TXDoT scandal, rail, roads, rss, and moreThe miscellaneous queue has finally hit critical mass, so much so that I'm going to have to break it up into two separate posts. But a couple items before we get to the list.
First, if you use a news reader, Houston Strategies now has an RSS feed link (Atom), which you can find in the right-side column under Links. I checked this option in the Blogger admin from day one of this blog, but recently realized that, even though the link has been active, Blogger didn't automatically put it anywhere on the page, so I manually added it.
Second, is some hot inside information to pass along on a scandal at TXDoT. This blog seems to have enough readership now that people send me tips from time to time, and this one has requested anonymity for obvious reasons, but I believe it to be a reliable inside source:
A billion dollars is no chump change. Looking forward to coverage of this in the big media...I caught wind of a pretty big deal at TxDOT today.... Looks like TxDOT underallocated state gas tax revenue to Houston, Dallas, Arlington and San Antonio and spent the $$ to build roads down near the border. It appears they owe Houston about a billion dollars from this underallocation over the past six years. The top Texas Transportation Commissioner is under fire, creating lots of momentum for the anti-concessionnaire movement in Texas. Story is slowly leaking.
On to our miscellaneous list of smaller items:
- If you didn't catch Robin Holzer's Sunday Chronicle op-ed responding to Congressman Culberson on the Metro Uline, be sure to give it a read (permalink with the fancy map). Very well argued, and makes a compelling case for running the line on Richmond as far as Greenway Plaza before jumping over to Westpark. You have to hope petty politics doesn't force a boneheaded routing decision that will hobble our core transit network for decades. Let your voice be heard!
- Continuing on the rail network, Christof has had a great series of posts lately, with a very cool map of the whole planned network, fixing the transfer flaws downtown, optimizing the routes and stops around UH and Greenway, and adding some stops in Gulfton to pick up a whole lot more potential passengers. Hope everybody at Metro is paying close attention...
- Speaking of mobility infrastructure investments, I hope you caught Nancy Sarnoff's Chronicle piece last week on the real estate development projects blossoming along the under-construction Katy Freeway. It goes to show that freeway widenings with eminent domain and right-of-way expansion can also renew an area, vs. the "conventional wisdom" of "economic devastation." Surprise, surprise - it's even spawning some mixed use developments. Mobility and access begets vibrancy.
- Ashley Cecil calls herself the "painting journalist," and has recently visited Houston and done a series of paintings worth browsing on her blog. Just search the page on the word "houston" to find all the relevant posts.
- Well, since transportation seems to be the major theme of this post, we'll end on a little transportation humor from The Onion, "Urban Planner Stuck In Traffic Of Own Design". It's urban-geek humor, but I laughed hard. So much of trendy urban planning these days seems to be anti-car, and the comeuppance is well deserved.