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Everything posted by TheNiche

  1. Everyone's a slave to their biases. What would a man be without them, some sort of machine? "Nothing human disgusts me unless its unkind, violent."
  2. Financing would comprise a mix of sources. Yes, airport fees are a part of the equation. They already exist, they exist at other airports, and they would exist at the proposed facility. They could be higher than most in order to capture some of the enhanced operating cost efficiencies for airlines; we should charge whatever the market will bear. Some of the capital expenses should be recouped by selling off existing airport land to developers of commercial and industrial properties in order to facilitate air cargo operations. If the price is right, then perhaps one or two of the airports in Dallas or Houston could be redeveloped entirely, just like Miller Airport was in Austin. What's left should be funded by a mix of federal, state, and local sources because goals that are compatible with each of the jurisdictions are being fulfilled. To that end, I think that the inclusion of Austin and San Antonio are politically necessary. The amount of government subsidy and the corresponding amount that has to be made up with user fees is something that would be difficult to speculate on without very precise studies that would confirm demand schedules and a profile of operating costs under different vehicle load characteristics.
  3. I've got a lot of Chinese and Vietnamese clients that don't understand mainstream American culture fully well (hence the political incorrectness meshed with Buddhist tidings of peace, love, harmony, etc.), but that tend to invest in areas with a lot of poor minorities that they understand even less well. They're not risk-averse and not especially wealthy to start off, which is how they find themselves buying property in sketchy areas with abnormally high rates of return. They typically only own one or two properties, may not even own their own home initially, and don't have a lot to fall back on if something catastrophic happens. I'm speculating a lot about Steve's identity and the sort of asset that he owns, but he fits the profile. And that's fine by me. I won't hold it against him. His life experiences have shaped who he is, and he's probably a perfectly normal human being with perfectly normal human-type problems and some interesting stories to tell. I would submit to you that most Americans could learn to empathize a bit more with newcomers eager to be our productive, affluent, and well-meaning neighbors.
  4. I still advocate for a massive international airport that should be developed in the middle of the Texas Triangle to accommodate any and all commercial passenger flights that would otherwise go to DFW, DAL, IAH, HOU, AUS, and SAT. The facility should be served by vacuum-sealed maglev tubes that run directly between the airport and each of the major cities' central business districts. Only 30 minutes from the cores of our cities, this would comprise the world's busiest airport, would serve a region of 18 million people at a continental crossroads between Asia and Latin America, would necessarily serve as a hub to two or more airlines, and would be served by the newest, largest, and most efficient passenger aircraft. At the confluence of operating efficiency, strategic geographic reach, and a competitive business environment, Texas would achieve low ticket prices that would offset the expense of the infrastructure. We would also shorten the effective distance between our major cities, bringing them closer together in terms of time and travel expense, and allowing for a new class of inter-city commuters and for the State of Texas to effectively market itself internationally as a tourist destination and a place to do business. The existing airports would convert to air cargo and general aviation purposes, and on account of their proximity to the world's largest airport, they may be a suitable location for major repair and maintenance facilities or other aerospace-related business enterprises. And removing all this air traffic from our major cities would enhance our quality of life by removing air and noise pollution, by fostering an airport traffic pattern that takes people into downtown areas, and by allowing airport users better access to central-city transit options. I'll leave you with a parting thought. What if Austin had Atlanta's airport, Dallas' jobs, San Antonio's history, Houston's food, and Galveston's beaches? What would its population be within a decade?
  5. I presume that you're concerned about what would in essence be a race riot. I think that's unlikely, but I do understand how a property owner should get antsy if he thinks that there's even a 2% chance of such a thing happening. If you've been smart about it up to this point, you require security deposits from all of your tenants and have a couple of surveillance cameras on the property. If you've got a friend that can drive by a couple times just to check up on things, that might not be a bad idea. Otherwise, there really isn't much that you can do. If the scenario that you're concerned about plays out, I would imagine that it would happen in many other places throughout the city, and the police would have their hands full. So even if you knew that it was happening, there might not be a whole lot that you could do to stop it.
  6. If anybody has to go dumpster diving, then that's the fault of the state or local disaster response authorities, who should have automobiles capable of traveling through a disaster area and who should have stockpiles of MREs to give away. As for electricity shortages, I lived in a dense area close to the Astrodome during Ike. My condo only ever lost power for a few seconds; apparently, electricity infrastructure is hardened in areas close to the Texas Medical Center. Makes sense. Centerpoint placed a priority on restoring power to hospitals and major business districts, then worked outwards from there. That makes sense, too. Some close-in neighborhoods (like Eastwood) got their power back within a day or so, but due to the low density, many individual blocks remained powerless for up to two weeks. The lesson I took from it is that the more individual blocks there are, the greater the total distance of power lines per household are exposed to wind damage, and the more complex the task of restoring power. Of course, the northeastern megalopolis is many, many times larger than Houston. So I expect that any disaster that affects it is going to yield more aggregate damage and will be more difficult to recover from. It doesn't follow that density is necessarily disadvantageous to this set of circumstances, but living in the same disaster area as many tens of millions as other people might be.
