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Well, I don't have "proof" that O.J. killed Nicole...but he did. Look, two pigeons blowing each other is a "conspiracy." I think it would be naive at that point to assume that there is no corruption between the industries Slick Vik pointed out (amongst others) and our local politicians. We all know they lobby them, and observation (and common sense) should dictate that they are getting more than their money's worth. How is that "not" a conspiracy?

 

I would appreciate it if you would stop acting like you know me by saying things like "I'm saying this out of anger" or that I "can't explain" what I'm talking about. I've BEEN angry about this for years...I didn't just come on HAIF twenty minutes ago and start thinking "how can I channel my anger towards the collusion between industry and government?" There absolutely was "relevance" to how I came about this topic. Read the whole thread...it's not like I went out on some limb.

 

Who is asserting that there's no corruption in road construction? What has been alleged is that there is enough corruption to fundamentally change how we move about the country and how we build our cities, and somehow the same pattern shows up throughout the world, so the same type of conspiracy is everywhere, repeated with essentially the same result. What are the odds of that?

 

There's the economics of it too. If housing costs in a more compact city will be double that of the way that Houston currently is (400,000 vs. 200,000), then an extra $1100/month mortgage payment exceeds the, let's say, less than $500 month in transportation costs. How is it again that people need to be bribed to drive on freeways to their suburban homes?

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Speaking of Culberson and his efforts to derail the University Line. His pet project of I-10 which was rebuilt with  close to 20 lanes has now a 20 minute longer commute than three years ago. Just say

Look, I really don't want to be argumentative, but what do they do now. Do they double deck the freeway or add ten more lanes so it can carry more cars. There are solutions (commuter trains), for one

No one here gets excited about those buildings...

I'm not saying that its a bad idea to live in the loop. I'm just saying that its not for me or other people that feel the same way I do. Everybody has their own preferences, and the loop and the suburbs both have their advantages and disadvantages. Its up to the individual and their own values/beliefs/lifestyles for which is better for them. And I agree that some move to the suburbs not because they want to, but because they have to. We all have our own circumstances.

 

I just can't stand the mentality that alot of people on this forum/thread have that the inner loop is the only and best way to live and that everything else shall cease to exist. First off, thats is practially impossible in this city given the lack of growth boundaries, so I don't know why its a topic of discussion to begin with. Regardless, I'm happy to live where I do, and I live here because I chose to over any of the other options that I could have taken if I wanted to. And us suburbanites definitely could not exist without a thriving an successful core, so we definitely want it to grow and prosper, as we too are proud of this city.

 

You'll be much happier once you accept that they are our benevolent overlords.  It's kind of like the British rule of India, they are here to civilize us and to provide us with appropriate morals.  Once they are fully convinced that we have adopted the appropriate lifestyle, then they will give us the opportunity to make decisions for ourselves...as long as they match the decisions that they would have made.

 

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I know houstonians too. I think there's a generational gap. People under 30 don't want to move out of the city. Even if their jobs are way outside of the core they'd rather reverse commute and stay in the city. The suburbs are dreary and dull, basically dead men walking where the men are cookie cutter neighborhoods.

 

For the first time in a while, I agree with everything in your post. However, I would add that it matters less what people under 30 want when a company decides whether to "pull an Exxon". They just don't have the pull and are more expendable if they decide to quit.

 

Will this change in 15+ years? Maybe ... but it's also possible that the people who are 30 now will suddenly find themselves with kids, wanting a media room to chill in to escape their screaming kids (if only for a few minutes), unable to tolerate the nighttime noises from the nearby bar scene, less confident in their abilities to physically fend off a crazy homeless person if need be since they are getting less fit by the decade, and hey, I suddenly discovered that I really like to golf...

 

Only time will tell.

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That's bogus. If enough people move to a certain area the schools get better as well.

Hahahaha....is that what you think makes schools better? People moving into an area? Almost universally increased populaton causes overall school quality to decrease over time. The only tlme schools get better with increased population is when a higher income and better educated demographic moves in to a poorly performing area.

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I know houstonians too. I think there's a generational gap. People under 30 don't want to move out of the city. Even if their jobs are way outside of the core they'd rather reverse commute and stay in the city. The suburbs are dreary and dull, basically dead men walking where the men are cookie cutter neighborhoods.

That's funny. Every time I visit one of our far flung suburbs, the vast majority of the people I see are young couples with children.

