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Everything posted by zaphod

  1. Google Earth pro has aerial imagery for almost all of Harris County from 1953 and 1978. What I'm seeing is that from the 50's through the 70's, the KISD appendage would have been majority rural with some then-new middle class subdivisions. The poor areas in that part of the district seemed to have emerged later. In the 1953 imagery, Recreation Farms was an actual "buy a lot in the country" type of community, and not just a collection of large, deep lots full of trailers and shanties as evidenced by the ratio of normal looking houses to other structures. Is it possible that the district was trying to gerrymander its way towards some source of property tax revenue like oil wells or towards a large new subdivision?
  2. The big empty areas I am referring to: NE: The area around Generation Park and Lake Houston Pkwy E: Huffman. How much would it cost vs. other options to expand the Crosby Fwy instead SW: The Missouri City antenna fields along Fort Bend Tollway S: Manvel, which is closer to downtown than Katy. Once Pearland builds out it is next in like down 288. SE: Alvin, if TXDOT built an SH 35 Tollway This is more sprawl, but it's no worse than building pushing the suburban edge to touch Brookshire and Waller next. All of these things are less than 25 miles from Downtown, which is approximately the distance from Katy to the city center.
  3. The opposition has a bigger picture in mind. Expanding freeways induces sprawl outward in certain directions at the expense of others while leapfrogging areas of the city where there is a lot of vacant or underutilized land. Houston has a lot of room to grow to the northeast. It has big empty areas all over the place, including inside the Beltway. There are other highways that don't get a lot of traffic. There are other highways which could facilitate growth elsewhere, like a toll road to Alvin. Big picture, my friend. The Houston metro is growing. The Houston metro is a big place. Infinitely expanding the already overcrowded highways in the parts of the city that already sprawl out to the limits of what normal people are willing to commute is the highest cost lowest return option there is.
  4. Honestly, I would just tear the entire thing down and coordinate with the city to realign the streets by the bayou. Franklin could probably arc out a little bit, allowing restoration of the bayou's banks and make room for steps that go down to a waterfront patio or plaza. If the freeway reconstruction happens, most plans ive seen suggest that I-10 will shift north and the I-45 loop will be reduced in size, making the site more open and less constrained on its northern half. Then subdivide it into multiple blocks and gradually fill them in with conventional mixed use development. Over the long span of time it will just feel like an extension of downtown. IMO there's nothing special about that post office. Houston is full of buildings that look like that and they aren't endangered.
  5. Where were these people before they were homeless, or when they were not homeless or in shelters or institutions or jail? Did they live with relatives or friends? A dilapadated motel? Also where do we expect them to go if/when they become clean? Seattle doesn't have an equivalent to Aldine or Cloverleaf, so where are the kind of people living in those wrecked trailers clustered together in the woods living? Also giving them housing doesn't mean we give them full sized apartments. What about some kind of dorm with on-site security? I don't think institutionalization is necessarily the right answer because taking away a person's freedoms is not a casual matter. Think about what it takes to put someone in prison, and those are criminals who actually hurt someone. You want to give someone a life sentence behind bars just because they were a public nuisance? How would you enforce these rules and apply 'strikes' against a person leading to them being locked up? Sounds like something that could be abused or subject to bias. If we are going to put people in institutions then their liberties must only be restricted by the absolute minimum degree necessary, with frequent reviews where the restrictions would be lifted. Instead of imprisoning people in mental wards what about hybrid outpatient options where people aren't locked up?
  6. I don't know many details but I have an ancestor who was an oilfield foreman and stayed at a camp in that general area around that time period. Maybe it was West Columbia.
  7. Source? It's never clear cut. It's likely that being homelessness triggers or makes otherwise manageable mental disorders that many otherwise "normal" people suffer from worse. So why fight it then? It may be easier to get people off the street and into treatment if you stabilize their situation with a stable place to stay. Expecting people who are in a world of shit to turn into a model "deserving poor" person overnight is delusional. At best they aren't in public causing trouble. I wouldn't just assume charities are going to be present and have the right resources. There needs to be some public services that are assured to possess adequate capacity. And what are those solutions, then? Don't leave us hanging. Turner is the mayor of a city in the state of Texas. He does not have the power to change laws allowing mentally ill people to be committed to institutions. States and the Federal government is responsible for comprehensive mental health care services. What would a conservative or Republican mayor do about the problem? Abolish the harm reduction programs for ideological reasons despite evidence they work? Just pack the jails full of vagrants until there's no more room for criminals? Shuffle off the problem from visible areas where upper class people dwell and into neighborhoods where the problem is hidden(have you driven on Jensen? It's bum city). I don't understand the Turner hate. None of the people challenging him have ever given any rational policy statements. They just complain about how Turner is doing everything wrong. Ok, what would they do differently? There isn't enough "waste" in government to magically pay firefighters huge salaries and fix all the potholes. Everything would require cuts to other things, robbing peter to pay paul.
