IAH, deconstructing rail, planning probs, Kotkin, NYC car boomThe second half of this week's list of smaller miscellaneous items:
- Joel Kotkin in, of all places, Details magazine, "Is it time to move to the suburbs?" - "Homogeneous cities are making the cul de sac the new downtown. PLUS: Our guide to the hippest ’burbs to live in."
- An article on the car boom in NYC, despite having the most extensive transit network in the country (thanks to an anon commenter for the heads up)
- As much as my heart wants to support Metro's planned LRT system, my head was reminded yet again of the dubiousness by this post which systematically deconstructs the arguments for rail, concluding:
"So rail transit does not get people out of their automobiles or cost-effectively reduce congestion, it harms transit-dependent people, it does not reduce pollution and at least some forms are more dangerous than autos. So where are the benefits of rail transit? And why do planners do so much to promote it?"
Go to the post to read the short arguments behind each of those conclusions.
- Randal O' Toole has a couple of new items of interest out via Cato, and these are his announcements:
- "I am pleased to announce my new book, "The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future." The book urges Congress and the states to repeal planning laws that make housing more expensive, roads more congested, and take property rights from the people who are supposed to benefit from the plans.
Published by the Cato Institute, this hardbound book sells for $22.95 ($15.61 at Amazon). But American Dream Coalition members can buy copies for just $15, including shipping. You can order the book (and join or renew your ADC membership) here."
- "Thanks to urban planners, California has the least-affordable housing and worst traffic congestion in the nation. Yet planners throughout the country are headed in the same direction.
To help people understand just where they are going, I've written a paper on California land-use and transportation planning that the Cato Institute will release tomorrow. "Do You Know the Way to L.A.? - San Jose Shows How to Turn an Urban Area into Los Angeles in Three Stressful Decades" shows how planners used innocuous-seeming laws to cram 95 percent of California residents in just 5 percent of the state's land area, and to divert billions of dollars intended for highway improvements to wasteful rail transit projects."
You can download a preview of this report from
- A series of short videos on the effects of urban planning and densification in Australia, and the resulting debate on Planetizen (thanks to Hugh for the link). The Aussies are a bit stiff, but make some good points. Houston is on a chart 1:41 mins in on video 2, showing higher densities lead to higher commute travel times, regardless of the transit network.
“THE RAM, CRAM & JAM BRIGADE - THE SAD REALITY OF SYDNEY”The key word there is "forced" - it's just fine as a voluntary choice, which is becoming a more and more popular one in Houston.
"Within this 5 part (5 minutes each) You Tube Video Presentation by Wilchiland Communications, Australia "The End of Affordability" – Dr Tony Recsei, an environmental scientist and President of the community group Save Our Suburbs (SOS) Sydney explains in very clear terms - the failures of forced urban consolidation.
Dr Recsei dismantles the “5 Great Myths” of Smart Growth / forced urban densification and provides some of the examples of reputable international research to support his position.
The reality is that forced urban consolidation is a failure – in environmental, social and economic terms."
Finally, one last item from the Wall Street Journal giving a nice plug to IAH, which has the 4th best on-time arrival rate in the country so far this year:
Our airports and their major airlines (Continental-IAH and Southwest-Hobby) are huge underrated assets to Houston.
Houston's Bush Intercontinental has also relied on a mix of expansion and new technology to keep its on-time arrival rate above 78% and even to improve it slightly from last year.
Unlike airports in crowded urban areas, such as New York's John F. Kennedy International and La Guardia airports, Bush Intercontinental has ample space to grow. In recent years, it has built a new runway and converted another from general aviation to commercial use. A new terminal brought 23 new gates, upping its overall gate capacity today to 151 from 128 in 2002.
Bush is also harnessing technology to better utilize existing space. Rick Vacar, aviation director for the Houston Airport System, said that with the number of passengers at Bush expected to soar by 10 million to 55 million in 2015, the airport could carve out a new runway between two existing ones -- an option now possible because of new technology that allows for more precise flight paths.
The airport is also starting to acquire land in the hopes of adding another runway five to 10 years from now.
Lisa Hurst, director of travel for San Diego-based Petco Animal Supplies Inc., said her employees have had more problems connecting through Dallas, Denver and Chicago. "I try to route people through Houston if possible."
Whew. That's it. I'll definitely have to clear out that list more often. Have a great weekend.