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I completely agree with you on all off your points. I just don't see the typical resident in this region that is willing to give it up. I'm a huge supporter of the rails and I am very hopeful that they will begin construction on these planned new lines and continue to rework the midtown streets into the new style urban streets like Bagby and Caroline.

The growth of Houston was built on the car model and it will take a while to change that culture. I wish I could snap my finger and change it yesterday. It just takes perseverance and drive to get things done, and a whole lot of education. You're preaching to a fairly educated, small minority on this site, of the overall Houston driving population, and it will take a lot of patience, but it will happen someday. Let's just hope that it's not too late.

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On 7/20/2022 at 5:45 PM, iah77 said:

Investing that much in a garage is actually a very strong indicator that they plan to build everything.

This is a academic innovation district, not an urban planning nightmare experiment as you are describing. I would be much more inclined to support your vision if Houston was building heavy rail but without that I think destroying road capacity is a huge negative. Plus everything you mentioned is the City's responsibility and not Rice's. 

. only in Houston would someone describe a walkable and public transit friendly area as a “nightmare.” Building a giant garage is actually hurting the chances of more and or better public transportation for the area. 
 

I’m still optimistic about this project but the top floors of the Ion still sit empty. I could see future phases get delayed especially as we slide into a potential recession. 

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6 hours ago, 004n063 said:

You're not exactly wrong - in order for places like this to serve the greater Houston area, they need to accommodate drivers. And projects of this scale do need to think beyond the local community, because they're taking on such a gargantuan amount of debt all at once. 

But I do wish the city itself would do more to make locals-oriented development feasible. It's easy to assume that people won't walk, bike, or take the rail becaus they're "too lazy, stubborn, or stupid," but we've built most of our streets in a way that is aggressively hostile toward pedestrians and bicyclists, and our rail network really only takes a fraction of our population to a fraction of the places they want to go.

No individual developer is capable of or responsible for fixing this, but every one who doesn't is ultimately contributing to the perpetuation of the problem.

And given the ethos the Ion District seems to want to be identified with, it would have been cool to see them lean into a "yeah, you're not going to want to drive here" attitude.

The two current projects that I think do a decent job of exemplifying both sides of this are the Caroline Street redesign (as an example of a standard the city could be pursuing for street design) and the Urban Genesis project in the Warehouse District (as an example of a construction approach that doesn't appear to be prioritizing car storage or throughput).

Since the Ion is located at pretty much the exact middle of the busiest (but still under capacity) rail line, one of the busiest bus stations, and the central and key transfer point of the probable University BRT line; and since its north-south streets have huge ROWs (making an extended pedestrian realm and a high-comfort bike lane very feasible) and its cross streets have extremely limited traffic (making pedestrianization very feasible), the opportunity for transformatively human-oriented development here was enormous.

This is still going to be transformative for the area. It just could have been better, that's all.

(And honestly, I really don't care about the garage, personally - it just exemplifies the kind of "stuck" thinking we're talking about.)

If there's nowhere to park at the Ion, I will never go there. It's that simple. It is not worth taking an hour or more to get there by bus when I can drive in 20 minutes, and then meet my wife somewhere later. In 2001, my care was flooded by Allison, and I took the bus to work for 6 weeks. That turned a 15 minute commute each way into a 45 minute commute each way.

5 hours ago, bobruss said:

I completely agree with you on all off your points. I just don't see the typical resident in this region that is willing to give it up. I'm a huge supporter of the rails and I am very hopeful that they will begin construction on these planned new lines and continue to rework the midtown streets into the new style urban streets like Bagby and Caroline.

The growth of Houston was built on the car model and it will take a while to change that culture. I wish I could snap my finger and change it yesterday. It just takes perseverance and drive to get things done, and a whole lot of education. You're preaching to a fairly educated, small minority on this site, of the overall Houston driving population, and it will take a lot of patience, but it will happen someday. Let's just hope that it's not too late.