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I know houstonians too. I think there's a generational gap. People under 30 don't want to move out of the city. Even if their jobs are way outside of the core they'd rather reverse commute and stay in the city. The suburbs are dreary and dull, basically dead men walking where the men are cookie cutter neighborhoods.

You seriously overestimate the influence of your generation and seriously underestimate their willingness to move where economics dictate.

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That's bogus. If enough people move to a certain area the schools get better as well.

 

When making an investment of several hundred thousand dollars (your house) or in something that's priceless (your child), most people have pretty low risk tolerance and go with established neighborhoods or suburbs. The chance that the area doesn't turn around is just too high. Several things can make this happen:

  • Your child is a few years older than the average yuppie child in the area. So the elementary school improves when they are in middle school. The middle school improves when your child enters high school, etc.
  • The area being gentrified never reaches a critical mass of yuppies. It could be because it borders a really bad area, that the gentrified area just isn't big enough to support its own schools (3 elementaries, 2 middles, 1 high). Parents see the writing on the wall and send their kids to private. Snowball effect. I think this will be the case in Oak Forest.
  • The local, regional, or global economy tank. Gentrifying stops or reverses almost everywhere. You're stuck with a $600,000 mortgage on a house worth $500,000. The schools never get quite as good as you think they will. Now you have to send your kid to private and are also stuck in your house.

My risk tolerance for these sorts of things is completely different from 10 years ago.

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That's funny. Every time I visit one of our far flung suburbs, the vast majority of the people I see are young couples with children.

 

Right, but we're talking about preferences. Maybe a lot of those young people would prefer to live nearer to downtown but can't afford to? Maybe?

 

I also noticed that nearly everyone living in River Oaks, WestU, Memorial, or the nice parts of Bellaire are over 40. That or they did several international assignments, hoarded cash, then came back and bought an expensive house in the loop.

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Hahahaha....is that what you think makes schools better? People moving into an area? Almost universally increased populaton causes overall school quality to decrease over time. The only tlme schools get better with increased population is when a higher income and better educated demographic moves in to a poorly performing area.

 

I think he was referring to that - gentrification. Even still, I struggle to come up with a lot of examples where gentrification improved schools to the point where they are now considered "good" or anywhere near commensurate with the median value of the new houses of the newcomers.

 

Would anyone say that the houses of the Museum District are good? Of Midtown? EaDo? Montrose? Rice Military? Are the schools in the Heights even good compared to Katy, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land? There are isolated cases I'm aware of, but not enough to change a whole elementary-middle-high school path.

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Right, but we're talking about preferences. Maybe a lot of those young people would prefer to live nearer to downtown but can't afford to? Maybe?

I also noticed that nearly everyone living in River Oaks, WestU, Memorial, or the nice parts of Bellaire are over 40. That or they did several international assignments, hoarded cash, then came back and bought an expensive house in the loop.

Preferences are subservient to economics. Particularly in the case of young parents just getting started in the world.

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I think he was referring to that - gentrification. Even still, I struggle to come up with a lot of examples where gentrification improved schools to the point where they are now considered "good" or anywhere near commensurate with the median value of the new houses of the newcomers.

Would anyone say that the houses of the Museum District are good? Of Midtown? EaDo? Montrose? Rice Military? Are the schools in the Heights even good compared to Katy, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land? There are isolated cases I'm aware of, but not enough to change a whole elementary-middle-high school path.

Yes. I gathered that, but because that particular poster is well known for having a very narrow point of view based, I think, on the affluence of his family combined with his youth and inexperience with life, I thought it necessary to point out that the comment is out of touch with reality.

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I know houstonians too. I think there's a generational gap. People under 30 don't want to move out of the city. Even if their jobs are way outside of the core they'd rather reverse commute and stay in the city. The suburbs are dreary and dull, basically dead men walking where the men are cookie cutter neighborhoods.

Generalizing much?? 28 year old here prime in my career with an engineering firm in westchase. I have zero wishes of moving anywhere near or inside the beltway. In fact I actually enjoy a good drive on our wonderful freeway system outside of rush hour times and hate the crawling traffic on westloop and the most local streets inside the loop.

Or maybe its because all of my clients are corrupt big oil companies and their success is my success.

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Generalizing much?? 28 year old here prime in my career with an engineering firm in westchase. I have zero wishes of moving anywhere near or inside the beltway. In fact I actually enjoy a good drive on our wonderful freeway system outside of rush hour times and hate the crawling traffic on westloop and the most local streets inside the loop. Or maybe its because all of my clients are corrupt big oil companies and their success is my success.

