Living in Bretzenheim


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A comment in response to made 11/6/2009,7.897196&sspn=0.041489,0.111494&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Mayence,+Rhineland-Palatinate,+Germany&ll=49.968779,8.23833&spn=0.010351,0.027874&t=h&z=16

Here is a model in Germany that I think works well. I have family that lives in Germany. The couple have 2 kids ages 12 and 9. They live in Bretzenheim, a suburb of Mainz. They have 1 car.

They live 2 minutes from the Autobahn (highway) and a 5 min drive or 15 min walk to the Gutenberg Center which is a minimall. It's 2 anchor stores are Real (like WalMart; it is super big even by US standards!) and Media Mart (think Best Buy). In front of the stores, instead of a giant brick wall is a walkway with little stores such as a Bakery and Pharmacy. They often drive to the store since they bring home a lot to carry. For durable goods, they do have to travel downtown, which they may do by car or by train

Look at the areal photo. The limits of the suburb are clearly defined. Extra space is fields. The roadways are on the outside; on the inside are walk and bike paths. We would call them alleys here, but in in Germany they are lean, open to light and the car and trash bins are on the front of house.

They live in a row house, yes. But it is nice, and has enough space for a family of 4. It is small compared to a McMansion, but completely livable. The live on a col-de-sack. The kids play outside in it and the neighborhood is quiet.

The family bikes to work. Yes, most days the car sits in the driveway and is only used occasionally. One works at the university, a 30 min walk or 10 minute bike ride. The other works in downtown Mainz. The bus stop is a 10 minute walk away and the tram/streetcar is a 30 min walk (too far in my option, it was not extended when the suburb was built).

This model represents a really good hybrid to everything discussed above. Some people may prefer urban where things are closer, but the above posters are correct, that is not very family friendly. But this is a quite neighborhood, with room to raise kids where the "streets" are really bike paths. Work is a few minutes of bike riding away. At the same time however, the neighborhood has mega stores. The mega store and with smaller stores in front selling essentials is a short car ride away.