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Posts posted by woody_hawkeye

  1. Spanish moss gets its sustenance from the air, rainfall and natural mineral leaching from leaves. That it can grow on the Tallow is no saving grace for that troublesome species.

    Please do not re-think your position.


    If we think "native" trees and bushes in our landscaping, there is a lot that can be done to provide a beautiful yard almost all year long, from red berries to fully blooming trees. We do not need our gardens "made in in China". We have an abundance in our homes. Water consumption should also be a criteria. I will invest some time into researching and interviewing some key people people for water conservation in landscaping design during the next couple of months. I do not know where the Tallow will fit into that yet, but it will not impact my view of its impact on the rest of the environment.

  2. Extension of Gosling near Flintridge and widening of Flintridge at the traffic light is now in the construction phase. Lights on Lake Woodlands will be activated any day now. Traffic is being studied on Lake Woodlands for the appropriate speed limit (40 is the expected). Woodlands Parkway was being surveyed this past week for the widening project which includes additional turn lanes as well as an additional lane going each way from Panther Creek to Kuykendahl.

  3. I am preparing an article on road surface technology plans here. Some of you may be Civil Engineers, so you would know something about this topic. Some significant traffic arteries in The Woodlands have outlived their life expectancy by a decade. Concrete is a noisy surface medium. There is a significant chance that we will see quiet surfaces in the near future as roads are repaired. That would be very welcome news by residents along these thoroughfares.

  4. As I read this article, I was reminded of this thread.


    It's an interesting look at weeds and other unwanted plants and the surprising roles they play in ecology. Even if you're a climate change skeptic, this article won't rile you. The author doesn't really write so much about anthropogenic climate change as the roles certain plants play as the climate does warm.

    Can Weeds Help Solve the Climate Crisis?


    Published: June 29, 2008

    Lewis Ziska, a lanky, sandy-haired weed ecologist with the Agriculture Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, matches a dry sense of humor with tired eyes. The humor is essential to Ziska's exploration of what global climate change could do to mankind's relationship with weeds; there are many days, he confesses, when his goal becomes nothing more than not ending up in a fetal position beneath his battleship gray, government-issue desk. Yet he speaks of weeds with admiration as well as apprehension, and even with hope...

    After I read this, I'm thinking giant plants and dinosaurs. Think I'll go watch a dinosaur movie to night.

  5. No, it's a bit off. I can direct you to an excellent website that says in June 2008, The Woodlands now stands at 5.9 months of inventory, so whoever told you it was 3 months was perhaps talking about a different area of Houston. See this page (scroll down almost to the bottom):


    I got to that page from http://www.micheleflory.com/Community/Curr...ket-Conditions/. Her website is excellent because it slices and dices all the data, she updates it every month, and even breaks down the market activity by $100K price ranges ($100K-200K, $200k-300K, etc.).

    Hope this info helps.


    Wow that is a great reference. Thanks.

    Added to say: AFter gong over these stats, I believe I was told about one price range - $200-$300k. That has risen from 3% to 4% in the June, but that is apparently higher than late last year. Market looks fairly solid here to me.

  6. Residents are noticing tax increases as a result of higher assessments by the county. In discussions, someone (I do not recall who) told me that the current resales inventory is half of what the industry normally expects and that is pushing the prices up. The norm I was told is a 6-month inventory whereas we currently have a 3-month inventory. Anyone know for certain if this is true or false? In one way, I like to see this but looking at the bottom line, when we put inflation of gasoline, power, water, food and the other itmes that must be raised because of the petroleum costs, it is getting shakey and the term "inflation" has taken on a new meaning. So businesses say, OK, we will raise pay by 3.5%, the current inflation rate. Well, that is far off if you live here, I am thinking but not yet calculated.

  7. I think most of these criticisms come from urbanites who object to the Woodlands on principle. When we're out in the neighborhood in the evening, we invariably run into neighbors, and end up talking for an hour or two.

    I like the lttle ad hoc street social events. Sometimes on a cul de sac, sometimes at a home in the backyard, sometimes in the driveway. Just pull out the BB pit and tell folks to bring something.

  8. :lol:

    The border? You mean the beltway? Down here on the east side, you'd swear the yard crews are mowing with a '76 Kawasaki 175 dirtbike missing a muffler.