 

I too marvel at the freeways we have and the freedom and mobility it provides outside of rush hour. However, it's possible for some to commute to work, do daily activities, and still go weeks without ever going on ANY freeway, much less the West Loop.

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You're very naive if you believe what you're saying. Houston is an oil and gas capital, and has highway after highway yet politicians fight off mass transit. Gee, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?

 

Apparently the conspiracy theory has not been properly explained. Do oil companies enjoy getting profits from the gasoline that Houstonian drivers consume because of some symbolism about Houston being the O&G capital? Why would it make a difference whether they bribe-->fund a freeway project in Houston instead of Minneapolis, which has no oil but plenty of freeways? It would be all profit for the oil companies any way.

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Yes. I gathered that, but because that particular poster is well known for having a very narrow point of view based, I think, on the affluence of his family combined with his youth and inexperience with life, I thought it necessary to point out that the comment is out of touch with reality.

If anything I have a broad view because I grew up in the suburbs but now live in the city and have seen most of the major cities around the world. I've seen variou perspectives and understand reality very well.

I too marvel at the freeways we have and the freedom and mobility it provides outside of rush hour. However, it's possible for some to commute to work, do daily activities, and still go weeks without ever going on ANY freeway, much less the West Loop.

I probably go on a freeway once every few months.

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The suburbs are dreary and dull, basically dead men walking

 

That's awesome!  I never realized that I was a dead man walking!  I just thought I had lots of friends and a happy family.

 

This is a Matrix thing, right?  I take the pill that you give me and realize that I'm a slave and that my life in the suburbs is just an illusion?  and then I put the coat and the glasses on and become a detached, ironic urban a**hole?

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Who is asserting that there's no corruption in road construction? What has been alleged is that there is enough corruption to fundamentally change how we move about the country and how we build our cities, and somehow the same pattern shows up throughout the world, so the same type of conspiracy is everywhere, repeated with essentially the same result. What are the odds of that?

There's the economics of it too. If housing costs in a more compact city will be double that of the way that Houston currently is (400,000 vs. 200,000), then an extra $1100/month mortgage payment exceeds the, let's say, less than $500 month in transportation costs. How is it again that people need to be bribed to drive on freeways to their suburban homes?

There's a reason those prices are the way they are. Quality of life.

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Every old person says that. One day that generation will rule.

 

It's going to be just like San Francisco in the 60's.  I mean look at the way that generation renounced war and materialism and completely stuck to their ideals as they reached middle age.  They changed the world, man. 

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Well, Katy isn't exactly "nowhere", even 10 years ago before construction began (and points along Katy Freeway). As for Culberson's motivation, do you actually have real proof that he wanted Katy Freeway to be widened solely for money, or is that just rhetoric? Furthermore, even if Culberson was in cahoots with the developers, that's hardly a unique situation. You think that palms weren't being greased when they built the rail down Main and other streets?

 

There are many other freeways in the Houston area that fit my description. 

 

If you are implying that rail receives even close to the same amount of lobbying as freeways do in the Houston locale, I would vehemently disagree. 

 

Obviously I do not have real proof since I am not in close relations with Culberson, but anyone who has followed his policies and reasoning the last decade or so can plainly see it.

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Who is asserting that there's no corruption in road construction? What has been alleged is that there is enough corruption to fundamentally change how we move about the country and how we build our cities, and somehow the same pattern shows up throughout the world, so the same type of conspiracy is everywhere, repeated with essentially the same result. What are the odds of that?

 

There's the economics of it too. If housing costs in a more compact city will be double that of the way that Houston currently is (400,000 vs. 200,000), then an extra $1100/month mortgage payment exceeds the, let's say, less than $500 month in transportation costs. How is it again that people need to be bribed to drive on freeways to their suburban homes?

I wasn't saying one way or the other whether or not you (or anyone in particular) were "asserting that there's no corruption in road construction"...I just said that I think it would be naive to assume that. I said that because of the tone of your comment when you said:

 

"Proof? ____ that! Freeway construction is always corrupt. How can it not be?"

 

I don't pretend like I "know" where you're coming from or what you think about a random issue. I don't know you, and for all I do know after reading that kind of comment, you may very well "believe" that there is no corruption here. I'd like to think we can both agree that there is "some" corruption going on here and move on.

