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Metro approves $1.46 Billion for 20 miles of light rail


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Why? Because you know Houston in its current state or future planned state will not be able to handle an Olympics? What made the people that tried to bring it to Houston in the first place actually think they had a chance?

Firstly, I don't value the Olympics. Really, I just don't care for the event. It doesn't make any sense to me. Someone gets a medal for running fast. So what? Where's the strategy? Where's the cunning maneuvers or tactics? I can respect games that require intellect in addition to physical prowess, but someone that can run, swim, or paddle fast for short distances just doesn't impress me.

Secondly, I don't value it when Houston generates publicity from big events like this. When the Super Bowl came to town, what did it do for Houston? Did it really draw the attention of anybody of consequence? Did it convince anyone to move here? Did it create any new business that stuck around after it was over? It certainly didn't impact me any, except that I got to see Janet Jackson's 38-year-old tit...and that wasn't anything special that couldn't have been seen televised elsewhere. It's not even as though very many Houstonians got to see the tit live in person.

Thirdly, Houston is desirable on its own merits. It doesn't need the Olympics to be an attractive city, and the attitude that it does need the Olympics to advance ignores all the things that already make it great. It is a beta attitude. Even if the Olympics were brought here, I don't want to show that kind of beta attitude off to the world. It'd be embarrassing. ...have you ever lost all sense of yourself and come on too strong to a woman? In hindsight, it's embarrassing. That's analogous to what many or even most of Houston's public officials would try to inflict upon the world provided they had the opportunity, so I'd prefer that they not have that opportunity. What makes us a great place to live and do business is self-evident (except to people that I wouldn't want moving here in the first place).

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The Olympics are a totally different animal. Houston should not be pursuing them since it will just be a waste of time and energy.

However, I think the city should continue to compete for Final Fours and Super Bowls, merely for the fact that we don't have a city-wide economic boost every year. The closest thing is the Rodeo, but that is all confined to Reliant Park and the HLSR. I'm not sure how much OTC does for the city, but I would imagine it pales in comparison to larger events that attract mass amounts of media and tourists.

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The Olympics are a totally different animal. Houston should not be pursuing them since it will just be a waste of time and energy.

However, I think the city should continue to compete for Final Fours and Super Bowls, merely for the fact that we don't have a city-wide economic boost every year. The closest thing is the Rodeo, but that is all confined to Reliant Park and the HLSR. I'm not sure how much OTC does for the city, but I would imagine it pales in comparison to larger events that attract mass amounts of media and tourists.

To be clear...now that we have the facilities for Super Bowls, I'm OK with competing for them. It's a sunk cost, and we may as well get something out of it. But I'd rather have just foregone the $2 billion stadium in the first place.

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Firstly, I don't value the Olympics. Really, I just don't care for the event. It doesn't make any sense to me. Someone gets a medal for running fast. So what? Where's the strategy? Where's the cunning maneuvers or tactics? I can respect games that require intellect in addition to physical prowess, but someone that can run, swim, or paddle fast for short distances just doesn't impress me.

The Olympics are a celebration of human diversity through competition, presentation and the enrichment of the human spirit. Those people that "run and swim fast" have trained most of their lives in order to do so. It's not just another day at the pool or the Rice loop to them. Granted, for the past several years, they have also been a "showpiece for excess and disaster" on some levels, but to me that's all the more reason why Houston should keep competing for the games. This city might find a way to host a very good Olympics, and be able to tone down on the cost. Then maybe the event will come back in line with its original purpose.

Secondly, I don't value it when Houston generates publicity from big events like this. When the Super Bowl came to town, what did it do for Houston? Did it really draw the attention of anybody of consequence? Did it convince anyone to move here? Did it create any new business that stuck around after it was over? It certainly didn't impact me any, except that I got to see Janet Jackson's 38-year-old tit...and that wasn't anything special that couldn't have been seen televised elsewhere. It's not even as though very many Houstonians got to see the tit live in person.

Chain reaction here... SuperBowl was in '04, right? So since then, we've hosted several major NBA and NCAA events, had the return of Monday night football, and hosted the Latin Grammys... arguably the largest music awards night in the WORLD. Is this directly related to the '04 SuperBowl? Quite possibly, b/c it's just one more thing that reminds people of what Houstonians already know... we are a world-class city (and no matter how hard we try, we cannot control Janet Jackson's wardrobe.

Thirdly, Houston is desirable on its own merits. It doesn't need the Olympics to be an attractive city, and the attitude that it does need the Olympics to advance ignores all the things that already make it great. It is a beta attitude. Even if the Olympics were brought here, I don't want to show that kind of beta attitude off to the world. It'd be embarrassing. ...have you ever lost all sense of yourself and come on too strong to a woman? In hindsight, it's embarrassing. That's analogous to what many or even most of Houston's public officials would try to inflict upon the world provided they had the opportunity, so I'd prefer that they not have that opportunity. What makes us a great place to live and do business is self-evident (except to people that I wouldn't want moving here in the first place).

I guess I can see this viewpoint, but I fear to tell you... the secret's already out. The good, the bad and the Fugly are already comin' to Houston thanks to our status as a 'bright spot' in the current job market, and some mildly successful marketing by the city. Same thing in regards to the rail transit plans... it is an investment in the future of these corridors. Metro and the city planners see the potential for growth and prosperity in the rail line areas, which is why they are going ahead with the plans. The old, spotty and sparsely-populated East End of today may look totally different in 10 years, and the rail line would have huge part in that transformation.

