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Robert Moses and New York

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Pardon me while I laugh for a while. I-10 being ripped out and redeveloped into bustling cityscape from Taylor to 59? That's just too funny for words. That stretch of 10 runs along the White Oak Bayou floodway for most of that stretch, and is not even that close to Downtown. That will never, ever, be developed. If you take a look at how Houston freeways overlay the old streets, etc, you can see that, in general, the taking of land was minimized.

 

The Embarcadero freeway was a dead ended bad idea. It did nothing to improve car travel, and was no great loss when it was torn out. I suspect that Vancouver and Seoul are similar. If you think those are such great places, feel free to move. I like Houston just the way it is.

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Pardon me while I laugh for a while. I-10 being ripped out and redeveloped into bustling cityscape from Taylor to 59? That's just too funny for words. That stretch of 10 runs along the White Oak Bayou floodway for most of that stretch, and is not even that close to Downtown. That will never, ever, be developed. If you take a look at how Houston freeways overlay the old streets, etc, you can see that, in general, the taking of land was minimized.

 

The Embarcadero freeway was a dead ended bad idea. It did nothing to improve car travel, and was no great loss when it was torn out. I suspect that Vancouver and Seoul are similar. If you think those are such great places, feel free to move. I like Houston just the way it is.

 

"You don't agree with me, just move!"

 

Also, I would gladly move to Vancouver given the opportunity. At the same time I'd like to see Houston improve its mass transit as well. To me that is the one thing it's lacking from being a world class city.

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I like Houston just the way it is.

 

Maybe it is you that has the unrealistic expectations if you don't think Houston will be changing. Many changes coming in the next few years.

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I can't see how removing the freeways would be good for downtown, unless they were removed farther back, and at that point, you may as well stop all the freeways at the loop.

 

Or just trench them around downtown and cover the trenches with roads and parking lots.

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I just said London and istanbul are huge cities with huge transit systems

 

London's density is 13,466/sq mile.  Istanbul's is over 20,000/sq mile in the main parts of the city.  As mentioned before Houston is about 5,000/sq mile inside the loop.

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I don't think it's as big a deal as you say, because 45 coming north already has a spur that goes into downtown, as does 59 coming north and south. 45 coming south has a mini spur that goes to pierce, and 10 coming east and west at least have downtown exits. If I had to leave one, I'd leave 10 since it doesn't have the big spur infrastructure built in yet, but you could simply route 10 east and west to 45 south into one giant exit into downtown if 10 was torn down.

 

As far as the money for ripping the freeways, the result of ripping out the freeways would make the land below and around it very attractive for developers and investors and even for public works and parks, giving back more money than what was put in to rip the freeways out in the first place.

 

It's not really a laughable idea. You should go to embarcadero in san francisco, or downtown Vancouver or Seoul, and see what happens when it's done. It greatly enhances street life. Also it would do wonders for buffalo bayou as well I think, it would look a lot nicer without giant freeway overpasses above it.

 

As far as the billions for commuter rail, if the feds match 50%, it could be done conceivably with a referendum. The costs wouldn't be as high since right of way is already there in each case, and suburban people may vote for it if it actually helps them.

 

Honestly, the problem isn't commuters.  The problem is freight.  All three of the freeways that run through downtown are major transportation corridors for trucks as well as outlets for the massive amount of goods that are brought in through the Port of Houston.  The expansion of the Panama Canal and the related expansion that's happening at the Port is only going to increase that.

 

You could arguably find ways to move the commuters, but you create a major logistical nightmare because there isn't a viable alternative on how to move the freight.  It would be a huge economic loss for the city and the port.

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isn't most of the freight moved from the port done on trains?

 

besides, if freight is just moving through the town (not to a destination in town) wouldn't it be easy for the city to say you have to use 610? issue permits to trucks that have destinations inside the loop, and if they don't have it, they get a fine.

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isn't most of the freight moved from the port done on trains?

 

besides, if freight is just moving through the town (not to a destination in town) wouldn't it be easy for the city to say you have to use 610? issue permits to trucks that have destinations inside the loop, and if they don't have it, they get a fine.

 

Depends on the distance that the freight is travelling.  The US has a great freight rail system, definitely the best in the world, but it's generally used for freight that travels over 750 miles.  If the distance travelled is less than 750 miles, its almost all by truck.

