Dome studio, gas and transit, updated Metro plan, ants and moreAs usual, I've let the pile of smaller misc items get too large again before bundling them into a post, so I'll have to break them up into a couple of separate posts:
- A pass-along from an email I received on an idea I am wholeheartedly rooting for (vs. the crazy hotel idea):
- This Wednesdays Houston Chronicle featured an article by Maggie Galehouse about a project we've partnered on to convert the Astrodome into a major production studio. A feasibility study regarding the building's potential as such is already underway. Also underway, is an engineering feasibility study regarding the Dome's structural state. If the results of both of these studies are positive, we will proceed full speed ahead. Some impressive folks want to help us make this happen.
- The NYT picks up the story of crazy ants taking over Houston. The good news is that they might actually wipe out fire ants in the process.
- Houston ranked as the 10th best place for young adults. List with scores. Hat tip to HAIF.
- NYT on high gas prices driving up transit ridership, even in Houston. The most important thing for Metro is to make sure we have adequate capacity to meet demand. Buses or P&R lots turning away people are unacceptable. I hope they make sure they are adequately funded, even if the rail construction schedules have to slip to do it. Excerpt:
Meanwhile, if you are willing, please go to the above article on-line and post comments in support of this concept. Wouldn't it be wonderful to work full time in our industry in your hometown? Wouldn't it be wonderful to get Houston back into the feature film business? Also, there is an on-line petition to sign that supports the concept of converting the Dome into a production studio, go to www.houstonaep.org.
Other factors may be driving people to mass transit, too. Wireless computers turn travel time into productive work time, and more companies are offering workers subsidies to take buses or trains. Traffic congestion is getting worse in many cities, and parking more expensive.
Michael Brewer, an accountant who had always driven the 36-mile trip to downtown Houston from the suburb of West Belford (Belfort?), said he had been thinking about switching to the bus for the last two years. The final straw came when he put $100 of gas into his Pontiac over four days a couple of weeks ago.
“Finally I was ready to trade my independence for the savings,” he said while waiting for a bus.
- Interesting stat I caught on the Reason blog:
Critics of LRT point out that it is not theoretical capacity that is crucial, but actual ridership and the cost incurred to garner this ridership. National figures indicate that on average, LRT carries about 5,000 people per track-mile per day, while urban freeways carry over 20,000 per lane-mile per day. So, in actual numbers of people served, freeways seem to handle over four times as much traffic as LRT does.
- Christof's update on the Metro plan with new maps.
- A NYT story on rising airfares has a local ending:
Ah yes, returning to the promised land... ;-)
For vacationers, however, there is no one to pick up the extra tab. Stephanie Barga recently paid $350 for a round-trip ticket back home to Houston, about $100 more than she paid in 2007.
Said Ms. Barga, a speech pathologist from Toledo, Ohio: “Thank goodness I’ll be moving to Houston soon.”