The drive most places culture is never going to go away. There is no way to build enough public transport to cover Houston. Even large European cities have massive car usage. My colleagues in London at a couple of jobs all owned cars and mostly drove to work. Especially to the office that was a mile from the nearest Underground station.

31 minutes ago, jmitch94 said:

. only in Houston would someone describe a walkable and public transit friendly area as a “nightmare.” Building a giant garage is actually hurting the chances of more and or better public transportation for the area. 
 

I’m still optimistic about this project but the top floors of the Ion still sit empty. I could see future phases get delayed especially as we slide into a potential recession. 

If there's no garage, very few people will use the place. That's just a fact of Houston life.

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42 minutes ago, Ross said:

If there's nowhere to park at the Ion, I will never go there. It's that simple. It is not worth taking an hour or more to get there by bus when I can drive in 20 minutes, and then meet my wife somewhere later. In 2001, my care was flooded by Allison, and I took the bus to work for 6 weeks. That turned a 15 minute commute each way into a 45 minute commute each way.

The drive most places culture is never going to go away. There is no way to build enough public transport to cover Houston. Even large European cities have massive car usage. My colleagues in London at a couple of jobs all owned cars and mostly drove to work. Especially to the office that was a mile from the nearest Underground station.

If there's no garage, very few people will use the place. That's just a fact of Houston life.

You're kinda proving all of our points. The large garage and minimal pedestrian facilities point to a suburban teleology. They want to appeal to people from far away, not people who live within a short walk, bike ride, or transit ride. 

There are nearly 100,000 people living within fifteen non-driving minutes of this location. Plenty to sustain a vibrant center without needing to assume that everyone will drive.

My point is not that there is no demand for parking. It's that catering to said demand -particularly while continuing to ignore the universal demand for walkability - is not innovative.

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2 hours ago, 004n063 said:

You're kinda proving all of our points. The large garage and minimal pedestrian facilities point to a suburban teleology. They want to appeal to people from far away, not people who live within a short walk, bike ride, or transit ride. 

There are nearly 100,000 people living within fifteen non-driving minutes of this location. Plenty to sustain a vibrant center without needing to assume that everyone will drive.

My point is not that there is no demand for parking. It's that catering to said demand -particularly while continuing to ignore the universal demand for walkability - is not innovative.

Not providing parking will ignore the other 6 million people who live in the Houston area and may want or need to go to Ion. How is it innovative to completely ignore 80+ percent of the area population? There is no universal demand for walkability. That's a fallacy promulgated by people who think everyone should walk. I am not against walkability, but there's not as much demand as you might think.

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10 hours ago, bobruss said:

I'm torn about the new fed proposal about the wind farms, I like the idea of that resource to bring power to 2 million + homes, but I also worry about the migrating birds which would be heavily affected. Sea life would probably cluster around the platforms just like they do at the offshore rigs.

Not trying to belittle your concern for the affect of wind turbines on migratory birds but cats pose a larger threat to birds.

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4 minutes ago, EllenOlenska said:

Just google cats in Australia

Oh yeah I'm aware of all the problems they're having and the current restrictions they just put in place.  I've had outdoor cats so I'm well aware of the amount of animals they kill.  

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18 hours ago, Ross said:

Not providing parking will ignore the other 6 million people who live in the Houston area and may want or need to go to Ion. How is it innovative to completely ignore 80+ percent of the area population? There is no universal demand for walkability. That's a fallacy promulgated by people who think everyone should walk. I am not against walkability, but there's not as much demand as you might think.

Not driving does not equal only walking. No one is suggesting people would be walking from the Woodlands.

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1 hour ago, jmitch94 said:

Not driving does not equal only walking. No one is suggesting people would be walking from the Woodlands.

I would just add: 

1) Not building a gargantuan parking garage doesn't make it impossible to drive. Just potentially less convenient. Kind of like how building a gargantuan parking garage doesn't make it impossible to walk, bike, or take the rail - but it does seem likely to make (or at least leave) the first two options fairly unpleasant and unsafe. 