 

There's a couple of problems with routing everything through 610.  The first is that 610 would pretty quickly become heavily congested with the additional traffic because it would also have to absorb a lot of the commuter traffic from the current highways as well as the freight traffic.  The second concern, unrelated to the port, is that it would increase the amount of traffic that travels through neighborhoods on its way to businesses inside the loop.  There's a lot of freight that moves to downtown and midtown businesses every day, especially with the number of businesses increasing these days and that would all have to move from 610 on surface streets through neighborhoods.

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Depends on the distance that the freight is travelling.  The US has a great freight rail system, definitely the best in the world, but it's generally used for freight that travels over 750 miles.  If the distance travelled is less than 750 miles, its almost all by truck.

 

There's a couple of problems with routing everything through 610.  The first is that 610 would pretty quickly become heavily congested with the additional traffic because it would also have to absorb a lot of the commuter traffic from the current highways as well as the freight traffic.  The second concern, unrelated to the port, is that it would increase the amount of traffic that travels through neighborhoods on its way to businesses inside the loop.  There's a lot of freight that moves to downtown and midtown businesses every day, especially with the number of businesses increasing these days and that would all have to move from 610 on surface streets through neighborhoods.

 

I don't think closing or dismantling an inch of freeway in Houston is a good idea, it's a very bad idea, specifically for the reasons you stated, but if they could divert some of the through traffic to 610 that would be a boon for those who have to travel inside the loop. 610 east and 610 north have lots of ROW to expand into, hell, maybe even make a HOV like lane for truck traffic only.

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I don't think closing or dismantling an inch of freeway in Houston is a good idea, it's a very bad idea, specifically for the reasons you stated, but if they could divert some of the through traffic to 610 that would be a boon for those who have to travel inside the loop. 610 east and 610 north have lots of ROW to expand into, hell, maybe even make a HOV like lane for truck traffic only.

 

 

I'm really shocked that they chose to convert US-59 to I-69 through downtown since it's part of the proposed NAFTA superhighway.  As you said, it makes much more sense to route inbound freight from Mexico around the city instead of through it.

 

That being said, I'm sure the trucking unions would fight routing around the city tooth and nail because of the additional time and miles.

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I'm really shocked that they chose to convert US-59 to I-69 through downtown since it's part of the proposed NAFTA superhighway.  As you said, it makes much more sense to route inbound freight from Mexico around the city instead of through it.

 

That being said, I'm sure the trucking unions would fight routing around the city tooth and nail because of the additional time and miles.

 

Maybe TxDOT should reconsider Grand Parkway and include segments that jump off from I-10 at say Brookshire and reconnect somewhere further to the east of the ship channel, making for a smooth bypass of the Houston area like they did in Austin with 130.

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Maybe TxDOT should reconsider Grand Parkway and include segments that jump off from I-10 at say Brookshire and reconnect somewhere further to the east of the ship channel, making for a smooth bypass of the Houston area like they did in Austin with 130.

I actually think that the parts of Grand Parkway that are under construction make a lot of sense.

That should be good for at least 10 pages of conversation.

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I actually think that the parts of Grand Parkway that are under construction make a lot of sense.

That should be good for at least 10 pages of conversation.

 

Total wastage of resources and unnecessary destruction of wildlife. Do you know who owns the land where the parkway is being built? Bob Lanier. I can understand someone in his position defending his stance, he has money to make, but when the average joe is defending him, that makes no sense, it's almost comical. Then again, Germans defended Hitler as well, so people are capable of anything. Nothing surprises me. 

Edited by Slick Vik

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 Do you know who owns the land where the parkway is being built? Bob Lanier.

 

Really? He owns all of the land along the new part of the Grand Parkway? No one else owns any? Hyperbole, I think.

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 Then again, Germans defended Hitler as well, so people are capable of anything. Nothing surprises me. 

 

It looks like Slick has officially run out of arguments. He has stooped to invoking Hitler. I think there is a term for internet posters who invoke Hitler and Nazis.

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Really? He owns all of the land along the new part of the Grand Parkway? No one else owns any? Hyperbole, I think.

He owns a significant portion.

Sounds as if you are upset that Bob was smart enough to buy that land cheap, and you got nuttin.

