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Terrible article but no surprise coming from someone known as anti-rail

Houston needs to get past the driving only mentality but it won't as long as powerful lobbies have the ears of local politicians

Beyond that the article is full of lies. Los Angeles, Denver, and Phoenix are actually investing more in rail expansions and LA actually wants to accelerate the process and convert BRT to rail as well.

Saying autonomous taxi will replace public transit is laughable and the biggest irony is the quote that says vehicles that carry more people take vehicles off the road. That's pretty much the definition of rail transit.

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A regular taxi can be manky enough even with a driver.  Has anyone come up with an idea for how to make the self driving car self cleaning as well?  Until that happens, taxis with someone on board to notice when a passenger has been... (**ahem**) untidy are going to have their place.

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Terrible article but no surprise coming from someone known as anti-rail

Houston needs to get past the driving only mentality but it won't as long as powerful lobbies have the ears of local politicians

Beyond that the article is full of lies. Los Angeles, Denver, and Phoenix are actually investing more in rail expansions and LA actually wants to accelerate the process and convert BRT to rail as well.

Saying autonomous taxi will replace public transit is laughable and the biggest irony is the quote that says vehicles that carry more people take vehicles off the road. That's pretty much the definition of rail transit.

 

It's a bit optimistic, but the article's not full of lies (uh, Citylab, on the other hand has lots of inaccuracies). Of course L.A., Denver, and the rest are investing in rail. That doesn't mean that it's a good idea or it will pay off the long run, and that's true for just about anything, I don't know, a movie with a $100 million budget and one of the most bankable stars at the time? What could go wrong?

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A regular taxi can be manky enough even with a driver.  Has anyone come up with an idea for how to make the self driving car self cleaning as well?  Until that happens, taxis with someone on board to notice when a passenger has been... (**ahem**) untidy are going to have their place.

 

yeah, and not to mention, when I sign up to have the car service come pick me up, I am not signing up to go stop at 3 other people's houses and pick them up as well. 4-letter-word-starting-with-F that.

 

or maybe I'm not the first person being picked up, but the last one, so now 3 other people are pulling up to my driveway, they see when I leave for work every day, and they see how nice I dress. F that too.

 

obviously, the solution is for people to go to a central location to get in this 4 person conveyance. that's not convenient, so F that.

 

So much headache for this driverless customized SUV, I'm just going to drive my car.

 

Personally, my money is on the driverless taxi for one person being used for short distances. say to get someone from their house to a train station. and then from the train station to their office, maybe a bus to within a block or two of the office.

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I accidentally did an uber ride share when I landed at SFO. It added 40 minutes to the drive, as the person I shared it with was staying on the west side of town and I was Downtown.

Cut the ride cost in half but I made sure to check what I was requesting the next time. I don't think they've added that feature to the Houston market yet. Would be nice if you were sharing the ride with someone you know, with multiple pick-up locations (let's go to the club).

Wasn't a bad experience, just added time.

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I accidentally did an uber ride share when I landed at SFO. It added 40 minutes to the drive, as the person I shared it with was staying on the west side of town and I was Downtown.

Cut the ride cost in half but I made sure to check what I was requesting the next time. I don't think they've added that feature to the Houston market yet. Would be nice if you were sharing the ride with someone you know, with multiple pick-up locations (let's go to the club).

Wasn't a bad experience, just added time.

 

You can split fares really easily with uber...

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I hope this is a good spot for this. Just wanted to pass this along to those who might be interested in seeing this.

 
 
 
Adapting to a new human future
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Want to sponsor this newsletter? Click here.
 

Metro's Regional Transit Plan

Save the date: 
Wednesday, June 28, at noon, at H-GAC

3555 Timmons, second floor 
Free and open to the public
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Hey y’all, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on HAIF, and I’m not sure if this thread is the appropriate place for this video, but I thought it was an interesting discussion on transit/walkability that revolves around Houston (you can skip to 3:43 in the video if you want to get to the Houston stuff).

