Jump to content

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Texasota said:

Oh god. I somehow always forget how awful I-10 is.

It's actually the best freeway we have. Lanes are wide enough, it's smooth like butter, and makes visiting friends & family out there a breeze. Compare it to the narrow pot holed mess that is 45 N & S, sharp curve and dump trucks on 59 N, random lane drop offs & merges on 59 S, it's amazing.

That being said, I hope this new development brings some fresh restaurants to the area. Tired of going to the same old places in City Centre and the chains scattered along the freeway. 

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think he meant awful in the, “this is a horrid waste of space/resources and it divides a city in two and is emblematic of our terrible public transportation and is the antithesis of good urban planning”

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I10 is awesome, not awful.  Every mile of freeway in the city should be built out to that standard, including the loops.  Then, if you want good public transport, just run park and ride buses all day long in each direction and connect to local lines at the park and ride locations.  Development is already clustered around our existing highways so it makes it much easier to get to pretty much any destination in just two or three bus hops, including one that moves at highway speeds down the hot lanes.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, Justin Welling said:

Research shows that more lanes = more traffic. Katy Freeway has actually had worst travel times during peak am/pm rush hour than it did before the expansion. 

https://cityobservatory.org/reducing-congestion-katy-didnt/

Thank you for posting that link.  Reading the article led me to this:

http://traffic.houstontranstar.org/hist/hist_traveltimes_menu.aspx

This is the source cited for the four year increase in travel times from Pin Oak to downtown.  It shows data gathered by transtar for average trip time broken down by 15 minute increments and sections of roadway.  Here are the 2021 highlights from transtar:

Quote

2021 Highlights

  • As people adapted to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 saw increases in travel time and travel delay across the majority of freeways in the Houston region when compared to 2020. However, congestion has still not risen back to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Overall travel delay increased 57% in the AM and 59% in the PM over 2020.
  • Despite the travel delay increases from 2020 to 2021, delay is still 50% less in the AM period and 32% less in the PM period than it was in 2019 before the pandemic began. Travel delay in 2021 is near the same level it was at the beginning of the 2010s. These charts show the average travel delay per mile on freeways in Houston from 2012-2021 in both the AM and PM periods.
  • There is a larger discrepancy in travel delay between the AM and PM periods in 2021 than seen in the past. Typically, the PM period has 2x delay of the AM period. However, in 2021 the PM period has nearly 3x the travel delay of the AM period.
  • Routes that were congested for the largest precentage of time in the AM in 2021.
  • Routes that were congested for the largest percentage of time in the PM in 2021.
  • With the construction concluding on SH-288, the time spent congested has been almost eliminated and traveler delay has decreased, even from 2020 levels.

Travel time at peak in the morning for 2021 on I10 is below where it was 10 years ago.  2020 was clearly an anomalous year due to the shutdowns in the spring.  I'll be curious to see where this goes over the next year or two as work patterns have changed, hopefully permanently.  What I've noticed, anecdotally, is that I10 is gloriously open during non-peak hours.  The bottlenecks I've found are now where it meets smaller narrower roadways.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, august948 said:

Thank you for posting that link.  Reading the article led me to this:

http://traffic.houstontranstar.org/hist/hist_traveltimes_menu.aspx

This is the source cited for the four year increase in travel times from Pin Oak to downtown.  It shows data gathered by transtar for average trip time broken down by 15 minute increments and sections of roadway.  Here are the 2021 highlights from transtar:

Travel time at peak in the morning for 2021 on I10 is below where it was 10 years ago.  2020 was clearly an anomalous year due to the shutdowns in the spring.  I'll be curious to see where this goes over the next year or two as work patterns have changed, hopefully permanently.  What I've noticed, anecdotally, is that I10 is gloriously open during non-peak hours.  The bottlenecks I've found are now where it meets smaller narrower roadways.

Keep in mind that the west corridor literally added 100,000s of residents so this is ridiculous to say time went up by a little. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

image.jpeg.4472bde66c42ea590690ef4a87145bea.jpeg
 

This pretty much sums up generally what I dislike about mega freeways. They prohibit walkability and create a fractured non contiguous city that encourages people to use cars as their only mode of transport. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, iah77 said:

Keep in mind that the west corridor literally added 100,000s of residents so this is ridiculous to say time went up by a little. 