I'm upset that this type of government corruption takes place in this country.

It looks like Slick has officially run out of arguments. He has stooped to invoking Hitler. I think there is a term for internet posters who invoke Hitler and Nazis.

Just goes to show 95% people are very culpable of not thinking critically and simply follow the lead.

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I'm upset that this type of government corruption takes place in this country.

That's an indictment of politicians, not of highways. I can point you to an equal number of accusations about Diane Feinstein and the proposed high speed rail route in California. She's aggressively pushing for a plan that calls for the route to be built heavily on land owned by her husband's company.

If your statement is correct, and I have no knowledge that it is or isn't, all you are saying is that politicians are primarily motivated by self-interest and not the public good.

I don't think that statement would surprise anyone reading this.

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Really? He owns all of the land along the new part of the Grand Parkway? No one else owns any? Hyperbole, I think.

The unconfirmed accusation that I've read is that Bob Lanier owns 1700 acres along the Grand Parkway route. So approximately 3 sq miles along the 180 sq mile route.

That is clearly all of the land, and makes him exactly like Hitler. Just like the expansion of the interstate system into cities was exactly like the fire-bombing of Dresden.

BTW, Rick frequently quotes the same source, DC Streets Blog, for his arguments. In this example, as in others, I generally can't find anyone else that confirms the accusation. Only a single blog which states its objective as reporting "on movements around the country to ditch the antiquated highway-centric model for a more sustainable transportation system."

So yeah, it's basically like a conservative quoting "The Drudge Report" to support an argument.

I know that I've clearly just identified myself as part of the 95% that isn't capable of thinking critically, by refusing to blindly accept single sourced accusations. I'm fine with that characterization.

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I think istanbul's expansion is a much better example of how metro systems should be expanded. They're expecting 25% of the population to use it once complete which is many millions of people.

 

By the way, I do think that it's relevant to point out that there are currently massive protests in Istanbul about the authoritarian nature of the government.

 

"This park was just the ignition of all that," said Yakup Efe Tuncay, a 28-year old demonstrator who carried a Turkish flag while walking through the park Saturday. "The Erdogan government is usually considered as authoritarian. He has a big ego; he has this Napoleon syndrome. He takes himself as a sultan. ... He needs to stop doing that. He's just a prime minister."

 

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/02/world/europe/turkey-protests/index.html

 

It's not a coincidence that the large rail projects that you have held up as an example of progress in modern intercity rail, in Istanbul and China, are also occurring under authoritarian regimes.  They are happening because a strong central government is pushing them, not because of popular support.

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The unconfirmed accusation that I've read is that Bob Lanier owns 1700 acres along the Grand Parkway route. So approximately 3 sq miles along the 180 sq mile route.

That is clearly all of the land, and makes him exactly like Hitler. Just like the expansion of the interstate system into cities was exactly like the fire-bombing of Dresden.

BTW, Rick frequently quotes the same source, DC Streets Blog, for his arguments. In this example, as in others, I generally can't find anyone else that confirms the accusation. Only a single blog which states its objective as reporting "on movements around the country to ditch the antiquated highway-centric model for a more sustainable transportation system."

So yeah, it's basically like a conservative quoting "The Drudge Report" to support an argument.

I know that I've clearly just identified myself as part of the 95% that isn't capable of thinking critically, by refusing to blindly accept single sourced accusations. I'm fine with that characterization.

 

I've read numerous books on this, I'm just quoting the blogs I find because I don't have the time to look up all the page numbers in the books. I think you should read the works of Bradley Snell this guy dedicated his life to research the GM streetcar conspiracy. Anyway here is something for now

 

http://academic.regis.edu/jroth/TAKEN%20FOR%20A%20RIDE.htm

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I've read numerous books on this, I'm just quoting the blogs I find because I don't have the time to look up all the page numbers in the books. I think you should read the works of Bradley Snell this guy dedicated his life to research the GM streetcar conspiracy. Anyway here is something for now

 

http://academic.regis.edu/jroth/TAKEN%20FOR%20A%20RIDE.htm

 

OK, you just provided a summary of the same documentary that you quoted as an original source.  You're still single-sourced.  You also didn't address anything about the Bob Lanier question.