 

While I don’t agree with everything presented in the video, it literally hit home for me because of his area of study. Before I recently relocated to Chicago, I lived in Jersey Village for almost 2 years, and from what I can tell given his map and video footage, he looks to be near Willowbrook Mall (the In-and-Out gave it away for me). 
 

He does make several good points, granted his time is spent more in the suburbs I can see his criticism reverberate to other areas of the city, even within the loop. Most of his observations went over my head when I lived there, probably due to the fact that I have grown up in car culture. But I definitely recall the lack of sidewalks in many areas and the limited walkability that created in essence “islands” of walkability, stranding people.
 

Again, I think Houston is a complicated city to judge, so I think it’s open for discussion on how the city can make strides to improve walkability and other forms of transit that don’t revolve around the car. He does note that Houston has made improvements as of recent, so it’s not all negative. Definitely would love to hear people’s thoughts, Houston will always be a 2nd home for me and I miss it!

 

Edited by CaptainJilliams
Added time stamp note.
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On 7/25/2021 at 8:17 AM, CaptainJilliams said:

Hey y’all, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on HAIF, and I’m not sure if this thread is the appropriate place for this video, but I thought it was an interesting discussion on transit/walkability that revolves around Houston (you can skip to 3:43 in the video if you want to get to the Houston stuff).

 

While I don’t agree with everything presented in the video, it literally hit home for me because of his area of study. Before I recently relocated to Chicago, I lived in Jersey Village for almost 2 years, and from what I can tell given his map and video footage, he looks to be near Willowbrook Mall (the In-and-Out gave it away for me). 
 

He does make several good points, granted his time is spent more in the suburbs I can see his criticism reverberate to other areas of the city, even within the loop. Most of his observations went over my head when I lived there, probably due to the fact that I have grown up in car culture. But I definitely recall the lack of sidewalks in many areas and the limited walkability that created in essence “islands” of walkability, stranding people.
 

Again, I think Houston is a complicated city to judge, so I think it’s open for discussion on how the city can make strides to improve walkability and other forms of transit that don’t revolve around the car. He does note that Houston has made improvements as of recent, so it’s not all negative. Definitely would love to hear people’s thoughts, Houston will always be a 2nd home for me and I miss it!

 

This guy got dropped in one of the worst locations in “Houston” and then complains the entire time about how unwalkable the city is. He gives very little credit to the good walkable parts of the city. It’s really not a fair argument. Yes cars dominate this city but we’ve made some serious strides the past 30 years. 

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Let's be fair though, the areas that FM 1960 passes through are really a lot more representative of the majority of our nearly 7 million person metro area than being in the western half of the loop. Greater Houston continues to grow unabated while the population of the city proper remains flat and is its share is shrinking down to become a little more than 1/3 of the region.

I'll just say it, despite being the person to you know, post on the forum, I've always kind of had a mixed love/hate relationship with this place. The City of Houston proper is cool and some outlying places are cool but the bulk of where most people live in the metro as a whole are really disappointing to me. I also don't really want us to grow so fast anymore, because any growth from now on is going to take the form of the schlock that's expanded out along the Grand Parkway between Katy and 290 and that doesn't add anything good for those of us already here except more traffic and making the attractions or public places we do have more crowded.

It's not just walkability, it's everything. These insular McMansion subdivisions keep the residents inside. They have one way in and out so the commercial development that follows is just a crust around the edges of free standing Chick Fil A's and car washes and nail salons, Ctrl+C Ctrl+V. Then the service industry peasant class moves into apartments kept neatly out of the way. The only parks are kids baseball fields or whatever the Precinct 3/4 people can justify mowing once a month. Since we are now in the retail apocalypse new growth isn't spawning new town centers or malls that act like places or anchors for development. The outlying towns in the growth direction like Katy and Tomball decided not to capitalize on it or annex the stuff around them.

I realize that you will say Houston has always been like this, but that's just not true. Older areas developed up through the 70s and 80s were "ugly" with stuff like gas stations and billboards but most older neighborhoods do have kind of a community vibe. Like if you go to Garden Oaks or Sharpstown they have streets with sidewalks that all join up, there are city of Houston parks and public schools embedded in them. These places are also a lot denser than more modern suburbia. Also back in the day there were developers with interesting visions like George Mitchell and The Woodlands and all sorts of clusters of shiny office towers and shopping centers and stuff that was exciting. Nowadays its just filling the prairies with KB Homes the Landing at Mustang Bend 70" 90"  whatever the hell those numbers mean. The FM 1960 area is sort of like the transition zone or prototype of the newer wave of suburbs versus the older ones.

