Texas is America's America, what stupid rail looks like, Millenials love the city and the suburbs, and more
This weeks misc items:
"Transit agencies are spending millions of dollars on new rail infrastructure that is no faster than existing bus service, simply because riders perceive a train as better than a bus.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed AirTrain link from La Guardia Airport in New York could be the latest example. It might cost $450 million or it might be more like $1 billion — the M.T.A. head Tom Prendergast wavered between the figures in a public hearing last month — but either way, from most places in New York City, it won’t be faster than taking existing bus service to the airport, because it will run southeast from the airport, away from Manhattan.
In California, Bay Area Rapid Transit spent nearly half a billion dollars to build a three-mile rail connector to the airport in Oakland, which opened last year; it saves about 3,000 daily riders four minutes over the shuttle bus service it replaced. Atlanta’s downtown streetcar loop was a relative bargain at $100 million; unfortunately, Rebecca Burns, a writer at Atlanta magazine, took it to work for a week and found it was slower than walking. Washington’s shiny new streetcars, expected to serve 1,500 riders a day along H Street Northeast, are slowing the bus service that already serves 12,000 daily riders on that road."
"But in my mind, the biggest asset of Texas is Texans. Having spent a great deal a time there, the contrasts with my adopted home state of California are remarkable. No businessperson I spoke to in Houston or Dallas is even remotely contemplating a move elsewhere; Houstonians often brag about how they survived the ‘80s bust, wearing those hard times as a badge of honor.
To be sure, Texans can be obnoxiously arrogant about their state, and have a peculiar talent for a kind of braggadocio that drives other Americans a bit crazy. But they are also our greatest regional asset, the one big state where America remains America, if only more so."
"Most Americans are happy with their commutes and would be willing to trade off even longer commutes in order to live in more desirable housing, according to a survey by YouGov. Moreover, the detailed results indicate that these preferences are almost as strong among 18-29 year olds as among older age classes. "
- Citing county growth, Emmett seeks 'new model of urban governance'. He raises a lot of good issues in his annual State of the County speech. He also reiterated support for the ULI Astrodome plan, details of which are supposed to come out in a report soon. They're hopeful it can be at least partially ready for the 2017 Super Bowl at Reliant, which is aggressive but would be awesome.
Finally in the funny-but-kinda-pathetic media department, this short piece by Outside magazine on the Astrodome plan
. First, it claims the plan is by "Texas environmentalists" when it was a national Urban Land Institute panel. Later, it mentions city councilors being split on the plan, when it has nothing to do with the City of Houston - it will be decided by Harris County Commissioners Court. But then there's the real gem: "Voters narrowly rejected a 2013 referendum to convert the stadium into a convention center, largely due to a $217 billion bond price tag.
" Lol! Yep, our plan was to spend the equivalent of half of the national defense budget on revamping the dome! That would be over $48,000 per citizen
of the county! (think it would involve a tax increase?) As much as I'd like to see that plan (which I'm assuming involved a new solid gold coating), even I'd vote against that one! Do they even have editors over there? Or writers that do any fact checking at all?
Labels: Astrodome, governance, identity, mobility strategies, rail, transit