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It's not a coincidence that the large rail projects that you have held up as an example of progress in modern intercity rail, in Istanbul and China, are also occurring under authoritarian regimes.  They are happening because a strong central government is pushing them, not because of popular support.

 

I see this a lot in the arguments by mass transit supporters and new urbanists. There is a less than subtle insinuation that people are inherently stupid, and that government should force them into dense cities, force them onto trains, for their own good. I see this trend throughout Slick Vik's posts, especially the ones about the GM conspiracy. The GM conspiracy occurred because people are stupid and easily led to the suburbs.

 

I find that argument to be an insidious one. As I stated at the HAIF happy hour the other night, I am actually a proponent of good mass transit. I used to office in front of the Preston Station downtown. I used to take the 70 Memorial to work. However, this belief by some that government should be more authoritarian and force people into apartments and onto trains is a dangerous one, and the main reason that I have posted responses to this thread.

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I see this a lot in the arguments by mass transit supporters and new urbanists. There is a less than subtle insinuation that people are inherently stupid, and that government should force them into dense cities, force them onto trains, for their own good. I see this trend throughout Slick Vik's posts, especially the ones about the GM conspiracy. The GM conspiracy occurred because people are stupid and easily led to the suburbs.

I find that argument to be an insidious one. As I stated at the HAIF happy hour the other night, I am actually a proponent of good mass transit. I used to office in front of the Preston Station downtown. I used to take the 70 Memorial to work. However, this belief by some that government should be more authoritarian and force people into apartments and onto trains is a dangerous one, and the main reason that I have posted responses to this thread.

Subsidizing development into suburbs making it affordable to people is also authoritarian and collusive. It goes both ways. Also the investments at least in Istanbul which I can vouch for make life easier for the average person.

 

Secondly, the majority of people are inherently stupid. Many people can't name the first president of the united states, or the vice president right now. Millions of Germans supported Hitler's reign of terror. And George Bush was voted president twice. And, most people are able to be corrupted. These two facts make it tough for good things to get done in society. But once in a while, it happens.

Edited by Slick Vik

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In post #73, I made this comment...

 

 

I see this a lot in the arguments by mass transit supporters and new urbanists. There is a less than subtle insinuation that people are inherently stupid, and that government should force them into dense cities, force them onto trains, for their own good.

 

 

Slick Vik responded by posting this...

 

 

Secondly, the majority of people are inherently stupid. Many people can't name the first president of the united states, or the vice president right now. Millions of Germans supported Hitler's reign of terror. And George Bush was voted president twice. And, most people are able to be corrupted. These two facts make it tough for good things to get done in society. But once in a while, it happens.

 

 

Wow. I must admit that I was wrong. I stated that there is a "less than subtle" insinuation of stupidity by the new urbanists. There is not. It is blatant. So keep this in mind. If you do not agree with the new urbanists, you are stupid, you voted for Bush twice, and the government needs to force things on you for your own good.

 

:o

 

 

Edited by RedScare

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There isn't a line-item in the federal budget that says "Direct Subsidy to Prop Up Suburbs," it is a collection of funds from a collection of sources. The biggest subsidies are loans and highways. Highways were federally-funded expenses that made most auto suburbs possible. Prior to the highways, suburban developers had to provide a means of transportation from their suburb to the downtown neighborhood. Once the government got into the roads and highways business, the private industries that provided that transportation could no longer compete.

Government-backed loans--FHA and VA being the biggest and best-known--changed the rules for mortgages. Instead of paying 50% down and borrowing 50%, these government programs let people pay 3-5% down and borrow 95-97%. But almost none of these loans could be used in existing city neighborhoods--they could only be used in new-growth areas, which were all auto suburbs. Urban neighborhoods and non-white neighborhoods were redlined: they were considered too high a credit risk and could not get these government-mandated and subsidized loans. In order to avoid becoming credit risks, suburban neighborhoods often prohibited non-whites until those laws were declared illegal in the 1960s--although redlining was still on the books until the 1970s.

Accelerated depreciation promoted commercial developers to build cheaper, less permanent commercial buildings in suburbs, using a tax structure that discouraged long-term investment and permanent buildings and rewarded building cheap strip malls, maintaining them until depreciated enough, then building a new set farther out.