Eventually Greater Houston is just going to be this massive behemoth with no character whatsoever. The boosters will go "oh look at this ethnic restaurant in this skanky strip mall from the 80s we are so diverse" as being the only thing of note in a whole swath of blah. Yeah I get it, me living in Houston complaining about our sprawl is like moving to Phoenix and saying its too hot or moving to New York and saying people are rude in the subway. But its my honest opinion.

Edited by zaphod
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On 7/25/2021 at 8:17 AM, CaptainJilliams said:

Hey y’all, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on HAIF, and I’m not sure if this thread is the appropriate place for this video, but I thought it was an interesting discussion on transit/walkability that revolves around Houston (you can skip to 3:43 in the video if you want to get to the Houston stuff).

 

While I don’t agree with everything presented in the video, it literally hit home for me because of his area of study. Before I recently relocated to Chicago, I lived in Jersey Village for almost 2 years, and from what I can tell given his map and video footage, he looks to be near Willowbrook Mall (the In-and-Out gave it away for me). 
 

He does make several good points, granted his time is spent more in the suburbs I can see his criticism reverberate to other areas of the city, even within the loop. Most of his observations went over my head when I lived there, probably due to the fact that I have grown up in car culture. But I definitely recall the lack of sidewalks in many areas and the limited walkability that created in essence “islands” of walkability, stranding people.
 

Again, I think Houston is a complicated city to judge, so I think it’s open for discussion on how the city can make strides to improve walkability and other forms of transit that don’t revolve around the car. He does note that Houston has made improvements as of recent, so it’s not all negative. Definitely would love to hear people’s thoughts, Houston will always be a 2nd home for me and I miss it!

 

I watched this this morning.

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20 hours ago, zaphod said:

Let's be fair though, the areas that FM 1960 passes through are really a lot more representative of the majority of our nearly 7 million person metro area than being in the western half of the loop. Greater Houston continues to grow unabated while the population of the city proper remains flat and is its share is shrinking down to become a little more than 1/3 of the region.

I'll just say it, despite being the person to you know, post on the forum, I've always kind of had a mixed love/hate relationship with this place. The City of Houston proper is cool and some outlying places are cool but the bulk of where most people live in the metro as a whole are really disappointing to me. I also don't really want us to grow so fast anymore, because any growth from now on is going to take the form of the schlock that's expanded out along the Grand Parkway between Katy and 290 and that doesn't add anything good for those of us already here except more traffic and making the attractions or public places we do have more crowded.

It's not just walkability, it's everything. These insular McMansion subdivisions keep the residents inside. They have one way in and out so the commercial development that follows is just a crust around the edges of free standing Chick Fil A's and car washes and nail salons, Ctrl+C Ctrl+V. Then the service industry peasant class moves into various apartments or starter home developments. The only parks are kids baseball fields or whatever the Precinct 3/4 people can justify mowing once a month. Since we are now in the retail apocalypse new growth isn't spawning new town centers or malls that act like places or anchors for development. The outlying towns in the growth direction like Katy and Tomball decided not to capitalize on it or annex the stuff around them.

Eventually Greater Houston is just going to be this massive behemoth with no character whatsoever. The boosters will go "oh look at this ethnic restaurant in this skanky strip mall from the 80s we are so international!" as being the only thing of note in a whole swath of blah.