Exactly.  The problem you have to watch out for, other than using a portion of the data to present things in a certain light, is that there are other factors at play.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, august948 said:

Exactly.  The problem you have to watch out for, other than using a portion of the data to present things in a certain light, is that there are other factors at play.

That’s called induced demand and is exactly why expanding freeways in like adding a hole on your belt to cure your obesity. 
 

You’re right I guess I can only compare Houston to Houston. Comparing one city to another is definitely apples to oranges. And don’t come back with the whole Europe was built before the automobile and America wasn’t because they tore down huge swathes of dense urban centers during the urban revival movement of the mid 20th century. 

“Keep calm and frac on” must mean whatever burns the most oil is the best solution. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, jmitch94 said:

That’s called induced demand and is exactly why expanding freeways in like adding a hole on your belt to cure your obesity. 
 

You’re right I guess I can only compare Houston to Houston. Comparing one city to another is definitely apples to oranges. And don’t come back with the whole Europe was built before the automobile and America wasn’t because they tore down huge swathes of dense urban centers during the urban revival movement of the mid 20th century. 

“Keep calm and frac on” must mean whatever burns the most oil is the best solution. 

Induced demand is a flawed model.  If a city is growing, as Houston has by about 3 million people in the last 20 years, that considerably factors into the traffic flow.  No doubt, had we not rebuilt I10 it would be much worse today.  But by just building out I10, we've connected a large pipe to smaller pipes.  For best traffic flow we need to expand out the other freeways, including the loop, the beltway and grand parkway to the same standard including interchanges that can smoothly handle the larger capacity without creating bottlenecks.

If you go back and read my earlier post I suggested that we run park and ride buses along hot lanes on all the freeways creating a faster public transit system that would allow those who don't want to drive the option to reach any destination relatively quickly.  However, for most trips the most efficient and preferred way to get from point to point will always be the individual vehicle unless artificial restrictions are put in place.  Whether that vehicle runs on fossil fuels or renewables is a separate question.

Trying to re-create a medieval urban format by eliminating cars, which is really what this is about, is a truer example of induced demand.

  • Like 1
  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, august948 said:

Induced demand is a flawed model.  If a city is growing, as Houston has by about 3 million people in the last 20 years, that considerably factors into the traffic flow.  No doubt, had we not rebuilt I10 it would be much worse today.  But by just building out I10, we've connected a large pipe to smaller pipes.  For best traffic flow we need to expand out the other freeways, including the loop, the beltway and grand parkway to the same standard including interchanges that can smoothly handle the larger capacity without creating bottlenecks.

If you go back and read my earlier post I suggested that we run park and ride buses along hot lanes on all the freeways creating a faster public transit system that would allow those who don't want to drive the option to reach any destination relatively quickly.  However, for most trips the most efficient and preferred way to get from point to point will always be the individual vehicle unless artificial restrictions are put in place.  Whether that vehicle runs on fossil fuels or renewables is a separate question.

Trying to re-create a medieval urban format by eliminating cars, which is really what this is about, is a truer example of induced demand.

I think they think if we get rid of freeways we will magically have a beautiful city like Sienna complete with medical churches and olive groves... Houston is naturally densifying and is literally a baby barely 120-50 years old? All the cities people keep name dropping are literally at the very least twice as old. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, iah77 said:

I think they think if we get rid of freeways we will magically have a beautiful city like Sienna complete with medical churches and olive groves... 

No, believe it or not I am capable of understanding that Houston will never be a medieval European city. I’m just saying that maybe we should stop using the same solutions that are not working simply because there are decades of inertia behind them. Maybe we cater the infrastructure to the needs of the people in the city instead of prioritizing suburbs.  

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, jmitch94 said:

No, believe it or not I am capable of understanding that Houston will never be a medieval European city. I’m just saying that maybe we should stop using the same solutions that are not working simply because there are decades of inertia behind them. Maybe we cater the infrastructure to the needs of the people in the city instead of prioritizing suburbs.  