    There is a law that can be enforced. It is called public nuisance. 85 db is taken from that law. What is different about a motorcycle with loud pipes and a person on the street yelling at the top of their lungs or a generator running out in the street or a dog barking next door or a mower without a muffler? They all make noise that can disrupt daily lives and sound is defined as a nuisance. It is true that municipalities often make specific laws and traffic is sometimes routed around neighborhoods to reduce the nuisance imposed by some truck traffic. I know this is an ideal goal but it has to start somewhere. Those who are not ambitious to set goals have no desire to fix the problems. There are several issues here that should be addressed with local laws. Right now we do not have the ability to create laws for the community but an effort to acquire that capability is anticipated in the next legislative session.

    There are three really bad cases to be addressed at the top of the list - motorcycle with loud pipes (the motorcycle is actually not the problem, it is the driver that is is problem), pickup trucks with loud mufflers, large diesel trucks. Routing would be one method of control. Ticketing another. Regular car traffic is really not the issue. I have acceptable levels of noise emitted from most motorcycles driven in a responsible way, even pickup trucks with loud mufflers when driven responsibly. Big speakers in autos is uncalled for and that can be addressed. Speed ups the volume of road noise, so the speed limits could be rigorously enforced to tame the noise in some areas. What can reasonably be done to counter the human desire to make noise is certainly an issue here. I believe it is the right of every person to have low noise levels no matter where they are in public. It is a similar principal as smoking in public places. Many people just accept noise as necessary, the same way smoking used to be accepted. Noise is not necessary for most situations. It is something imposed by one person on another. Technology supports reduction of noise levels in various ways. We can reduce noise on public roads by 6 db with just a change in surface. That means for traffic moving at about 50 MPH, it would probably seem like traffic moving at 35 (my observation). I do not know how much we could reduce noise with outlawing off-road tires on public pavement, but that does not seem to be a practical goal right off hand. Maybe.

    When I gather these data, I note the mix of sound issues on the roads. It is rather amazing to see the free-for-all uncontrolled unnecessary noise that we simply allow to exist out of historical acceptance.

    One example of a municipality taking the problem into the legal arena is El Paso. They have an interesting law on their books which is relatively complex to deal with these issues.

  9. sounds like there is a plan but a homeowner didn't understand it. btw how does taking measurements at the road help your cause? do you live next to the road?

    For myself, I do live near a road - Gosling. It was a dead end road when I moved here. Then they built the bridge to Harris County and now the new village. One of the issues here are the construction-related trucks. The parkway is being expanded to 6 lanes further west, something never anticipated by residents. No one anticipated the volume of traffic being experienced on Gosling. Residents here are dealing with the issue as they can. Measuring will help us to understand the growth of noise in the area as these projects are completed. What will do about it? I do not know at this point. We are experimenting with some remedial efforts. We will take advantage of the water in the pond at Woodlands Parkway and Gosling to generate white noise for nearby residents. That does not accomplish exactly what is desired but it is an acceptable measure for residents. Some homes have had windows rattling with the low frequency waves generated by some trucks and stereo speakers. They may have to replace some windows. Existing trees and brush continue to be added. That will help with some of the higher frequencies. The issue becomes the speed limit, what kind of tires being used, what kind of mufflers being used and the road surface. Changing the road is not necessarily the most critical nor desired remedy. An additional high volume cooridor to parallel the parkway is being planned by changing Lake Woodlands to a 4-lane 45 MPH drive with street lights. That was perceived to be less of a highway and more of a country street. However, it might take traffic away from the parkway and make the parkway a more quiet avenue. So mobility requirements are driving change while homeowners are taking it on the chin. The longer it takes to get an east/west traffic cooridor to the south of The Woodlands, the more the problem will affect noise in The Woodlands. Having comparitive numbers always helps the cause. The reasonable goal I think is a maximum enforcable noise level of 85 db.

  10. I agree with many of the statements being made. The Woodlands does put the natural environment on a pedestal and is the very reason I and many of my neighbors live here. As a "natural environment" I did not mean it is a natural forest. It has a great deal of concrete and steel but values the natural forest as a host for the community. But you would not necessarily know that it is full of concrete by driving down the parkway. This is a master planned community that did not anticipate such large volumes of traffic nor incorporate plans to block the noise, nor did the residents anticipate such traffic who bought their homes here just 4-5 years ago. Therefore, dealing with the issue will require us to deal with them in context of those values. There are even echoes in a forest. Residents here wanted an earthen berm or sound wall to lower the intensity of the noise, but neither one is considered natural and upsets the master plan for visual connection with the natural amenities here.