I think you’re being overly critical. We have our flaws but as the city continues to grow we’re seeing a smarter development pattern in Houston proper. We can talk about Houston metro all day but our focus really needs to be on Houston proper. That’s where we need to continue building up Midtown, East End, etc. The goal in my personal opinion is to have Houston’s main neighborhoods continue to get denser and more transit friendly. Once Metro builds the Inner Katy BRT line, things are going to start to fall in to place. Not every area of our massive metro has to have perfect walkability. Over time those areas may adopt better measures for pedestrians but let’s make Houston proper the best it can be.  I think it’s also healthy to see the flaws in your city and want better. There’s nothing wrong with hating some things. That means you give a $h%*

Edited by j_cuevas713
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I really don't want to give much credit to the city or county or TXDOT. It makes me really sad to see how particularly terrible the sidewalk infrastructure is in Houston. I'm not talking about perfect walkability, I'm talking about no pedestrian infrastructure at all. Any time I see a pedestrian killed in the news I go and look at the area on Google Maps so I can kind of get a feel for what choices the pedestrian/driver made and how much of that was affected by the built environment. 

The far far majority of the time, there is a lack of cohesiveness for the pedestrian experience. And this is multiplied X 100 when you are talking about people that need to push a stroller or use a wheelchair. Relying on developers to (re)develop a property to build a sidewalk freaking sucks. TXDOT has done a tremendously shit job. We mention 1960, which has had huge portions rebuilt, and they flat out decided against putting in sidewalks in large portions. They are going to rebuild the portion from Humble to Atascocita and have finally decided to start to integrate sidewalks. 

There are a tremendous number of people, in poorer areas, that have little to no promise of ever having sidewalks put in because the city or county isn't going to do it and whatever old store isn't going to be redeveloped until who knows when. I honestly think that we should do a sidewalk and potentially bike-lane focused bond. 

 

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27 minutes ago, wilcal said:

I really don't want to give much credit to the city or county or TXDOT. It makes me really sad to see how particularly terrible the sidewalk infrastructure is in Houston. I'm not talking about perfect walkability, I'm talking about no pedestrian infrastructure at all. Any time I see a pedestrian killed in the news I go and look at the area on Google Maps so I can kind of get a feel for what choices the pedestrian/driver made and how much of that was affected by the built environment. 

The far far majority of the time, there is a lack of cohesiveness for the pedestrian experience. And this is multiplied X 100 when you are talking about people that need to push a stroller or use a wheelchair. Relying on developers to (re)develop a property to build a sidewalk freaking sucks. TXDOT has done a tremendously shit job. We mention 1960, which has had huge portions rebuilt, and they flat out decided against putting in sidewalks in large portions. They are going to rebuild the portion from Humble to Atascocita and have finally decided to start to integrate sidewalks. 

There are a tremendous number of people, in poorer areas, that have little to no promise of ever having sidewalks put in because the city or county isn't going to do it and whatever old store isn't going to be redeveloped until who knows when. I honestly think that we should do a sidewalk and potentially bike-lane focused bond. 

 

Honestly it really comes down to the city of Houston enforcing what’s already in place. The city says property owners must maintain their sidewalks but because there is no enforcement from the city, property owners get away with it. This would be my first step to getting sidewalks back in shape and the city could work with property owners to make sure it gets done at the best cost to everyone. Now I get your argument about TxDOT. Overall they are trying to integrate smarter design elements for pedestrians which I do appreciate. Otherwise the only other option would be for the city to take full responsibility for sidewalks.

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how can you maintain something you were exempt from needing to have in the first place? 

and thanks to existing structures carrying the legacy of exemption (as far as I can tell) for the entire property, if you buy a strip center that didn't need (and so doesn't have) a sidewalk, there's no requirement for the new owner to put one in, unless they are going to tear down the existing structure and start over as if from a greenfield.

am I working off false presumptions? 

in this case, @wilcal has a very good point, why not a bond to put sidewalks in wherever they do not currently exist?

regarding the youtube, I've been watching his videos for a while, and they are intriguing, I like his series on why suburbs are unsustainable.

he calls suburbs (as they exist in the USA) Ponzi schemes, while I think that's a bit of an exaggeration, I do agree with the premise that suburbs as we build them aren't exactly sustainable affairs, and make anything other than single occupant vehicle transportation pretty much impossible.