  8. Makes sense that a nice dark patina would form there. Better than some beige stucco that fades out. One thing I wonder about is the future of all these modern buildings with metal panels and bits that stick out. That stuff will rust in the corners over time and look bad.
  9. Statistics are better than Reddit comments. Anecdotes don't really describe reality well. Homelessness could be cut in half and then half again, but there would still be gathering spots and out of millions of people going about their daily life someone would still see one and rant about it online. IMO, the city should do as much as it can to reduce the issue. Nobody wants to feel like they are on the set of the Walking Dead which is how it is in the worst spots and in cities that have the problem worse than Houston. But no matter how hard we try there will always be a little grit, that is just life in the big city.
  10. Beyond the segments described as in the works, where do they think it will go from there? I can try to imagine a narrow right-of-way alignment straddling the railroad tracks similar to the Hardy Toll Road, but past the Beltway it would run into the old part of Pearland and there would be significant eminent domain required.
  11. If you have the Google Earth for PC(not the app or the web version) you can use the historic imagery slider to see how things looked going back to roughly 1978 for most of the area(some areas have imagery going back to 1953). It's a bit shocking how extensive and unbroken the forest along the San Jacinto river was up until the late 1990s. Now it is fragmented by sprawl. Houston in the 1980s and 1990s had a lot of empty space, now its all filled in.
  12. I figured at some point they'd get a big retail center like that. Brenham is bigger than it looks and probably has more spending power than most towns of its size.
  13. If anything the eastern fringe of the med center is the best area for this stuff. It's not really walkable, there are few businesses, most residential areas consist of gated apartment complexes, right? So even if there was problem with the people coming and going from this facility(as you say there probably won't be and people are scared of nothing) it won't effect anyone. The worst thing you can do is concentrate social services in areas like Midtown and the East End(the status quo) because those are such open and exposed public spaces where you want people to feel safe walking or using public transit. That's how you get Wheeler station.
  14. True that. It looks like a completely normal, clean, and safe motel that normal people who are traveling away from home might actually spend the night in. The other places in the area look sketchy, like hooker/drug hangouts.
  15. Will the public still be able to use the beach or are they taking away a beach to give to private interests? Is this a result of the demise of the open beaches act? What a shame, I can't believe they would approve something like this.
  16. Hopefully Buzbee and King will split the malcontented conservative vote. I worry if either of them won, a lot of public services would get cut back(like parks, sanitation, all the misc stuff like animal control) and quality of life would suffer. But hey regarding Prop B, we should just follow the example of such prosperous and amazing cities like Stockton, California, right? Fast forward 2 years. If Buzbee is Mayor halts the progressive momentum that has been building over the last few years, I will move. I work in IT, a field where everyone is a job hopper and if you are not growing professionally you will struggle so its easy to justify quitting every couple of years. Let us not forget that one of the best job markets in both the nation and the world for the past decade is only a 2 hour drive west on 290. Are you talking about Crompton Park across the railroad tracks? I think it serves a purpose. Apartment complexes in the area are full of international and married student families. Those complexes are not friendly to children, so a public playground was necessary. I was more disappointed in the council caving to NIMBY interests on "stealth dorms"(apparently tumbledown 2 bedroom wood siding rent houses are precious historic relics), killing dockless bike share(where were those people complaining about yellow bikes when there are Target and Kroger shopping buggies strewn all over Southwest Parkway), etc. Sometimes I still check out CS news. They never built a railroad crossing at Deacon, they are going to close and fill in the pool in Thomas Park despite all the neighborhood people who use it, and they keep approving trash development like townhomes behind Sam's in a floodplain. I guess all cities, big and small, from Houston to College Station, give their citizens some reason to complain
  17. I'm glad that a building like that could be saved and reused. I hope they keep or replace the window frames and the awnings with similar looking ones.