  7. I'm no particular fanboy of anything, but I don't think that a few days worth of inconvenience that might occur once every ten or fifteen years should impact public decisions involving infrastructure of individuals' decisions regarding where they should live. Times like that, the whole city will be shut down anyway and just because you might be able to get to work doesn't mean that you can be productive. I find this thread, and yall's contrived bickering to be absurd and pointless.
  8. ...the ONE time I've ever seen him be the least bit skeptical of METRO, and this is it.
  9. The concept of voter approval doesn't have any relation to the concept of a commitment from METRO or a mandate of METRO. You should go read the text of the 2003 referendum.
  10. Please elaborate. Who is corrupting them? What is the nature of the alleged corruption? Be clear or begone, troll.
  11. To piss off trolls, that's why.
  12. This survey is awful. Whoever wrote it has only a rudimentary understanding of writing surveys, urban planning issues, or urban economics. I told them off in the 'Other' boxes.
  13. Yes, I am frustrated with you. The purpose of language is to tie together concepts that are mutually understood within a consistent framework of logic and reason. Your concepts are poorly defined and presumptuous; your logic is weak, rife with fallacies. I explain how and why that is with precision, over and over, but you do not learn. For instance, you say that you are pro-transit and that that is all, as though that should mean something particular and discrete. The issue is more complicated than that, however. I am pro-transit. So why are we bickering, then? What, can't you remember? You and I are not on the same page as to what constitutes a "quality transit system". To me, it is an intermodal optimization function that goes beyond transit and broadens the scope of the question to address systematic regional mobility. You favor discrete improvements along pre-selected corridors. I advocate sound governance and effective and transparent strategic planning processes, and I will support whichever portfolio of improvements scores the highest benefit-cost ratio, wherever those improvements may be along the system, and I do not pretend to know which ones they'll be. So, the reason that you don't know precisely what kind of a system I want is because neither do I. I mentioned before that I really, really like it that the Uptown Management District has taken the lead in developing the proposal and is funding so much of the project. Their organization is comprised and led by neighborhood stakeholders (including major taxpayers). That largely negates one of METRO's fatal flaws, which is that METRO is led by appointees of appointees of various mayors, basically unaccountable and unresponsive to stakeholders. Moreover, I can understand Uptown's motivations. Go read the Downtown Management District's mobility study. It shows us that one of the things that METRO does very well is that they provide good P&R service to downtown Houston. Since Uptown is laid out in a less efficient manner than is downtown, and since METRO's P&R generally bypasses Uptown, they're looking for ways to enhance their connectivity and reap the reward. It may be that this is just an interim project, something to hold them over for a couple decades until the economics of light rail improve to a point where it can be installed along with the appropriate number of grade separations.
  14. Their website does not indicate that non-paying participants are welcome, and it lays out all kinds of rules and requirements. It sounded like fun, but I didn't want to pay and so I didn't bother to show up to find out that it was okay to go rogue. What we have here, then, is a failure to communicate. I blame BikeHouston.
  15. No, you've made poorly-qualified and alarmist forecasts, and also pretending that a particular change (eliminating GM payments) is the sole method to skin a cat when in fact there are many. That is disingenuous. Never mind that if the cat were skinned, there's no guarantee that they'll do with the carcass what you want done with it. Money is only step one of a solution. After that takes leadership, planning, and execution. You may be disappointed. Putting aside your strawman fallacy...if I honestly didn't care about transit (which I do), then I wouldn't need to act like transit didn't need funding. I could state it honestly and without hesitation (which I'm not).
  16. No, that isn't necessarily true. Sales tax revenue is increasing at a rate well above the rate of inflation. Therefore the inflation-adjusted amount retained for transit will continue to grow as well, allowing for an incrementally better transit system over time. What you want is simply more revenue dedicated to mass transit. And you want it now. Why don't you just say that?
  17. Even better. There's already work that'll be going on, and this would tie in. And again...the neighborhood is paying for it, not me.
  18. Since the source and quantity of transit funding varies so greatly between jurisdictions and is frequently supplemented by outside entities, do you really think that someone that bothered to fulfill your obscure request would lead to some kind of a relevant conclusion? Or is this all just a continuation of vapid, whiny rhetoric?
  19. I really like that the Uptown Management District is paying for such a large share of a lower overall project cost. Construction shouldn't take as long or be as disruptive as light rail. And I suspect that they'll do a better job on integrating signal priority and timing between the buses and regular traffic than METRO has done with light rail on the Red Line. And at the very least, they're securing right of way. All in all, I'm fairly pleased at this point.
  20. Please elaborate. Who is corrupt? What is the nature of the alleged corruption?
  21. What you said was whining. I demonstrated as much by whining back at you about something for which the proximate cause of the grievance was the same: a lack of money. There was nothing at all insightful that you communicated, and my response to you is a critique of your vapid rhetorical style.
  22. Raise taxes and we can afford the Maglev. Same difference. The money's got to come from somewhere.
  23. I give a damn. It's just that I'm used to my current events news being delivered in broad strokes rather than pointing to research and minutiae that require time and mental effort to process. So yeah, maybe its my fault for appreciating her diligent research, but not actually looking at every little bit of it in order to derive a comment. I encourage her to keep talking, if only because someone tried to intimidate her into being quiet. Let her vocal stance a lesson to bullies with attorneys.
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