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What is holding Downtown down?

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Quit moving the goalposts. You stated in post #90 that if Houston did not improve infrastructure, improve air quality, that people would get fed up and leave. NOW, you say that people want better transit. Big deal. I want better transit, too! But, I am not leaving Houston, and neither are the people with good jobs. None of those people at your company are leaving. No one is leaving. You are a screaming Chicken Little...and a troll. 

 

The one with little grasp of reality is you. Every day you ignore that Houston is the most thriving and growing city in the US. Every day you cry that Houston sucks. The fact is, we will not miss you when you finally go away. We may wish to improve our city, but we are not leaving if it takes time to do so. Please leave us. Denver needs you.    :lol:

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Quit moving the goalposts. You stated in post #90 that if Houston did not improve infrastructure, improve air quality, that people would get fed up and leave. NOW, you say that people want better transit. Big deal. I want better transit, too! But, I am not leaving Houston, and neither are the people with good jobs. None of those people at your company are leaving. No one is leaving. You are a screaming Chicken Little...and a troll.

The one with little grasp of reality is you. Every day you ignore that Houston is the most thriving and growing city in the US. Every day you cry that Houston sucks. The fact is, we will not miss you when you finally go away. We may wish to improve our city, but we are not leaving if it takes time to do so. Please leave us. Denver needs you. :lol:

People leave, I've seen many go to California, New York, Colorado, Florida, and Washington state. And this is in the last few months. Once people have the money to live anywhere, they don't usually pick houston because houston refuses to change and upgrade its infrastructure among other things. Just because someone starts working here doesn't mean they are bound to houston. And I stand by the other things I said about air quality which is probably the biggest issue. Do you know how many people in houston have respiratory issues? Why do you think that is? Either houston has to make change or people will get fed up. Just because you're triple the age of the new workers doesn't mean you can give them the middle finger.

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Ha Ha! People leaving to California? Dream on!    :lol:

 

Our problem is not people leaving. Our problem is dealing with too many people moving here! And, while I am nowhere near triple the age of the new workers, since I am a business owner, I can indeed give them the middle finger. I am the one hiring them!   :lol:

 

 

I am curious, though. If air quality is our big problem, why would people leave here for California, the state with far worse air quality than ours? Are you making things up as you go along?

Edited by RedScare
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Ha Ha! People leaving to California? Dream on! :lol:

Our problem is not people leaving. Our problem is dealing with too many people moving here! And, while I am nowhere near triple the age of the new workers, since I am a business owner, I can indeed give them the middle finger. I am the one hiring them! :lol:

I am curious, though. If air quality is our big problem, why would people leave here for California, the state with far worse air quality than ours? Are you making things up as you go along?

"Air pollution is proportional to vehicular traffic," said John Swanton, an air pollution specialist with the California Air Resources Board.

Since houston refuses to improve transit infrastructure and the population is getting bigger, this means more cars on the road, which means worse air quality and worse traffic leading to mor asthma, respiratory problems, and wasted time overall.

Again as huge did in another thread look at the maps of LA Metro, New York MTA, Chicago MTA, and houston metro. Ours is a joke. A laugher. And when people come here from other cities guess what they do expect certain things they are used to. So basically, one of two things will happen: they will either made their voices known which means that something will have to get done regarding public transit, or once they are in a position in their careers where they can leave, they will give you the middle finger and leave out of disgust. Our system right now is totally unsustainable. You've lived longer than I have here but I've spent 2/3 of my life here as well, and while I admit houston has positives I'm not afraid to criticize it, and I do it because I want to see improvement I'm not a muppet that's going to just accept whatever happens. You can sit here and just let things happen but when young people want change it will happen.

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And I stand by the other things I said about air quality which is probably the biggest issue. Do you know how many people in houston have respiratory issues? Why do you think that is? Either houston has to make change or people will get fed up. Just because you're triple the age of the new workers doesn't mean you can give them the middle finger.

 

To add to Red's point, California cities make appearances 29 times on a list of the 75 most polluted cities by the American Lung Association. Houston shows up once, under ozone, and so does almost every other large city that experiences warm summer weather (New York, LA, Philadelphia, D.C., Dallas, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and San Diego, for example). L.A. is in the top 5 most polluted list for every category. 

 

I certainly will always want cleaner air and believe there is room for improvement, but there seems to be a big discrepancy between the perception and reality of our air quality. 

 

It would be interesting to see a study on pollution-related respiratory issues for Houston versus other cities to back up your claim. Chances are that these folks you speak of will be worse off in most other large cities based on the ALA data. 

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Sorry but it doesn't take hundreds of millions of dollars to create a world class bus system in Houston.

 

We "invested" in light rail? I wonder how that investment paid off for all the small business owners along main street, where are they now?

 

Okay forget about the light rail for a second.  What's your suggestion on creating a world class bus system? 

 

We'd have to: create grade separations along at-grade rail crossings, so buses aren't held up for 20 minutes by trains. 

 

There'd have to be indicators at most bus stops indicating when the next bus will arrive.  You'd also have to have separate bus lanes on every route so that buses won't get held up in the same traffic as everyone else.  Also, you'd have to get mostly new buses so they don't break down.  And a LOT more bus shelters.  System-wide, that'd cost more money than you'd think. 

 

There are plenty of small business owners along main street.  How many businesses went out of business during construction of light rail?  And how many new ones have opened up since?  I can't take your point seriously until you give me raw numbers. 

 

METRO gets more return on their investment on light rail than they do buses.  It is cheaper to transport a rail rider in Houston than a bus rider.  That is a fact.

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11 cities with worst air pollution

 

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20490855,00.html

 

HaHaHa!!! Houston nowhere on the list. We got crowded out by all the California cities!

 

BTW, I just got back from a bike ride with a bunch of Millenials, probably 30 of them. We had a great time breathing that clean Houston air while we rode. Funny thing, though. Rail transit never came up once, even though we rode across the rail tracks several times.

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It will. I was in Bermuda a couple of weeks ago and it was 98 with 100% humidity. However when you walk in the shade it is quite tolerable. Also many of the buildings there left windows open, probably due to the high cost of electricity. I think society here is so hooked on A/C they don't think of the small nuances.

 

I looked at the weather for Doha, Qatar last night. at 9pm, it was 94 degrees there with humidity of 67%. That gave a heat index of 117. That's pretty mild compared to some of the days when I lived there, where the heat index at 10pm was 136 - temps at 95-98 and humidity at 75%. Since it was night time, there was no sun. I guarantee you it was damned hot. Shade makes a difference when the humidity is low, but not when it is high. in Doha, when the temperature is 115 and the humidity is 10%, shade and a mister make it very tolerable, heck I played golf in those conditions, and didn't feel too bad. When I played golf under the lights at night with a heat index of 120 due to high humidity, I felt like crap when I was done.