I10 works every day.  As do the other highways in the metro area.  Road solutions work for their purpose.  Not sure why you think roads don't work.

Nothing wrong with building out infrastructure within the city limits. That happens all the time, but Houston isn't really just confined to the city borders.  Houston is the entire metro area.  You can't divorce one from the other.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/21/2022 at 4:21 PM, jmitch94 said:

image.jpeg.4472bde66c42ea590690ef4a87145bea.jpeg
 

This pretty much sums up generally what I dislike about mega freeways. They prohibit walkability and create a fractured non contiguous city that encourages people to use cars as their only mode of transport. 

I've seen this shared around the internet a number of times and it always annoys me. It's like comparing a horse and buggy to a modern automobile, and marveling at the energy efficiency of the horse.

I'm pretty sure that interchange can move a lot more people, goods, and wealth than that medieval town can. Which is probably why Texas has a per-capita GDP nearly twice that of Italy's.

Sure, the medieval town is more pretty in a romantic sort of way, but try setting up an auto plant, distribution center, data center, or medical center in it or on it's periphery. Need to get a truck in so that you can deliver supplies to replace a roof or build a renovation? Not going to happen. You're going to be using a convoy of compact delivery vans and your costs are going to triple. 

It's an outmoded, outdated method of building human settlements. Heck, even a decent sized HEB would occupy a significant portion of that town.

Houston does sprawl. And that sprawl does come with drawbacks. But the positives far outweigh the negatives for most people. One of the most significant upsides to Houston's layout and sprawl is the nearly unlimited opportunity- something you just don't get in a cramped medieval town with 12'-wide streets.

Edited by aachor
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, freundb said:

You guys seem to be getting personally offended by this simple comparison. Its just a little fun fact

Haha exactly. Like I get it guys, Houston isn’t a 500 year old Italian town. I never said we should be either. It’s just a simply way to show the two extremes of urban development. On one side is a city where it is next to impossible to live without a car and the majority of public space is dedicated to cars, and the other where it’s nearly impossible to own and use a car.

23 hours ago, aachor said:

I'm pretty sure that interchange can move a lot more people, goods, and wealth than that medieval town can. Which is probably why Texas has a per-capita GDP nearly twice that of Italy's.

Some of us just have different priorities. I don’t see a city maxing out it’s GDP as the most important metric for a city. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to a degree. 

Edited by jmitch94
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/22/2022 at 6:04 PM, aachor said:

Houston does sprawl. And that sprawl does come with drawbacks. But the positives far outweigh the negatives for most people. 

any evidence for this claim that the positives far outweigh the negatives?

 

GDP per capita in now way relates to density and there have been several studies that show the negative effects of urban sprawl.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/sep/09/transport-noise-linked-to-increased-risk-of-dementia-study-finds#:~:text=“In this large nationwide cohort,disease%2C” the researchers wrote.

https://www.socialconnectedness.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Emma-Harries-Social-Isolation-and-its-Relationship-to-the-Urban-Environment.pdf

just to name a few of the drawbacks of car centered development, as well as the fact that it is incredibly expensive and inefficient 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, pokemonizepic said:

any evidence for this claim that the positives far outweigh the negatives?

 

GDP per capita in now way relates to density and there have been several studies that show the negative effects of urban sprawl.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/sep/09/transport-noise-linked-to-increased-risk-of-dementia-study-finds#:~:text=“In this large nationwide cohort,disease%2C” the researchers wrote.

https://www.socialconnectedness.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Emma-Harries-Social-Isolation-and-its-Relationship-to-the-Urban-Environment.pdf

just to name a few of the drawbacks of car centered development, as well as the fact that it is incredibly expensive and inefficient 

 

A short poorly written unpublished paper written by a McGill student? Using this logic, all rural peoples should be forced to move to a city lol. The first paper mention also clearly highlights the noise from RAIL so not sure how helpful that is. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, pokemonizepic said:

GDP per capita in now way relates to density and there have been several studies that show the negative effects of urban sprawl.

