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Everything posted by ToryGattis

  1. I don't know the answer to your second question, but Richmond is 5 or 6 lanes plus a median along the portions with the University line.
  2. I think it was simply a lack of right-of-way issue. At least one lane has to be kept each direction for access, and I think the rail needs the equivalent of 3 lanes in the middle (space for the stations). Look at the Main St. LRT. I believe that was a 5 lane road previously. Lower Westheimer is barely 4 lanes, and narrow ones at that. Some of the curves of lower Westheimer may also be problematic.
  3. The severe drought of 2011 was a major cause damage to roads over the entire metro as our clay soil dried up and shrank, creating potholes and heaving up asphalt all over. It will take a decade or two of maintenance to get them back in shape. We did pass the new water fee for drainage projects, which also goes to streets. More at http://www.rebuildhouston.org/ and http://www.haaonline.org/Display.aspx?id=1100
  4. Wouldn't three lanes combined with frequent METRO bus service cause pretty substantial backups? Or would the cars pass in the middle lane?
  5. This is why cost of living indexes are better than income percentages: they create a standardized middle class lifestyle and then see what it costs in each city. It equalizes the comparison and makes it apples to apples.
  6. Thanks for saving me from having to make those points, guys. Appreciated. Count me in on the LA skepticism too. And obviously having everybody near business districts is not exactly helping their traffic. On that housing + transportation stat: next they're going to notice Houstonians take their extra discretionary income to eat out more than any other major city (according to Zagat), so we spend a higher proportion of income on food, so that means Houston is an expensive city keep yourself fed. Jeesh. Everybody see the flaw in that logic?
  7. Here's the link to the City of Houston 2011 pavement assessment map: http://www.rebuildhouston.org/images/pdf/street_assessment_map.pdf I have to agree that Westheimer between Shepherd and Bagby needs to be near the very top of the list...
  8. Yeah, the 2011 drought did a number on the city's roads. The shrinking clay ground heaved up asphalt everywhere. It'll take a decade+ for the city to recover, if not longer...
  9. I'm logically disputing the implied implication that the stat indicates that Houston is not an affordable city. I'll also point out that it ignores taxes that go to transit, which should certainly factor into the transportation costs and would make a big difference in more transit-focused cities. The farebox is nowhere close to your actual cost of that transit ride. Thanks for linking to my post, which does, ironically, contain a graph of facts disputing it, based on real government data.
  10. Not a fan of that stat. When people save on housing, they splurge on their cars. That's a personal choice and it doesn't mean Houston is expensive to get around. Anybody is more than welcome to keep their transportation costs low by driving a used Toyota Prius or Honda Civic, just as they can in any other city.
  11. Nice precedent for us! Gets us pretty much out of hurricane season too.
  12. Sigh. There are plenty of apartments near every business center in Houston. If people want to live next to their job, they certainly have that option. How would it help to use tax dollars to incent more apartment construction in these areas?
  13. I read a *lot* of stuff, but unfortunately my brain doesn't maintain a bibliography... ;-) I think the only summer exception they made was Sydney because it is in the southern hemisphere where the seasons are reversed, so they got to have it in the last half of September. If they pre-agree to an October date before we invest millions in a bid, then by all means, let's give it serious consideration.
  14. I think there is a caveat that the hotel rooms be of a certain star rating or higher (either 3 or 4, not sure). I think in our last bid there was a plan for docking multiple cruise ships here. I would agree we might think about considering it if they would allow an October Olympics but I have heard that they will not. For some reason they insist on July or August. Yes, the majority of the events are indoors, but most attendees are walking around outside between venues during the day. Even natives don't enjoy our summers - do we really want the whole world and its journalists here complaining notstop about the heat, humidity, and afternoon thunderstorms? What's our upside? Then there's the risk of peak hurricane season...
  15. I have to agree. I don't see an Olympic bid. The lack of hotel rooms, the summer heat and humidity, and the incredibly high costs are just a few of the reasons...
  16. I imagine the dates simply didn't line up, but there also might be an issue of adequate hotels rooms in the city to handle both at the same time.
  17. Very interesting presentation. Thanks for passing along. Still a big stretch, even looping in OKC. Relying on shallow draft cruise ships to come up the river? Really? Native American theme is an interesting angle. I think they over-rely on the Atlanta benchmark though, which is problematic in that the Olympics have moved far beyond the level of 1996 Atlanta (see Beijing and London), and also because everything I've read says that they were disappointed with the Olympic experience in Atlanta. Clearing the Atlanta hurdle is no longer sufficient. Geographic and cultural/racial fairness seems to be a big driver for the IOC, which explains why everybody says South Africa is a lock in the next couple of decades. I could see Dubai making the same argument for the Middle East. If North America is due for a rotation, I see San Francisco and Toronto being the leading contenders, and they both set a seriously high bar.
  18. I agree. Makes you wonder. I guess they're assuming some serious construction over the next decade? Maybe that some local college campuses would make a major investment in dorm space that could be used?
  19. Realistically, south and east downtown is where you can build residential towers with good views, and that's unlikely in west downtown surrounded by office skyscrapers, so the residential developers will target the east and south edges of downtown.
  20. Here's the Chronicle story. Chicago has announced that it wisely is not getting sucked in again. They invited 35 cities to bid! Including Rochester, Tulsa, and Columbus. Really? "It's down to Tulsa vs. Paris at the IOC... decision any moment... Tulsa wins!!!"
  21. CultureMap has the story now too. Claims that construction starts in May...
  22. While I think we could pull it off logistically (if Atlanta could, we certainly can), I think it's a bad idea unless they let us do it in the spring or the fall. Otherwise we'll just have thousands of journalists from all over the world writing how miserable our summers are. I have a hard time inflicting that on the athletes, too. If the U.S. puts forth a bid city, it will be one of the big 5: LA, SF, Chicago, NYC, or DC. And I'd say SF and NYC are the top contenders. In addition, a *lot* of local money will be required, and there is a serious opportunity cost for that. That money could go into all sorts of local projects with much better long-term value.
  23. I've thought for a long time a partial solution to taking pressure off the West Loop might be turning Voss/Hillcroft from Westpark/59 to I10 into a grade-separated road like Allen Parkway or Memorial (underpasses at the major intersections). I think the RoW might be there for a tight 4 lanes. Hunters Creek Village would probably never approve, so it would probably take TXDoT to force it through. More politically feasible would be elevating 3-4 express lanes down the median of the West Loop.
  24. Would love to see links to national coverage of the city if anybody can turn them up.
  25. Totally free market. A private organization coordinating its marketing activities. Non-free-market would be government telling them what to do.
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