 

As for open windows, again, it depends on the humidity. My parents grew up here and in South Texas without AC. Their general opinion is that it sucked. That was my grandparents opinion as well.

 

I'll reiterate my comment that there is no way it was 98 degrees in Bermuda with 100% humidity. And, if you check, the record high for Hamilton, Bermuda, is 93. The data on Wunderground for St. David for July 15 to present shows a maximum temperature of 89, thus making your entire claim specious.

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11 cities with worst air pollution

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20490855,00.html

HaHaHa!!! Houston nowhere on the list. We got crowded out by all the California cities!

BTW, I just got back from a bike ride with a bunch of Millenials, probably 30 of them. We had a great time breathing that clean Houston air while we rode. Funny thing, though. Rail transit never came up once, even though we rode across the rail tracks several times.

By Ingrid Lobet

July 14, 2013

A team of researchers at Rice University is gearing up to address a critical knowledge gap in the southeast Texas health picture - small-particle air pollution and who is being exposed to it.

If your knowledge of small-particle pollution is sadly out of date, it's little wonder. For years, most air information in the Houston area has focused on lung-damaging ozone, or on air poisons such as benzene and butadiene.

But health researchers are increasingly concerned about particles and about how vague a picture they possess of concentrations in the eight-county area.

Detection invention: The age of personal air monitoring is at hand

Hundreds of studies now implicate small particles in conditions that lower quality of life, from asthma to disabling stroke to, possibly, autism spectrum.

There is another imperative as well: The region is barely skirting a new, stricter federal limit on small particles.

The network of local air monitors that can measure fine particles is weak compared with the network for ozone. The gauges that do monitor small particles provide a level of data better suited to the last century. They can tell, for instance, the total mass of particles in a cubic meter of air that are smaller than the width of spider silk. But researchers nowadays want to know more; they want to know the makeup.

More sophisticated equipment "would show what percentage of the particles were sulfates, for example," says Rob Griffin, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice.

"That would indicate they probably came from coal-fired power plants. It would show what percentage are nitrates," which would indicate they came from some kind of engine or burning. Black carbon, or soot, and ammonium are other major constituents of small-particle pollution and each helps sketch in the picture of these pollutants' origin.

In September, the Rice researchers together with Barry Lefer, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Houston, will pilot a mobile laboratory capable of making such distinctions, in nearly real-time. They'll gather samples all day. Then they will use that data to design a year-long mobile monitoring campaign.

But even before that, in the next couple of months, two other Rice researchers in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Biomedical Informaticswill take air data from the monitors that do already exist plus patient medical records, and they will combine these two sets of information in novel ways.

Rachel Kimbro and Justin Denney, director and associate director of the Kinder Institute Urban Health Program at Rice, both sociologists, have gained access to hundreds of thousands of emergency room, outpatient and clinic records from the University of Texas. An informatics team there has been putting that data into analyzable form. Kimbro and Denney will spend the summer matching this treasure trove of patient data with air information from the existing network small-particle monitors.

Particle hot spots?

"Then we can start to analyze a host of cardiovascular health events that people have experienced over the years," says Denney.

Kimbro says they hope to determine whether the risk from fine particles is spread equally around the urban area or whether there are particle hot spots.

"We are hoping to compare neighborhoods in Houston - which have similar compositions by race, ethnicity, income and education - one of which is closer to a hot spot and one of which is further from a hot spot," Kimbro says. "This will let us more clearly test whether health differences across neighborhoods may be due to different exposures."

One thing they will not be able to identify this summer is whether particle pollution is contributing to health issues on the west side. That's because there are no monitors checking for small particles on the west side.

"Unlike other health hazards, air is everywhere, Denney said. "We're all exposed to it."

The two complementary projects, which are funded by the Houston Endowment, will provide a check for each other in pinpointing vicinities of high small-particulate pollution.

The issue of particle pollution is one that has risen high on the horizon for communities across the country in recent years, especially port communities such as Los Angeles, Long Beach, Calif., Seattle and Newark, N.J. As ports have tried to expand, often to accommodate giant Panamax vessels through a widened Panama Canal, these communities have cried foul, demanding pollution reductions in exchange.

Port areas affected

Over the last decade, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been forced to pressure their clients - international shipping companies such as COSCO - to switch to cleaner diesel fuel as they edge into port. They also pressured trucking companies that call on the ports to retire older trucks. Newer ones burn dramatically cleaner. And they've switched to electric port equipment, all with the result that particle emissions have plummeted.

Port neighborhoods in Houston may be starting to organize as well. Two hundred people attended a town meeting at Holland Middle School in May. Patricia Gonzales, a mother of three from Pasadena and member of the Texas Organizing Project, was one.

"We want to know what's going on around us and how it will affect our everyday lives," she said. Speakers asked for a seat on the Port of Houston Authority Commission.

Residents in Utah also have recently become energized. Utah is trying to reduce particulate levels by 40 percent. There, the main particle sources are thought to be metal smelters, manufacturing, auto body shops and, of course, cars.

Both California and Utah plan to require reductions in emissions from certain types of commercial char-broilers that use conveyor chains to move hamburger patties through a flame.

Another impetus for the changes is long-anticipated restrictions on particles from the Environmental Protection Agency. Last December, the agency lowered allowable annual averages of the small particles to 12 micrograms per cubic meter.

The Houston area is thought to be on the verge of conforming to the new limits.

About 44 million Americans live in counties that would not comply if the new limits came into force today. But EPA projects that by 2020, when all regions of the country must comply, only seven California counties will not. Bakersfield, Calif., currently has the country's highest levels. That region's plan includes limits on flaring, open burning, prescribed forest burns, confined animal facilities, and asphalt and concrete operations.

Exposure to fine particles, even over short periods, can cause premature death, heart attacks and asthma attacks.

More recent findings

Just a few weeks ago, researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health found faster hardening of the arteries for people who live in dirtier neighborhoods compared with cleaner ones in the same cities. They used ultrasound to measure thickening of the carotid artery. When pieces of plaque or blood clots from arterial walls break off and flow to the brain, they can cut off blood flow, causing stroke or death.

Recent findings published by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes show an increase in insulin resistance with exposure to more small air particles. When the body is resistant to the sugar-counteracting hormone insulin, blood-sugar levels can soar.