 

On to the topic at hand, I absolutely believe that there has been enough corruption to *keep* how we move about the country and how we have built our cities lately. And the results are more varied than I think you're giving credit for (especially here in Houston). The older cities in this country and other parts of the world have sprawl too, but most of them have large rail and subway networks and more people to move. Our newer cities in the South have been built largely around the automobile. There have been obvious campaigns in Houston to discourage rail as much as possible...and even the only "rail" we do have probably creates as much traffic as it alleviates. It's as if it was designed by representatives from Exxon and Geico. The things our "leaders" want to work often do...just like the new freeways we build (not a pothole for 30 years). We can accomplish great things in a very efficient manner. We can also do things in a very discouraging manner...and when it comes to true progress (a REAL rail system), we are often very dismissive and inefficient.

 

Home prices vary in different areas for different reasons. I said earlier that they are practically giving those homes away in the suburbs. The amount of house/land you get for the money can't be matched in the city, and it seems like at least a 2 to 1 margin is "what it takes" to ensure masses of people living out there. I would certainly have a hard time believing that people were just lining up years ago to move to, say, the Fry Rd/FM 529 area. That's just where the developers built the homes. Again, "the people" don't need to be bribed at all...they have proven that they are willing to waste 2 or more hours every day commuting if the price is right. The politicians are obviously the ones who are being bribed. If this is "news" to you, then you haven't been paying very much attention. 

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They are continuing to create new or expand 3 freeways at the moment. They of course expanded the limited access road in Stanley Park in recent years. No word of any freeways being torn down there, unlike the Houston proposal.

Oh, and even there, two freeways are closer to the middle of downtown than the closest freeway (North Loop) would be in the Houston proposal. So somehow, the proposal is even more extreme than the extreme example we can find. Niiiiice. Let's do that.

Most major cities don't have elevated interstates cutting through like Houston.

NY, SF, Boston etc did good jobs of making there's less conspicuous. Philadelphia, DC etc are not clobbered by elevated freeways either.

Houston has 3 interstates running right through. THREE.

All three are elevated.

Edited by HoustonIsHome
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Apparently the conspiracy theory has not been properly explained. Do oil companies enjoy getting profits from the gasoline that Houstonian drivers consume because of some symbolism about Houston being the O&G capital? Why would it make a difference whether they bribe-->fund a freeway project in Houston instead of Minneapolis, which has no oil but plenty of freeways? It would be all profit for the oil companies any way.

They don't have to "fund a particular project"...just pay off certain people in high places to do what they can to serve their interests. What makes you so sure they aren't lobbying someone in Minneapolis also? Why do you keep insisting that Slick Vik and I should "have the specifics?"

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It's going to be just like San Francisco in the 60's. I mean look at the way that generation renounced war and materialism and completely stuck to their ideals as they reached middle age. They changed the world, man.

They were doing a good job until the conservative base who were scared the country was becoming too liberal poured billions into making the country more conservative. It worked over time.

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Man, this is a pretty interesting thread, here's replies to Slick and others.

 

No one is saying "that freeway construction is always corrupt," or that "rail projects are always squeaky clean."

Look in the mirror, man.

I'm pretty sure that was supposed to sarcasm. I hope that sarcasm, at least.

 

1. Ranked #1 place to live in the world year after year.

Hate to break it to you, but unlike measurable things like traffic or pollution, these types of lists are often composed of hidden aggregated statistics that are compiled into lists. Even single-statistic lists are compiled: College Station has 27.70% of its residents with graduate degrees, which (some say) makes it a more "educated" city. However, I don't go to message boards and crow over that fact, because it's not really a fact at all. It is mostly a conjured label.

 

2. Because they have a sick fetish with adding more lanes, horizontally or vertically.

This is the type of thing that would get you laughed out of the debate team.

 

3. I'm not deluding myself, but one side has vast political support while the other has enemies due to outside interests.

"No, but yes!"

 

4. This country lives off cheap gas. Period.

Yes! When the Arab Oil Embargo Crisis, the people abandoned the suburbs en masse and moved back to downtowns. Oh wait, they didn't.

 

They were doing a good job until the conservative base who were scared the country was becoming too liberal poured billions into making the country more conservative. It worked over time.

Slick misses the point again...

 

Most major cities don't have elevated interstates cutting through like Houston.

NY, SF, Boston etc did good jobs of making there's less conspicuous. Philadelphia, DC etc are not clobbered by elevated freeways either.

Houston has 3 interstates running right through. THREE.

All three are elevated.