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Much was promised. Billy Payne, the head of the Atlanta committee, predicted "the greatest peacetime event in the 20th century" but, 12 years on, the Atlanta Games are remembered not for Michael Johnson's supercharged efforts on the track or Muhammad Ali's lighting of the Olympic cauldron, but for the transport chaos that almost brought the Games screeching to a halt.

I was at the Olympics in Atlanta. I was only 15 or something back then but I remember my family was actually surprised that it wasn't as bad as everybody predicted in terms of transportation. We rode the MARTA from my grandparents house to the olympic stadium every day and saw a bunch of events. It was crowded but not any worse than Toronto's subway at rush hour. I think we saw one event in Athens GA too (driving of course). My grandparents were completely afraid to drive during that week (mostly because people on TV told them it would be a nightmare) but when we actually drove it wasn't so bad. Just a few thoughts. Maybe I was too young to realize how bad it really was, but I seriously don't remember there being any major issues for us.

Now whether it was worth it is another story and I won't go there right now.

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The Olympics are a celebration of human diversity through competition, presentation and the enrichment of the human spirit. Those people that "run and swim fast" have trained most of their lives in order to do so. It's not just another day at the pool or the Rice loop to them. Granted, for the past several years, they have also been a "showpiece for excess and disaster" on some levels, but to me that's all the more reason why Houston should keep competing for the games.

I don't care. Anyone that wants to run fast is welcome to for their own purposes. If they like to run fast, then more power to them. They can run fast. As for me, I like celebrate the human spirit by being productive by the means of my own choosing, then spending my money and leisure on things that I value. If drawing the Olympics to Houston requires multiple billions of dollars be financed through the City and County governments, then that's taking from my beer money. I disapprove.

Granted, for the past several years, they have also been a "showpiece for excess and disaster" on some levels, but to me that's all the more reason why Houston should keep competing for the games. This city might find a way to host a very good Olympics, and be able to tone down on the cost. Then maybe the event will come back in line with its original purpose.

That's not going to happen. Not in Houston, not anywhere. It would detract value from IOC sponsorships and advertising.

Chain reaction here... SuperBowl was in '04, right? So since then, we've hosted several major NBA and NCAA events, had the return of Monday night football, and hosted the Latin Grammys... arguably the largest music awards night in the WORLD. Is this directly related to the '04 SuperBowl? Quite possibly, b/c it's just one more thing that reminds people of what Houstonians already know... we are a world-class city (and no matter how hard we try, we cannot control Janet Jackson's wardrobe.

There is no evidence to indicate that a Superbowl held in any given city is going to draw other events. We got those events by either finagling a deal or because we were already by our nature a good candidate city.

I guess I can see this viewpoint, but I fear to tell you... the secret's already out. The good, the bad and the Fugly are already comin' to Houston thanks to our status as a 'bright spot' in the current job market, and some mildly successful marketing by the city.

Exactly, and this is what I was talking about. We're good enough on our own merits to be attractive to people and firms.

Why do we need the Olympics?

Same thing in regards to the rail transit plans... it is an investment in the future of these corridors. Metro and the city planners see the potential for growth and prosperity in the rail line areas, which is why they are going ahead with the plans. The old, spotty and sparsely-populated East End of today may look totally different in 10 years, and the rail line would have huge part in that transformation.

Midtown was already gentrifying before the light rail was implemented, and it continued gentrifying afterward (although a fairly large portion of the market share for new housing actually shifted to the East End/Chinatown, Rice Military, and even across the freeway into Third Ward after the Red Line became operational). However, the Main Street corridor through Midtown has been nearly stagnant and even METRO's own sponsored development attempts up and down the line have failed.

I just don't see the Red Line as having had a transformative impact, and so it is hard to imagine the East, North, and Southeast Lines having a transformative impact. Do you honestly think that light rail will flush out all the poor people from these areas and drive the bid price for housing up to a level that can support extensive redevelopment of all of these large swaths of Houston--simultaneously--over a period of only 10 years? As a property owner and a real estate professional, I'm optimistic about my own holdings in these areas--with or without light rail--but my projections are tempered and not unrealistic.

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Midtown was already gentrifying before the light rail was implemented, and it continued gentrifying afterward (although a fairly large portion of the market share for new housing actually shifted to the East End/Chinatown, Rice Military, and even across the freeway into Third Ward after the Red Line became operational). However, the Main Street corridor through Midtown has been nearly stagnant and even METRO's own sponsored development attempts up and down the line have failed.

I just don't see the Red Line as having had a transformative impact, and so it is hard to imagine the East, North, and Southeast Lines having a transformative impact. Do you honestly think that light rail will flush out all the poor people from these areas and drive the bid price for housing up to a level that can support extensive redevelopment of all of these large swaths of Houston--simultaneously--over a period of only 10 years? As a property owner and a real estate professional, I'm optimistic about my own holdings in these areas--with or without light rail--but my projections are tempered and not unrealistic.

I'll forego any further responses to the Olympics scenarios... it's good to be back on topic anyway.