On the hopeful side, other new research from the Harvard School of Public Health indicates even small improvements in particle pollution may lead to longer life.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Air-pollution-Scientists-focus-on-the-small-stuff-4663975.php

Edited by Slick Vik

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METRO gets more return on their investment on light rail than they do buses.  It is cheaper to transport a rail rider in Houston than a bus rider.  That is a fact.

 

Nonsense. That's like saying it cheaper to transport a passenger on the Queen Marry 2 vs my personal motor vessel. Yes it may be cheaper to operate on a passenger per mile basis, but you're ignoring the billion(s) of dollars it cost to design and build the thing. And let me know if it's still cheaper to operate in a few months once the red line is complete.

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In Houston, air pollution concerns usually center on ozone. The area violates federal standards on ozone and perpetually struggles to become compliant.

But Houston environmentalists and businesses are paying increasingly close attention to another pollutant — fine dust. It’s more dangerous than ozone, some say, and the federal government will decide by the end of next year whether the Houston area violates newly tightened federal standards.

“It’s a big uncertainty right now,” said Dan Cohan, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Rice University.

If Houston is found to be in violation of federal standards, it could be costly for local industries, which might need to install new controls to reduce dust. It could also hurt the reputation of a region that has been trying for decades to clean up its air.

The dust, which is also known as fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, “is probably the deadliest of all air pollutants,” Cohan said. It will “not just affect the respiratory system but actually enter the blood stream, causing cardiovascular effects as well."

The pollutant comes from a variety of sources, including automobile and industrial emissions and plain old dust.

If Houston becomes noncompliant for fine dust, it could become the first area in Texas to do so. The El Paso region also faces this possibility. Its highest fine-dust reading is currently lower than Houston's, but a dusty 2013 could tip the area into noncompliance, said Terry Clawson, a spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

El Paso already violates federal standards for a coarser type of dust known as PM 10, but scientists say the fine dust is more worrisome.

The federal standard for PM 2.5 was tightened significantly last December as scientists came to appreciate the harmful nature of fine dust. The new standard is 12 micrograms per cubic meter, versus 15 under the old standard.

And a single air-pollution monitor can tip an entire region into “non-attainment” of federal standards.

In Houston, the monitor with the highest readings for fine dust is along Clinton Drive, near the Port of Houston, where truck traffic rumbles by. It shows readings that are slightly above federal standards, 12.1 micrograms per cubic meter on average over the past three years (2010, 2011 and 2012). The Environmental Protection Agency will base its assessment of Houston’s situation on a three-year average.

The EPA is not expected to designate any areas as “non-attainment” until the end of next year — so if 2013 numbers improve, it could bring the three-year average down and pull Houston out of non-attainment.

Should the final numbers show Houston out of compliance, the TCEQ will argue to the EPA that “exceptional dust and smoke events that originated outside of the United States” occurred in 2010 and 2011, and the agency should exclude some of the high measurements, said Clawson, of the TCEQ. Gov. Rick Perry will need to sign off on TCEQ’s recommendation, which is due to the EPA by the end of the year.

Austin Vela, a regional EPA spokesman, said that Texas would need to demonstrate that the events warrant an exception to its rules if the data is to be discounted.

The TCEQ is likely to make a similar argument for El Paso, should a monitor near the Chamizal National Memorial show high readings again this year. Currently, the three-year average for readings at that monitor is 10.7 micrograms per cubic meter, said the TCEQ's Clawson, but a dusty 2013 could push the three-year average above 12 micrograms per cubic meter.

Laura Spanjian, the sustainability director for the city of Houston, said in an email that the numbers for fine particulate matter are “trending slightly downward this year” in the area.

Nonetheless, “the economy is improving, making it imperative that we continue to reduce emissions and implement programs to bring down particulates, particularly in east Houston,” she said.

As Spanjian noted, the numbers at the Clinton Drive monitor have fallen substantially in recent years. Local officials, concerned about staying within federal limits, have worked hard to bring down the figures. Several years ago, for example, officials paved a dusty parking lot nearby. In some recent years Houston's Port Authority has also spent $500,000 annually to spray a coating on roads to reduce dust, according to the port's spring 2013 newsletter.

But environmentalists still have concerns. Adrian Shelley, executive director of Air Alliance Houston, said he welcomed work to reduce fine dust but feared that the monitor near the newly paved parking lot was “unrepresentative of the larger picture of particulate matter in the region.”

Shelley’s group has installed some monitors nearby in an area called Galena Park. While the results have yet to be verified, he said, “our data suggests that particulate matters levels, at least in Galena Park, are several micrograms higher than what the Clinton Drive monitor suggests."

If Houston is declared “non-attainment,” or out of compliance with federal standards, the state would need to craft a plan to reduce fine dust in the region. The EPA would have to approve the plan, which could cover a broad or narrow swathe of the Houston region.

Cohan, of Rice, said that the Houston area already “very stringently” controls emissions of some possible fine-dust pollutants — nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds — to reduce ozone levels. Additional compliance measures might bring an increased focus on sulfur-dioxide emissions from power plants, or “gases like ammonia, which have rarely been regulated before.”

Meanwhile, a Houston group could move forward with measures to encourage businesses to help reduce fine dust. On Thursday, the regional air quality planning committee, a group under the Houston-Galveston Area Council of Governments, will vote on whether to recommend to the council’s board that they create a voluntary “advance” plan to battle fine dust.

If the idea goes forward, a plan would probably be created over the next year, said Shelley, a member of the committee.

“We need everybody in the region to participate in the particulate matter advance program now,” he said, “as an aggressive means of achieving reductions before we get that non-attainment designation.”

http://www.texastribune.org/2013/05/30/houston-too-much-fine-dust/

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The calls to the city of Houston's 311 help line came in the early morning and the middle of the night - complaints of red smoke, yellow smoke, explosions, fire, a child having trouble breathing.

Reports like these - 189 of them over the last five years - led Houston air authorities to discover a previously unrecognized and dangerous source of air pollution: metal recyclers and car crushers, according to interviews and documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

The smoke comes from cutting metal with torches and from fire when vehicle gas tanks aren't drained properly. Explosions can occur when propane tanks are fed into the maw of the crushers.

Descriptions of shattering noise, cracked walls and smoke were significant enough that the city had to "dedicate a good amount of effort responding to these complaints," said Arturo Blanco, chief of the city's Bureau of Pollution Control and Prevention.

Subsequent testing outside five Houston metal recycling operations found dangerous levels of hexavalent chromium. Chrome VI, as it's also called, is a high priority for air experts.

"People were complaining about smoke, and it turns out there were carcinogenic metals," said Loren Raun, an environmental statistician at Rice University. "And we found them only around these facilities, not in other areas we tested, not even in other industrial areas of the city."