Utilities were subsidized by government programs: federal clean-water programs hooked up suburban neighborhoods to city water, and rural electrification programs connected them to the electric grid, with large federal subsidy.

Gas subsidies, in the form of tax write-offs, oil depreciation allowances, Department of Energy expenditures in oil exploration research and other technical assistance, made gas cheaper and made living farther out in the suburbs more economical as travel costs were kept artificially low. Government worked hand in hand with the oil and auto industries to this end, connected together by the highway lobby, an alliance that destroyed the privately-owned railroads and streetcar companies.

Another subsidy is harder to quantify: Suburbs often make great efforts to avoid taking care of social problems. By simply lacking low-income housing by not building any, and lacking things like homeless shelters, mental health or alcoholism treatment centers, or other undesirable land uses, those in the suburbs who need such services are pretty much required to leave that suburb and head to the nearest major city. Cities generally can't get out of having to provide these services, so in many ways they end up having to shoulder the responsibility for the region's problems, but are not compensated by the adjacent communities who benefit.

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Most redevelopment projects weren't done to benefit the residents of central cities, they benefited the business communities who wanted downtowns to be strictly office/commercial spaces. This was intended to benefit the suburban commuter: the downtown office (that replaced the downtown neighborhood) built by a redevelopment project was filled with suburban office workers who took the government-subsidized freeway home at 5 PM. The only people who lived there after 5 PM were the people whom the business owners and the office workers didn't feel comfortable living near.

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Except that the government doesn't subsidize all growth. Infill development, downtown condos, etc., pay more in property taxes than they get in benefits. Much of the excess goes to paying for sprawl spending

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80% of the taxes generated downtown are used to subsidize the low density areas that don't pay for themselves. The piece makes a pretty good point about the maintenance costs are where the taxes fall short. For a good discussion of this point, go to Strongtowns.org and download their "Curbside Chat" booklet (57 or so pages). It makes the assertion that our low density form of development is, in effect, a ponzi scheme where, as long as we are growing, we pay our maintenance obligations. However, when a city's growth stops (and therefore the "new" money needed to pay maintenance obligations no longer is available), it can no longer pay for its maintenance obligations. A lot of folks don't want to hear that (as change would be needed), but the analysis has merit.

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These posts appear to have been plagiarized from this city-data thread...

 

http://www.city-data.com/forum/urban-planning/1186795-how-suburbs-subsidized.html

 

You should probably give credit to those who actually took the time to type their thoughts into the forum. By not giving credit, you give the false impression that you actually thought up these things yourself, as opposed to simply stealing them from a google search.

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These posts appear to have been plagiarized from this city-data thread...

http://www.city-data.com/forum/urban-planning/1186795-how-suburbs-subsidized.html

You should probably give credit to those who actually took the time to type their thoughts into the forum. By not giving credit, you give the false impression that you actually thought up these things yourself, as opposed to simply stealing them from a google search.

Posted link in other thread. Lets hear your counterpoints. I'm waiting...

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Subsidizing development into suburbs making it affordable to people is also authoritarian and collusive. It goes both ways. Also the investments at least in Istanbul which I can vouch for make life easier for the average person.

 

Secondly, the majority of people are inherently stupid. Many people can't name the first president of the united states, or the vice president right now. Millions of Germans supported Hitler's reign of terror. And George Bush was voted president twice. And, most people are able to be corrupted. These two facts make it tough for good things to get done in society. But once in a while, it happens.

 

I don't really care what happens in Istanbul. It's just not relevant to the discussion here. Turkey is not the United States, there are different cultural drivers, laws, traditions, etc that make comparisons unreliable.

 

I could also argue that anyone who voted for Obama is too stupid to be allowed to do anything without close supervision. My argument would be just as valid as yours.

 

I just love how the statists and new urbanists think they have the solution to all problems, and that the solution is ever growing intrusive government. That kind of thinking can only end in tears, and the deaths of all those opposed. That was the basic theory of Lenin.

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Subsidizing development into suburbs making it affordable to people is also authoritarian and collusive. It goes both ways. Also the investments at least in Istanbul which I can vouch for make life easier for the average person.

Secondly, the majority of people are inherently stupid. Many people can't name the first president of the united states, or the vice president right now. Millions of Germans supported Hitler's reign of terror. And George Bush was voted president twice. And, most people are able to be corrupted. These two facts make it tough for good things to get done in society. But once in a while, it happens.