Edited by samagon
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On 7/27/2021 at 10:14 AM, j_cuevas713 said:

Honestly it really comes down to the city of Houston enforcing what’s already in place. The city says property owners must maintain their sidewalks but because there is no enforcement from the city, property owners get away with it. This would be my first step to getting sidewalks back in shape and the city could work with property owners to make sure it gets done at the best cost to everyone. Now I get your argument about TxDOT. Overall they are trying to integrate smarter design elements for pedestrians which I do appreciate. Otherwise the only other option would be for the city to take full responsibility for sidewalks.

Agreed, but city council is not interested in being the heavy hand here. There is currently no enforcement options for forcing repair of sidewalks. 

They do have some programs to install new sidewalks near schools and near disabled residents, but it is sloooow moving. 

What it comes down to is money of course. I read that the outstanding estimated sidewalk rehabilitation cost is immense in the city. Like 9 figures? And it is technically the responsibility of property owners and not the city, so I doubt the city is going to pay for that. It would be great to have an option provided by the city to provide a low-interest loan where the city comes in and does all of the work and the homeowner pays a small amount over time. I think a lot of people would prefer to have better sidewalks and would pay a small amount for it, but wouldn't drop $2k or something. 

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1 hour ago, wilcal said:

Agreed, but city council is not interested in being the heavy hand here. There is currently no enforcement options for forcing repair of sidewalks. 

They do have some programs to install new sidewalks near schools and near disabled residents, but it is sloooow moving. 

What it comes down to is money of course. I read that the outstanding estimated sidewalk rehabilitation cost is immense in the city. Like 9 figures? And it is technically the responsibility of property owners and not the city, so I doubt the city is going to pay for that. It would be great to have an option provided by the city to provide a low-interest loan where the city comes in and does all of the work and the homeowner pays a small amount over time. I think a lot of people would prefer to have better sidewalks and would pay a small amount for it, but wouldn't drop $2k or something. 

Oh for sure, I feel like the city should hand out small fines for under maintained sidewalks, mostly for commercial businesses. Nothing crazy, like $50. 

I like your idea about the city loaning the money. Or maybe we could adopt something similar to Chicago.

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3 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

feh.  Bro. Jordan probably expects people to use that stick behind the steering wheel that turns on those funny flashing lights, too. :ph34r:

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13 minutes ago, pokemonizepic said:

feels like my car is going to explode when I'm driving down 20th street to this interaction 

I take this intersection often. It’s def a headache because people are idiots 🤷🏻‍♂️ A roundabout would be really nice. And they can repave 20th while they’re at it. 

 

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11 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

I've taken this intersection very often and never had the least bit of trouble with it.  Lots of cities have similar intersections; most rather celebrate such intersections with names such as "5 points".

It’s not bad for driving a car but it’s horrible in terms of being a pedestrian. Plus the bus stops in this area always have people waiting. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
39 minutes ago, Justin Welling said:

As someone who rides the bus to/from downtown, automobile drivers struggle with the current bus only lane design. The red paint will be a game changer and I hope it can encourage more people to take METRO to Downtown. 

I couldn't agree more. People only respect what's been given respect from the city. I'm a firm believer in aesthetics and the whole psychology behind that, and this is going to look great. And it should help the user experience.

Edited by j_cuevas713
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4 hours ago, Naviguessor said:

By The Galleria, tons of times. Why? 

I took the 82 to visit a friend and while I was heading back, I had to cross the road, and I barely had like 10 seconds to cross 9 lanes lol

Edited by j_cuevas713
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311 it :). Click "Report a Problem" -> Traffic Signs - Traffic Signals -> Traffic Signals ->  Modify Existing Signal ->  Pedestrian Signal - Traffic Signals 

And then write your concern, that's my only suggestion. 10 seconds to cross is terrible, but it will only improve if we let the city know about it. 

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2 hours ago, Justin Welling said:

311 it :). Click "Report a Problem" -> Traffic Signs - Traffic Signals -> Traffic Signals ->  Modify Existing Signal ->  Pedestrian Signal - Traffic Signals 

And then write your concern, that's my only suggestion. 10 seconds to cross is terrible, but it will only improve if we let the city know about it. 

I actually ended up writing an email to District G and got a response that they have filed a work order to have the pedestrian signals last longer. 

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