  11. Actually, I do believe this should have been merged with the existing conversation on this topic. The course of the conversation is bound to take the same direction. Sorry.

    I think you will see shortly why I believe this should be separate. Although road design and materials have a way of impacting this, the subject goes far beyond into the design of the neighborhood itself. Although related to mobility and a convenient place to make mention of this, it turns out to be a broader subject where the abatement strategies of existing areas near roads becomes the major concern. For example, we start talking about what best to do in the residential cooridors near major streets. Do we build something to deal with the issue? Or is it a mobility issue outright where there should be no regard to noise? The Woodlands has already had one sound abatement project axed. As far as I can tell, the answer is "just deal with it".

  12. Here's some updates on the Dubai dinosaur park - it's called Restless Planet. Scheduled to open in late 2008.



    I would expect that Earthquest is going to use pretty much the same technology.

    I have a presentation that received by email. I could post it in a shared location somewhere if any interest. It is the overall plan of Dubai - so impressive one just sits in awe. I do not know if this particular park is part of the huge park they have planned there which will be twice the size of Disneyworld. Dubai is plannigng for the day they run out of oil. Actually, they are already incrementing their tourism by leaps and bounds. The presentation plays "Born Free" for obvious reasons (to me anyway). This presentation is the best that I have seen yet on Dubai.

  13. woodlands parkway overpass at grogan's mill to be more specific. i never oversleep because the noise level goes up after 6:30am.

    keep us posted on your findings.

    Bach - when I came back to this thread, I realized that we would return to the area mobility discussion in general, so I started a new thread that is specific to this topic. Anyone can picl up on it at any time. Since I have been working on this for several years, I know it will not stop now with our discussions. I have picked up another person near us also wanting to do some measurements. So I will carry on in the other thread. Meantime, this one is good for mobility as it has been for a long time now. I hope to be out there tomorrow.

  14. I am starting this as a separate thread instead of embedding it in another. We have certain expectations when we live in a natural environment. Although we have to to put up with concrete in an urban master planned community, there is debate on how much noise and light pollution can be tolerated. I begin with a measuring project on one location. I have two additional locations in the queue. This data was collected on Glosling, a north/south road of The Woodlands. There are no conclusions presented, only the data that was collected and some commonly known benchmarks for comparison purposes.

    Woodlands Commentary - Gosling Road noise

  15. Does anybody know anything about Store and/or restaurants planned to open up in Waterway square. I remember reading about a "wholefoods" style store in the main building but it all seems to be very quiet in the 1st floor of the main building.


    I have received some info that the deal is still possible. However, I also heard that a different type of natural food is planned for the square. I do not know what that is (yet).

  16. If Houston ever got around to doing that flood-canal thing we could have parks like that all over town.

    I agree. Houston has many fine resources that could be developed into something similar. maybe something could be done near downtown on Buffalo Bayou. However, creating the same type of place like San Antonio would be very difficult and cost a lot of money within the city proper. Wea are a wanna-be in the shadowes of San Antonio. We cannot hope to have the same tree ambiance as San Antonio. A number of their Bald Cypress trees are over 300 hundred years old! The Woodlands Waterway will become a major attraction over time. It already is well known with Channel 11 broadcasting from there every week. More hotels and restaurants will be built. Unfortunately, the eastern side of the lake was not included in the design of the waterway, thereby limiting the possibilities. I had envisioned a circular waterway like San Antonio, instead of a linear one. IN that respect, Houston has the same possibilities on one of the major waterways. Managing the flood conditions will be another very difficult story. How many times has Braes Bayou overfilled? Buffalo Bayou? I am unsure it is possible in the low-lying concrete jungle of Houston.

    I have some photos also, in my blog. I recently started a new section for commercial and architecture interests.

    An evening out on the waterway

    The Woodlands Waterway Square Flickering Fountains

  17. woody, will you post your findings when you get the chance? it will be interesting. also, if you'd like to measure near woodlands parkway & grogan's mill...........?