New pollution source

When inhaled, hexa­valent chromium is deposited in the lungs, can penetrate cells and cause free radicals, which damage DNA, ultimately causing lung cancer. When California gained the authority to regulate air pollution hazards in the 1980s, hexavalent chromium shared top priority, along with benzene. The state considers Chrome VI one of the most potent carcinogens known.

Forty years after the passage of the Clean Air Act, it's rare to find a new source of air pollution. But new sources can appear as the economy changes. The materials economy is evolving. What once was a sideline industry - recycling - is becoming central to manufacturing.

Many of the minerals that make the screens, toys and cars used every day are finite in the Earth's crust. Others are simply expensive. For every material - aluminum, lead, steel, sulfur, mercury - there is a point where it's cheaper or safer to recover it from our garbage than to mine or forge it fresh.

As international prices for materials rise, more batteries are being recycled. More TVs are being recycled. More cars are being recycled.

Sometimes, that comes with a price.

"When you weld or cut, you are vaporizing metal," said Don Richner, an industrial hygienist and analytical chemist also with the Bureau of Pollution Control and Prevention. "All the missing metal is vapor in the air."

Houston appears to be the first to examine metal emissions from the industry, and in so doing may have flagged a national problem. The Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate the facilities, though there are now 6,000 of them in the United States, according to Joe Pickard, chief economist with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc.

Assessing the risk

For Houston, the complaints began in older neighborhoods like Magnolia Park and Manchester, though researchers would later find surprising results even in the Washington Avenue area, where few people complained.

The city team initially measured particles. Some scrap yards had no appreciable emissions. But enough did that researchers felt they had to do more. With little in guidance available from other jurisdictions, they decided to create a scoring tool to help compare risk among processors.

Richner and colleagues scored each metal recycler based on several questions: how close it was to dense neighborhoods, how many complaints it had received, how many violations, and whether the operator used torches to cut metal.

The company with the highest priority score on the matrix was Holmes Road Recycling near Houston's Sunnyside neighborhood. Since then, company vice president Sheldon Tuffyas said, it has reduced torch-cutting at the plant by 85 percent and taken a number of steps to reduce airborne particles. The city says the company's efforts are significant.

After this initial scoring, the city took a deeper look at the smoke and particles emanating from some of the recycling yards. Raun, who also is a senior environmental analyst with the city, chose five midsize metal recyclers in different neighborhoods. They also tested air at 10 locations with no metal processors, so as not to blame the industry for contaminants that might be widespread in Houston's air.

The researchers visited each shredder multiple times (between six and 13), and examined its emissions for chrome, cobalt, nickel, cadmium and other metals. They took into account Houston's changeable breezes, subtracting for the time the wind would be blowing pollution away. They determined that people living near these facilities would still have an increased risk of developing cancer.

Depending on the yard, they estimated there would be between 7 and 600 extra cancers per million people, the latter a risk 600 times higher than what is acceptable to federal health scientists. Among these five plants, a small sample of all those in the city, the highest cancer risk was estimated outside the Cronimet metal processor in Harrisburg/Magnolia Park and Allied Alloys in South Park.

David Porco, vice president of quality and administration at Cronimet Corp., based in Aliquippa, Pa., said Houston air officials shared their findings with him, and the company already has instructed managers at its Houston yard to reduce burning while it looks into options for capturing the metals, such as a bag house.

"We're taking a pro­active approach. We want to make sure we limit emissions that come from the facility," Porco said.

Allied Alloys said in a statement that it "is proud of our history of commitment to the environment and the safety of our workers and the communities in which we operate. We believe that our positive net impact is defined by the re-purposing of thousands of tons of metal that does not further deplete our natural resources."

Chrome was in the air outside all five of the plants where the Bureau of Pollution Control and Prevention sampled: Cronimet, Allied Alloys, Holmes Road, Spectrum Metal Recycling, and Rose Metal Processing off Washington Avenue.

TCEQ aware

Agency records show the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also has become aware of potential problems associated with shredding and torch-cutting metals. Neighbors of metals plants across Texas have called in complaints 300 times in the last five years, a Chronicle analysis shows.

A single Houston recycler, Texas Port Recycling in the Manchester neighborhood, had 41 fires and explosions over the four-month period from Oct. 12, 2007, to Feb. 6, 2008, according to state records.

Since the time of those fires, Texas Port Recycling also has taken steps to reduce emissions and explosions, and Richner said the city has not detected levels of concern outside the plant. Residents, however, say they believe frequent smoke in the neighborhood and explosions are coming from Texas Port Recycling. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Rose Metal Processing also did not respond. Spectrum Metal Recycling declined to comment.

"We want the recyclers here. We don't want them to move out. But maybe they've been flying under the radar," said Blanco, director of the Bureau of Pollution Control and Prevention.

Richner, the industrial hygienist, said he's concerned not only for residents near the recycling operations but also for the people who work cutting metal inside.

"Metals typically have coatings. Sometimes those coatings are lead paint. Who is telling these people: 'This could be lead paint, this could be cadmium, this could be chromium'?" he asked.

Inside the plants, he said, "some people are not wearing personal protective equipment and they are cutting metal. My concern is: Are they getting the health and safety training they deserve? I don't know."

In the neighborhoods alongside the plants, there are indications the calls to the city's 311 line may be only the tip of the iceberg.

In Manchester, several neighbors who said they've never complained to the city noted that smoke and loud noises are still an almost daily occurrence.

Neighbors fearful

And in one of the oldest historically Hispanic neighborhoods in the city, Magnolia Park, on the edge of another metal yard, pieces of carburetor thunder into a listing barge on Brays Bayou. A few feet away, Amanda Martinez and her husband clean metallic dust off their patio. "I have pulmonary hypertension. I worry what I'm breathing," she said.

Ginny Norton said there is frequent smoke around the quiet home her parents bought long ago. And there are explosions. "I'm afraid this little house is going to shatter and fall on my head," she said.

Just across Navigation Boulevard, the metals processor Derichebourg Recycling USA flattens and shreds scrap metal and cars. It set up its large operation a few years ago on Wharf Road, residents said, when a wave of ruined vehicles was coming in from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

In 2009, the Deriche­bourg plant signed a compliance agreement with the city, which found it had a problem with smoke, fire and explosions.

Manager Philippe Leonard points out that the company has purchased a slow shredder that can prevent gas tank fires when vendors fail to remove the tanks. It put in watering systems and paving to eliminate dust and spent $4 million on a 40-foot wall with sound insulation. "We have done everything we can for our neighbors," he said.

The changes made at Derichebourg may come to be regarded as industry standards.

