Voting, Houston's greatness, top ranking, and moreContinuing from last week: originally, my plan was to break up the smaller misc items into two posts of five items each, but then three new items came up over the weekend, so you get eight in this one. The first three are the new ones:
- Wondering who to vote for Tuesday? The Chronicle does a pretty good vetting, and their endorsements are here. Print it and take it with you to the booth.
- Kevin Kirton, the developer behind the Ashby high-rise, made a good case in Outlook yesterday not only for his development, but also for our (usually) predictable rules of development:
Houston already has a plan for development that works. That plan is to 1) establish a basic set of rules, 2) provide a level playing field, 3) enforce the rules fairly — without regard to political influence, 4) accommodate growth with roadway and utility infrastructure, and then 5) allow the market and consumer demand to determine the best land use.
These simple principles, supported by a fair and mostly uncomplicated set of regulations, have allowed this city to grow at a pace and with a vitality unmatched by any other major city in the nation. For example, our form of planning has given us the largest medical center in the world, as well as Greenway Plaza, a major employment center close to the homes of the people who work there, and the Galleria, one of the most widely imitated retail and commercial districts in the world. Perhaps surprisingly to some, it even gave us Montrose, just named a national Top 10 Neighborhood by the American Planning Association.
- The Chronicle has this story on internet wifi being offered on San Antonio express commuter buses to attract riders, which has already been successful in Austin. Why isn't Metro doing this?
- The Austin Contrarian on the health benefits of congestion pricing and keeping traffic in free flow.
- Marc Nathan over at Startup Houston on what makes Houston great. He also has embedded a Rice event promo video that focuses on Houston starting at the 3:30 min mark. Pretty well done. Bet you didn't know our town was that cool, did ya? He also linked to a CNN photo essay on Houston.
- Fortune ranks Houston the 4th-best city in the country to start a small business, and the #1 very large city. Here's their profile of the city. Hat tip to Marc.
- A NYT story on our rapidly expanding natural gas reserves due to new drilling technologies, and how that might change the energy future of the country. And now the Chronicle is doing their own article series. That's how innovation works. Everybody thinks they know all the answers, and then something comes out of nowhere and changes the game.
- DART is about to run so many light rail trains through downtown Dallas that it may create true traffic gridlock. My understanding is that Houston may face the same risk when the east-west line opens downtown. It will take some amazingly sophisticated train and traffic signal synchronization to keep things running smoothly down there. Same for the Uptown/Galleria line on Post Oak... Hat tip to Barry.