    What good timing. Turns out I need data now, so I took my first measurements today. I have to make the measurements on Gosling first. I will go wherever you want me to measure second. The technique has to be ironed out, but I am positioned to do a better job tomorrow. I got some noise from the wind today that interfered with the data collection. Still, I got some valuable info and a great start on the data. I will scout that section of road in the next day or so. You want Pkwy measurements or Grogan's Mill measurements? They will have different characteristics although I discovered today that the two surfaces where I measured did not change the readings hardly at all. The variances seem to be a function of tires more than anything. We shall see.

  18. you let your kids on the woodland parkway?


    Yep they are teenagers. We lost way too many of them earlier - to unenforced speeding. It was super serious! It was said there were more teenagers in the local cemetary than adults. It was the number one issue in this community a few short years ago.

  19. I wish they'd consider a flyover at Rayford/Sawdust. The problem is it's so darn crowded in there. 45 could also use two or three more lanes...before things really get out of hand. Montgomery County is over 400,000 people now. That's a 40% jump since the 2000 census. We're to be over 1 million by 2020. I'm also for them removing the lights on Woodlands Pkwy...at least through Shadow Bend. I'm not sure how that could be done, but it sure would help out the traffic. Last but not least...COMMUTER RAIL. I'm all for it. What a great asset to The Woodlands and everybody in Montgomery County. Is that even an option? I know The Woodlands has rejected Metro service several times in the past. With that said, would Metro even consider a nothern line up this way?

    Good points! To my knowledge it has not been discussed. The cost of these ventures is very high. I do believe new thinking is required. I have requested a meeting with Ed Chance but not yet received a reply. These are the subjects I plan to explore with him. We do not want higher speed on Woodlands Pkwy. It is very clear that the reason we hired a additional policing force was for the safety of our children and residents. The traffic lights should be able to be effectively timed if law enforcement will cooperate end enforce the law FOR traffic mobility instead of making it a technical objective. Safety is the goal but it needs to be expanded to mobility, not including higher speed but the actual speed limit. That means ticketing thode who speed to the next light and hosing up the signals, causing traffic to stop. I am for traffic movement as a unit, not for each individual car being moved as fast as possible. We also live here on either side of each major vehicle conduit and do not want the noise. It is already rediculous and by putting the noise at a higher elevation only spreads it our further, affecting more homes. I also believe we can improve the traffic flow through education. There are many folks here who seem to have no what they are doing. They are calling it driving, but many do it without a brain. Driving is not a machancial skill. It is a mental skill that controls the mechanics. No cell phone, No music plugged into the ears, not an automatic process. It requires proper attention to the road. Somewhere in the past generation, this has been lost.

  20. road surface noise reduction

    i found this commentary on the subject. i read a japanese study on this issue as well. it seems that the maximum benefit is 2-8 db and road noise can be 40-47 db. i'm not sure how to put that in real terms. my home is about 125 feet from woodlands parkway. if i knew there would be a 20% decrease in noise, i'd be all for it. i'm not sure if a 5% decrease would be worth the expense.

    do you have other information on the subject?

    Yeah, I have quite a bit but not enough to brag on. The DB scale is logrithmic. A 6 DB reduction is 1/2 the volume. I suspect some of the road noise can be way up there. I have a noise meter that I am preparing to use to benchmark current noise levels. I hope to get out this week to make some measurements. I will measure min and max and average. I don't think my meter measures the median, which is the best measure. That would require a much more sophisticated meter.

  21. Has anyone ever heard of an oil company sending their geoscientists back to school to earn a phd (at UT-Austin or Tex A&M for example) in order to move into the research and development side of the company?

    Chevron moved away from doing research years ago. The researchers generally manage research in universities and contracting companies rather than actually do it. The strategy is to leverage research under the practical guidance of those who actually need it, rather than the other way around.

    It is difficult getting into oil companies these days. Teams hire rather than companies, except in recruiting efforts where the teams are encouraged to take on inewxperienced people from the universities. Those tend to get in the door through summer programs and they come from special schools, sponsored by folks who went to school at those special schools, e.g., Colorado School of Mines. The best ways of finding work in those companies are through networking and contracting, already covered in this thread.

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