 

I certainly agree that there are some strong drawbacks to the sprawl. And, big drawbacks to sprawl to the extent that Houston sprawls. 

However, in terms of opportunity and quality of life for working-class families, I think Houston is hard to beat. When compared to other large cities in North America or Western Europe, Houston provides more job and earning opportunities, at a lower cost of living, with more affordable housing options than other comparable metropolitan areas. The proof is in the rate of growth of the Houston metro area. 

I think there are strong advantages to increased density, but I think the an organic market-driven approach to development is best, as it ensures that housing costs remain low. That is: let developers develop whatever they can sell, and do nothing to impede demand for any particular housing from being met. This ensures that supply is maximized, and demand-induced costs are minimized. And ultimately, lower cost of housing helps promote lower cost of living. And, lower cost of living helps families prosper. 
 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, iah77 said:

A short poorly written unpublished paper written by a McGill student? Using this logic, all rural peoples should be forced to move to a city lol. The first paper mention also clearly highlights the noise from RAIL so not sure how helpful that is. 

https://www.researchbank.ac.nz/handle/10652/4529

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/1/20/the-negative-consequences-of-car-dependency

https://unevenearth.org/2018/08/the-social-ideology-of-the-motorcar/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966692319307732

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1369847818308593?dgcid=author

https://alex-m-dyer.medium.com/the-inhumanity-of-car-dependency-3616a3258f3b

heres some papers about the negative social aspects of car centric development since. 

https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/374/bmj.n1954.full.pdf

here is the research paper that the guardian article talked about. It pretty clearly states the negative effects of not just railway noise exposure, but also road traffic noise exposure. Here is even a direct quote from the article . Of those, “the diagnosis in an estimated 963 patients was attributed to road traffic noise, and in 253 patients to railway noise”.

anyway, please work on your reading comprehension 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, freundb said:

You guys seem to be getting personally offended by this simple comparison. Its just a little fun fact

Except its not being shared as a "fun little fact". Its being shared it as some kind of gotcha and using it to make a point and since its being shared to make a point in the first place, its only natural to scrutinize that point to see if it makes any sense.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, pokemonizepic said:

https://www.researchbank.ac.nz/handle/10652/4529

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/1/20/the-negative-consequences-of-car-dependency

https://unevenearth.org/2018/08/the-social-ideology-of-the-motorcar/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966692319307732

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1369847818308593?dgcid=author

https://alex-m-dyer.medium.com/the-inhumanity-of-car-dependency-3616a3258f3b

heres some papers about the negative social aspects of car centric development since. 

https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/374/bmj.n1954.full.pdf

here is the research paper that the guardian article talked about. It pretty clearly states the negative effects of not just railway noise exposure, but also road traffic noise exposure. Here is even a direct quote from the article . Of those, “the diagnosis in an estimated 963 patients was attributed to road traffic noise, and in 253 patients to railway noise”.

anyway, please work on your reading comprehension 

 

I'll have to work my way through the list, but reading through the paper on noise exposure in Danish cities it sounds like that might fall into the category of correlation does not equal causation.  Definitely needs additional confirmation, as per the authors in the final paragraph.

Let's assume, for the moment, that long-term exposure to road and rail noise raises dementia risk.  That would indicate that it would be better to have residential development spread out and farther from road and rail development.  Dense developments near roadways or rail would put more of the population at risk for dementia.  Under this model, cul-de-sac designs with limited through traffic would be ideal.  Oddly enough, that's exactly how suburban subdivisions have been laid out for at least the last 50 years.

I would guess then that the next logical step would be to tear down all those dense developments along the rail lines and replace them with a buffer zone or perhaps single family homes with large front yards, all in the name of public health of course.  Let me know when that happens.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, pokemonizepic said:

any evidence for this claim that the positives far outweigh the negatives?