I'm confused as to why we need to "disinfect" every part of our city in order for prosperous and sustainable growth to occur. Are we afraid of poor people?? Does the East End need to look like a second Midtown/Montrose? My answer to that is an emphatic NO. Just as you pointed out earlier about the city as a whole, the East, North, and Southeast corridors are important and vital communities of their own right, and the rail line is going to serve them as an additional (and in my opinion welcomed/needed) transit option. I for one don't want to "flush out" poor people... I am banking on them to fill seats on the trains and busses, shop at King's Best Market, eat dinner at Timmy Chan's, and live in or near my neighborhood so that property values stay low for when I am ready to buy!

My sincere apologies for the term "transformation". When I think of a transformation for the East End, I think about more people from all different types of backgrounds... both rich and poor. I think about fewer more of our abandoned buildings being restored and preserved. I think about a wider range of business development opportunities (more grocers, apparel options, etc.). So basically the things that are already happening here, but I view the rail line as a catalyst to encourage these improvements at a faster clip.

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I'll forego any further responses to the Olympics scenarios... it's good to be back on topic anyway.

I'm confused as to why we need to "disinfect" every part of our city in order for prosperous and sustainable growth to occur. Are we afraid of poor people?? Does the East End need to look like a second Midtown/Montrose?

Wealthy people won't pay new-construction prices for housing in the middle of the ghetto. So until a neighborhood is "disinfected", at least somewhat, it will not densify. The same paradigm applies to retailers willing to adopt 'urban'-style retail centers (case in point, Frank Liu's site at Harrisburg & Lockwood).

So I guess the answer to your question is yes...no matter whether you will it otherwise.

Just as you pointed out earlier about the city as a whole, the East, North, and Southeast corridors are important and vital communities of their own right, and the rail line is going to serve them as an additional (and in my opinion welcomed/needed) transit option. I for one don't want to "flush out" poor people... I am banking on them to fill seats on the trains and busses, shop at King's Best Market, eat dinner at Timmy Chan's, and live in or near my neighborhood so that property values stay low for when I am ready to buy!

If I recall correctly, you're a performance artist living downtown. Was that right, or am I mistaken? Let me just say this: aside from Houston House, and perhaps another handful of practically-unknown places, downtown isn't priced like the ghetto anymore. And it doesn't matter that poor people were there or remain in small numbers; at this point they're only going to get crowded out by more yuppies because yuppies are better tenants willing to pay more money. The poor do not exist for your own financial convenience. Housing, on the other hand, exists for the convenience of the highest bidder.

My sincere apologies for the term "transformation". When I think of a transformation for the East End, I think about more people from all different types of backgrounds... both rich and poor. I think about fewer more of our abandoned buildings being restored and preserved. I think about a wider range of business development opportunities (more grocers, apparel options, etc.). So basically the things that are already happening here, but I view the rail line as a catalyst to encourage these improvements at a faster clip.

[rant]

I'm wrapping up the restoration of a building in the East End that is next to an independently-owned urban grocery store, the sort that most white folks would mistake for a mere convenience store because it doesn't stock Kashi. Several restaurants are within walking distance, as is a furniture store, a florist, and a variety of churches. But you can't use most of these places unless you speak Spanish or are Catholic, and sheeats isn't about to do any white-person reviews of the (kick-ass) blue collar restaurants anytime soon. My laborers live there, walk to work, and do not own cars. They ride transit frequently. It is already the urban ideal that you desire, yet is completely off the radar of affluent and/or white people. You all dream of such a place...but not this one. :wacko:

First, it must have white-person infrastructure. And that's perfectly fine. I'm providing it (for a profit, which you are providing), and your kind shall one day displace this idyllic place with an ascetic, sanitized, sterile environment occupied by a monoculture of young affluent college-educated white yuppies...pissed off about the monster you've all created, yet concerned that rising prices won't allow you to lock in to the neighborhood that was (and will never again be).

[/rant]

Edited by TheNiche
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So, Niche, my take-away here is that your site would be the perfect place to hold the next HAIF happy hour.

That was my (eventual) intent. Probably late next week--but only for those willing to contribute to the stock of booze or snacks and that are un-yuppie enough to brave an un-airconditioned environment.

Stay tuned.

And the rant, BTW, was one of your better ones.

Magnum 40 is apparently one of the better malt liquors, then, especially coupled with my week-long supersaturation of self-aggrandizing Jimi Hendrix music and Ayn Rand-like circumstances. :lol:

Clearly, mine is a strange existence.

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Magnum 40 is apparently one of the better malt liquors

I believe you are ready to step up to Steel Reserve, grasshopper.

btw it's malt beverage.

Anyway, I thought you were supposed to be working on that other rail thread and deconstructing the Heritage Review article? We're waiting.

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That (Niche hosting a happy hour) reminds me - my brewing and bottling process went well. I'll be tasting in a week and a half, if I don't die from that I'm ready to make another batch. I still need keg equipment, or 10 growlers, or the energy to dig out 45 more bottles and wash them.

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Wealthy people won't pay new-construction prices for housing in the middle of the ghetto. So until a neighborhood is "disinfected", at least somewhat, it will not densify. The same paradigm applies to retailers willing to adopt 'urban'-style retail centers (case in point, Frank Liu's site at Harrisburg & Lockwood).

So I guess the answer to your question is yes...no matter whether you will it otherwise.