2) I would argue (with Ross, not you), that no development - and certainly not one that's just a handful of commercial properties - serves the whole Houston metro area. But when you build around the idea of suburban access, you tend to preserve the lack of local access, since car traffic is the main enemy of pedestrian and especially bicycle viability.

 

In other words, there's an element of kicking the can further on down the road.

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1 hour ago, jmitch94 said:

Not driving does not equal only walking. No one is suggesting people would be walking from the Woodlands.

Then how do people from the Woodlands get there? Park and Ride from TW is minimal. There will always be demand for driving. For instance, here's Mannheim, Germany, the area where there are a ton of restaurants and shops. Super walkable. There are a number of large underground parking structures for the people who drive in https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mannheim,+Germany/@49.4896585,8.4665344,845m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x4797cc24518e3f45:0xb1e4fe7aa406e687!8m2!3d49.4874592!4d8.4660395 

London has dozens of large underground parking structures. So does Paris.

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5 minutes ago, 004n063 said:

I would just add: 

1) Not building a gargantuan parking garage doesn't make it impossible to drive. Just potentially less convenient. Kind of like how building a gargantuan parking garage doesn't make it impossible to walk, bike, or take the rail - but it does seem likely to make (or at least leave) the first two options fairly unpleasant and unsafe. 

2) I would argue (with Ross, not you), that no development - and certainly not one that's just a handful of commercial properties - serves the whole Houston metro area. But when you build around the idea of suburban access, you tend to preserve the lack of local access, since car traffic is the main enemy of pedestrian and especially bicycle viability.

 

In other words, there's an element of kicking the can further on down the road.

The bolded simply isn't true. Providing access for cars does not destroy pedestrian or bicycle access. There are hundreds of thousands of people in this city who will not go somewhere they can't drive. Some of them run businesses. If they can't drive to the location, then they won't locate their business there. Building a garage provides options.

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1 hour ago, Ross said:

The bolded simply isn't true. Providing access for cars does not destroy pedestrian or bicycle access.

It doesn't destroy it, but it makes it harder and likely less effective, since it creates an additional point of conflict.

 

But honestly, while the garage started the conversation, it is not (as I've said several times) a major issue for me. The part that I am legitimately disappointed in (or will be, if the renderings hold true) is the fact that there doesn't appear to be anything better than a deadly painted bicycle gutter in the renderings (Fannin and/or San Jacinto would be a great olace for another cycle track like the one on Bagby, or at least a protected lane like on Austin; those two streets are absolutely terrifying to bike on), and that there doesn't appear to be any intention to pedestrianize Eagle (from San Jacinto to Main is all you'd need).

Neither of those would significantly degrade access for people who choose to drive, but they'd hugely improve the experience for people on foot or bike.

And yes, I realize that those would not ultimately be up to the developer, but at least the renderings could have been bolder. They did, after all, draw in two painted bicycle abbatoirs (even a contraflow one! .) on Fannin, where currently there is nothing.

Look, here's my most selfish perspective: As someone who lives a bit far from this location for it to really be a casual walk (not in this heat, anyway), but much too close to justify driving, bike is my only logical option. But with the current infrastructure in the area, it just isn't safe. And nothing that I've seen indicates any commitment to changing that. 

And that's fine; they don't need to serve me. But I also don't need to be impressed.

They've taken an absolute abomination of surface parking and are turning most of it into productive, moderately attractive space. It looks like, at worst, it'll be a bit like Downtown, which is to say, a hell of a lot better than the Medical Center or (god forbid) Uptown. So I can thank my lucky stars for that. 

I just don't see anything particularly innovative about it.

Anyway, I think I've said all I have to say about this and feel a little bad for anyone who has been scrolling through this thread hoping for updates, so I'm going to disengage. I understand your points, and they're not wrong. I just think the gamble would have been worthwhile.

