Debottlenecking downtown freeways, #2 metro better than #1, commuting trends, rising universities, and more
Lots of smaller items this week:
- NYC dominates with 39% of all the nation's transit commuters.
- Despite many billions of dollars of federally subsidized rail lines, only NYC and DC have had strong transit share growth since 2000. Light rail focused Portland has been completely flat.
- Houston is not in the top 10 for commute times, which is impressive for the 4th largest city in the country.
"...it doesn’t seem like a sign of national health that America’s political capital is suddenly richer than our capitals of manufacturing and technology and finance, or that our leaders are more insulated than ever from the trends buffeting the people they’re supposed to serve."
"Rice is one of only four schools to receive a top-20 ranking in 25 of 26 attributes. Among national universities, Rice is No. 2 for intellectual development, preparation for career success and value for the cost of education, and No. 5 for college experience and overall assessment. In the category “would recommend to a student,” Rice is No. 6. It’s No. 7 for household net worth and No. 8 for overall happiness. It ranks No. 11 for three attributes – friendship development, likelihood the alumni would choose Rice again and the percentage of alumni giving. Rice’s overall rank among 177 universities (national and liberal arts combined) in the guide is No. 4.
Last month the Princeton Review’s “The Best 377 Colleges” ranked No.1 for the happiest students in the country for the second year in a row. The 2013 guide also ranked Rice No. 2 for best quality of life, best-run college and students’ love of their school, No. 5 for relations between the city and university and No. 7 for lots of race-class interaction in addition to several other top-20 placements."
- The Chronicle recently ran a story on a study being done to de-bottleneck the freeways around downtown, including the idea of a giant one-way roundabout (!). I discussed a much simpler solution at HAIF: elevate 4 or 6 express I45 lanes over the Pierce elevated. They would have no entrances or exits - they would be express-only lanes through downtown. The existing lanes would act to handle all the exiting/entering traffic. I think they could be plugged in to the very long+wide freeway ramps near Scott Street. I don't think they would necessarily solve all of the problems downtown, but it could be an affordable solution that creates massive improvements. As they say, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good - and I think a perfect solution will be unaffordable in today's TXDoT budget realities.
Finally, to end on a humorous note, the awesome xkcd online comic recently posted their notorious "Click and Drag
" comic which probably single-handedly measurably reduced national productivity that day. As Wired pointed out
, you could spend a very, very long time exploring it. I gave up pretty quickly, but found this great clip out of it online that somebody else found - and it was an all the more impressive find because it was all alone in a gigantic open sky of white space. I have no idea how they found it. But I'm glad they did, because I found it quite amusing. Enjoy:
Labels: economic strategy, economy, education, entrepreneurship, Metro, mobility strategies, NASA, rail, rankings