My definitions of "poor" "rich" "wealthy" "white" and "artist" are a bit more broad than yours... as is my definition of "ghetto". For example... I do not consider every single portion of Third Ward the ghetto, but there are some portions of the neighborhood in which I would choose not to live. The other half I find very intriguing, and would feel very comfortable living there. However, b/c of societal history, most people in Houston (who do not live in Third Ward) view the neighborhood in its entirety as the ghetto. This would be all well and good if it weren't for those pesky out-of-towners that keep running around and buying older homes in the area. Of course the retail picture is a much tougher animal, but I think the neighborhood (like most of Houston's inner city areas) is showing signs of densification.

If I recall correctly, you're a performance artist living downtown. Was that right, or am I mistaken? Let me just say this: aside from Houston House, and perhaps another handful of practically-unknown places, downtown isn't priced like the ghetto anymore. And it doesn't matter that poor people were there or remain in small numbers; at this point they're only going to get crowded out by more yuppies because yuppies are better tenants willing to pay more money. The poor do not exist for your own financial convenience. Housing, on the other hand, exists for the convenience of the highest bidder.

I live in the 5000 block of Jefferson street, not downtown. I bike to downtown for most of my rehearsals. I can say with utmost confidence that my neighborhood is a total M-I-X... white, black, hispanic, upper middle class, working class, and young professionals that have a dedicated interest in older housing stock. I say this b/c I meet more and more of them at Bohemeo's all the time.

[rant]

I'm wrapping up the restoration of a building in the East End that is next to an independently-owned urban grocery store, the sort that most white folks would mistake for a mere convenience store because it doesn't stock Kashi. Several restaurants are within walking distance, as is a furniture store, a florist, and a variety of churches. But you can't use most of these places unless you speak Spanish or are Catholic, and sheeats isn't about to do any white-person reviews of the (kick-ass) blue collar restaurants anytime soon. My laborers live there, walk to work, and do not own cars. They ride transit frequently. It is already the urban ideal that you desire, yet is completely off the radar of affluent and/or white people. You all dream of such a place...but not this one. :wacko:

First, it must have white-person infrastructure. And that's perfectly fine. I'm providing it (for a profit, which you are providing), and your kind shall one day displace this idyllic place with an ascetic, sanitized, sterile environment occupied by a monoculture of young affluent college-educated white yuppies...pissed off about the monster you've all created, yet concerned that rising prices won't allow you to lock in to the neighborhood that was (and will never again be).

[/rant]

Yeah, I know... shame on me for actually going to the Taquerias for the sole purpose of working on my Spanish. Shame on me for buying my couch at IKEA for $480, and then going to the Muebleria on S. Wayside to buy my end tables (and then checking there on a bi-weekly basis just in case anything cool comes up) for $10 a pop. Shame on me for going into Gonzalez grocery store on Henninger (literally RIGHT behind my house) and buying some of my groceries through the week, but then climbing into my gas guzzler and hittin' up West Gray Kroger on the weekends. Shame on me for walking on stage and singing through a 3-hr. long performance with one of the top Opera companies in the United States, hob-knobbing with some of Houston's most influential movers and shakers afterward, and then climbing on METRO BUS after the show to go home to my spotty and "infected" neighborhood.

Oh, and last but not least... SHAME ON ME for being a member of a growing generation of people just like me that seek to blur the ever-present stereotypical class and color lines. I'll think long and hard about it on my way to the Wortham tonight.

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I think a solid tram system (light rail) is the right solution, I think a subway is too costly in both safety and money, and an elevated, while intriguing would be costly as well.

If Metro in Houston wants the light rail which basically is another way of saying tram to perform like a typical light rail system in that it will never have a high number of passengers like the older cities have than that is fine. If Metro wants Houston to ever perform like a heavy rail system and that it carries 600,000-900,000 people per day, than they are simply wasting their time. I currently live in the Washington D.C. area and crime on the subway is barely ever an issue. The biggest issue on metro is keeping the system clean and DC does a good job of doing that. This (DC metro rail) would IMO be a huge success in Houston and including Dallas for that matter even though DC Metro is facing budget issues nowadays so that's another issue. But safety on most rail systems in the country are not really a large issue and I would go out as far to say that it's a huge myth and a copout as a reason to not build the system.

I read an article that if in the long run you will spend just about the same on a light rail system that you will on a heavy rail system. I will find the article later and post it. Light rail however does it's job and it should be commended. I understand citykid's and other posters sentiments. But to move around the city from neighborhood to neighborhood and make it run in already established and dense areas, why not consider it? Washington D.C. is doing the exact same thing and they are trying to build a streetcar system in Southeast DC. I think light rail inside the loop and a few areas outside the loop are not as bad. But I still wish Metro's plan in Houston was a bit bolder and bigger and that means considering heavy rail. I think Houston is currently at the right population and density to build it.

That's my opinion. If I'm wrong on anything, I will be always be opened to have them corrected.

BTW, here is the link to the article I was referencing.

http://www.ptua.org.au/myths/lightrail.shtml

Edited by Spades
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My definitions of "poor" "rich" "wealthy" "white" and "artist" are a bit more broad than yours... as is my definition of "ghetto". For example... I do not consider every single portion of Third Ward the ghetto, but there are some portions of the neighborhood in which I would choose not to live. The other half I find very intriguing, and would feel very comfortable living there. However, b/c of societal history, most people in Houston (who do not live in Third Ward) view the neighborhood in its entirety as the ghetto. This would be all well and good if it weren't for those pesky out-of-towners that keep running around and buying older homes in the area. Of course the retail picture is a much tougher animal, but I think the neighborhood (like most of Houston's inner city areas) is showing signs of densification.