 

GDP per capita in now way relates to density and there have been several studies that show the negative effects of urban sprawl.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/sep/09/transport-noise-linked-to-increased-risk-of-dementia-study-finds#:~:text=“In this large nationwide cohort,disease%2C” the researchers wrote.

https://www.socialconnectedness.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Emma-Harries-Social-Isolation-and-its-Relationship-to-the-Urban-Environment.pdf

just to name a few of the drawbacks of car centered development, as well as the fact that it is incredibly expensive and inefficient 

 

I believe @aachor said the positives far outweigh the negatives for most people.  Most people in the Houston metro choose to live outside the loop, where suburban single family home development is the norm.  Why do they choose to do so?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, august948 said:

I'll have to work my way through the list, but reading through the paper on noise exposure in Danish cities it sounds like that might fall into the category of correlation does not equal causation.  Definitely needs additional confirmation, as per the authors in the final paragraph.

Let's assume, for the moment, that long-term exposure to road and rail noise raises dementia risk.  That would indicate that it would be better to have residential development spread out and farther from road and rail development.  Dense developments near roadways or rail would put more of the population at risk for dementia.  Under this model, cul-de-sac designs with limited through traffic would be ideal.  Oddly enough, that's exactly how suburban subdivisions have been laid out for at least the last 50 years.

I would guess then that the next logical step would be to tear down all those dense developments along the rail lines and replace them with a buffer zone or perhaps single family homes with large front yards, all in the name of public health of course.  Let me know when that happens.

 

believe it or not you can have dense development without large amounts of noise pollution, also the amount of cars passing thru an area does not mean more noise pollution if cars are driving at slow speeds. About your point on the danish study, I'm gonna go ahead and trust a team of scientists instead of some randoms on a forum. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/24/2022 at 10:39 AM, aachor said:

I certainly agree that there are some strong drawbacks to the sprawl. And, big drawbacks to sprawl to the extent that Houston sprawls. 

However, in terms of opportunity and quality of life for working-class families, I think Houston is hard to beat. When compared to other large cities in North America or Western Europe, Houston provides more job and earning opportunities, at a lower cost of living, with more affordable housing options than other comparable metropolitan areas. The proof is in the rate of growth of the Houston metro area. 

I think there are strong advantages to increased density, but I think the an organic market-driven approach to development is best, as it ensures that housing costs remain low. That is: let developers develop whatever they can sell, and do nothing to impede demand for any particular housing from being met. This ensures that supply is maximized, and demand-induced costs are minimized. And ultimately, lower cost of housing helps promote lower cost of living. And, lower cost of living helps families prosper. 
 

This is basically what I’ve come to feel on the topic, too. Sure sprawl sucks, and honestly I wish we developed differently, but IMO benefitting the working class far outweighs the negatives for me. I know a lot of people who are moving to Houston area because they’ve been priced out of other markets. Some places are losing middle class families and young people in droves because they can’t afford to live and raise a family there, and that is NOT good for those cities’ futures. 
 

I’ve also become a big fan of utilizing our robust road systems as backbones for regional mass transit. I used to be skeptical of that position.


But managed lanes w/ BRT and park and rides seem like really cost-effective options to help reduce congestion, eliminating trips for people who don’t want to commute into town for whatever it is they’re up to. As long as it can be integrated well with local bus/rail services, I think it’d serve us really well without having to put hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into a system that wouldn’t be as cost-effective since we don’t have the density to support it. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/24/2022 at 1:20 PM, pokemonizepic said:

https://www.researchbank.ac.nz/handle/10652/4529

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/1/20/the-negative-consequences-of-car-dependency

https://unevenearth.org/2018/08/the-social-ideology-of-the-motorcar/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966692319307732

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1369847818308593?dgcid=author

https://alex-m-dyer.medium.com/the-inhumanity-of-car-dependency-3616a3258f3b

heres some papers about the negative social aspects of car centric development since. 

https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/374/bmj.n1954.full.pdf

here is the research paper that the guardian article talked about. It pretty clearly states the negative effects of not just railway noise exposure, but also road traffic noise exposure. Here is even a direct quote from the article . Of those, “the diagnosis in an estimated 963 patients was attributed to road traffic noise, and in 253 patients to railway noise”.

anyway, please work on your reading comprehension 

 

What’s the prescription, doc?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And, for the record, I hate the Katy Freeway but that’s more about exiting the parking lots of the many retail centers around Mem City on to the feeder, a true death-defying experience. Almost as bad as the insult to us Inner Loopers on merging what seems 5 lanes to get to Ikea as a punishment for exiting the Loop.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

And, for the record, I hate the Katy Freeway but that’s more about exiting the parking lots of the many retail centers around Mem City on to the feeder, a true death-defying experience. Almost as bad as the insult to us Inner Loopers on merging what seems 5 lanes to get to Ikea as a punishment for exiting the Loop.

