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Everything posted by ToryGattis

  1. "Smart Growth" is essentially a pseudo-religion, complete with dogma, and Portland is their mecca. It is really that simple.
  2. Long ago, this was how Continental competed with Southwest for customers in the southern part of the Houston metro, especially the NASA business. I think they ran a shuttle plane from Ellington to IAH too? Don't remember the one from Hobby, but I'm not surprised. Back when fuel was cheap and they had commuter prop planes that weren't being fully utilized, it was pretty marginal cost to send them as ferries down to the southern airports trying to pull in customers that might otherwise just hop on Southwest.
  3. Just posted my thoughts on today's announcement on my blog here: http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2013/06/county-moving-forward-with-my-2003.html
  4. This is one of my hot buttons. The federal government is only supposed to be involved in *interstate* commerce, as specified by the Constitution, i.e. things like interstate highways, ports, airports, and long-distance freight rail. Things that individual states wouldn't necessarily do themselves, because the benefits cross multiple states. The feds have no purpose getting involved in *local* mass transit - those should be local decisions, locally funded, with local benefits. Too many boondoggle mass transit projects get built because of the availability of "free" federal money, when localities would never build the same things themselves with their own money, because the benefits simply don't justify the costs.
  5. Technically, they are annexing Memorial Park into the existing Uptown TIRZ.
  6. Thanks, livincinco. This is helpful. I knew most of the growth was in the suburbs, but had no idea it was that lopsided (less than 2% inside the loop!). It's also kind of amazing how cleanly it works out (approximately): 1/2 mil inside the loop, 1.5 mil to bw8, 2 mil outside bw8 but in the county, and 2m outside the county but in the MSA.
  7. I second asubrt: there are plenty of airports that call themselves international because they have a flight or two to Canada or Mexico. Intercontinental is a step above - flights crossing the big oceans. I've even thought we should consider renaming it to "Intergalactic" as an homage to NASA... ;-)
  8. Fair points, but what really matters is gas as a percentage of their income. They may spend a lot less but it's coming out of $5k/year income instead of something like $40k/year in America - so it could be a higher percentage of income for them and therefore are more impacted.
  9. That did raise another good point: with one of the highest GDP per-capita's in the world, if/when oil prices do spike up, other countries will be more sensitive to it and reduce their demand more and faster than the U.S. In other words, if only the wealthy of the world can afford oil, that's us.
  10. August948 has already said it, but it bears repeating: the personal vehicle is never going away. It may certainly switch off the internal combustion engine, but it'll just run on some alternative energy. Maybe natural gas. Maybe batteries charged overnight at home. Maybe tiny econobox hybrids getting 100+ mpg (see Europe, Japan). We're too wealthy of a society to go back, and we're only getting wealthier. As is every other country on the planet (well, except North Korea), and they all start buying cars at about the same GDP/capita (so much for the conspiracy theory).
  11. Don't know how I missed this thread, but I'm subscribed now. My Sunday Chronicle op-ed this week on the Astrodome: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Gattis-Astrodome-should-showcase-area-s-4432364.php
  12. I really don't understand the point of this article. Surface parking is a great use for a downtown lot until there is enough demand to build a tower on it. Are they trying to shame developers into building before there is demand? (good luck with that) Or have local govt pressure landowners to put something else on the lot, which is most likely to be low-rise commercial - or, worse, a parking garage - that will make it even harder and more expensive to redevelop the lot down the line when the demand is there for a tower? What's the objective here?
  13. Isn't that pretty much the exact story of what happened with Fiesta, Texas in San Antonio?
  14. Does anybody have the data (and sources) for the Houston MSA's population growth over the last couple of decades broken down inside the loop, loop to BW8, and outside BW8? If not that exact breakdown, then I'm looking for something showing growth in the core vs. the suburbs, by whatever division you happen to have. If available, forecasts forward would be great too... (thanks in advance!)
  15. For a basic web site, Wordpress.com. For more control (like adding community features) very cheap Bluehost with WordPress. It's simply amazing what you can do with WordPress plus some of its plug-ins with almost no technical knowledge. Bluehost will walk you through everything. Bonus: WordPress was created by and is run by a native Houstonian.
  16. Landlord response: http://blog.chron.com/primeproperty/2013/03/weingarten-responds-to-marfreless-move-out/
  17. This might be a good thread to discuss the pros and cons of Houston annexing all or part of northwest Harris County to become the 3rd or even 2nd largest city in America...
  18. I'm not a developer and I've never been to Midland, but I would speculate that if you build a new fancy signature tall building in such a city filled with status conscious new oil money (and a bit of old oil money too), it would become *the* address to have in a town filled with 30+ year-old low to mid-rises. Build it big enough to saturate the market and you can lock out all the competition. I think the retail equivalent would be The Galleria - there can be only one.
  19. On the flip side, I imagine they have the inside track on OU and OSU's graduates every year. They probably can offer a little less because the graduates would prefer to stay local.
  20. Everybody knows I'm the world's biggest fan of Houston, but I also recognize that there is a "sweet spot" in metro sizes from 1 to 3 million that is very popular - cities like Austin, San Antonio, Nashville, Charlotte, Portland, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, Denver, Vegas, and, of course, OKC (I'd even throw Ft. Worth in there even if it is part of the DFW metroplex). Those cities are big enough to have most of the amenities people want, but small enough to not have the problems really big cities have, like traffic congestion. In most of those cities, you can live relatively close to the core in a nice affordable house in a good school district. These places also can have a more stable workforce that isn't leaping from company to company because there simply aren't as many job hopping options in town. I still think most energy companies are better off being part of the Houston cluster, but I do understand the appeal.
  21. The Mayor mentioned that it hadn't been quite managed right over the last few decades, and not only had invasive species, but also had way too many trees planted at the same time and the same age, so they were all vulnerable simultaneously. Evidently they have a much smarter management plan in place now and it should do much better over the next few years.
  22. I generally don't have a lot of sympathy for NIMBYs, but I've been near the elevateds in Chicago, and it would have wrecked the neighborhood - not to mention the high costs of elevation plus ADA compliance on the stations. Richmond is a fair alternate routing which is better at catching UST and Greenway Plaza. Certainly it hits more than the original Westpark RoW proposal. The 59 feeder also runs parallel to it and can handle any displaced traffic from the lost lanes on Richmond. Alabama is 3 lanes, Richmond is 6. Where it gets tight is when Richmond becomes Wheeler in Midtown. I think METRO may be planning on taking RoW there from along the edges. Edit: I stand corrected. Looking at the Google satellite image, it looks like Richmond may be more like 4 or 5 plus a median, but that median makes all the difference.
  23. Most of Richmond is 6 lanes and a median, so I think it will be able to keep 2 lanes each direction for traffic. At least I certainly hope so.
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