Transportation conference, zoning debate, and tourism storiesBefore I get to some smaller misc items, I'd like to first remind everybody that Texas Lyceum is having a public conference on state transportation issues at the Reliant Center this Wednesday, December 3rd. It looks like a pretty interesting agenda with a lineup of heavy hitter panelists (including the U.S. Dept of Transportation Secretary), so I hope to see some of you there. Details and registration here. Email me if you'd like me to forward you the detailed agenda (tgattis at pdq.net). Also:
Please note this relevant editorial by Texas State Senators John Carona and Kirk Watson who serve as Chair and Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee that ran today in the Dallas Morning News as well as the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express News and the Austin American Statesman last week.On to the smaller misc items:
- Check out this thoughtful debate in the comments between Michael and Abram on zoning for Houston (pro and con, respectively). My own views mostly match Abram's, but it's a well-argued debate worth reading on both sides.
- A couple tourism stories on Houston, one from Canada (hat tip to HAIF) and another from Philadelphia (also hat tip to HAIF). The Philly one has some notable excerpts:
In this city of skyscrapers of glass, steel and stone stretching 1,000 feet into the heavens, the one-story Beer Can House may best capture Houston's essence.Gotta love a nice puff piece in a non-local paper. Good job, GHCVB... ;-)
"It's visionary art," Mayor Bill White says, chuckling, as we stop at the modest three-bedroom, one-bath house a comfortable bike ride from the skyscraper district. "We have such eclectic architecture, and we don't have an arbitrary taste patrol. It gives the city a bit of a texture."
"We have the most energy-efficient building codes in the country," he adds, "but aesthetics we leave to people."
This city of 2 million people has its share of quirkiness and characters, but make no mistake - it's a major-league city, from two new stadiums with retractable roofs and a modern arena for its six professional sports teams to an expanded convention center.
Dozens (um, try 'hundreds') of restaurants serve everything from steak to sushi, barbecue to Bombay chicken curry, Tex-Mex to Thai. Locals recommend the chicken enchiladas at Armando's, but the grilled, blackened tilapia in white chardonnay sauce is even better.
The 56,405 acres of park space, including more than 100 miles of hiking and biking trails, rank Houston first among the country's largest cities. Memorial Park, called the largest urban park in Texas, includes an 18-hole golf course and trails along the Buffalo Bayou popular for mountain biking, running and hiking.
Downtown's rejuvenation gives visitors plenty to see and do, but it's more for the residents - and for attracting new ones. It must be working, because Houston topped Kiplinger's 10 Great Places to Live, Work and Play list this year, thanks to its growth, booming job market, and low cost of living.