Boston spent billions and billions on a massive tunneling project. And DC itself is a very low-rise city. The best comparison would be other Southern cities, of which there are in abundance that have freeways through them. It's worth noting that if you want to play causation/correlation, in the latter half of the 20th century, Southern downtowns and their freeways were more vibrant and healthy than their Northern counterparts.

 

Every old person says that. One day that generation will rule.

Yeah, but I saw actual recent statistics that showed that it was the predominantly age 30+ people that wanted to move downtown. It's been well-documented here that you rarely go anywhere in Houston beyond the inner loop, so it's easy to see how you extrapolated "The younger generation wants to live in the city core" from "I see and talk to a lot of younger people moving into Midtown", which although is faulty logic, is at least reasonable to jump to that conclusion.

 

Do you find it interesting that our freeways never have any potholes...but the moment you get on most of the streets, it's like we're driving on the moon? I do.

They're funded by two different agencies: TxDOT versus City of Houston. I hope I can put your paranoia to rest. Edited by IronTiger
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Boston spent billions and billions on a massive tunneling project. And DC itself is a very low-rise city. The best comparison would be other Southern cities, of which there are in abundance that have freeways through them. It's worth noting that if you want to play causation/correlation, in the latter half of the 20th century, Southern downtowns and their freeways were more vibrant and healthy than their Northern counterparts.

The only southern city that is close enough on size and stature is Dallas ( ATL is mainly sliced on the southern edge and Miami just has 95 down its spine), and they are in the same boat. Huge city, crappy downtown, with big freeways slicing it up. At least they are doing a good job of closing up the divide caused by the highways. Other major cities are doing the same.

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Where does this "crappy downtown" rhetoric come in? Downtowns (in all of America, not just the South) usually have their share of hobos (which, I admit, do tend to cluster around major roadways) and tend to be a bit grungy, but they have huge glassy buildings, often the nicest hotels in town, lots of museums and/or the arts, and usually a good selection of bars and or restaurants. They have convention centers and sporting venues. And all of these can be found in the "freeways slicing it up".

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Also, why would any of these companies have to "bribe people to drive to work?" They already know they have hundreds of thousands of locals driving to and from wherever the developers build. If anyone's bribing the people, it's the developers. They are practically giving away huge houses in the middle of nowhere for prices that are a fraction per square foot of what we would pay for in the city. I'm inclined to think that's why Exxon bought that land in what is now Greenspoint, Kingwood, Clear Lake, etc....knowing that it will yield them guaranteed use of their product through the foreseeable future. Today, that's seen as a "good business decision."

 

 

This reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about Exxon's old development arm, Friendswood Development. Exxon got its start in developing subdivisions in Clear Lake, where the company owned a huge tract of land, bought from Jim West. The land was originally bought to explore for oil, and contained the Friendswood Field, now the Webster Unit. The remaining part of that oil field can be seen in the open areas along I-45 near Bay Area Blvd. When NASA was moved to the area, Exxon set up Friendswood Development to monetize the land via development.

 

I doubt very seriously that Exxon, or any oil company, worries about having sprawl increase gasoline consumption.

 

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This reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about Exxon's old development arm, Friendswood Development. Exxon got its start in developing subdivisions in Clear Lake, where the company owned a huge tract of land, bought from Jim West. The land was originally bought to explore for oil, and contained the Friendswood Field, now the Webster Unit. The remaining part of that oil field can be seen in the open areas along I-45 near Bay Area Blvd. When NASA was moved to the area, Exxon set up Friendswood Development to monetize the land via development.

 

I doubt very seriously that Exxon, or any oil company, worries about having sprawl increase gasoline consumption.

 

That's interesting. I wonder if they bought the land in other parts of town to explore for oil...and then develop it if oil production is low or non-existent. Well there's certainly no "lack of understanding" that Exxon set up Friendswood Development to develop that land into "master-planned communities."

 

It doesn't matter when or why they bought that land...they set up their own "development company" to make a lot of money.

 

Why would you "doubt" that oil companies would be at least interested in generating increased gas consumption? Why do they "feel the need" to lobby politicians or hire "scientists" who "conclude" that the Earth has actually cooled over the last several decades?

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IronTiger, my quote:

 

"No one is saying that freeway construction is always corrupt, or that rail projects are always squeaky clean. Look in the mirror, man."

 

That was in response to ig2ba's quote:

 

"Proof? ____ that! Freeway construction is always corrupt. How can it not be? Rail projects are always squeaky clean. Whenever the most logical explanation for unfavorable (to you) results is incompetence or on people having different preferences, you are usually wrong. It is corruption and evil intent!"