In the meantime, said Blanco, whose pollution agency is part of the department of Health and Human Services, there are unaddressed health issues. "We are promoting wellness. We're promoting excellent health, but we're not making the connection."

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Danger-in-air-near-metal-recyclers-4154951.php

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Rice study identifies sources of Houston smog particulates

Research shows diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles are primary contributors

HOUSTON, April 21, 2003 -- Air quality researchers at Rice University in Houston have completed the first detailed study that attempts to apportion the fine particulate matter measured in the city's smog to their sources of origin.

The researchers found that diesel engines are the primary contributors of fine particles to Houston's air, followed by gasoline-powered vehicles and road dust. Smoke particles from wood burning and fatty acids from meat grilling contributed considerably smaller but nonetheless significant amounts of the particulates in Houston's air.

"There's been a good deal of speculation about the relative contribution of various sources to the particulate matter in air pollution," said lead researcher Matthew P. Fraser, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University. "With this study, we're helping build a scientific body of evidence that policymakers and regulators can use to focus attention on the most significant contributors."

The findings from the Houston study will be published in the May 15 issue of the journal Atmospheric Environment.

The data in the study, a composite of seasonal samples representing a total of four months of records, were collected in 1997-1998 at four locations in the greater Houston-Galveston area. One site, located on Galveston Island, served as a background site because it is commonly upwind of the Houston metropolitan area, with typical winds off the Gulf of Mexico. Of the other sites, one was in a northwestern suburb and two were located near the petrochemical complexes along the Houston Ship Channel.

Collaborators at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., analyzed each air sample by quantifying the major chemical components making up the fine particles. At Rice, researchers measured individual organic compounds that have been linked to specific sources of air pollution like smokestack emissions or diesel exhaust. By analyzing the amount of these markers in each sample and comparing them to source emissions records, Fraser and graduate students Birnur Buzcu and David Yue were able to determine the precise proportion of particulate matter produced by each source.

The study is part of ongoing national effort to better characterize and understand the sources of fine particles in the atmosphere. Compared to gas pollutants like carbon dioxide and ozone, relatively little research has been conducted in the area of airborne particulates. Air quality researchers want to know more because a growing body of medical evidence suggests that exposure to fine particulate matter can cause serious health problems.

The source apportionment of fine particles did not focus on ammonium sulfate -- a byproduct of large scale, industrial fossil fuel combustion. As the largest single component of particulate matter -- accounting for some 40 percent -- a number of previous studies have investigated the sources of ammonium sulfate. Instead, Fraser's team focused on less understood sources of fine particles like vehicle emissions.

Diesel exhausts, which accounted for only 4 percent of particulates at the Galveston site, accounted for up to 17 percent at urbanized locations. Particulates from gasoline-powered vehicles, which also accounted for only 4 percent of the ambient particles in Galveston, accounted for up to 13 percent of particulates at urban locations.

At all but one location near the ship channel, road dust contributed fewer particulates than vehicle exhaust. At the suburban location, road dust was measured at just over one microgram per cubic meter. While this was 10 times the background level of road dust measured at Galveston, it was still less than less than half the mass of particles collected from diesel exhaust.

The study found that fuel oil combustion, a common practice at the industrial plants located along the ship channel, produced up to 1.5 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter at one location. These types of particles didn't register at all in the background sample.

"This is significant because it's the first time particulates from fuel oil combustion have been found in an apportionment study," said Fraser. "The findings weren't unexpected, given the nature of industrial activity in the city, but they are indicative of an air quality pattern that may be unique to the city."

Fraser said air quality researchers working on apportionment studies for particulate matter in other U.S. metropolitan areas expect to find similar, "signature" patterns. Each pattern will reflect a mix of factors such as meteorology, population density and the city's industrial profile.

###

The apportionment study was sponsored by the American Chemistry Council's Atmospheric Chemistry Technical Implementation Panel. Sample collection and analysis were sponsored by the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, the Houston Regional Monitoring Corporation and the City of Houston.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-04/ru-rsi041803.php

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As for open windows, again, it depends on the humidity. My parents grew up here and in South Texas without AC. Their general opinion is that it sucked. That was my grandparents opinion as well.

I'll reiterate my comment that there is no way it was 98 degrees in Bermuda with 100% humidity. And, if you check, the record high for Hamilton, Bermuda, is 93. The data on Wunderground for St. David for July 15 to present shows a maximum temperature of 89, thus making your entire claim specious.

I was on the planet Mercury this weekend and even though it was 800 degrees nobody had their AC turned on.

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The Houston area is thought to be on the verge of conforming to the new limits.

 

 

Currently, the three-year average for readings at that monitor is 10.7 micrograms per cubic meter, said the TCEQ's Clawson, but a dusty 2013 could push the three-year average above 12 micrograms per cubic meter.

 

 

The EPA is not expected to designate any areas as “non-attainment” until the end of next year — so if 2013 numbers improve, it could bring the three-year average down and pull Houston out of non-attainment.

 

 

So, you post a bunch of articles that show Houston making great strides on air quality improvement to show that we have bad air quality? Those articles also show California continues to have worse air quality than Houston. Congratulations on shooting down your own argument. Now, let us see an article that shows people leaving Houston because of our improvements in air quality...because that was your ridiculous statement to begin with. 

 

Keep in mind that Houston is leading the country in population growth. You're going to have to work awfully hard to prove that anyone is leaving Houston for any reason at all when we are first in growth.

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So, you post a bunch of articles that show Houston making great strides on air quality improvement to show that we have bad air quality? Those articles also show California continues to have worse air quality than Houston. Congratulations on shooting down your own argument. Now, let us see an article that shows people leaving Houston because of our improvements in air quality...because that was your ridiculous statement to begin with.

Keep in mind that Houston is leading the country in population growth. You're going to have to work awfully hard to prove that anyone is leaving Houston for any reason at all when we are first in growth.

The second quote you pulled is in reference to El Paso. Right now houston is over the new limit of 12. Good work red.

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I was on the planet Mercury this weekend and even though it was 800 degrees nobody had their AC turned on.

The majority of my family lives in a country which just recently got AC. Even though a/c is now available they are so used to living without they don't buy one.

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The majority of my family lives in a country which just recently got AC. Even though a/c is now available they are so used to living without they don't buy one.

 

I lived in Africa, 30 miles South of the Equator, for a few years. Every time one of the locals I worked with had enough money, they bought an AC for their house. Ha, my anecdote trumps yours! I also do not believe there is a country that is just now getting AC. Every third world place I've been to has had AC available for decades.

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The majority of my family lives in a country which just recently got AC. Even though a/c is now available they are so used to living without they don't buy one.

