Jump to content

Weather and city growth


Recommended Posts

I just came across this article over on jalopnik, and one of the things that stuck out on me was the following:

Early attempts at snow control simply involved citizens going into the streets to level the drifts for sleigh traffic. Ordinances in many cities required homeowners to clear their sidewalks of snow, but snow removal was not yet practiced on a citywide basis. In order for residents to travel by carriage, or for merchants to receive goods (and customers), they were responsible for clearing their own streets. Snow shovelers were frequently hire to do this for them. As a result, wintertime travel in the early 1800s was still mostly by foot.

Which would have necessitated people to able to fairly easy to reach goods and services by foot during the winter. This would explain why the "older cities" were built at such a density.

as far as the transportation goes:

New York and other cities responded in several ways. They hired horse-drawn carts and shovelers to work in conjunction with the plows, hauling away the plowed snow and dumping it into rivers. This not only cleared the mounds of snow, but provided thousands of temporary jobs throughout the winter season. In an effort to curtail the use of salt, which many still protested, streets and icy bridges were coated with sand instead. To appease all sides, New York in the 1880s built elevated steam railways along the major routes of the city, high enough that they would not be affected by the drifts. Still in operation today, these elevated tracks proved very successful, and carried travelers through all but a few of the most severe storms. Prior to the invention of the subway, the elevated trains were often the only transport service available in storms that halted all ground travel.

This is probably one of the reasons why Chicago and Detroit gotten their public transportation system to evolve the way it has.

In other words, people that whine about why we can't have this or be like a, "certain city" just need to STFU and look back at history on how and why some cities evolved the way they did.

I do recommend people to view the article, it's quite a good read.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

no link, or did I miss it?

Anyway, historical reasons for the way things are situated in a city are certainly good reason to know why things are currently the way they are.

As I understand it, Houston had a very prolific trolley system up to the 40s, when I think I understand they ripped it out to use the tracks as part of the war effort.

Houston has grown up in an age when cars were king, cars made sense for the premier travel method in Houston, and that is why Houston is patterned the way it is right now, but who's to say what need will bring in the future, just as it did in the past?

Hell, in 20 years we could all be riding around in our little areas in golf carts, the freeways could be replaced with mass transit, and there will be a lot more bicycle friendly areas of town, and in 100 years someone will be reading an article explaining why Houston was so sprawled in the 20th century and early 21st century.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...