 

Not sure what's "unclear" about what I wrote there.

 

***

 

Regarding your quote:

 

"They're funded by two different agencies: TxDOT versus City of Houston. I hope I can put your paranoia to rest."

 

That's true, but it doesn't address several issues I have with both of them.

 

Back when they were constructing "the new" West Loop back in February 2006, and 610 northbound was backed up from I-10 all the way to Bissonnet for 8 - 12 hours per day, and more often than not during the daytime, further than that. At the time, I noticed what was causing this was the fact that the ramp from 610 northbound to I-10 (both ways) was down to one lane. I looked at it very closely, and...since I almost always had a good 3 to 5 minutes to "get a good look at it," I noticed that there was enough room on that actual ramp for another lane through the duration of the "design"...but a concrete wall had been placed just far enough to "provide" for one lane. Mind you this setup was scheduled to last through December 31 that year. So I contacted Clifford Halveson (spelling?), the project manager from TxDot and informed him of that situation, and that IF they were to move the barrier, motorists would actually have more room from the barrier than they did on, say, the left lane of the North Freeway. To say he wasn't very receptive to my suggestion would be an understatement (he even maintained that there wasn't enough room for another lane), and he eventually ended up hanging up the phone. Anyways, I then took it upon myself to go to the scene of the crime (and yes, this degree of negligence is a crime somewhere down the line) and I took pictures of the entire area that showed exactly what I was trying to explain to Mr. Halveson. I then contacted Rad Sallee from the Chronicle and told him (and showed him the pictures of) everything. I still have that email from Feb. 17, 2006. I got a little better feedback from him, even though he initially said that "it looks like there probably isn't room for a second lane." I then replied back and broke down every picture I took, illustrating undeniable evidence that what I was saying was true...and about a week later, I read in Mr. Sallee's column that TxDot was going through with their "final design" on that part of the construction area...and they did it in less than a week. I still have that article, too. My thing is...1) if TxDot already knew they could do that in less than a week, why were they "scheduled" to finish that area almost a year later, knowingly leaving thousands of Houstonians sitting in THAT traffic for THAT long...and 2) why were the people who can do something about a situation that was clearly causing some of the biggest routine backups in this city's history so dismissive of a civilian's suggestion (even going as far to say "there wasn't enough room") until the moment they became aware that that civilian had pictures with undeniable evidence? This kind of construction practice isn't the exception in this town either, it's the norm...and it takes more than "jumping through hoops" to get something done about it just about every time, whether it's through the city or TxDot.

 

I can probably give you hundreds of examples of this same crap with the COH's construction practices (not that I should have to do that). They have a long list of this exact same kind of stalling, inefficient, and often counterproductive BS all over the place...and it shouldn't take an MIT grad to see who benefits from it. I mentioned Richmond Avenue earlier...other than Westheimer outside the loop, there aren't many other roads that don't need serious work somewhere, and most of them either stay neglected or get "fixed" by either making it worse or creating another pothole/bump in the process. I haven't even got into the joke the 311 "help" line has become over the years. Just about every person I speak to these days from 311 gets basic requests wrong on a routine basis. It didn't use to be that way when they first started out. I'll even clarify with them over the phone (and have them read it back to me) what I requested...and then a few weeks later when I check on the conformation number, my previously-read-back-to-me-request has turned into something completely different, and much less of a job just about every time. It was almost always less, even when I requested a small stretch of road. Maybe one in 20 or 30 calls I've requested work on have been taken care of somewhat efficiently. For example, I've called in requests to repair stretches of (and the entire stretch of at first) Richmond Avenue from the 3900 block all the way to the 13000 block for about 10 years now. I know I've made over 100 calls on this request alone. Every time I check on it, I either get "the 3900 block of Richmond has been completed" or something like "this is a major project that we don't have funding for at this time" (while they've repaved all of Westheimer twice in that time span). So my next "move" is to request from the 3900 block to the 5900 block (from near Weslayan to near Fountainview), but I often get the same "the 3900 block has been completed" BS. I'll even tell them that this happens all the time, and it seems like only when I talk to a supervisor, I'll get some positive results (University Blvd between Greenbriar and Main comes to mind here...even though I was calling that in for years until then too).

