Having lived here now two weeks, and having seen a lot more of the burb since this recent blog post (which was constructively criticized by a longtime resident), I can definitely say my thoughts on Roseville, California have moderated. I still think the whole place is a model of the auto-centric, gasoline-addicted urban sprawl that’s plastering over so much of American territory and is going to be absolutely unsustainable once the era of cheap oil ends, but it definitely offers more public space than I first noticed.
The Roseville Library is a large, roundish building swathed in recycled railroad ties. It’s located downtown and it’s quiet, comfortable and packed with books. Trains are a recurrent theme in Roseville, (the train station in Old Town is, though relatively new, a clear and welcome throwback to the 19th century) and the town sports one of the largest rail switch yards in the entire state. Anyway, next door to the library is Royer Park, a wonderful mix of meadows and woods that borders a beautiful stream (though you’d never guess that by looking at this, the city’s official webpage for the park).
But that’s all downtown. Closer to home, in the maze of cookie-cutter four- and five-bedroom houses that all seem to include three-car garages, there are public options far in excess of the tiny parks I alluded to in my last post. While out walking the other night, I discovered a clean and well-maintained bike trail I had never even noticed from my car that, once again, follows a wooded stream (I also saw two horses and one garter snake, which tells me the place isn’t as completely developed as I originally thought).
There are ecologically sound reasons for living in an urban area these days, but Roseville does offer a few environmental advantages that city living lacks. I just had to look harder for them.