I live in the 5000 block of Jefferson street, not downtown. I bike to downtown for most of my rehearsals. I can say with utmost confidence that my neighborhood is a total M-I-X... white, black, hispanic, upper middle class, working class, and young professionals that have a dedicated interest in older housing stock. I say this b/c I meet more and more of them at Bohemeo's all the time.

I think that any semantic-based disagreements between us can basically be chalked up to the poor definition of boundaries. When I'm talking about "Third Ward", I'm really referring to the areas in historical plat maps labeled "NEGRO SETTLEMENT". I'm pretty sure this is also the area you were referring to as a place you wouldn't want to live...pretty much as I predicted originally. Technically speaking, btw, you already live in the Third Ward and apparently didn't even realize it.

I know your neighborhood well. Crunch does too. It is a mix, and it is hip. It was not always a mix, nor was it always hip. Things have really changed dramatically in the last five years or so, and they won't stop changing until the demographic character and housing prices mirror that of the Houston Heights. I realize that you don't see yourself as playing any kind of role in this process and probably feel pissed off that I'd even suggest it...but it's true. As an early adopter, you're paving the way for Squaresville. The only thing that makes you special relative to those that'll inflict the death blow is that you'll have a memory of what it was.

Yeah, I know... shame on me for actually going to the Taquerias for the sole purpose of working on my Spanish. Shame on me for buying my couch at IKEA for $480, and then going to the Muebleria on S. Wayside to buy my end tables (and then checking there on a bi-weekly basis just in case anything cool comes up) for $10 a pop. Shame on me for going into Gonzalez grocery store on Henninger (literally RIGHT behind my house) and buying some of my groceries through the week, but then climbing into my gas guzzler and hittin' up West Gray Kroger on the weekends. Shame on me for walking on stage and singing through a 3-hr. long performance with one of the top Opera companies in the United States, hob-knobbing with some of Houston's most influential movers and shakers afterward, and then climbing on METRO BUS after the show to go home to my spotty and "infected" neighborhood.

Oh, and last but not least... SHAME ON ME for being a member of a growing generation of people just like me that seek to blur the ever-present stereotypical class and color lines. I'll think long and hard about it on my way to the Wortham tonight.

No. Never allow yourself to feel shame. Shame is the reverse of arbitrage. It is when you make yourself feel worse for purposes that do not benefit anybody. It is the worst kind of state of mind.

Enjoy what you have, live for it and for yourself, and accept that others will do the same. The neighborhood will change on account of the others (and upon the presence of people like you, who the others are attracted to), whose values differ from yours, yet you will have memories of living in this moment in time. They can't take that away. For a time, you will no doubt self-righteously hold your status as an early adopter over the heads of newcomers, and you can either revel in your artificially-generated sense of self-importance--or you can find a different neighborhood similar to this one and do it all over again--or you may choose to enjoy a different kind of urban experience. It is your decision, and you should revel in it.

...but, at the same time, it is ignorant to deny that your own presence in this neighborhood isn't effecting the destruction of the qualities that you claim to hold dear. People like you are using it up. That is fine. Have fun! It is but one more example of a neighborhood which shall be tamed by a generation of idealistic self-important youth. The latter part of the Baby Boomers had Montrose, Gen X had the Heights, Gen Y will have the East End.

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If Metro in Houston wants the light rail which basically is another way of saying tram to perform like a typical light rail system in that it will never have a high number of passengers like the older cities have than that is fine. If Metro wants Houston to ever perform like a heavy rail system and that it carries 600,000-900,000 people per day, than they are simply wasting their time. I currently live in the Washington D.C. area and crime on the subway is barely ever an issue. The biggest issue on metro is keeping the system clean and DC does a good job of doing that. This (DC metro rail) would IMO be a huge success in Houston and including Dallas for that matter even though DC Metro is facing budget issues nowadays so that's another issue. But safety on most rail systems in the country are not really a large issue and I would go out as far to say that it's a huge myth and a copout as a reason to not build the system.

I read an article that if in the long run you will spend just about the same on a light rail system that you will on a heavy rail system. I will find the article later and post it. Light rail however does it's job and it should be commended. I understand citykid's and other posters sentiments. But to move around the city from neighborhood to neighborhood and make it run in already established and dense areas, why not consider it? Washington D.C. is doing the exact same thing and they are trying to build a streetcar system in Southeast DC. I think light rail inside the loop and a few areas outside the loop are not as bad. But I still wish Metro's plan in Houston was a bit bolder and bigger and that means considering heavy rail. I think Houston is currently at the right population and density to build it.

That's my opinion. If I'm wrong on anything, I will be always be opened to have them corrected.

BTW, here is the link to the article I was referencing.

http://www.ptua.org.au/myths/lightrail.shtml

The posted article appears to be comparing the costs of light rail vs heavy rail running in the same or very similar r-o-w. It is NOT comparing the cost of a surface light rail with a subway heavy rail system.

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Magnum 40 is apparently one of the better malt liquors, then, especially coupled with my week-long supersaturation of self-aggrandizing Jimi Hendrix music and Ayn Rand-like circumstances.

I have gained a new appreciation of TheNiche.

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The East End doesn't have a "scene" that anyone could look back on. I don't think there will be any nostalgia. Ship the rail through and get it over with.