Ah yes, yet another example of "I know a few people who do this, so it must be true for everyone." Certainly, there's no correlation between the huge growth of Southern cities like Houston and the commercial availability of air conditioning. I'm guessing that this is just another government conspiracy, people don't really want air conditioning, they've been brainwashed into thinking that they do.

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2012/06/cities-might-not-exist-without-air-conditioning/2399/

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The second quote you pulled is in reference to El Paso. Right now houston is over the new limit of 12. Good work red.

 

Yes, barely.

 

 

 It shows readings that are slightly above federal standards, 12.1 micrograms per cubic meter on average over the past three years (2010, 2011 and 2012).

 

Show me anyone...ANYONE...who has left Houston because it has a three year average particulate leve 0.1 above an arbitrary limit, that may drop below the acceptable level by the time they take official measurements.

 

ANYONE AT ALL! Remember, this is your made up claim. Prove it!

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Just for clarification, we are discussing what is holding downtown down, not the entire city.

Yeah, my original post that appears to have sparked this was simply a statement that suggested that retail would develop in downtown at the point that the residential population reaches approx. 15,000-20,000. This basically ties to my belief that retail follows residential growth, instead of retail driving residential growth.

From there, it appears to have devolved into the normal HAIF maelstrom of name-calling and unrelated topics.

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Translation: Because a couple of dirt farmers live in some 3rd world hellhole without AC, Houstonians should live without it too.

 

Newsflash! That is why they are known as "third world countries". Because they live in deplorable conditions. When you decide to live here without AC, let us know, so that we can laugh at you. Until then, you will continue to be known as the HAIF Hypocrite. You are shaming no one.

 

Calling my family dirt farmers is pretty pathetic and uncalled for.

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Yes, barely.

 

 

 

Show me anyone...ANYONE...who has left Houston because it has a three year average particulate leve 0.1 above an arbitrary limit, that may drop below the acceptable level by the time they take official measurements.

 

ANYONE AT ALL! Remember, this is your made up claim. Prove it!

 

You missed the part of the article that said a monitor posted in Galena Park was significantly higher than 12. If you think Houston air is clean, I don't know what to say.

 

And I know people whose kids had such bad asthma problems they left Houston for the sake of their kids. There you go.

Edited by Slick Vik

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Calling my family dirt farmers is pretty pathetic and uncalled for.

 

You brought them into the discussion. They are fair game. Speaking of pathetic and uncalled for, comparing Houston to third world countries is also pathetic and uncalled for...oh, and completely unrelated to the discussion.

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You missed the part of the article that said a monitor posted in Galena Park was significantly higher than 12. If you think Houston air is clean, I don't know what to say.

 

And I know people whose kids had such bad asthma problems they left Houston for the sake of their kids. There you go.

 

No you don't. You made that up. Thanks, though.

 

BTW, Galena Park is not Houston. That is like comparing Houston to third world countries. We don't live there.

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You brought them into the discussion. They are fair game. Speaking of pathetic and uncalled for, comparing Houston to third world countries is also pathetic and uncalled for...oh, and completely unrelated to the discussion.

 

That's personal, and it's uncalled for.

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That's personal, and it's uncalled for.

 

When you bring your personal life up in your posts, you invite comparisons. That I question your mental and physical toughness is based only on your posts, nothing that I brought up.

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So Clinton Drive is Houston?

 

So only one street in Houston has high particulate pollution, and that's due to a high degree of truck traffic? It sounds like we're doing quite well then since the problem is isolated away from where most folks live.

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Nonsense. That's like saying it cheaper to transport a passenger on the Queen Marry 2 vs my personal motor vessel. Yes it may be cheaper to operate on a passenger per mile basis, but you're ignoring the billion(s) of dollars it cost to design and build the thing. And let me know if it's still cheaper to operate in a few months once the red line is complete.

 

Actually, I am taking into account the $300 million in capital costs for the original red line. 

 

Over a period of 10-15 years, the Red line has made up its capital cost in the difference of operating costs per passenger.  Don't forget, with each passing year, millions more boardings are occurring on the train.  Rail lines are there for over 100 years, in the long run it is cheaper. 

 

Other systems haven't fared so well.  DART's system, for example, hasn't come close to covering it's capital costs with higher efficiency operations.  Not all rail systems are successful like Houston's Red Line. 

 

And the jury is still out on whether the new rail lines will have enough ridership to keep operating costs per boarding down.  It will likely take a few years like it did for the Red Line for the new lines to reach their highest potential ridership, and another 15-20 years to make up the capital costs. 

 

I am also in favor of making a better bus system.  But we are going to have to fork over more taxpayer dollars if we are serious about improving our transit system.

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Actually, I am taking into account the $300 million in capital costs for the original red line.

Over a period of 10-15 years, the Red line has made up its capital cost in the difference of operating costs per passenger. Don't forget, with each passing year, millions more boardings are occurring on the train. Rail lines are there for over 100 years, in the long run it is cheaper.

Other systems haven't fared so well. DART's system, for example, hasn't come close to covering it's capital costs with higher efficiency operations. Not all rail systems are successful like Houston's Red Line.

And the jury is still out on whether the new rail lines will have enough ridership to keep operating costs per boarding down. It will likely take a few years like it did for the Red Line for the new lines to reach their highest potential ridership, and another 15-20 years to make up the capital costs.

I am also in favor of making a better bus system. But we are going to have to fork over more taxpayer dollars if we are serious about improving our transit system.

I think that's absolutely the key question once we get all the hyperbole out of the way. I don't think that anyone questions that the transit system needs to be improved, but I do think that there is room for intelligent conversation regarding the best way to achieve that. I personally feel that focusing the tax dollars that are available on drastically improving the bus system is likely to provide better value per dollar than focusing on building a couple of light rail lines.

I would agree with your concern about whether the light rail lines that are under construction are going to generate enough ridership especially if appropriate steps aren't taken to strengthen the bus system.

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I think that's absolutely the key question once we get all the hyperbole out of the way. I don't think that anyone questions that the transit system needs to be improved, but I do think that there is room for intelligent conversation regarding the best way to achieve that. I personally feel that focusing the tax dollars that are available on drastically improving the bus system is likely to provide better value per dollar than focusing on building a couple of light rail lines.

I would agree with your concern about whether the light rail lines that are under construction are going to generate enough ridership especially if appropriate steps aren't taken to strengthen the bus system.

 

Even if you have an excellent bus system, at some point you need a rail element to make the heart of a true transit system, especially with the population growing on a daily basis. But I agree, all elements need to be excellent: Rail, bus, and bus rapid transit.