 

If you want to think this is the result of "incompetence," feel free...but I don't appreciate it when people try to patronize me or marginalize my point with the tiresome "paranoid, conspiracy" BS. Like I said earlier, two pigeons blowing each other is technically a "conspiracy." If you don't think there are conspiracies going on all the time when it comes to business and making money, then I have some oceanfront property in Tomball I'd like to sell you. I don't buy the notion that these people truly believe that the best or most efficient way to go about repairing roads is to go about it the way they do. Do I think that Mr. Halveson (or someone he's affiliated with) has gotten a kickback or two? Based on the two experiences I had with him (one on "the new" West Loop and one on the Milam Street entrance ramp to Spur 527), I'd be willing to bet at least indirectly, but I certainly couldn't "prove" it either way. Mr. Sallee? I don't think so. Do I think that the 311 operators are "paid off?" Of course not, but there are absolutely a lot of other ways people can interfere with service. In 311's case, they have clearly taken a step back from when they first started out (and projects were getting done MUCH better and more efficiently) in terms of the quality of people they hire to take these calls and the services they "provide."

 

I can think of so many other things in this town that are designed for inefficiency and consumption. Could it all be "incompetence?" I'm sure at least some of it is, but like I said earlier...the 35 years I've spent on this Earth leads me to believe some people are being paid off in this town. Maybe you're right, though...maybe it's all "paranoia." If that's the worst thing that comes out of this, then at least I'm observant and persistent enough to have been largely responsible for getting the West Loop moving 10 months before TxDot originally planned on "getting around to it." That alone is worth it's weight in your (or anyone's) assumption of "paranoia" for me, brotha!

Edited by por favor gracias
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There's a reason those prices are the way they are. Quality of life.

 

I was saying that in a hypothetical world where Houston had no freeways (other than maybe I-10), and had the same number of people as now, that housing prices would be double. It would cost more for everybody. Most people, especially Houstonians, would resist such a scenario because it costs more. They would resist it by demanding more transportation options, and because our starting point is around 1950, I'm more than sure that they would have demanded more freeways. Oh, look. They already did!

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Most major cities don't have elevated interstates cutting through like Houston.

NY, SF, Boston etc did good jobs of making there's less conspicuous. Philadelphia, DC etc are not clobbered by elevated freeways either.

Houston has 3 interstates running right through. THREE.

All three are elevated.

 

Argue against whatever strawman you want. The proposal was to eliminate all freeways inside I-610. I demonstrated that this proposal is more extreme even than just about any city, including the ones you listed.

 

Number of freeways that just happen to touch downtown is not a good metric. Other cities have freeways near downtown:

Kansas City - 5 or more, depending how you count

LA - 4

Minneapolis - 3

Philadelphia - 3

St. Louis - 3

Washington DC - 3

Chicago - 2

 

Distance to the nearest interstate might be a better metric, but whatever you're trying to say with the all caps, it's not getting through.

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They were doing a good job until the conservative base who were scared the country was becoming too liberal poured billions into making the country more conservative. It worked over time.

 

Just so we're clear, is this part of the same conspiracy led by oil companies to bribe politicians to build roads, or is it a separate entity?

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I was saying that in a hypothetical world where Houston had no freeways (other than maybe I-10), and had the same number of people as now, that housing prices would be double. It would cost more for everybody. Most people, especially Houstonians, would resist such a scenario because it costs more. They would resist it by demanding more transportation options, and because our starting point is around 1950, I'm more than sure that they would have demanded more freeways. Oh, look. They already did!

It would only "cost more" up front...not over time. There are cities all over the world that have high speed mass transit, and paid much less than we did for our light rail line.

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It would only "cost more" up front...not over time. There are cities all over the world that have high speed mass transit, and paid much less than we did for our light rail line.

 

Anyone getting a new house with a mortgage in a crowded city would pay more. That would continue forever.

That's funny, because I was "hoping" that you would actually respond to the substance of my comment.

 

You should know by now there's "no hope" for me and my paranoia...

 

Make more posts like this. They are easier to respond to.

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We would all pay more for the roads, gas and services to be extended out 30 to 50 miles in every direction.

 

Even car-dependent cities spend more on housing than on transportation. In denser, more compact cities, the cost of housing increase is not offset by a drop in transportation expenses.

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IronTiger, my quote:

"No one is saying that freeway construction is always corrupt, or that rail projects are always squeaky clean. Look in the mirror, man."

