Green space award, density vs. sprawl, good transit, Yao, stadium, flights, and an event
Clearing out the queue of smaller items again, which seems to grow faster and faster these days.
- A good friend of mine, Dr. Chris Bronk at Rice in the Baker Institute for Public Policy, is putting on "The Conference on Convergence and Connectivity 2008: Broadband, Wireless and Mobile" where "Experts in academia, industry and government gather to discuss the impact of digital communications technology" (i.e. this is a policy conference, not a technical one). It is free and open to the public on Wed March 26th. Abstract, video brief, and RSVP here.
- Marginal Revolution analyzes the economics and logic of the Rockets drafting Yao Ming, in spite of knowing he had a high likelihood of ongoing injuries.
- A new study indicates that sprawl, not density, promotes social interaction, despite 'common wisdom' that it does the opposite. They give several theories, but seem to miss the most obvious one to me: the suburbs have a much higher proportion of family households, and families are drawn to socially interact much more, from schools to sports to church to after-school activities to kids' social circles. There's a reason they're called "soccer moms"...
- In a route I would have never predicted, Finnair may connect Houston to India via Helsinki, which sounds kind of crazy until you pull a string on a globe and find that it is very close to the shortest "great circle" route between Houston and India.
"We will be looking to provide more services in the U.S. and are looking at destinations on the West Coast and cities like Houston and Dallas to which we can provide services in the future to cater to India-U.S. traffic."
The Chronicle covers other recent new international service here (Dubai, Doha, Moscow, Singapore).
- A study finds increased density and street connectivity does not increase walking.
- Tom rightfully skewers what's going on with both the Ashby tower controversy and land for the soccer stadium.
- Speaking of the soccer stadium, Christof has a post on how badly the proposed stadium cuts off the east-west street grid in east downtown. Why can't they shift it north or south to match up with either the GRB or Minute Maid?
- Neal has an interesting transit analysis titled "Of Harris County Metro Ridership statistics and private provision of public transportation." Here's the excerpt that most jumped out at me:
"Mills and Hamilton go on to state that people value wait times, transfer times, and access times at much higher rates than those of times actually spent in transit. In particular, they state that wait times for vehicles are absolute killers for patronage, being put at some 2-4 times greater than one's average wage. Clearly one way to increase transit patronage is to make sure wait times are cut down to a minimum. The other is to find ways to increase the travel speeds of the vehicle, perhaps through bus routes with fewer stops or through dedicated bus lanes. It also points to the idea that people are willing to pay some rather high fuel prices before giving up their vehicles."
This is why frequent, nonstop, high-speed express bus service is better commuter service than infrequent large trains that stop several times on their way in, as well as typically requiring a transfer for people to get to their final destination.
- The Harris County Flood Control District won an award for green space preservation against 11 other large U.S. counties. Very cool. We seem to get knocked a lot on the parks and green space issue, but whenever people really look at what we have and what we're doing, we actually come out pretty well.
And one final pass along:
Labels: aviation, commuter rail, density, environment, Metro, mobility strategies, sprawl, transit, transportation plan