Parts of I10 seriously freak me out. It’s no I45 to be sure, but I’ve seen some crazy stuff and have had plenty of near-misses by people racing. I feel like when I drive on 59 it isn’t the same kind of white knuckle driving, but maybe that’s just me. It could also just be that I’m a little car-phobic :P

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/21/2022 at 2:58 PM, iah77 said:

Keep in mind that the west corridor literally added 100,000s of residents so this is ridiculous to say time went up by a little. 

this, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of induced demand and proof that you can't widen your way out of traffic. thanks.

Edited by samagon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, samagon said:

this, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of induced demand and proof that you can't widen your way out of traffic. thanks.

No, it's the definition of low land prices and very few geographical limitations.

The Houston MSA has added essentially 100K+ new residents NET every year since 2000.  I don't have a number for how this translates into households (and a large portion are children), but where, exactly, do you expect these people would have gone if the Katy Freeway weren't expanded?  If you're a middle-class family with everyday budget constraints and a strong preference to locate near good schools, you have to understand that forcing them to live in a house with, say, a $200K budget between the Loop and the Beltway, where the housing stock is generally nothing to write home about because most of it was built during the last great population boom, is an absolute nonstarter--it's simply not going to happen.  You are talking about options that are fantasies.

And if the Katy Freeway weren't expanded it's not going to stop residential development.  What it would do is to make the existing peripheral satellites (The Woodlands, Sugar Land, etc) larger and create new ones altogether and decrease the attractiveness of the Inner Loop commercial market.  In other words, MORE SPRAWL.

Or maybe you just want the region to get smaller.  Perfectly valid, but I don't know of many people who would opt to live in a metro area with declining economic activity.  There are plenty of Rust Belt examples out there.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To amplify mattyt's point, per the Census Bureau, the Houston metro area has added an average of 147,229.7 new residents NET every year from 2000 to 2020.  Yes, that's almost 3 Million more people.  We took Houston 2000 and added the entire 2020 Austin metro area population, plus an additional 1/2 million people.  IN 20 YEARS. 

Edited by Houston19514
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had no idea we’d added that many people, holy crap! 
 

I’d like to add too that I know at least in Sugar Land’s case, they have fairly strict zoning and a lot of the city limits is built out. (I grew up there so am decently familiar with how it developed.) That plus everyone wants to be zoned to (only certain lol) FBISD schools, so the house prices in SL have gone up pretty high. They can’t really move quickly and tear down, say, a crappy commercial area and just build residential unlike in most of Houston or the unincorporated areas, so while it isn’t critical, I bet it pushes a lot of development further outward. You can see Richmond/Rosenberg rapidly growing, though they seem a bit more keen on letting stuff like multifamily get built. 
 

a lot of west exurbia is outside of whatever city limits, so I bet that’s a lot of why you have insane numbers of housing stock getting thrown up left and right and people moving there- most seems to be single family just from looking at HAR/zillow, but they don’t seem to be as allergic to MF housing or very small lot sizes, unlike Sugar Land. 

I also wonder- is some of the westward expansion because of the business districts that formed on the western side of the city? You have westchase, energy corridor (which did come later to be fair), and the galleria if you aren’t commuting downtown. Living in one of the far-flung exurb towns doesn’t seem so unreasonable if your work is a straight shot along I-10 or the WPT. 

Plenty of megalopolises sprawl, anyway. I could use Tokyo as an example- the 23 wards and the surrounding satellite cities’ area in sq mi is pretty huge- though about half the size of Houston- if I remember right. Obviously they developed in a totally different pattern and have, like, the entire state of Texas’s worth of people living in their MSA, but they sprawl hard, tear stuff down all the time, and are able to keep their housing stock relatively affordable for being the largest city in the world. They have great transit, but they also have good expressways too even though they’re not car-focused in the slightest.
 