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On 7/22/2022 at 8:32 PM, Ross said:

The drive most places culture is never going to go away. There is no way to build enough public transport to cover Houston. Even large European cities have massive car usage. My colleagues in London at a couple of jobs all owned cars and mostly drove to work. Especially to the office that was a mile from the nearest Underground station.

anecdotes are great fun, but rarely are they reality.

for all of the UK (this includes little rural villages with no access to public transit) 58% of trips are made by cars.

according to the same site, only 27% of London commuters took the car.

https://www.racfoundation.org/motoring-faqs/mobility#a26

no one is telling you that you can't drive a car, no one is telling your buddies in London they can't drive a car, the option should always exist, that's the point, more options is always better.

compare the London stat to Houston, over 90% drive, we have no other viable option.

https://kinder.rice.edu/2017/05/01/houston-has-long-been-a-car-city-today-residents-say-theyre-seeking-something-else

so yeah, your buddies in London may commute, but they are the minority.

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On 7/22/2022 at 8:32 PM, Ross said:

In 2001, my care was flooded by Allison, and I took the bus to work for 6 weeks. That turned a 15 minute commute each way into a 45 minute commute each way

This is not really a very good argument.  You're trying to compare your experience two decades ago with the situation today.  Life has changed.  Houston has changed.  Houston had exactly zero light rail in 2001.

It sucks that you can't make it to the Ion District by train or bus in a reasonable amount of time. But guess what — plenty of other people can, myself included.  Based on my two trips driving to the Fannin Flower Market next door, and the dozens of times I've taken the train to the Medical Center, it's faster for me to get to the Ion District by train than by car.  So my anecdote cancels out your anecdote.

Moreover, just because something doesn't work for you doesn't mean it doesn't work.  You chose to live where you are.  The people who run the Ion District chose to be where they are.   Life is not always convenient.  I'd live to visit Beard Papa's, but it's way out west.  I don't blame Metro for not having a train that goes there. I just accept that in life, not everything is designed or intended for every single person.

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25 minutes ago, editor said:

This is not really a very good argument.  You're trying to compare your experience two decades ago with the situation today.  Life has changed.  Houston has changed.  Houston had exactly zero light rail in 2001.

It sucks that you can't make it to the Ion District by train or bus in a reasonable amount of time. But guess what — plenty of other people can, myself included.  Based on my two trips driving to the Fannin Flower Market next door, and the dozens of times I've taken the train to the Medical Center, it's faster for me to get to the Ion District by train than by car.  So my anecdote cancels out your anecdote.

Moreover, just because something doesn't work for you doesn't mean it doesn't work.  You chose to live where you are.  The people who run the Ion District chose to be where they are.   Life is not always convenient.  I'd live to visit Beard Papa's, but it's way out west.  I don't blame Metro for not having a train that goes there. I just accept that in life, not everything is designed or intended for every single person.

In 2001, I lived in Midtown and worked in Bellaire. I had to walk across the under construction light rail to get to the bus stop. In 2022, if I still lived in Midtown and worked in Bellaire, I would still have to walk across the light rail, now running, to get to the bus stop, and would have to take the same bus that would take the same amount of time. Nothing has changed in that respect.

We now live in the Greater Heights area, so not that far from Downtown. It is pretty easy to get anywhere in town by car. By bus, not so much.

My response was to a claim that providing a parking garage at Ion wasn't "innovative". Providing parking is a necessity in Houston for a project like Ion, otherwise the number of people that will visit or use the space will be far smaller. The amount of needed parking is probably smaller than it would be for a Downtown high rise, but it's still needed.

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2 hours ago, Ross said:

Providing parking is a necessity in Houston for a project like Ion.

this is without a doubt an absolutely true statement. which is both funny and sad.

today, not providing some level of parking is pretty damaging in Houston.

hopefully, at some point in the future, we (we as a society) demand better.

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39 minutes ago, samagon said:

this is without a doubt an absolutely true statement. which is both funny and sad.

today, not providing some level of parking is pretty damaging in Houston.

hopefully, at some point in the future, we (we as a society) demand better.

Yeah, with the Ion being (hypothetically) a regional job center, I can accept that the parking garage is a necessity.

