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august948 last won the day on May 2 2013

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  1. I'll have to try that. Been a fan of lola savannah texas pecan for a while now. Is this picture from central market?
  2. Better anyway to not ride the roads right at sunrise and sunset due to the sun being in drivers eyes, making you harder to spot.
  3. On the western side of your ride, did you cross I10 on the pedestrian bridge off of Cohn St.?
  4. Specialized is a solid brand. I've been riding a Specialized Roll for the past couple of years. Got it for around $700 at Bike Barn with rack and kickstand added (yeah...you have to pay extra for that) plus had them put in puncture resistant tubes. After that I've customized it a little further for urban riding. The Roll is more of an upright comfort bike so it depends on what you like. That sounds like me, except i stop for beer.
  5. That's quite a ride. How long did it take you?
  6. Agree on the dedicated ROW. I've long thought that all the highways around town should be configured like the Katy fwy in that you have two-way dedicated HOV/HOT lanes down the middle. Having that set up in such a way that you can use HOV all the way, traversing multiple freeways, without having to drop back to the mainlanes would allow us to use P&R type service between major destinations all day, in both directions. Then from stations along the HOV/freeways you could have connectivity to buses, lrt, and brt to bridge the final mile. By using P&R buses combined with a thorough HOV network you can easily extend transit reach out into the exurbs.
  7. I have to assume your vision here is most single family homes being replaced by mid or high rise residential inside the loop. Fair enough. Looking at a current service map, most major roads have transit service of some sort. The ones that don't are perhaps more industrial areas where there's a lower density of residents. The nice thing about bus service is that all you need are the buses and some signage and you've got a bus line. Easy to do. What other forms of transit are we talking about here? Do we need light rail on every major road? BRT on every major road? Bus service on minor residential streets? I'm not sure what more would be needed to support greater density inside the loop. And, as I noted, as things develop it's easy to add bus routes to support new high-rises. I don't think transit, or lack thereof, is a major factor holding back the building of residential buildings inside the loop. Those seem to be going up right and left anyway, even outside the loop (and outside the beltway at least in Westchase and the Energy Corridor). There's the economics of it (do I spend $300,000 to get a 4 bedroom condo or do I spend $300,000 to get a 4000sqft house on a big lot with good (or at least new) schools. Believe it or not there are a lot of people that will go for option 2. The loop has plenty of transit options. We need to figure out how to get people in and out of the city. To the degree we can do that, we will alleviate congestion inside the city.
  8. Companies have been moving away. It may not be directly because of the commute, but indirectly NYC and SF have made the cost of living higher by land use regulations. That has driven some business outward, either to more suburban or exurban locations or away entirely. Part of that is natural, the city core will always be more expensive and those two cities in particular have some geographic constraints. But part of that is a long series of governmental decisions that have pushed the costs even higher than they would naturally be. We don't have to go that route. My point here is that if we don't get on a real, useful, regional transit system, we will get bigger freeways by default. A big part of that is getting the surrounding communities (I'd favor doing it by county rather than by city) to buy into this and come on board with financing.
  9. That's just south of Bellaire along the feeder for Beltway 8 north. If you could pan that rendering left, you'd see the First American National Bank building, which is about 12 or 14 floors. So, yes, this area may become the "downtown" of Chinatown.
  10. And the alternative is...to let the freeways degrade, or better yet rip them up so the population either has to move away from the Houston metro area or all move inside the loop? In the first case the city decays from lack of economic activity in the second case cost of living goes through the roof. All of that is purely hypothetical, of course, because highway building is largely under the control of txdot and various regional toll authorties. So, if you don't proactively address transit for the denizens of the hinterlands you'll just end up with more traffic on on more of those giant rivers of concrete that take up perhaps .00001% of the land in the city. Or we could just move the business centers out of the city (a la Exxon) if we're determined to make it difficult to live and work in the city. I'm sure that will help densify the core.
  11. My commute of late has involved the HOV on 59 north and south. Though it slows down at times, I haven't found it to be much of a problem congestion-wise. My biggest peeve with HOV drivers is that some see the slowdown in the mainlanes and hit the breaks even though there's no reason to in the HOV. I think that contributes to some of the problem at least on the segment I drive.
  12. Yes, I recall that too. There's a lot that has to be re-engineered here. But if you don't re-engineer it, the default solution is expanding the highways. Maybe the solution is to get the counties surrounding Harris to join Metro and contribute that way. Could be we need changed laws and regulations in Austin (yet another hurdle).
  13. There would need to be an expansion of the board representation to include the outlying communities (or counties perhaps) and a tax commitment on their part. The current Metro board and area was set up in the '70's when these outlying communities weren't an issue. Metro needs to expand to include more of the metro Houston area or become a subordinate part of a larger organization that coordinates metro-wide transit. As for the vending machines, that should be a no-brainer for Metro. They don't even have to own or service the vending machines. There are plenty of private companies that do that. All they need to do is provide a few square feet and an electric outlet.
  14. A very good point. If we're going to tackle this problem effectively we've got to deal with the last mile problem for someone who lives off the Grand Parkway.
  15. That's an interesting idea, encouraging a switch from cars to motorcycles. I don't know how successful you would be getting suburban commuters to switch in our climate, though. As for density, that's already happening naturally. You are certainly right about fixed guideway transit attracting it. My wife and I were driving around midtown earlier this week looking for what remains of the chinatown that used to be there and the change is very noticeable. As a property owner in the city, I'm not terribly excited about higher property vales pushing up my taxes, but another consequence of that is declining affordability in the core of the city. That's just going to encourage more development outside the city where property values are less. Thus leading to more commuters. My point here is that if we can't find a way to include the broader metro area in some sort of well put together system that suburban commuters are actually going to use instead of the freeways then you are going to get more and larger freeways pushing traffic into the city where it then becomes constricted and congested. Or, if it gets bad enough, businesses will relocate to the outer areas (a la Exxon) diminishing the city's tax base and slowing the drive towards density. I think the comparison was the inner loop as a small city vs places like Tulsa and Baton Rouge. How does the inner loop transit system compare to the systems in those cities? I'd bet it's world class in comparison. My broader point is that too much emphasis is made on inner loop transit when the greater need is outside the loop.
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