Freeze the East End line!, real higher-ed success, WSJ on Ashby, and moreLast week the METRO board decided to move forward with a controversial overpass plan to extend the East End line to the Magnolia Park Transit Center at an additional cost of $27-$43 million and 3 years, not to mention the tens of millions more to continue extending the line. My question is this: why not just freeze the end of the East End line where it is, move the Transit Center to that point as part of the bus system redesign they're currently undergoing, and save the $100m+ to apply to much higher priority University Line, which is stuck in budget limbo. The board gets to back away from an overpass that the community hates and move forward on a much higher priority project for the city - win-win. And down the road, they can revisit it if they want to extend the line and the budget money becomes available. It makes total logical sense, which is why, sadly, I'm guessing it won't get much play in a political bureaucracy like METRO which will just heads-down bull-ahead on the existing plan, as outdated, unpopular, and wasteful as it is.
UPDATE: I have to rescind this recommendation after discovering that METRO has already built the East End line beyond the proposed bridge, which just seems crazy to me. We will now have a dead segment of rail (including stops) that will sit for 3 years while a bridge is constructed. Wow... just... wow.
- Wall Street Journal coverage of the Ashby controversy and lawsuit as well as the zoning debate in Houston, including and nice land-use map vs. Portland. Even the free market WSJ has a little trouble understanding the value of no-zoning. Sheesh.
- Houston ranked as the #2 city for African Americans after DC, but ahead of NYC and Atlanta. Hat tip to Joel.
- Texas ranked #1 for business for the 10th straight year.
- Why Houston won't overtake Chicago in population anytime soon (at the city or metro area level). I hear this mistruth a lot, so I'm glad Patrick finally puts it to rest with solid numbers. One exception: our city might be able to pass their city (although not metro) if it annexed northwest Harris County...
- Designer takes special request to map out 85 of Houston's neighborhoods (another version with more images). Mildly interesting, although I don't find the grid style compelling - mostly just squarish looking blobs. The map style is slightly cooler. Hat tip to JLH.