Affordability sense and nonsense, 45N update, MaX Lanes adopted, and moreAnother week, another BS to call. This time on this study claiming Houston is not affordable compared to cities like Philly, Chicago, and even NYC! (Chronicle story) And yet you wonder why Philly and Chicago are losing population, and people flee NYC because of the cost of living? Maybe there's a flaw in this ranking? I'd say it's mostly this: if you live in an expensive city (including taxes), then you naturally have less of your income left over to spend on housing and transportation. It's not because these cities are affordable, but because you're forced to live frugally. You live in affordable Houston (albeit admittedly less so the last few years), and you get to spend more on those, which makes your city look expensive by these rankings! See the confused irony of using income percentage as an affordability indicator? This kind of affordability ranking is specifically designed to make expensive transit-dependent cities look better, and it gets fully debunked here.
Moving on to this week's items:
- TxDOT recently posted updated schematics with the latest revisions for the I-45 and downtown freeway planning study, and Oscar Slotboom has updated his analysis of plans on the HoustonFreeways.com web site. The good news is that the new design is much improved over the original plan, and the most serious items of concern have been fixed. However, Oscar still has several items of concern which he would like TxDOT to further review.
- In addition, another very cool new development came out of those new schematics: TXDoT (or at least the Houston branch) has officially adopted my suggested MaX Lanes branding for the managed lanes! The lanes are so labeled on the new schematics. The acronym stands for "Managed eXpress Lanes", moving the maximum number of people at maximum speed. Really excited to see this branding adopted and hope to see it roll out over time to the existing lanes!
- Google tries to make its cars drive more like humans. Glad to see them going this direction - there's such a thing as too cautious, which can be frustrating for the passengers as well as other cars nearby. I hope they're also willing to push a bit on speed limits, or, in my experience, they'll always be the slow ones plugging up the traffic flow! Maybe that should be a preference setting for the car?... ;-)
- WSJ: We’re a Long Way From ‘Peak Car’. Turns out the millennials move to the suburbs and buy cars just as much if not more than previous generations. Myth busted.