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Everything posted by GovernorAggie

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  2. Agreed. Debunked with less technology available even. What's funny is that sometimes our modern freeways lie underwater while the age-old Washburn sits dry, lol. Then there's the tunnel in Kuala Lumpur that serves as a tollway AND a flood relief culvert when necessary. http://www.smarttunnel.com.my/ Silly Malaysians. We smart Houstonians of 2011 could've told them that would never work and would be more trouble than it's worth. Oh wait... Count me in with the OP's view. While I've given up on elevating the rail lines as currently planned, I do believe that the new policy needs to be that no lines cross intersections over xx,000 car per day intersections, at a minimum. In fact, I would argue that the lines should be planned starting with the most optimal option (underground) and then back away from that in order to meet whatever Federal requirements exist.
  3. I wonder if there were tons of birds getting killed by the turbines...
  4. Now they're just showing off with Wells Fargo Solid bright white on Thursday, half green and half red last night, and all red tonight. I guess Mostyn Law Firm finally came through on WF's Ike insurance claim, lol.
  5. The crowning fins are finally lit! Very nice!!
  6. Maybe its sour grapes but I really am still surprised at the O-fer that the US has landed for the last two international bidding competitions. Struck out with the 2016 Olympics even though the bid was technically superior. Pulled out of the 2018 race because supposedly the chances were better for 2022 and still lost the 2022 to Qatar. I have nothing against Qatar (after all there are Aggies there at A&M's campus in Doha) but...it was just surprising. It makes me wonder if there's a bit of a point that these international bodies are making towards the US. If that is even remotely the case, I think that a decline of American corporate and media support for the next few international events could be a not-so-insignificant reminder that the US is still a valuable part of the sports world. Furthermore, I can understand wanting to "share" these events with other places around the world (India, Australia, Africa, South America, etc), but then that argument loses a bit of its steam to me since the US doesn't apply for every single bid. For example, there will likely be no bid for the 2020 Olympics, and I think that the US shouldn't bid on any other international competitions for a long while. The world is continuing to "catch up" as is said, but the US is still an important nation. Choosing not to participate and fawn over these unelected sports bodies might reinforce that message. On another note, since England and Australia also lost, can we expect an expose on the process from WikiLeaks? Or maybe not, since the US lost too.
  7. Interesting point on this one. Personally, I like the "super-street"/expressway portion of Memorial. In fact, I wouldn't get rid of it--I would refresh it. To me, Memorial is one of the city's most signature drives, and a (long overdue) repaving coupled with improved bridgework, a simplification of the Waugh interchange (similar to the Shepherd interchange), a replacement of the chain-link fence median with something like wrought iron and stone, decorative lighting, more landscaping of overpasses and retaining walls (a la the Living Bridge in the park), and fresh updated signage would do wonders for Memorial. I know some hate to use other places as references, but Memorial (and Allen for that matter) should be our versions of the great parkways in DC and New York. It just has a tired feel to it today. The 75th anniversary of Memorial's opening will be in 2031. Maybe something like this can be done by then??
  8. Agreed. Much like the 100% blank wall on the new Ballet Center and to a much lesser extent the Hess Tower parking garage. Both have smaller tracts remaining on their blocks for add'l development.
  9. While I tend to be on the optimistic side of things, the Houstonian in me says to give up that hope. Invest it in something else. The best transit options that we can hope for here for the next 50-100 years will be bus and *maybe* additional light rail. And we'll definitely pay Cadillac prices for a Yugo product.
  10. I love this city with a passion and would not actively seek to leave--particular for a long-term or permanent basis. However, if a huge opportunity came my way, I would consider leaving but would always plan to come back. I came to Houston by choice, and despite its warts, it's my city and I would gladly defend it to anyone. I should have the bumper sticker--"I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could."
  11. Part of the north facing fin/crown at the top of the building has been lit at night over the last week or so. Testing maybe?
  12. It would seem so. That crane is HUGE and Fannin is closed in from of the building.
  13. Wow! That looks great! I would think that this is a go, ARRA since stimulus money is behind it. https://www.fbo.gov/...b=core&_cview=1 It looks like $100-$120 Million worth of work!! Projected Completion is May 2014.