What we really need to make the shift to multimodality is the smaller-scale, more neighborhood-oriented businesses, organizations, and smaller-scale housing developments to be a) exempted from minimum parking mandates, b) lightly disincentivized from building parking, and c) heavily disincentivized from building surface parking. 

Do A first, then C, and then see if B is necessary.

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31 minutes ago, 004n063 said:

Yeah, with the Ion being (hypothetically) a regional job center, I can accept that the parking garage is a necessity.

What we really need to make the shift to multimodality is the smaller-scale, more neighborhood-oriented businesses, organizations, and smaller-scale housing developments to be a) exempted from minimum parking mandates, b) lightly disincentivized from building parking, and c) heavily disincentivized from building surface parking. 

Do A first, then C, and then see if B is necessary.

The Ion District already has no minimum parking requirements.

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

The Ion District already has no minimum parking requirements.

Yes I know. But since it sees itself as a major regional job center (in a city/region where lots of people don't expect to live near their jobs or take public transit), it sees the construction of a parking garage as a recruiting necessity, as well as a convenience for shoppers/diners/etc. in the general area.

Removing parking requirements for, say, restaurants/taquerias, grocery & convenience stories, gyms (for cryin out loud!), pharmacies, small offices, etc. would remove an unnecessary burden from a lot of small businesses, which would (or at least could) lead to a lot more "fabric" in the non-deed-restricted neighborhoods over the long term.

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The hard reality is that Houston just doesn't have the density to make robust mass transit entirely practical yet. If you look internationally at cities where it does make sense, you'll see much higher densities. 

I don't think mass transit is entirely a "build it and they will come" sort of proposition. It certainly does spur a degree of development to lay down a light rail line. I'm certain that much of the development in Midtown is because of the existence of the light rail. 

However, my wife and I have been searching for housing for months. With her working in the Medical Center, finding something within a couple of blocks of the rail was something we were indeed interested in. However, we did not like the very limited options we found. 

Houston has been and still is a low-density city. Development inside the loop in the last decade has begun to change that, but it's not nearly enough for most people to want to give up a car or two. I don't know that simply adding mass transit will spur further development on its own at this point. My wife and I would have liked to have found a condo inside a mile from the Medical Center. But there were no options suitable for us. For now, we will be dependent on our car.

If other incentives would work in concert with transit to spur density- to build more mid and high-rise housing close to where people work and shop and eat, then I think transit solutions would be more obvious and straightforward. The ridership would be there. The demand would be there.

I wish that the state would reexamine how property taxes are structured. For example: Right now, taxes are based simply on the property's assessed value. I think there should be separate assessments for the land and for improvements, with the land being taxed at a higher rate than improvements in major cities. A restructuring like this could incentivize developers to maximize improvements on more limited tracts of land because it would result in low-density developments like parking lots being taxed at a higher rate than high-density developments. This would also address some of the negative externalities that low-density development imposes on city infrastructure.

And, I'm sure that a plan like this could be developed in a revenue-neutral way so as to not further increase the high-property tax burden that Texas already has. Freezing tax assessments on a property 10 years after major developments could negate the downsides of gentrification that this sort of restructuring would spur.

Just a thought...something like this would obviously be a low priority for a legislature that is too busy fighting politics.

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9 hours ago, aachor said:

The hard reality is that Houston just doesn't have the density to make robust mass transit entirely practical yet. If you look internationally at cities where it does make sense, you'll see much higher densities. 

statements like this just aren't true. someone told you it was true, and you believed them. Houston has enough density to support mass transit, what it needs is enough people who WANT to use mass transit.