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Actually, this is simply your opinion, based completely on your obsession with rail transit. Houston could have a very well run run transit system comprised entirely of busses if it chose to. The only problem with an all bus system would be that you don't like it. There is no protocol anywhere in the world that says transit systems must have rail to be a "true transit system". Only rail fanboys claim that.

 

Buses share traffic with regular vehicles, thereby taking any efficiency out of the equation.

 

Is the rest of the world full of rail fanboys then?

Edited by Slick Vik

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Even if you have an excellent bus system, at some point you need a rail element to make the heart of a true transit system, especially with the population growing on a daily basis. But I agree, all elements need to be excellent: Rail, bus, and bus rapid transit.

It's not a question of whether the population is growing, it's a question of how the population is growing. While Houston is getting a little denser, it will continue to have a reasonably low density for the foreseeable future and will continue to have scattered job centers. That's not exactly the ideal model for rail.

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Buses share traffic with regular vehicles, thereby taking any efficiency out of the equation.

 

Is the rest of the world full of rail fanboys then?

 

This does not change the fact that rail is not required in order to have a "true transit system".

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I think that's absolutely the key question once we get all the hyperbole out of the way. I don't think that anyone questions that the transit system needs to be improved, but I do think that there is room for intelligent conversation regarding the best way to achieve that. I personally feel that focusing the tax dollars that are available on drastically improving the bus system is likely to provide better value per dollar than focusing on building a couple of light rail lines.

I would agree with your concern about whether the light rail lines that are under construction are going to generate enough ridership especially if appropriate steps aren't taken to strengthen the bus system.

 

While the light rail lines under construction will serve their respective areas well, I do wish that the most justified line IMO, the University Line, would have been built first. 

 

And I'm very hopeful that METRO's "reimagining" campaign to improve the bus system does some good things.  When used correctly, rail lines can be very effective along side a good bus system.  I'm particularly excited about the proposed "next bus" indicators at certain stops that show when the next bus is coming.  I've seen those in Europe and they are extremely helpful. 

 

For the next several years METRO is putting their resources towards buses and not rail so hopefully some real improvements are made. 

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ile the light rail lines under construction will serve their respective areas well, I do wish that the most justified line IMO, the University Line, would have been built first. 

 

And I'm very hopeful that METRO's "reimagining" campaign to improve the bus system does some good things.  When used correctly, rail lines can be very effective along side a good bus system.  I'm particularly excited about the proposed "next bus" indicators at certain stops that show when the next bus is coming.  I've seen those in Europe and they are extremely helpful. 

 

For the next several years METRO is putting their resources towards buses and not rail so hopefully some real improvements are made. 

 

I think its a good strategy.  I agree that the University line is a logical next step, but I'd hesitate to make any further investment in rail beyond that until the bus system has improved.  There's a lot of ground that needs to be covered and the miles per dollar value that buses provide seems to be a better fit at this time.  

 

 

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Let me get this straight... most of your family lives in some country in which AC just became available? And you family wont buy one? But you think it's too hot to move outside in Houston and the air is dirty? And yet, you ride the bus all the time despite owning several cars, including some exotic ones?

 

Did I get it right?

 

Yes

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Even if you have an excellent bus system, at some point you need a rail element to make the heart of a true transit system, especially with the population growing on a daily basis. But I agree, all elements need to be excellent: Rail, bus, and bus rapid transit.

 

Vik is actually onto something here.

 

The best transit systems are those that use multiple forms of interconnected transit.  

 

I'll cite Seattle as an example, because it's the city I'm most familiar with in this aspect.

 

It tried for decades to get along with a bus-only transit system, but eventually you reach a saturation point where adding more buses doesn't improve mobility.  It tried express buses, dedicated bus lanes, bus priority lanes, and even putting half of the downtown buses underground in a bus-only tunnel.  The last part bought them ten years, but eventually it reached a bus saturation point and had to finally, begrudgingly, add train.

 

I don't know what it is about buses that cause them to reach this saturation point, but riding King County Transit and Sound Transit daily showed me that it's true.  You'd think the bottle neck would be at ticketing and boarding, but that's not it.  In downtown Seattle (until very recently), you just board and then pay when you get off.  The idea was to speed up boarding and get everyone out of the congestion zone to deal with fares where there's more space.  But that didn't help.

 

You can sit at a station in the bus tunnel and watch an articulated bus pull up and see 50 people get on and off.  You can then see a train pull up and handle the same number of people in half the time.  I can't explain why it is true, but it is.  Even with people boarding the articulated buses using both doors and not having to stop at a farebox.  So it's not about boarding.

 

Again, I don't know why there is a bus saturation point, but there is.  And cities that are serious about transit are diversifying their systems.  Chicago, for example, is on a huge push to put people onto bicycles and (to a lesser extent) boats to avoid reaching a bus saturation point.  CDOT has an entirely new philosophy for the whole city: Pedestrians first, bicycles second, buses third, cars a very distant fourth.  And not just downtown.  That's the plan for the entire city.

 

The thing is, Houston is still VERY far away from reaching a bus saturation point, IMO.  I don't ride Houston Metro, so I can't say for certain.  But it seems that Houston can do a lot more with buses before it needs to go crazy with alternate modes. 

 

Still, the sooner it builds those alternates, the cheaper it will be, and the longer it can stretch the utility of its bus network.

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Vik is actually onto something here.

 

The best transit systems are those that use multiple forms of interconnected transit.  

 

I'll cite Seattle as an example, because it's the city I'm most familiar with in this aspect.

 

It tried for decades to get along with a bus-only transit system, but eventually you reach a saturation point where adding more buses doesn't improve mobility.  It tried express buses, dedicated bus lanes, bus priority lanes, and even putting half of the downtown buses underground in a bus-only tunnel.  The last part bought them ten years, but eventually it reached a bus saturation point and had to finally, begrudgingly, add train.

 

I don't know what it is about buses that cause them to reach this saturation point, but riding King County Transit and Sound Transit daily showed me that it's true.  You'd think the bottle neck would be at ticketing and boarding, but that's not it.  In downtown Seattle (until very recently), you just board and then pay when you get off.  The idea was to speed up boarding and get everyone out of the congestion zone to deal with fares where there's more space.  But that didn't help.

 

You can sit at a station in the bus tunnel and watch an articulated bus pull up and see 50 people get on and off.  You can then see a train pull up and handle the same number of people in half the time.  I can't explain why it is true, but it is.  Even with people boarding the articulated buses using both doors and not having to stop at a farebox.  So it's not about boarding.

