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Posts posted by ToryGattis

  1. That makes sense but I believe there was also an outrage from highland village businesses that had some (or more than some) impact on the rerouting to Richmond. Richmond itself is just a 3 lane road for a decent portion, does that mean the land on the sides would have been seized for university line? Also, for the expansion, are all the streets that the rail is being expanded to previously 5 lane roads?


    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. That really makes no sense. At some level, METRO, or someone, should have the power to do what's best for the overall citizen base, not a few neighborhoods or businesses. All the people saying otherwise are hypocrites because the freeways were built with the same concept.


    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. Some of the roads in Houston are an absolute joke.  But I doubt that anyone would approve an increase in taxes to make them better.


    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 

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  4. I think on the housing and transportation stat, it's best to compare cost/sqft and gasoline prices and distances traveled.


    The size of house a person would choose to buy and where it is located are choices made for reasons that improve that individual's quality of life. 


    The cost of a BMW X5 is going to be the same in Houston as in LA (maybe not for used quite so much), it's the distance traveled and the price of gasoline that because our cost of housing is so low can be more variable.


    Being single with no kids (yes ladies, I'm available), I couldn't imagine sitting in hour long traffic going into work. If I had a kid though, I might use that hour to reflect (as I sit crawling in traffic) that my commute might suck, but at least my kid is going to school in a good district.


    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.

  5. 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?

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  6. Personally, I'd wish we'd spend some money fixing roads rather than building new ones. Greenbrier, Cullen, Woodway, Richmond, etc... are in such poor shape that it isn't uncommon for them to damage vehicles, especially tires. Memorizing potholes is my new hobby.


    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...


    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.

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  8. The report undercuts your cheerleading by showing that on average Houstonians spend more on transportation and housing thus eating up any potential cost of living savings 



    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.

  9. You seem to be basing your comments entirely on things you "have heard" or "think" might exist.  I thought you usually maintained higher standards.   Perhaps their rules (such as they are) have changed, but they have held the summer Olympics in October in the past.


    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.

  10. Lack of hotel rooms?  What are you talking about?  The Olympics say they require 45,000 rooms.  There are 54,000 rooms within the city limits of Houston, not including the rest of the metropolitan area.  With easily another 15-20,000 in the suburbs.


    Summer heat and humidity can be addressed by having the Olympics in late September/October.


    Incredibly high cost is a legitimate concern.


    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...

  11. I thought so. But if we cant handle the first weekend of the rodeo and the all star game at the same time, then can we seriously handle bigger events like the Olympics? I would have liked to at least try the Rodeo and All Star game at the same time, so we could apply lessons learned to an olympic bid...



    No Olympics. Sorry, but I am putting my foot down.


    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...

  12. Why start the Rodeo after the All Star game? Was it a blown opportunity not to host both at the same time? Why not have Lebron James be the grand marshal of the Rodeo Parade instead of the coach of the Aggies?


    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.

  13. Tulsa put together a bid for the 2020 games as well. They leaned pretty heavily on resources from OKC as well.



    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.

  14. You have to wonder about an organization that includes cities such as Rochester (15,000 rooms), Tulsa (13,000 rooms) and Columbus (25,000 rooms) on a list of potential hosts for an event, one of the basic requirements of which is 45,000 hotel rooms.  WTF?


    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?

  15. 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.

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  16. 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.

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