290 rail, IAH A380, city GDP, H-town Hackerspace, K12's future, and more
OK, the smaller miscellaneous items just keep stacking up:
- Check out TX/RX Labs, Houston's Hackerspace. I just think it's awesome that Houston has something like this. Very cool and expanding fast.
- Peter Wang writes about a nightmare traffic experience at CityCentre for a holiday party, noting that New Urbanist/"Livable Center" developments in Houston will still need to accommodate large volumes of cars at peak periods since we just don't move that many people by foot, bike, or transit (like classic "old urbanist" cities would).
- IAH is getting Airbus A380 service, and is just the sixth U.S. city to do so! (on Lufthansa from their Frankfurt hub) I remember meeting an airport official a few years back that was skeptical about IAH getting A380 service (or, more importantly, needing to pay big $ to upgrade the airport to accommodate it), but I think the global energy boom is changing the equation.
- Don't hold your breath on 290 commuter rail says Bill King after a thorough analysis. Here are the scary numbers:
"But even taking the report's ridership projections at face value, the real stumbling block to this project is the cost. Without the link to downtown, the start-up capital costs are estimated to be $290 million, with an annual operating cost of more than $6 million. This equals a capital cost of $96,000 per rider and an annual operating cost of more than $2,000 per rider, a level that is clearly not viable.
If one assumes that somehow the inevitable neighborhood opposition to an extension through the Heights could be overcome, and a link to downtown completed, the report projects the total capital costs would be $544 million with annual operating costs of $21 million. This would still be about $50,000 in capital costs and more than $2,000 in annual operating costs per rider."
"Metro service today has 5-minute intervals between buses and goes nonstop to downtown. The proposed commuter rail line would have 20-minute intervals and stop at 10 stations, then require a transfer to a bus to get downtown."
- A WSJ profile of the world's most fabulous airport in Singapore, including rooftop pool, butterfly garden, and tons of other amenities. IAH, take notes if you want to be the hub of choice for international travelers...
- Houston is the country's #5 metro in terms of GDP at $379B, behind NYC, LA, Chicago, and DC, but ahead of SF, Dallas, Boston, Philly and Atlanta. That makes *just our city* the 31st-largest economy in the world and larger than Austria, Argentina, or South Africa.
- Forbes “Best State for Business” pegs Texas at No. 6, but No. 1 in the economic climate category.
- If you want to understand the high-tech future of K-12 education, read this book. Short, quick, easy read, but one that will amaze you with the potential revolution. It even has a book jacket endorsement from HISD superintendent Terry Grier (but don't let that stop you if you're not a fan of his). I plan on doing a future post with a more detailed book review, but wanted to get it out there now in case anybody's looking for a little holiday reading material for when you're traveling or stuck at the in-laws'... ;-)
Labels: aviation, economy, education, mobility strategies, new urbanism, rail, rankings