Nothing against the East End but now that the housing market is down I think Gen Yers with options will be leaving town.

Edited by N Judah
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The East End doesn't have a "scene" that anyone could look back on. I don't think there will be any nostalgia. Ship the rail through and get it over with.

Nothing against the East End but now that the housing market is down I think Gen Yers with options will be leaving town.

I don't understand any of this. Please elaborate.

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Nothing against the East End but now that the housing market is down I think Gen Yers with options will be leaving town.

Yeah, good luck with that. They might want to check out Detroit, Phoenix, Miami and Las Vegas. I hear it is a Gen Yer paradise with all of the jobs in those cities.

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I think taunting the neighborhood newcomers would make more sense if there were a happening artistic/music/eclectic "scene" to be wistful about but I am not aware of anything like that in the East End. I would be surprised if people really cared if their presence turned it into "squaresville" since it is not clear that there is/was anything worth protecting prior to their arrival.

Yeah, good luck with that. They might want to check out Detroit, Phoenix, Miami and Las Vegas. I hear it is a Gen Yer paradise with all of the jobs in those cities.

I don't think a Gen Yer with options goes anywhere near those cities, irrespective of the economic climate.

Actually, I take that back. They might, once the economy starts picking up. Who knows? But I wasn't necessarily thinking of any of those places in particular.

Edited by N Judah
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I think taunting the neighborhood newcomers would make more sense if there were a happening artistic/music/eclectic "scene" to be wistful about but I am not aware of anything like that in the East End. I would be surprised if people really cared if their presence turned it into "squaresville" since it is not clear that there is/was anything worth protecting prior to their arrival.

I'd typed out a lengthy description of the artistic/music/eclectic undercurrents that pervade the area (and have for a long time), but upon a second reading of this paragraph--especially the last part of it--I just don't think you're going to get anything out of it.

I don't think a Gen Yer with options goes anywhere near those cities, irrespective of the economic climate.

I still don't understand this statement. It is demonstrably false.

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Probably true. Frankly if you're the type of person who believes that San Francisco became *more* hip during the dot-com boom, then I don't think there's much we can agree on.

I still don't understand this statement. It is demonstrably false.

Market fundamentals :)

Edited by N Judah
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Probably true. Frankly if you're the type of person who believes that San Francisco became *more* hip during the dot-com boom, then I don't think there's much we can agree on.

I wouldn't know hip if it were attached to my leg, but I am capable of making observations and then drawing objective conclusions as they relate to the long-term spatial characteristics of subculture in an urban setting.

Market fundamentals :)

...or perhaps hyperbole on your part?

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I wouldn't know hip if it were attached to my leg, but I am capable of making observations and then drawing objective conclusions as they relate to the long-term spatial characteristics of subculture in an urban setting.

All I can say is if you think the "squaresville" types will look back on the neighborhood with any sort of nostalgia for what was, then I think you are wrong. There is no party that the "squaresville" types can rue being late to.

...or perhaps hyperbole on your part?

Not at all. With the housing bust, Gen Yers have more options than ever.

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All I can say is if you think the "squaresville" types will look back on the neighborhood with any sort of nostalgia for what was, then I think you are wrong. There is no party that the "squaresville" types can rue being late to.

Let me be clear. Someone like totheskies is an early adopter. He values the neighborhood for what it is and for reasons that he described very eloquently. I find it sort of ironic that he went on that rant explaining how where he lives is the ideal urban form as a response to a post that I made which was a response to a post that he had made lamenting the lack of his ideal urban form in Houston. Nevertheless, it is clear right now that he is an uncommon sort of person in the grand scheme of things, one of a niche market of early adopters. These are the people whose presence makes a neighborhood like the East End tolerable for the Squaresville types. They turn an ethnic monoculture into a mixed area, they set up businesses that cater to the artsy youthful sort, and they visually impact the neighborhood as they become homeowners or, as renters, give reason for the owners of apartments to clean house and try to raise rents. Early adopters rue the day that Squaresville takes over. Everything about the neighborhood that the early adopters found attractive, ranging from housing prices, to the ethnic flavor, to the character of the housing stock, and to a cozy neighborhood feel where everybody knows everybody else--it all changes. McMansions, townhomes, and massive apartment complexes come to predominate. Assuming that totheskies was truthfully portraying the reasons that he likes his neighborhood, he probably won't like it when it transitions to Squaresville.

Not at all. With the housing bust, Gen Yers have more options than ever.

The housing bust was precipitated by the elimination of easy-to-obtain mortgages and a dramatic decline in demand. The factors forcing the decline in demand for housing and the fact that younger, less experienced participants in the labor force are impacted the most by recessions would seem to suggest that Gen Y in fact has fewer options today than it had only a few years ago.

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Not at all. With the housing bust, Gen Yers have more options than ever.

Assuming they have jobs and cash and credit ratings, all 3 things that 20-somethings are largely in short supply of. Unemployment among the 20-something age group can run 20-50% higher than older, more stable workers. Credit is accumulated over time. 20-somethings are new to the world of credit, generally having lower credit scores. Net worth is also accumulated over time. In this brave new world, Gen Yers without 20% down are known as renters.