That was in response to ig2ba's quote:

"Proof? ____ that! Freeway construction is always corrupt. How can it not be? Rail projects are always squeaky clean. Whenever the most logical explanation for unfavorable (to you) results is incompetence or on people having different preferences, you are usually wrong. It is corruption and evil intent!"

Not sure what's "unclear" about what I wrote there.

I created a thread responding to the allegations that corruption exists everywhere and that while not denying that Culberson worked with developers on Interstate 10, suggested that the light rail line had some "palms greased" on it. This was replied with sarcasm about "freeway construction is always corrupt" and "rail projects are always squeaky clean" which you tended to miss.

If you want to think this is the result of "incompetence," feel free...but I don't appreciate it when people try to patronize me or marginalize my point with the tiresome "paranoid, conspiracy" BS. Like I said earlier, two pigeons blowing each other is technically a "conspiracy." If you don't think there are conspiracies going on all the time when it comes to business and making money, then I have some oceanfront property in Tomball I'd like to sell you.

I wasn't trying to marginalize you, but cities aren't made out of money or else we would have all-new roads and sidewalks everywhere. Houston expanded fast, and they created relatively cheap wide concrete roads (designed for further expansion) down major corridors. Unfortunately, years of heavy traffic have taken their toll, creating rough, pot-holed roads. When money's available, they tend to allocate it to newer things and newer developments because that's where the money is. Now if you want to call "Corruption" and "Conspiracy", then that's fine, but it just tends to be the way things work...

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Even car-dependent cities spend more on housing than on transportation. In denser, more compact cities, the cost of housing increase is not offset by a drop in transportation expenses.

The cost of housing isn't solely dependent on how compact a city is. NYC, SF, WAS, CHI, LA, etc. are "more expensive than Houston" for a variety of reasons...location, quality of life, etc. Los Angeles is spread out also, but the average home prices there are also double Houston's.

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The cost of housing isn't solely dependent on how compact a city is. NYC, SF, WAS, CHI, LA, etc. are "more expensive than Houston" for a variety of reasons...location, quality of life, etc. Los Angeles is spread out also, but the average home prices there are also double Houston's.

Does LA really have better "location" and "quality of life" than Houston? That's subjective, but if we were justifying price of living, it's not "worth" twice the cost.

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I created a thread responding to the allegations that corruption exists everywhere and that while not denying that Culberson worked with developers on Interstate 10, suggested that the light rail line had some "palms greased" on it. This was replied with sarcasm about "freeway construction is always corrupt" and "rail projects are always squeaky clean" which you tended to miss.

I wasn't trying to marginalize you, but cities aren't made out of money or else we would have all-new roads and sidewalks everywhere. Houston expanded fast, and they created relatively cheap wide concrete roads (designed for further expansion) down major corridors. Unfortunately, years of heavy traffic have taken their toll, creating rough, pot-holed roads. When money's available, they tend to allocate it to newer things and newer developments because that's where the money is. Now if you want to call "Corruption" and "Conspiracy", then that's fine, but it just tends to be the way things work...

I got the sarcasm with the "freeway construction is always corrupt" and "rail projects are always squeaky clean" quotes. That's why I responded the way I did.

 

Houston has expanded very fast, and it could have worked well if planned better. It makes no sense to me to build freeways "and leave room for future expansion." Why not build the final product right off the bat? It would have been MUCH cheaper and more efficient to do it that way. It's a lot like how we do "patch" jobs with potholes. We block off sections of roads for weeks or months at a time, just to pour that sand/gravel BS all over it (and creating a rough bump in the process), leave it like that for a few more weeks or months, and THEN patch up the final product that more often than not isn't in much, if any better shape than the original pothole was in the first place. It's beyond "ridiculous," and I have a hard time believing the "experts" who are making these decisions are this incompetent...especially since it's all modeled on similar patterns of inefficiency whether it's what we build, where we build or how we build it.

 

I'm certainly not calling "corruption" on all, or even many of those involved, but it doesn't take "many" to get results like these. Things "work" both ways..."dirty" and more often than not, "not dirty." That said, the system can be rigged so much (by "conspiracy" or not) that even the "not dirty" parties can get stuck in the mud.

 

Thanks for the feedback!

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Does LA really have better "location" and "quality of life" than Houston? That's subjective, but if we were justifying price of living, it's not "worth" twice the cost.

I think the vast majority of people would agree that LA has both a better location and quality of life than Houston. It's certainly more of a destination. Of course, they could use a real mass transit system too. We're going to end up like that if we don't get smart about our growth from here on. 

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