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TheGerbil

DC corridor

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So as most of you probably have noticed, the DC suburbs seem to br creeping into PA. I was wondering if, eventually, the DC sprawl might make its way even closer to Pittsburgh, close enough to touch our own suburbs. And in that case, would we then have a corridor, along the lines of DC-Baltimore?

If so, do you think this would be good or bad for Pittsburgh? I'm thinking mostly good, but I can see potential issues too.

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So as most of you probably have noticed, the DC suburbs seem to br creeping into PA. I was wondering if, eventually, the DC sprawl might make its way even closer to Pittsburgh, close enough to touch our own suburbs. And in that case, would we then have a corridor, along the lines of DC-Baltimore?

If so, do you think this would be good or bad for Pittsburgh? I'm thinking mostly good, but I can see potential issues too.

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It's hard for me to believe that the Washington suburbs will ever reach Pittsburgh's. Not unless the whole mid-atlantic region becomes one big city some day. Downtown to downtown Pittsburgh is 250 miles from Washington.

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Pittsburgh will need to first connect with the Mon Valley before any Pitt-DC corridor would be possible. That said, I'm a big fan of orienting Pittsburgh towards DC as opposed to integrating with Cleveland. DC is tops when you consider where people go when they leave the region. And DC is also tops in terms of Pittsburgh urban connectivity, besting even Cleveland. Actually, I think Morgantown is better positioned to benefit from the exurban DC sprawl spreading westward.

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It's amazing to think that people commute 2 hours each way to D.C., but I noticed this recently while visiting my parents in Central PA (Chambersburg). Housing prices have started to really go up due to the number of DC commuters moving into the area.

In light of gas prices and environmental issues, I'm surprised that areas like this are still sprawling so rapidly. I can't wrap my mind around the D.C. suburbs possibly landing near Pittsburgh, but who knows?... I would've never guessed that they would land in Chambersburg.

What do you guys think it'll take to reverse this trend (not just in DC, but in many other areas). I realize that housing is expensive in DC, but it can't be economical to commute 3 hours a day. I would guess that this would cost close to $500 per month in gas alone, without considering car repairs.

I'm not sure whether it would be a plus or minus for Pittsburgh. I guess Pgh businesses would benefit, but I tend to think that the costs of this type of sprawl far outweigh any pluses.

Also, do you think this trend will fade with a different administration? The size of gov't has ballooned under Bush. Perhaps the jobs, money, resources, etc, sunk into D.C. will shrink in a few years and help to reverse this?

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I agree that Pittsburgh has more to gain from aligning with its eastern neighbors more than its western ones.

In fact rather than cheesy slogans and wasted money on advertising such things, I would spend a lot of money targeting NY and DC (maybe Boston) selling the great deal that is Pittsburgh

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Pgh will never connect up with DC. The long distance (250 miles) and the mountains pretty much will ensure that. The eastern panhandle of WV is becoming an exurb of DC because it is realtively close and has commuter train service. As for central PA, again it is closer and its a straight shot down US 15 and I-270. Most of the people living in PA probably work in the DC suburbs or exurbs anyway (Frederick, MD, Gaithersburg, MD, etc.) and don't go all the way into the city. Pittsburgh, however, is simply too far and the mountains mean that efficient train and road transportation isn't there and won't be there. Even fi they bullzoed a road straight through and built a commuter train parallel to it, the nasty weather of that area means that any would-be commuter will have serious headaches in the winter months jsut to get to DC.

Of course in all this discussion we never considered the possibility of Pittsburgh also expanding its reach and thus meeting the DC region at the mountain ridges (poeple on the west side commuting to Pgh, people on the east commuting to DC). However, while that may be possible, that's not probable since Pgh isn't growing and housing prices aren't anywhere near expensive enough to justify that amount of sprawl.

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I agree that Pittsburgh has more to gain from aligning with its eastern neighbors more than its western ones.

In fact rather than cheesy slogans and wasted money on advertising such things, I would spend a lot of money targeting NY and DC (maybe Boston) selling the great deal that is Pittsburgh

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I agree. After all, why would anyone align themselves with Cleveland?

The one problem with aligning with the East Coast, however, is that or relevance. Pittsburgh would just be seen as the "little kid on the block" on the East Coast. After all, the East Coast is, at once, the most cosmopolitan part of the coutnry and the most provincial part of the country. Many East Coasters have never been outsie of the East Coast and think civilization ends once you cross the mountains. Pittsburgh won't get its due respect from the cities of the East, even Baltimore. Meanwhile, with Cleveland, Columbus, Cincy, even Detroit, Pittsburgh can seem like a partner amongst equals (Detroit may be a lot larger, but in terms of national prominence, it is within the same group as Pgh). It's just unfortunate that the western neighbors (Ohio, Michigan, etc.) are not doing well at all.

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Pgh will never connect up with DC. The long distance (250 miles) and the mountains pretty much will ensure that. The eastern panhandle of WV is becoming an exurb of DC because it is realtively close and has commuter train service.

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Even fi they bullzoed a road straight through and built a commuter train parallel to it, the nasty weather of that area means that any would-be commuter will have serious headaches in the winter months jsut to get to DC.

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Though anecdotal, there are some commuters in the southern part of the Pittsburgh region who are commuting eastward, tapping into the DC job market:

Chris Briem post at Null Space

I also know about a number of businesses that locate between Pittsburgh and DC in order to tap both markets.

When I think about those stories, the corridor already exists.

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I talked to the developers of a new condo project at Seven Springs (hundreds of luxury units) and they say about half are being sold to Pittsburghers and half to DC people... so there's another DC connection

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The same way Scranton is about to become a "satellite" city of New York (think "Wall Street West"), I wonder if Pittsburgh may soon become a satellite city of D.C. I know that the FBI has some hard-core operations in the area, and because of that, I wonder if Pittsburgh would be the city of focus if the federal government decentralizes, much the same way Scranton is benefiting from the decentralization of Wall Street.

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I'd like very much for our city to benefit from government decentralization. But if we're ever considered a satellite city of DC I'll be rather pissed :sick:

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