9 hours ago, aachor said:

I don't think mass transit is entirely a "build it and they will come" sort of proposition. It certainly does spur a degree of development to lay down a light rail line. I'm certain that much of the development in Midtown is because of the existence of the light rail. 

you certainly are right, you cannot inspire people to use mass transit just by building mass transit.

the people have to demand access to alternative forms of transit than single occupant vehicles, and then you have to expect it will take at least a generation or two for a mostly complete system to be implemented.

you are also right that density will follow mass transit. the density along the red line (south) is pretty spectacular after nearly 20 years. the green line density seems to be coming in well, it's been in service for 7 years now, we can check in again in 13 years and see if it's done a similar pattern as the red line.

not sure about the purple line, I get over to UH frequently, and there are lots of new developments near the stops by UH. I don't know about the rest of the line.

the thing is, over and over again, the people of this city have voted for fixed guideway mass transit, so the people do want it, and that's why we're getting the University BRT, I wish it was a full LRT, but that will come in time, I suppose.

your other points are solid, the state needs to take a look at how land is taxed and shift the burden based on different factors than just value. and certainly, politicians who want to retain their office aren't interested in tax revisions, they are interested in things that invoke the passions of their constituents. term limits for all.

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You are both right, in a sense.

The reality is that where you live, where you work, where high-quality transit is, and where abundant housing is are all high-friction variables. For most people, that means a car will remain a necessity for some time.

And obviously, being right on the red line adds value to a place, so I can understand feeling priced out of the red line catchment. To that end, it it'd be great to see more large-scale residential developments within a few blocks of the red line. But honestly, I think the high prices are just because most of the developments are new luxury condos and rentals - they're expensive because they're expensive. New is rarely cheap. In other words, there's not a shortage of homes along the red line (or the green or purple, for that matter) - especially if you're not trying to buy a detached single-family home. 

But all three current lines have shown that transit does spur development and densification here, just like in any other city.

That said, Houston is more spread out than any city with a high transit modeshare, and you'd need to add literally dozens of lines for it to become competitive with even an east coast city (to say nothing of a European city) in that regard, at least in the short term. But...

A) Adding just a few more lines along critical corridors (Westheimer/Elgin), Washington, Montrose, Shepherd, Hillcroft, Bellaire, plus extend the Green line down Broadway) and eliminating minimum parking requirements within a half-mile of all stops would go a long way toward changing the development patterns in Houston over the next 30+ years, to the point where wanting to live near a line is the market-defining norm, and adding new developments to the exurban fringe becomes increasingly risky.

B) If the goal is to reduce car-dependency in an already-sprawling and deeply car-dependent city, focusing exclusively on transit-only commutes may be the wrong first step. If most people in the city still drive to work, but are able to comfortably walk or bike for groceries, restaurants, coffee, shopping, entertainment, etc., then that would be a huge step forward for the city, and as The Heights and Montrose and Midtown have shown, that can happen here (especially when it isn't summer).

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10 hours ago, aachor said:

I wish that the state would reexamine how property taxes are structured. For example: Right now, taxes are based simply on the property's assessed value. I think there should be separate assessments for the land and for improvements, with the land being taxed at a higher rate than improvements in major cities. A restructuring like this could incentivize developers to maximize improvements on more limited tracts of land because it would result in low-density developments like parking lots being taxed at a higher rate than high-density developments. This would also address some of the negative externalities that low-density development imposes on city infrastructure.

And, I'm sure that a plan like this could be developed in a revenue-neutral way so as to not further increase the high-property tax burden that Texas already has. Freezing tax assessments on a property 10 years after major developments could negate the downsides of gentrification that this sort of restructuring would spur.

Just a thought...something like this would obviously be a low priority for a legislature that is too busy fighting politics.

I completely agree with this. I feel like Houston is lowkey a very Georgist city already. Might as well be the first one to go full-LVT.

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11 hours ago, aachor said:

I wish that the state would reexamine how property taxes are structured. For example: Right now, taxes are based simply on the property's assessed value. I think there should be separate assessments for the land and for improvements, with the land being taxed at a higher rate than improvements in major cities.

In a way it already is ..... the VALUE of the land are segregated out, and if the land values go up due to location desirability then the taxes go up.  Unfortunately, the desirability of being inside the loop has been dropping or stagnant for a decade or more compared to the Houston suburbs where most people look to buy for better schools and/or larger yards/houses for the same money.  Increasing land taxes inside the city will only make things worse as it will continue to drive people out.