Frankly, Gen Y options are as limited today as they were when I graduated in 1982...coincidentally, another severe recession. Your Richard Florida myths do not hold water. There are few of the people you speak of. And, there are even fewer of the "options" you speak of. A young person who quits a job today thinking he can pick up a 'hip' job in a 'hip' town is as likely to find himself on the streets as he is to find a job at all. Note, there are not a lot of 'creative class' articles around these days.

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If you are going to rent, and other places are just as affordable as Houston, why stick around here? If jobs are just as hard to find anywhere, and you get stuck doing retail (or attending community college) until the recession blows over, why not live in a place where you don't have to own a car and where the weather is nice?

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If you are going to rent, and other places are just as affordable as Houston, why stick around here? If jobs are just as hard to find anywhere, and you get stuck doing retail (or attending community college) until the recession blows over, why not live in a place where you don't have to own a car and where the weather is nice?

Boy, you sure gave up on the "more options than ever" schtick fast. The fact is, during recessions, people...including Gen Y...worry about jobs over 'hip'. Everyone has their reasons for staying or going. And, in spite of your attempt to make Houston sound like punishment, many of us like it here. In fact, I came BACK here. But, if Houston is so tragically unhip, one must ask, WHY are YOU still here?

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If you are going to rent, and other places are just as affordable as Houston, why stick around here? If jobs are just as hard to find anywhere, and you get stuck doing retail (or attending community college) until the recession blows over, why not live in a place where you don't have to own a car and where the weather is nice?

The only city that comes to mind that satisfies all of your criteria is San Antonio. I will grant that San Antonio's urban living is markedly less expensive than Houston's (and also of lower quality on average), however vacancy within their downtown rental inventory is very low and a far greater percentage of its jobs are in the suburbs. It might be able to accommodate a couple hundred Gen Y households before it runs out of room, and most of those would have to commute to work (if they can find it) via car. ...somehow, though, I doubt that very many people are going to be relocating to San Antonio in order to take a retail job. And if someone is looking to further their education, San Antonio's selection of universities and community colleges is inferior to Houston's; their largest university is even located 14 miles to the northwest of downtown (the same relative distance as I-10 & Kirkwood is from downtown Houston).

Austin would probably qualify if you look solely at the averages by metropolitan area, however downtown Austin is waaay more expensive than similar offerings in Houston or San Antonio. A lot of UT students rent from crappy apartment complexes southeast of I-35, which are very well-served by bus transit--and they do use the buses--but that's not very hip. I don't know why anybody would bother to relocate speculatively from Houston to Austin if they had to live in places like that and then fend off 50,000 students for a service-sector job.

Outside of Texas, I can't think of anywhere that would meet all your criteria and have any kind of decent and affordable urban environments.

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So you think that a Gen Yer without a mortgage or a wife and kids doesn't have "options"? I'd say they have more options than anybody.

Bums have options too. Any city they'd like to bum around in is only a Greyhound bus ride away. Does that mean that they're better off for it? ...or does it matter less which city they choose to be a bum in and more that the options that they would actually want to choose from are unavailable to them?

What I'm saying is that the only real advantage Houston had -cost of living- is now gone.

I want data. Show me the money.

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Data about plummeting housing prices in other cities relative to Houston?

Data that shows current average housing prices for housing of like quality (for instance comparing one-bedroom apartments) in downtown or other 'urban' submarkets. Also, we'll need employment data, especially with respect to the number of unfilled open positions in the service sector and to what the wages are.

It may also be interesting to see how these cities have been performing over the last six months as well (every bit of evidence I've seen suggests that Houston is the least worst-off major city), but all we need to establish which cities are most likely to attract this subset of Gen Y is a snapshot of current conditions.

You may proceed to show me the data.

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but all we need to establish which cities are most likely to attract this subset of Gen Y is a snapshot of current conditions.

LoL. If that's how you arrived at your "The East End is the Gen Y neighborhood" conclusion, then that explains a lot.

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I think that any semantic-based disagreements between us can basically be chalked up to the poor definition of boundaries. When I'm talking about "Third Ward", I'm really referring to the areas in historical plat maps labeled "NEGRO SETTLEMENT". I'm pretty sure this is also the area you were referring to as a place you wouldn't want to live...pretty much as I predicted originally. Technically speaking, btw, you already live in the Third Ward and apparently didn't even realize it.

OTOH Depends on the circumstances.... if one of those shotguns comes on the market, it may be a whole lot of fun to "fix up". I'd probably need some sturdy fencing and some increased security measures, but (as I learned in my recent trip to New Orleans) those homes have a lot of potential and a lot of chracter. It would still be close to work and downtown, so time wouldn't be anymore of an issue. If I ever tire of Broadmoor, Third Ward will be kept on the table as an option. And hey ya never know... this section of Third Ward may be hip for the Millennials. I might be able to turn a huge profit on some little places in the neighborhood to them!

I know your neighborhood well. Crunch does too. It is a mix, and it is hip. It was not always a mix, nor was it always hip. Things have really changed dramatically in the last five years or so, and they won't stop changing until the demographic character and housing prices mirror that of the Houston Heights. I realize that you don't see yourself as playing any kind of role in this process and probably feel pissed off that I'd even suggest it...but it's true. As an early adopter, you're paving the way for Squaresville. The only thing that makes you special relative to those that'll inflict the death blow is that you'll have a memory of what it was.

