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Everything posted by ToryGattis

  1. The name we've talked about is "National Museum of Technology and Innovation" - and it would have more of an engineering focus than pure science.
  2. Yes, but it doesn't make sense for Houston or most other U.S. Southern and Western cities.
  3. Anywhere the cities were substantial before WW2 and the rise of the automobile.
  4. Europe and older east coast cities are a special case based on history. I explain it at the 8 min mark in my TEDxHouston talk: http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2011/11/my-tedx-houston-talk-mostly-about.html
  5. There is a misconception that if the freeways weren't built, everybody would move into the core of the city. Not true. It just pushes the jobs out to areas where people want to live. It would actually encourage even more sprawl. People want to live in newer nicer areas with better schools and more affordable, newer, bigger homes. If they can do that and still commute to jobs in the city, they will. If they can't, then those jobs will move out to them. If you want to see job growth explode in The Woodlands, Katy, and Sugar Land, just constrain the freeways to core of Houston.
  6. Yeah, I'm looking for fast and automatic. I don't mind $5-8, but $13 seems absurd. I came across this map of gas prices, but it doesn't indicate car washes. It is interesting to skim. You can see how high the premiums are in certain nicer parts of town or at major intersections, but if you drive just a bit outside that you can save quite a bit, especially on premium. http://www.myfoxhouston.com/link/559838/gas-price-tracker I think I'm going to check out the gas stations with car washes at Kirby and Weslayan along 59. Too bad there's no competition in Midtown.
  7. Thanks. That looks like a nice hand car wash without gas. I'm looking for a gas station with an automated car wash - no hand wash or interior work needed.
  8. Yep, same one. Their gas prices have always been a little higher, but not this much. They haven't dropped down to $3 as others have, and the car wash got upped to $13. Yes, they do the $.25/gal a discount if you buy the wash, but it still comes out much more than other stations. It's not that big a deal in the bigger scheme of things, but nobody likes to feel like they're being ripped off, including me.
  9. I live in Midtown and normally use the Citgo along Brazos, but noticed today that not only is their gas $0.80+/gallon more than other gas stations (!), their basic exterior car wash is absurdly priced at $13. Any recommendations for a good gas station + car wash with reasonable prices? (I know plenty of places with cheaper gas, but they don't have a car wash) Ideally convenient to Midtown, but I get around quite a bit inside the loop so I'm flexible. Suggestions appreciated.
  10. I'm not sure of the details, but my understanding is that there is some sort of renewal process. An HOA is ideal to drive it, but not required. There is also a new process where neighborhood blocks can apply to the city for protections.
  11. Deed restrictions can be renewed if the neighborhood wants to keep them Legal contracts don't require trust, although it certainly helps. In this case, neighborhood is the right size unit.
  12. Actually, they have a choice to live in a deed restricted community inside the City of Houston, and there are many of these communities affordable to the middle class. In addition, new ordinances allow neighborhoods as small as a single block face to agree on new restrictions. The best thing about deed restrictions (inc. in MPCs) is that they allow totally local neighborhood control, as opposed to a remote city-level zoning board controlled by insiders, the city council, and (often) corruption.
  13. It's not about IAH-ANZ passengers, it's about the connections between two Star Alliance hubs. ANZ connects all over the South Pacific, and IAH connects all over the US, Canada, and Latin America. IAH has many more connections than UA can offer through LAX or SFO.
  14. Love it. The benefits are strong: http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2008/11/houstons-great-competitive-advantage.html including reducing housing costs to make us the highest standard of living city in the country and probably the world: http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2012/07/does-houston-have-highest-standard-of.html Check out who's at the top of this graph, *by far*: http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2013/02/houston-dominates-americas-growth.html
  15. Here's some more on the article: http://ideas.time.com/2013/10/17/10-reasons-texas-is-our-future/
  16. Well, unless the union feels like shutting it down that day... BART Workers Strike, Threatening San Francisco Commute - 5 hours ago The strike by employees of the Bay Area’s main commuter railroad will force hundreds of thousands of people to scramble to find alternate transportation.
  17. I don't think people truly appreciate how much self-driving vehicles will change things 10 and 20 years from now. Not only will the capacity of the freeways vastly increase (automatic vehicles can travel much closer together and at higher speeds), but imagine this: waves of automated small shuttle buses and taxis wandering the city all the time. You tell your smartphone where you want to go, and the network automatically sends the right shuttle your way to pick you up and take you nearly directly to your destination, with the potential for a few stops along the way to disembark other passengers. Now imagine the capacity of the freeways if they not only have more vehicles much closer together at higher speeds, but they're also carrying multiple passengers each. And congestion price them to keep them free-flowing. Rail can't compete with that, either on a travel time or overall cost basis. That's 21st century transportation technology...
  18. If it were only $10m to $90m a mile, it would be very cost competitive with light rail, which is running as much or more than that here (oh, and there is no profit in any sort of rail transit - just massive tax subsidies). I've heard capacity is a problem with monorail, and that the elevated ADA-compliant stations add *a lot* to the cost (full elevators required). But I do like the route.
  19. Nice, but you can't beat the view over the 610 Ship Channel bridge...
  20. Good point. I did just read a Chronicle article about rapidly rising flood insurance rates because the Feds are revamping the program (needs to happen - taxpayers have been subsidizing flood insurance for too long). Combined with new, more accurate flood maps, and people are getting a financial whack all along the coast. It will probably reduce home values. And certainly be a disincentive to new construction.
  21. All of this sounds pretty much right to me. The urban area doesn't have to expand that much to get us from 6m to 10m. But what about southeast/Clear Lake? NASA has been a declining force, but waterfront is waterfront...
  22. I was a kid out in northwest Houston, and somehow the whole family ended up awake and in my 2nd floor bedroom in the middle of the night when we heard crazy loud winds and lawn furniture hitting the house. We weren't very smart about getting into a more secure lower floor space. The next morning we could clearly see where a tornado had touched down in the gas pipeline right-of-way behind the house, not more than 50 yards from our house. It had bounced around and destroyed a doughnut shop nearby. But we only lost a single roof shingle. Very, very lucky...
  23. My thoughts on this at my blog: http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2005/03/sprawl-in-perspective.html
  24. Whenever this point comes up, I always like to point out that the road network is not optional. Every property must be connected to the road network, if only for deliveries, construction, police, ambulance, and fire access. Only in SimCity can you connect the world with only transit. Therefore paying a substantial portion of the road network out of property taxes is completely fair, because all property owners benefit from being connected to that road network, even if they don't drive themselves.
  25. The question was "why is Portland considered a model city". The simple answer is that they are the mecca for Smart Growth. I have my issues with smart growth, especially pointing out the downsides of what they consider utopia (mainly the high costs and government dictation of peoples' lives). But if it's what the people of Portland choose to do, so be it. I agree about a diversity of city types. And I like that Houston is trying to offer many different neighborhood types within a larger metro, including dense urban neighborhoods and aesthetically controlled ones (like the small cities and The Woodlands). I'm not a fan that Portland tries to dictate only one neighborhood model, but again, if that's how they democratically choose to do it, so be it.
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