 

Again, I don't know why there is a bus saturation point, but there is.  And cities that are serious about transit are diversifying their systems.  Chicago, for example, is on a huge push to put people onto bicycles and (to a lesser extent) boats to avoid reaching a bus saturation point.  CDOT has an entirely new philosophy for the whole city: Pedestrians first, bicycles second, buses third, cars a very distant fourth.  And not just downtown.  That's the plan for the entire city.

 

The thing is, Houston is still VERY far away from reaching a bus saturation point, IMO.  I don't ride Houston Metro, so I can't say for certain.  But it seems that Houston can do a lot more with buses before it needs to go crazy with alternate modes. 

 

Still, the sooner it builds those alternates, the cheaper it will be, and the longer it can stretch the utility of its bus network.

 

I agree. I saw this in Istanbul and Bogota. The buses are totally full, even though they run often. In Istanbul, since it has metro and buses, I was able to make the comparison directly with BRT and metro. Maybe it's because the buses have a maximum capacity of two connected buses and trains have many more cars hooked together, or the ease of walking into a spacious train against a narrow bus, but trains seemed to be able to take in more people faster than buses. Also, agreed on the last point. With time, the price of construction and acquiring land becomes only more expensive. We've already pushed it off by 30 years, the longer it takes the more costly it will be for the next generations.

Edited by Slick Vik
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I agree. I saw this in Istanbul and Bogota. The buses are totally full, even though they run often. In Istanbul, since it has metro and buses, I was able to make the comparison directly with BRT and metro. Maybe it's because the buses have a maximum capacity of two connected buses and trains have many more cars hooked together, or the ease of walking into a spacious train against a narrow bus, but trains seemed to be able to take in more people faster than buses. Also, agreed on the last point. With time, the price of construction and acquiring land becomes only more expensive. We've already pushed it off by 30 years, the longer it takes the more costly it will be for the next generations.

 

There is no comparison between Bogota and Houston. Bogota is more than 3 times as dense as Houston, more if you include the metro areas. Bogota is also less economically advanced, with fewer cars per capita, and thus more reliance on mass transit. Istanbul is also far more dense than Houston, and has the same socio-economic factors as Bogota when it comes to car ownership. Houston is decades or centuries away from that sort of density, and I really couldn't care less what is happening in 50 years, since I'll be dead by then.

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And I wouldn't compare Istanbul to Houston, either.  Istanbul has MANY modes of transportation, including very heavy ferry and funicular use.  And in addition to light rail it has a full subway system as well.  

 

Plus, I didn't think Istanbul's buses were all that maxed.  Sure, some of them were full.  But there's still plenty of room in the system for more buses.

 

That said, please stop steering every single topic towards transportation and rail.  The downtown issue is a lot more complex than just transportation.  If you only have one horse to beat, that's fine -- do it in appropriate threads at appropriate levels.  But this thread is getting dangerously off topic and will be closed if people don't start talking about the issue, and not about trains or launching personal attacks.

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Vik is actually onto something here.

The best transit systems are those that use multiple forms of interconnected transit.

Coming from yourself, a person who has lived in multiple big cities and had to rely on the transit systems of each, Im not surprised you validate this opinion.

You're not the only one. I know countless people from Chicago and NYC. All of my wifes relatives live in Manhattan or Brooklyn and they all laugh when we talk about Houston transit, especially our "one little toy train". Our transit system is a joke to them and everyone else from NY and Chicago Ive ever asked. My brother in law was thinking about moving down here but he doesnt have a car, he just gets around on the NYC subways. When he made a trip down here to try out our Metro system for a few days he quickly said "fuhgeddaboutit". I guess you could call their stories and yours "anecdotal", I just view it all as coming straight from the horses mouth.

I'll wait for some of the posters here talk to you in a snide jerkoff, condescending way like they do to Vik, just because your opinion is different from theirs, but Im sure they wont since you're the Administrator here. These kind of posts are really deteriorating the board quality and Im glad you called them out.

And I agree, theres more to a discussion on our downtown than just pro-rail/anti-rail.

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Fwiw, getting back on the original topic, I dont think there is much "holding our downtown down".

It's not hard to see the tremendous strides our downtown is making, the excitement of it is why I come to this website every day. The city is blowing up unlike any other in the country right now, and with every new development announced our momentum grows. I cant wait to see downtown in five/ten years.

That said, I dont think Houston is perfect and am open to discussing peoples ideas for improvement, I think that was the original point of this thread.

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Coming from yourself, a person who has lived in multiple big cities and had to rely on the transit systems of each, Im not surprised you validate this opinion.

You're not the only one. I know countless people from Chicago and NYC. All of my wifes relatives live in Manhattan or Brooklyn and they all laugh when we talk about Houston transit, especially our "one little toy train". Our transit system is a joke to them and everyone else from NY and Chicago Ive ever asked. My brother in law was thinking about moving down here but he doesnt have a car, he just gets around on the NYC subways. When he made a trip down here to try out our Metro system for a few days he quickly said "fuhgeddaboutit". I guess you could call their stories and yours "anecdotal", I just view it all as coming straight from the horses mouth.

I'll wait for some of the posters here talk to you in a snide jerkoff, condescending way like they do to Vik, just because your opinion is different from theirs, but Im sure they wont since you're the Administrator here. These kind of posts are really deteriorating the board quality and Im glad you called them out.

And I agree, theres more to a discussion on our downtown than just pro-rail/anti-rail.

 

Please try to disagree without being condescending.  

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And I wouldn't compare Istanbul to Houston, either. Istanbul has MANY modes of transportation, including very heavy ferry and funicular use. And in addition to light rail it has a full subway system as well.

Plus, I didn't think Istanbul's buses were all that maxed. Sure, some of them were full. But there's still plenty of room in the system for more buses.

That said, please stop steering every single topic towards transportation and rail. The downtown issue is a lot more complex than just transportation. If you only have one horse to beat, that's fine -- do it in appropriate threads at appropriate levels. But this thread is getting dangerously off topic and will be closed if people don't start talking about the issue, and not about trains or launching personal attacks.

I took one bus rapid transit route, from the Asia side to edirnekapi. The buses were constantly full to the point where I had to wait three times until I could get on a bus. That route would be better served with rail. But I didn't take any other bus routes so ill reserve comment on them.

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I took one bus rapid transit route, from the Asia side to edirnekapi. The buses were constantly full to the point where I had to wait three times until I could get on a bus. That route would be better served with rail. But I didn't take any other bus routes so ill reserve comment on them.

 

Bussing across is the least efficient method, so no wonder the one you were on was packed.  Most people take the ferry.  Buses on the Asia side are always packed, but that's not a transit issue, it's a development issue.

 

As for rail, that connection opens in October.

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