Yep, if only that idiot Thomas Jefferson had listened to you and not put that nonsense about "all men being created equal" in the Declaration of Independence. Actually Vik, it sounds like you would have been much happier if the US stayed part of England because then we would have had a foreign government to tell us that we need to make your vision a reality.

Your fundamental issue is that you disagree with the American way of life in that it allows self-determination.

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Posted link in other thread. Lets hear your counterpoints. I'm waiting...

I'm actually pretty much done wasting my time with you. I just can't decide whether you're a troll or just a hypocrite with your self-righteous stance on consumption of resources. Based on your comments during these endless discussions, you need to look in the mirror and evaluate your own carbon footprint before you make accusations about anyone else.

I don't think that you even realize that all of the information that you presented here does nothing to support your argument. All it does is establish the point that rich people tend to get a greater share of resource than poor people. This ain't exactly newsworthy.

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I'm actually pretty much done wasting my time with you. I just can't decide whether you're a troll or just a hypocrite with your self-righteous stance on consumption of resources. Based on your comments during these endless discussions, you need to look in the mirror and evaluate your own carbon footprint before you make accusations about anyone else.

I don't think that you even realize that all of the information that you presented here does nothing to support your argument. All it does is establish the point that rich people tend to get a greater share of resource than poor people. This ain't exactly newsworthy.

My carbon footprint? I live less than a mile from my work and walk to the office. I take bus and rail if I need to go anywhere. I only use power in the evenings and shut it off while not at home. I don't live in resource draining suburbs. The fact of the matter is people in houston are stuck in their mindset and nothing will change them. You probably don't care because we probably won't run out of oil in our lifetime. But if we raised the gas tax heavily and started tolling roads then the suburbs would pay their fair share for their impact on society.

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My carbon footprint? I live less than a mile from my work and walk to the office. I take bus and rail if I need to go anywhere. I only use power in the evenings and shut it off while not at home. I don't live in resource draining suburbs. The fact of the matter is people in houston are stuck in their mindset and nothing will change them. You probably don't care because we probably won't run out of oil in our lifetime. But if we raised the gas tax heavily and started tolling roads then the suburbs would pay their fair share for their impact on society.

Vik, by your own admission you travel heavily to many countries. The carbon impact of air travel is way higher on a per mile/per individual basis than car travel. An individual that commutes 40 miles/day in their car accumulates approx 10,000 miles a year. The round trip flight mileage from Houston-istanbul is 12,740 miles. One person taking that one trip has a significantly higher carbon impact than an entire year of a suburban commuter.

Put your money where your mouth is. If you're that committed to reducing resource impact, than you would find a lower impact lifestyle just like you seem to expect everyone else to do.

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My carbon footprint? I live less than a mile from my work and walk to the office. I take bus and rail if I need to go anywhere. I only use power in the evenings and shut it off while not at home. I don't live in resource draining suburbs. The fact of the matter is people in houston are stuck in their mindset and nothing will change them. You probably don't care because we probably won't run out of oil in our lifetime. But if we raised the gas tax heavily and started tolling roads then the suburbs would pay their fair share for their impact on society.

 

And the economic growth that those suburbs represent is what allows you to live your lifestyle instead of tending cattle all day.  It must be blissful to be able to only look at half the picture and not be aware of the other half of the equation.

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Vik, by your own admission you travel heavily to many countries. The carbon impact of air travel is way higher on a per mile/per individual basis than car travel. An individual that commutes 40 miles/day in their car accumulates approx 10,000 miles a year. The round trip flight mileage from Houston-istanbul is 12,740 miles. One person taking that one trip has a significantly higher carbon impact than an entire year of a suburban commuter.

Put your money where your mouth is. If you're that committed to reducing resource impact, than you would find a lower impact lifestyle just like you seem to expect everyone else to do.

 

i trip to from Houston to Istanbul, 5419 lbs CO2.  12,000 miles a year in a 2012 Prius, 4,661 lbs CO2.

 

http://terrapass.com/carbon-footprint-calculator-2/#road

 

If you are visiting 5 countries a year, sounds like your lifestyle might be the unsustainable one.  You need to move to the suburbs and quit polluting the planet.

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