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15 minutes ago, 77002er said:

Increasing land taxes inside the city will only make things worse as it will continue to drive people out.

That would be an issue if the tax was not structured properly.

If it was structured how I think it could be, you'd see a significant increase in tax rates on unused lots or lots with nothing but large parking lots. Almost identical tax rates on single-family housing on small lots, and a decrease in rates on multi-family development.

It would require some serious modeling to get it right. But at the end of the day, it's all math and data. It can be done.

The goal would be to make it revenue neutral while somewhat shifting the tax burden onto owners of undeveloped or underdeveloped lots.
 

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26 minutes ago, 77002er said:

Unfortunately, the desirability of being inside the loop has been dropping or stagnant for a decade or more compared to the Houston suburbs where most people look to buy for better schools and/or larger yards/houses for the same money. 

What are you basing this on? It sounds both untrue and a bit self-contradictory.

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7 hours ago, 77002er said:

In a way it already is ..... the VALUE of the land are segregated out, and if the land values go up due to location desirability then the taxes go up.  Unfortunately, the desirability of being inside the loop has been dropping or stagnant for a decade or more compared to the Houston suburbs where most people look to buy for better schools and/or larger yards/houses for the same money.  Increasing land taxes inside the city will only make things worse as it will continue to drive people out.

What are you basing this on? Bing inside the loop is more desirable than its ever been. I saw recently that two thirds of Houston construction was inside the loop. 

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On 7/25/2022 at 11:51 PM, aachor said:

The hard reality is that Houston just doesn't have the density to make robust mass transit entirely practical yet. If you look internationally at cities where it does make sense, you'll see much higher densities. 

Well how do you explain Atlanta getting MARTA heavy rail transit in the 1970s? Houston had several chances for the same type of rail, but it’s careless leaders of the past chose to spend money on other things. 

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On 7/26/2022 at 6:32 PM, jmitch94 said:

What are you basing this on? Bing inside the loop is more desirable than its ever been. I saw recently that two thirds of Houston construction was inside the loop. 

Perhaps your data only counted construction within the city limits ..... the metro suburbs, which are  mostly outside city limits (by design),  have been growing at almost an uncontrollable rate.

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On 7/26/2022 at 6:32 PM, jmitch94 said:

What are you basing this on? Bing inside the loop is more desirable than its ever been. I saw recently that two thirds of Houston construction was inside the loop. 

Population graph for the area inside the loop.  1960 was the high point.

http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/Demographics/Loop610Website/_images/population_decade.jpg

Courtesy of the City of Houston...http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/Demographics/Loop610Website/population.html

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4 hours ago, august948 said:

Those are interesting data, but I don't think they actually refute the idea that densification is happening inside the loop. It's just that people tend not to realize how freakin big the loop is. We're talking about an area of nearly 100 square miles, with large areas that are underdeveloped (or purpose-built in a suburban layout like West U). 

In other words, the population within the loop is not evenly spread out, but fairly clustered around nodes and corridors, which is exactly what multimodal urbanization and rapid transit require in order to be effective. 

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that picture of the inside the loop population is pretty useless without context. it's based on US census data (since it's every 10 years) so they should be able to provide some demographic context, and I mean specifically around age, and number of people in a home.

it doesn't change the actual numbers they provide, but it would add some context to help us unpack the single data point into some meaning.

right now it can be used to infer whatever anyone wants it to infer. if you want to show that inside the loop (ITL) isn't popular, all you need to do is point at the numbers and say 'see!'. if you want to show that ITL is more complicated you can say 'well, in the 50s and 60s all those homes were filled with baby boomers who were growing up in the homes of their parents, in the 70s those baby boomers moved out of the loop and had their own families, but the number of working age people who might take advantage of a more robust transit system inside the loop has probably grown since then.

so yeah, not too helpful, that data.

I'm not trying to infer anything from that data, just point out that without any further context, it's not at all valuable to show, or use as a means of proving a point.

