I recently moved from Berkeley to Austin, the "Berkeley of Texas." Although there are similarities, and Austin is certainly as close to Berkeley as Texas gets, there are plenty of things I miss about Berkeley. I miss the hills and the bay. I miss good Chinese food and Thai food, Super Burritos, and cheap, expertly made caffe lattes. Most of all, I miss having my favorite restaurants, a copy shop, a bike shop, a pet store, a bookstore, and a supermarket, all within a short and pleasant walk from home.
But I like Austin. "It's easy," I tell my friends, "it's easy to get around." Unlike Berkeley, Austin is built for cars. Arterials are wide with many lanes. Major arterials are being upgrade to freeways at an impressive rate, complete with three-lane frontage roads on each side. Of course, little room is left for bikes, let alone dedicated bike lanes, and little thought is given to the pedestrian in either residential or commercial areas. But as long as I'm in my car, getting around couldn't be easier.