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Angostura last won the day on July 7 2010

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  1. This is true in most of the world. The common practice in the US, where a single owner owns an entire large (200+ units) multifamily project is very uncommon in other parts of the world.
  2. There ARE people who love cars in and of themselves. But my personal experience, and that of most of the people I've talked to that live in a place where not having a car is a feasible lifestyle, is that you don't really miss it. First off, any city in which living without a car is feasible is probably dense enough that getting around in a car is kind of a pain, at least during certain times a day, and being able to park near where you're going is neither easy nor cheap (let alone free). Second, it's nice to have the extra money in your bank account rather than sunk into a depreciating asset. You never have to worry about whether to have that extra glass of wine at dinner. You'll never get a speeding ticket, and when you ARE in a car (uber/taxi/etc.) you can use your phone to your heart's content. And while having a car can sometimes save you some time getting places, you never have to spend time pumping gas, washing/cleaning the car, changing oil, getting an annual inspection, etc. Spending more time on the other side of the windshield also gives you an acute sense of just how much urban space we've given over to automobiles, even in relatively walkable cities. I would expect cities to gradually give over street space to non-automobile uses (bikes, scooters, walking) as we'll need to be able to move more people in less space than can be accomplished with cars.
  3. I would trade a 6- or 8-story height cap outside the CBD for zero parking minimums citywide.
  4. Don't need 'em. I'd rather we get buildings that look good from the sidewalk, rather than from a helicopter, freeway or rendering. You can actually get tons of density at mid-rise heights as long as you don't surround the buildings with surface parking or green space that no one ever sets foot in. They've also managed to keep the internal rights-of-way reasonably narrow. Cities like Paris and Barcelona achieve really high densities with essentially nothing over 8 stories.
  5. This is the big problem with all the development in the area. You're basically trying to build urban density on a suburban chassis. You have a bunch of very large tracts, not connected to each other or to a surrounding street grid. When you do high-intensity infill on this pattern, you get all the density of an urban center, but none of the mode shift. Which is to say, people still drive to and between (and frequently within) these developments. Density is a necessary but not sufficient condition for walkability. Density without urbanism is basically just vertical sprawl. I'm a lot more optimistic about high-density infill in places with a connected street grid (Heights, Midtown, EaDo, etc.). Since we don't do use-segregation in Houston, developers can locate retail, commercial and residential in close proximity, and since no tract is bigger than a city block, people can flow between them without cars. In this area, though, the only real solution is to nuke everything between I-10 and the RR tracks from Yale to Sawyer and replat with a proper street grid. (BTW, East River is an example of how to do this right: break up a large tract into smaller blocks, preferably with narrow rights of way between them, develop those blocks with a mix of uses within and between them, and integrate the whole thing with the surrounding grid.)
  6. When you're not used to seeing pedestrians and cyclists, it's easy to forget they exist. A lot of people are used to making right turns by only looking left waiting for vehicle traffic to clear, and moving before looking right (for pedestrians in the cross walk). Usually this works out fine, since pedestrians are uncommon in most places in Houston. As certain areas increase density with more and more infill development, and the cycling and pedestrian infrastructure improves, one hopes drivers will get used to sharing the space.
  7. Presumably the surface lots will go away first, since it's easier to replace nothing with something than to replace something with something else.
  8. Powerpoint and updated info at the original link: http://houstonbikeplan.org/implementation/infrastructure/11th-street/
  9. This is the large double-block bounded by Nicholson, Rutland, 25th and 26th, as well as the block bounded by Ashland, Rutland, 24th and 25th. In the last week or so, a trailer has been deposited on this land, on the 26th St side, right across from Ashland St, and the big for sale sign has come down. Any news on what might be happening here? There's currently a LOT of residential construction going on within 3-4 blocks of this site.
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