It’s unlikely Houston or really any american metropolis that developed after the automobile will ever hit the kind of density that you see in some of those cities (but tbh I’m okay with that. The densest, most walkable parts of town don’t feel claustrophobic like some cities in other parts of the world do- that is a real driver to make people leave, and our culture is very different re: personal space), but I think we can use the robust road system we do have and make transit work on it really really well. I mean, think about it. We don’t have to acquire a bunch of ROW if we want to take one of our nice roads and put a two-way bike lane or shared use path or BRT or LRT down it. Or nix traffic signals and throw in some roundabouts. Whatever, lol.  We’d just have to do a road diet, and we have plenty of roadway to make that work for us. We get better transit, cars get taken off the road because said transit isn’t stuck in traffic, and it didn’t cost insane amounts of money to build because a lot of the groundwork was already there. The freeways and highways and too-wide roads are ugly, absolutely. But there’s a lot of opportunity in them, too. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, BEES?! said:

I had no idea we’d added that many people, holy crap! 
 

I’d like to add too that I know at least in Sugar Land’s case, they have fairly strict zoning and a lot of the city limits is built out. (I grew up there so am decently familiar with how it developed.) That plus everyone wants to be zoned to (only certain lol) FBISD schools, so the house prices in SL have gone up pretty high. They can’t really move quickly and tear down, say, a crappy commercial area and just build residential unlike in most of Houston or the unincorporated areas, so while it isn’t critical, I bet it pushes a lot of development further outward. You can see Richmond/Rosenberg rapidly growing, though they seem a bit more keen on letting stuff like multifamily get built. 
 

a lot of west exurbia is outside of whatever city limits, so I bet that’s a lot of why you have insane numbers of housing stock getting thrown up left and right and people moving there- most seems to be single family just from looking at HAR/zillow, but they don’t seem to be as allergic to MF housing or very small lot sizes, unlike Sugar Land. 

I also wonder- is some of the westward expansion because of the business districts that formed on the western side of the city? You have westchase, energy corridor (which did come later to be fair), and the galleria if you aren’t commuting downtown. Living in one of the far-flung exurb towns doesn’t seem so unreasonable if your work is a straight shot along I-10 or the WPT. 

Plenty of megalopolises sprawl, anyway. I could use Tokyo as an example- the 23 wards and the surrounding satellite cities’ area in sq mi is pretty huge- though about half the size of Houston- if I remember right. Obviously they developed in a totally different pattern and have, like, the entire state of Texas’s worth of people living in their MSA, but they sprawl hard, tear stuff down all the time, and are able to keep their housing stock relatively affordable for being the largest city in the world. They have great transit, but they also have good expressways too even though they’re not car-focused in the slightest.
 

It’s unlikely Houston or really any american metropolis that developed after the automobile will ever hit the kind of density that you see in some of those cities (but tbh I’m okay with that. The densest, most walkable parts of town don’t feel claustrophobic like some cities in other parts of the world do- that is a real driver to make people leave, and our culture is very different re: personal space), but I think we can use the robust road system we do have and make transit work on it really really well. I mean, think about it. We don’t have to acquire a bunch of ROW if we want to take one of our nice roads and put a two-way bike lane or shared use path or BRT or LRT down it. Or nix traffic signals and throw in some roundabouts. Whatever, lol.  We’d just have to do a road diet, and we have plenty of roadway to make that work for us. We get better transit, cars get taken off the road because said transit isn’t stuck in traffic, and it didn’t cost insane amounts of money to build because a lot of the groundwork was already there. The freeways and highways and too-wide roads are ugly, absolutely. But there’s a lot of opportunity in them, too. 

The westward expansion started a long time ago.  Note that River Oaks was built west of downtown and the Heights was built northwest.  Most likely development moved west because in the east we have had refineries for a very long time.  People who can will move away from industrial areas and will take their higher spending with them.  I recall an article written a decade or so ago had the population center of Houston somewhere around City Centre.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, august948 said:

The westward expansion started a long time ago.  Note that River Oaks was built west of downtown and the Heights was built northwest.  Most likely development moved west because in the east we have had refineries for a very long time.  People who can will move away from industrial areas and will take their higher spending with them.  I recall an article written a decade or so ago had the population center of Houston somewhere around City Centre.