  14. True, the length is in and of itself not a problem at all, just a noted difference. The platforms are long enough to handle the cars in 2-car consists. Additionally, the longer car length has less of an impact on capacity than the reduction in number of seats and their placement. The CAF cars' seats are placed more alongside the walls of the car as opposed to the Siemens cars' placement facing forward and backward a la traditional trains. As far as the speed goes, that's also not a huge deal presently but it does there are long segments of the Uptown and University lines that could make good use of the higher speed. Keep in mind that these $3.5 million cars have a 25-year usable lifespan on them, thus if they appear on the streets in 2015, we're talking 2040 as a retirement year. While things look bad now financially, it's not unreasonable to think that the IAH, Hobby, and 90A extensions will be in place by 2030, let alone 2040, and these lines could be much more suburban (similar to Dallas). Thus for the sake of cost-effective system interoperability, I think that getting a vehicle that can realize higher speeds will prove to be prudent.
  15. I'll chime in on this one...the CAF cars are better in some ways because they hold slightly more people, is 100% low-floor and have 2 extra ingress/egress points. However, their top speed is 45 mph, compared to Siemens' 66 mph top speed. They also have much fewer seats inside than the Siemens car (even the trial versions now in use with bike/carriage spaces). It should also be noted that the CAF cars are quite a bit longer than Siemens' cars too. They are also NOT interchangeable at all with Siemens (as others have mentioned). http://www.caf.net/ingles/productos/proyecto.php?cod=4&id=630&sec=datos http://www.transportation.siemens.com/shared/data/pdf/sts_usa_internet/houston_s70.pdf That being said, this http://www.chron.com...an/7197426.html says that the saga is not over in CAF's mind. I expect that is indeed over though. They will likely sue METRO, which will increase the amount of taxpayer money spent on this deal, and due to the new procurement, the process will likely delay the project 2 more years. No matter what CAF says, I have a hard time believing that any damages that they sue METRO for will even sniff the $900 million that METRO would lose from FTA. Furthermore, CAF can huff and puff all they want, but they should keep in mind that Houston is not the only city with an LRT FTA project...essentially telling FTA that they got it wrong because of some previously held-but-not-shared information is not a good way to get them to sign of on any future deals. This is yet another chapter in the legacy of Frank Wilson, unfortunately. http://www.state.nj..../pdf/ezpass.pdf And like the mess in New Jersey, Houston is left holding the bag with a yet-to-be-fully-seen amount of damage.
  16. It looks like the this show will now be called "Lone Star" and will join the NBC show "Chase" as being set in Houston. I'm still amazed that two major network shows (with good early reviews) are being set in Houston...even if they are actually being filmed in Dallas/Fort Worth. Where's that Astrodome Studio when you need it? http://www.fox.com/lonestar/ http://www.nbc.com/chase/
  17. Thanks, Niche! However, I must admit in these economic topics, if I'm even remotely close to being on to something--it's purely accidental, lol. That being said, the points about most people being unimaginative and about people liking the idea of independent establishments vs. actually patronizing them (and settling on Chili's) are exactly what I was talking about. My guess is that the percentage of Houstonians who knew/cared about the Angelika closing when it was on the news tonight is +/- 10 percent. On the flip side, I'd be surprised if at least half of Houstonians watching the news weren't surprised/impressed of a news report saying that AMC was opening a 24 screen, IMAX-equipped theater with the company's first glasses-free 3-D screens in the heart of downtown. I think that the chances of an AMC generating more customers for Bonzai or Hunan or some other independent venue are greater than the Angelika ever could. Similarly, when the Lakehouse and Grove restaurants opened in Discovery Green, the buzz about them wasn't because they were the Lakehouse and Grove as much as it was because they were linked to the brains behind the known-Cafe Express chain. For Market Square, it was "A" Niko Nikos is opening. For HP, it was "A" McCormicks, "A" III Forks, "A" House of Blues, and "A" Lucky Strike that got people interested--much more interested than the yet-to-open Hank's Ice Cream (which will likely get more traffic if Marble Slab opens than if it were there alone). On the other hand, how many people were bummed out that HP got Books-A-Million instead of "A" Virgin Megastore or "A" Borders or even "A" Barnes and Noble? Chains aren't a bad thing. Preferably downtown gets Houston's first locations of other national chains--H&M comes to mind--which will excite people and create spinoff benefits to the lesser known but high-quality independent places. And hopefully other chains come in. I've long believed that a Five Guys and/or a Chick-Fil-A and/or a Jack-in-the-Box and/or a TGI Fridays and/or a Chili's and/or and Applebee's on street level would only be good for Macondo, Cielo, and Byrd's (to name a few). I also think that a Kohl's and/or Academy and/or CompUSA and/or and Apple Store (although I'm not an iPerson) would lift the boats of that Fishing/Hunting gear store near 2 Shell and Tipping Point. Mass appeal is what downtown needs in order to appeal to the tastes of the masses. In the long-term, I'd like to think that siphoning some of the increase in "the masses" will eventually pay greater dividends than focusing only on specialty markets. This has just been a layperson's mind at work. Brain dump over, lol.