Ya know it's funny... you'd think after nabbing 2 degrees in music and dramatic performance, I'd know a little something about "playing roles". As best as I understand it, this is the role of the 27 year old. Still paying off that last credit card and student loans, making a way for myself in the world, and not ready to settle into one opinion, one stereotype, or one kind of expectation for my surroundings. I'm not pissed at all, in fact I rather enjoy this "role". And to me, if the East End is revived over the next few years, I'll be proud of that. House prices going up (in this case) is a good thing because people are starting to take pride in their neighborhood, and they want to show that it is worth something to them. Granted, that means the "poor will be pushed out" for the most part, but that view is a 2-sided street as well. Better neighborhoods mean more income, and more income means more ways to help the city's poor. It would be awesome to have more groups like the Open Door Mission or SEARCH that are here in the East End as well. And ya, if I am headed to Squaresville, might as well sit back and enjoy the ride. If I don't, then I'll miss out on all the cool stories to tell about "what it used to be like" when I'm 57. Even now, I'm working on a compendium of stories for the next generation... "What life was like BEFORE the internet".

No. Never allow yourself to feel shame. Shame is the reverse of arbitrage. It is when you make yourself feel worse for purposes that do not benefit anybody. It is the worst kind of state of mind.

Enjoy what you have, live for it and for yourself, and accept that others will do the same. The neighborhood will change on account of the others (and upon the presence of people like you, who the others are attracted to), whose values differ from yours, yet you will have memories of living in this moment in time. They can't take that away. For a time, you will no doubt self-righteously hold your status as an early adopter over the heads of newcomers, and you can either revel in your artificially-generated sense of self-importance--or you can find a different neighborhood similar to this one and do it all over again--or you may choose to enjoy a different kind of urban experience. It is your decision, and you should revel in it.

...but, at the same time, it is ignorant to deny that your own presence in this neighborhood isn't effecting the destruction of the qualities that you claim to hold dear. People like you are using it up. That is fine. Have fun! It is but one more example of a neighborhood which shall be tamed by a generation of idealistic self-important youth. The latter part of the Baby Boomers had Montrose, Gen X had the Heights, Gen Y will have the East End.

Again... opera singer here... shame leads to Drama, and I LOVE Drama! To me, that "deconstruction" is the fabric of life. We all have to meet in the middle, grab onto the carosel, and make some memories along the way. Who knows what Houston will be in 20 years... River Oaks may become a crime-infested ghetto. We just don't know yet. But what I do know is what I love about Houston... things do not sit stagnant here. I'm overjoyed at the Rail Line and the potential that it brings for the East End. Come 2013, I may change my tune and think it SUCKS, but right now, this is my song, and I'm a-gon' ta sing it. And as for those neighborhoods that the other generations "fixed up"... hats off to them, b/c Montrose and the Heights are some of the coolest areas of the city.

Edited by totheskies
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Totheskies, you and I aren't really all that different. We couldn't come from more different professional backgrounds and clearly do disagree (sometimes vehemently) on the little stuff, but as far as our own individualized preferences, we're pretty much simpatico.

N Judah, where's the data to back up your unfounded assertions?

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who says i need any? and what makes you think my assertions are unfounded?

I say you need to support your position with facts. The notion that Houston has lost its lead in terms of cost of living doesn't pass the sniff test. For further details as to why I take issue with your assertions, go back and read my earlier posts.

...or do you intend just to troll about again, making all kinds of ridiculous assertions without any intent of supporting them when challenged, instead prodding other (gullible) people to explain over and over and over why they think you're wrong, apparently reading only every other sentence of what they write before dismissing their opinion as different from yours and therefore wrong? Somehow, I suspect that this is the case. <_<

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I say you need to support your position with facts. The notion that Houston has lost its lead in terms of cost of living doesn't pass the sniff test.

Well, irrespective of what you think, other cities are now relatively cheaper. This doesn't necessarily preclude the East End from becoming that "Gen Y destination" that you (and other speculators) are hoping for, so there's really no need to take any of this so personally. OK?

Edited by N Judah
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Well, irrespective of what you think, other cities are now relatively cheaper. This doesn't necessarily preclude the East End from becoming that "Gen Y destination" that you (and other speculators) are hoping for, so there's really no need to take any of this so personally. OK?

Which cities? What is their capacity to lure Gen Y? Is it such that Houston is at any kind of disadvantage?

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no

who says i need any? and what makes you think my assertions are unfounded?

If you want people to take you seriously, you need to have proof to corroborate your position.

If you can produce facts to back up your assertions, people may actually agree with what you are saying. It is easy.

I disagree with The Niche in regards to light rail vs other forms of mass transit, but unless I can come up with proof of what I think, I can't expect him to see things my way. Since all I have is my casual observations, I can't do much except agree to disagree.

So, the onus is on you. Provide data to back up your claims, or continue to have people disagree with your position.

Hell, you can even give your ideas as to why you hold your position and they may provide facts to show why you are mistaken.

Edited by samagon
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Hell, you can even give your ideas as to why you hold your position and they may provide facts to show why you are mistaken.

In the spirit of things, here's a resource to compare various items as part of a person's cost of living, sourced from the ACCRA Cost of Living Index. Have at it!

I don't have access to Reis apartment data anymore, but if there's someone out there that has it, it may be interesting to compare price points in Houston with the likes of Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, New York City, Washington D.C., or Boston. I don't doubt that effective rents are down in markets that are supposed to be attractive to Gen Y, but it would truly shock me if N Judah was correct that we've lost our cost of living advantage.

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