Curious, but what caused the east side to start getting more attention than before (besides being closer to downtown), did the refinery situation change since the early 1900s? Like did a lot of them move further east, shut down, or something else happen to where people don't mind living east as much? Genuinely curious.

I'm from the west side of town but I feel like the east side has so much potential to look nicer than the west. Especially since it's a lot closer to the bay/ waterfront. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Amlaham said:

Curious, but what caused the east side to start getting more attention than before (besides being closer to downtown), did the refinery situation change since the early 1900s? Like did a lot of them move further east, shut down, or something else happen to where people don't mind living east as much? Genuinely curious.

I'm from the west side of town but I feel like the east side has so much potential to look nicer than the west. Especially since it's a lot closer to the bay/ waterfront. 

I presume you're talking about close in to town.

if you want to live within a mile or two of downtown and don't want to pay $900,000 for a townhome, the east end calls. open realtor.com and do a search of the west side of town close in with a filter of max price $500,000 you are looking at a very short list of homes, and a bunch of condos.

in the east end, your money goes so much farther. 

a lot of the industry that was in the area isn't any longer. you can go drive through the 'eado' portion of town and see tons of townhomes, generally speaking, every little townhome farm used to be a warehouse for some form of industrial use. then along the bayou there are commercial properties that wanted to move on, the huge east river property that used to be heavy industrial, Farmer Brothers coffee on Navigation is gone, just to name a few. sure the stuff that's beyond wayside probably isn't going anywhere any time soon, but for refineries, or things that you wouldn't want to live near, you gotta go to the other side of 610, and for the bulk of the east end, that is far enough away that if something is spewing out of that, it's far enough away that it won't make you grow a third arm.

https://aqicn.org/map/houston/ 

hover the map over the Idylwood station and it's no worse (no better either) than the stations on the west side of town.

anyway, yeah, it's all about proximity to town, and prices compared with other areas this close to town. you just can't do much better.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Amlaham said:

Curious, but what caused the east side to start getting more attention than before (besides being closer to downtown), did the refinery situation change since the early 1900s? Like did a lot of them move further east, shut down, or something else happen to where people don't mind living east as much? Genuinely curious.

I'm from the west side of town but I feel like the east side has so much potential to look nicer than the west. Especially since it's a lot closer to the bay/ waterfront. 

It's my understanding that the development axis used to be more eastward (and south), with Buffalo Bayou, for example, having regular excursion cruises from downtown back in the day.  So maybe the real question is what caused that to change . . . I don't know if it is more related to the new developments to the west or all the Ship Channel/petrochemical development to the east.

@samagon thank you for the (indirect) acknowledgment of the critical importance of housing and land prices in location decisions

Edited by mattyt36
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/26/2022 at 2:26 PM, Houston19514 said:

To amplify mattyt's point, per the Census Bureau, the Houston metro area has added an average of 147,229.7 new residents NET every year from 2000 to 2020.  Yes, that's almost 3 Million more people.  We took Houston 2000 and added the entire 2020 Austin metro area population, plus an additional 1/2 million people.  IN 20 YEARS. 

there's a lot of YT channels, and internet blogs that have info on what's wrong with sprawl, sustainability from a economic standpoint is but one reason.

this is a good watch from CNBC that illustrates pretty well why , rather than some random blog, or random YT channel.

I recommend the watch, it's not all about "suburbs bad", in fact, they suggest that urbanizing the suburbs as a solution to the problem, but certainly, building bigger freeways enables sprawl in a huge way. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
5 hours ago, Arboosto said:

What's not to love about the Katy Freeway? In fact, it has my favorite application of TxDOT pedestrian friendly infrastructure. /s

image.png.fe2ebdda9ee664f222d7954587bf9df4.png

Proof that I10 inside the loop needs to be built out to match the expansion outside the loop?

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...