  18. I must admit that there are times when I've been inclined to believe that downtown is pretty much all that it's going to be--and I love being a downtown resident. I think the West End Walmart discussion presents some bigger questions for downtown...in my opinion downtown is going to need as many "soulless," "corporate," "cookie cutter" chain establishments as it can get. I think it gives people a comfort level that can eventually lead to them branching out and trying local places like Hearsay or Byrd's or Table 7. In other words, I think downtown needs the cookie-cutter establishments to serve as magnets or gateways to the specialty ones. I'd happily welcome an AMC or Regal or Alamo Drafthouse in Bayou Place to replace Angelika--even if it means that it'll attract tons more annoying teens and skateboarders. In other words, the quicker downtown can gain mass appeal, the better.
  19. I agree with the convenience, and I only went to the Angelika for the first time a few months ago. It was eerie to me to see basically half of the lobby abandoned, and the bathrooms with the rusted urinal walls looked like it was better suited for Silent Hill. I don't know the condition of the Angelika Theaters in Dallas, but based on the website and the types of movies shown (read: popular and therefore broad traffic generators) I'm inclined to believe that they're in better shape than their only Houston location. I am curious as to why the lease was torn up, though. It looks like the owner told them to get out, but for what reason? Maybe they weren't making their lease payments on time or in full.
  20. This. Reading through this thread, it's clear to me that people ARE trying their best to veil at least some deep feeling against Walmart because it's Walmart. The more pro-active thing would have been to try to get an audience early on in hopes of getting design input. They've done it in other places, why should this location be different. Furthermore, HEB is plopping a store in an even more constrained location, but they seem to have bought everyone's happiness by working with the neighbrhood on potential designs. HEB's coffers is nowhere near that of Walmart's but it will build two of the company's most expensive stores per square foot (Buffalo Speedway and Dunlavy) in unzoned Houston on non-deed restricted plots of land. But the neighborhood around the HEB set the tone by not being as much against HEB as much as they had the attitude that "we heard you were coming, can you please at least build something that fits within this area." Then again, people don't mind HEB. The same approach should be taken with Walmart. I personally think that it will be a visual upgrade to what's already along the south side of the Katy Freeway in that area anyway. I also answered the poll--"I live within 3 miles of this location and WILL shop at this Walmart." Why? Because Target's items are limited on the things a like to buy--for example my preferred brand of Excedrin. And their prices on items that you can buy at 2 am are better than at CVS or Walgreen's or Kroger. And I liked Walmart's Chinese-made porcelain plates more than I liked Target's (however I did like Target's Chinese-made silverware more than I liked Walmart's).
  21. I wonder if the new Shepherd and Durham bridges will be done in the newer design style per the Green Ribbon project...
  22. It will be interesting to see if there will be any impact on parking prices in that part of DT. On a side note, I saw that lights were actually on in the garage portion.
  23. Is it just me or do these scenes look Silent Hill-ish?
  24. I haven't read through all the details yet but I did notice that they were trying to account for the market impacts of 600+ new rooms that were supposed to come online via the Sheraton Lincoln/Omni renovation that never happened, the Hampton Inn that never happened, and the Staybridge Suites that never happened.
  25. The crown's lights were on again tonight. Looks great!
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