  18. What is his platform going to be? The city has budget issues caused by overspending on traditionally conservative, red meat issues like firefighter pay with the recent passage of prop B. It can't increase taxes or revenues. It already has low quality services and low quality infrastructure relative other cities. There aren't a lot of parks and libraries and things like that to cut. No magic money tree. No silver bullets. Republicans always want to go after the mythical "government waste" that apparently represents a huge pile of free money unlocked only when conservative wins office. There must be literally billions spent on illegals getting abortions, lets use that money! /s IMO I am a "progressive" because conservatives in Texas are small minded about what local government can accomplish. I'm not a social justice person though, justice is not constructive. I would prefer a leader who had a mind like a builder or engineer who can design complicated systems to solve complicated problems. Last thing I would want is a former trial lawyer who is vindicative and punitive. But then again this is a place where there is no public good or civic mindset. It's just all about me and my property taxes and my bigass pickup truck.
  19. It's called Sterling Northgate. It straddles the Bryan and College Station city limits. I think part of it is going to be a little shorter than the garage, the other part is going to be 3 or 4 stories. There hasn't been any normal renderings of I believe, only facade drawings in the city documents. Best I can do: http://wtaw.com/2015/09/14/bryan-council-without-discussion-approves-student-housing-continued-interest-in-former-txdot-district-
  20. So that explains what's ultimately going to be built. There have been a few renderings and they have all been a bit different. I wonder when the buildings closer to University are going to start?
  21. I don't really think any of this discussion on urban planning is really relevant to the current council race. But in any case its not about forcing that sort of planning on the community, rather the city simply allows it through LESS restrictive zoning classifications and the private development industry delivers based on measurable demand. Over time the area around Northgate is becoming more of a walkable environment and maybe in the future new infill around Eastgate, southside, and along University drive will also create that vibe. IIRC They can do this because we now allow more multi story, more street fronting, less parking, more mixed uses, etc, than we used to before the first Northgate specific zoning classification was made way back; I dunno, you were the one who has a lot more experience with City Hall than I do. But all that is besides the point. I was thinking more along the lines of not cutting funds to build parks, bike trails, and other amenities that are attractive to middle class newcomers. They are one side of the equation, the other being the jobs they will fill as more companies move here. The two go hand in hand. I took the comments made by Pereira in his interview with the Battalion to sort of mean he'd be in favor of cutting property taxes at the expense of community projects because he feels that transient undergraduate students and the absentee landlords who rent them housing have no need for those things. My point is that transient students are not the future of this town. Also local people have a right to a city that works for them. But he is the only polarizing candidate. As far as Schultz's work with the biocorridor and medical district, I think at the end of the day that is a mostly econ dev type project, less of a physical planning one. It seems the growth around the HSC is private, master planned communities. I don't see the city literally building out a district by itself, rather it enables the creation of one by being amenable to zoning and comprehensive transport plan changes while making the necessary tax deals. This would be great. It's so hard to imagine this happening now because of all the "country estate" growth between the edge of town and the river. Alternatively, I don't understand why 40 terminates into Wellborn road in a T-intersection. Instead, "Wellborn Road" should be continuous with 40 and FM 2154 would branch off of the curve. Instead of the configuration as it is now, the contiguous wellborn-40 would be divided in preparation for an eventual overpass and the intersection would be signallized like the one at Barron. I understand that right now there might be more traffic on Wellborn road going to well, Wellborn, but in the future if the two effectively form a leg of a kind of non-freeway westside bypass(that also connects to 30 on the eastside), that will change. What we have is almost like a Austin Loop 360 type situation. Also I wonder if 40 and 6 would ever accomodate direct connector flyovers
  22. I was in Brenham today and remembered there's another fried chicken place in the area that flies under the radar; Hartz chicken. Way back in the day I seem to remember they had some kind of gimmick, like a truck shaped like a chicken that clucked, or something like that? Or am I crazy and thinking of another place? Who had the lit up polyurethane chicken sort of like the jack in the box on the roof of the store?
  23. Who will you be voting for and why? I ask because I feel like very little information on the candidates is available online and I don't follow council closely enough to decide. That said, I already know I will vote Blanche Brick over Gabriel Periera. I don't think his opinion that the town relies on student tax dollars but doesn't provide them services they use is going to result in anything good. The future of College Station is not just in undergrad education, but in A&M creating a cluster of companies and professionals who want a good place to live. You also have fellow students who might have families(like the girl I work with who has kids and is getting her masters) and those families use parks and want safe neighborhoods. He is also a college republican; council is supposed to be non-partisan not just officially but also in spirit. Don't want that cancer in city hall. Finally, whose tax dollars exactly? You mean parents' money? lol. NEXT. Then there is the other challenger race, between Schultz and Harvell. The incumbent has a nice resume, the challenger seems like an unknown but has experience with the CVB. The official Zaphod endorsement will have to go to Schultz because her work with the Biomedical corridor exemplifies the direction I want this city to go. But good on Harvell for actually participating in local politics, we can't have unchallenged seats every single election.
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