Edited by samagon
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One of the issues with tracking population change inside the loop is that the NE quarter has had huge amounts of population loss. The complete destruction of the Lyons Ave commercial corridor and hollowing out of Fifth Ward is still being felt, even as the west side densifies, the near east transforms from industrial to residential, Magnolia Park has remained stable, and Riverside/Riverside Terrace/Washington Terrace remain stable. Plus the core of Third Ward hasn't been *that* much better off than Fifth Ward.

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I need to go find the thread where it was posted, but I’m pretty sure the inner loop population is higher now than its original peak in the 60s. The page posted above was as of 2010. Since then there has been a lot of construction ITL. I think it hit 500k as of the most recent census.

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21 minutes ago, BEES?! said:

I need to go find the thread where it was posted, but I’m pretty sure the inner loop population is higher now than its original peak in the 60s. The page posted above was as of 2010. Since then there has been a lot of construction ITL. I think it hit 500k as of the most recent census.

I can't find the exact post, but @Houston19514manually tabulated the numbers inside 610. It went from 454,102 to 504,489 for 2010 to 2020 census.

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12 hours ago, samagon said:

that picture of the inside the loop population is pretty useless without context. it's based on US census data (since it's every 10 years) so they should be able to provide some demographic context, and I mean specifically around age, and number of people in a home.

it doesn't change the actual numbers they provide, but it would add some context to help us unpack the single data point into some meaning.

right now it can be used to infer whatever anyone wants it to infer. if you want to show that inside the loop (ITL) isn't popular, all you need to do is point at the numbers and say 'see!'. if you want to show that ITL is more complicated you can say 'well, in the 50s and 60s all those homes were filled with baby boomers who were growing up in the homes of their parents, in the 70s those baby boomers moved out of the loop and had their own families, but the number of working age people who might take advantage of a more robust transit system inside the loop has probably grown since then.

so yeah, not too helpful, that data.

I'm not trying to infer anything from that data, just point out that without any further context, it's not at all valuable to show, or use as a means of proving a point.

Agreed.  Another piece of information that adds context is how the much population of the metro area outside of the loop has changed in the same time span.

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16 hours ago, august948 said:

Agreed.  Another piece of information that adds context is how the much population of the metro area outside of the loop has changed in the same time span.

Okay? The comment that spurred all this was someone saying that living in the core of the city isn’t desirable any more. It can be desirable to live both in the core and in the suburbs, they aren’t mutually exclusive. 

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2 hours ago, jmitch94 said:

Okay? The comment that spurred all this was someone saying that living in the core of the city isn’t desirable any more. It can be desirable to live both in the core and in the suburbs, they aren’t mutually exclusive. 

Exactly. Some people like eating at Olive Garden and some people like eating at restaurants. 

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4 hours ago, jmitch94 said:

Okay? The comment that spurred all this was someone saying that living in the core of the city isn’t desirable any more. It can be desirable to live both in the core and in the suburbs, they aren’t mutually exclusive. 

Agree, but desirability per se isn't easily measured.  Population growth in a geographic area is.

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24 minutes ago, august948 said:

Agree, but desirability per se isn't easily measured.  Population growth in a geographic area is.

But if you're comparing the 96 square miles within the loop (or, really, the ~50 square miles where the bulk of the development is happening) to the ~9,900 square miles of the Houston metro area outside of the loop, that's not really apples-to-apples either. If we are talking about the pace of construction within particular areas/neighborhoods on a per-square-mile-basis (which, given the financial risk involved in construction, certainly seems as fair a measure of "desirability" as total population growth compared between areas that differ in size by two orders of magnitude), or, ya know, price, it seems pretty clear that all of the most desirable areas are either inside the loop or immediately outside W610. 

 

52 minutes ago, august948 said:

Exactly.  Some people like eating at Mai's and some like eating at good Vietnamese restaurants.

 Asiatown and Gulfton are definitely food capitals, but let's not pretend Mai's is even close to being the best Vietnamese in Midtown, let alone the loop...

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