streets (which of course would increase the risks for cyclists.) Also, unless a person is single or part of a childless couple, both of whom are willing to accept a little extra complexity, car-free is pretty tough. Winters in Baltimore can include snow and freezing rain, and only a very few commuters are That committed.

And yes, having an exposed belt means that riders can still catch clothing in the belt. Considering that none of the bikes offer front derailleurs, I see no reason not to cover at least the area right around the drive ring, and once that is covered, why not cover the rest? I fully understand the difference between belt- and chain-drive. I also understand that flapping cloth is a hazard around both.

And please note, I used the word "hazard." Not "inconvenience," not "annoyance," not the phrase could stair or soil" ... Getting clothes caught in a drive system is a Hazard, which can cause a crash. You think sartorial splendor, I think survival.

Other than all that ... whatever. if you want to go car-free, do it. I'd say that if a person wouldn't go car-free because his or her apartment had a parking space, that person lacks the real commitment that going car-free requires. After decades car-free, I know about that. Car-free looks good on paper, but after three days of cold rain and then freezing rain with ice on the streets ... getting up to ride to work suddenly looks like the last thing a person would want to do. Ever see a "lifestyle" cycling ad where the rider was seriously worried about frostbite? Because as an Actual car-free commuter, I have taken that ride.

I do not Want this building, or the underlying idea, to fail. I would Much rather face all kinds of cyclists on the road than all kinds of drivers in SUV, trucks, and cars. But I am also realistic, and realize that our urban and suburban environments need a lot of redesign before they can offer safe and convenient car-free living to most people.

So to me ... given that the developer is still providing parking spaces, to me this looks more like a $500 move-in special with a twist, rather than a step towards a more inclusive transport model.
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Old 03-17-19, 05:15 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
A belt drive is very clean also.
See above.
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Old 03-17-19, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
See above.
I personally use pant straps for my trousers and for skirts, well, I don't wear anything much longer than knee length skirts. Most women don't wear full length skirts to work typically, so it's not an issue (flashing is more of a problem, haha). But I have worn a long summer dress and it's not that hard to use a garter clip to avoid any problems. That said, I'm sure someone could sell that bike and buy a heavy dutch bike with full dress guards if they wanted.

On days where the weather is really awful, don't they have things like car share or public transit or uber in Baltimore? It would still be cheaper than owning a car and not require parking.
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