Thursday, November 09, 2006

Empty lanes, dog rescue rally, and the new UH Master Plan

Tonight we have a collection of small items. First, if you didn't catch it on Channel 2 News, check out the video of this story about 4-year-old, closed, unused diamond/HOV lanes up near The Woodlands, staring Christof Spieler of the Citizens Transportation Coalition. The hang up seems to be that TXDoT doesn't have an entity to hand off the lanes to for operations and enforcement. They somehow figured Metro's jurisdiction was going to get extended northward (where did they get that idea?), but it didn't happen. It made me think of the diamond lanes in Ft. Bend County on 59. Does anybody know who enforces them?

Our second item is a public service announcement, if you're looking for something fun to do on this beautiful weather weekend:

The third annual Dogtoberfest Rescue Rally will be held this Saturday, Nov. 11, from 1-5 p.m. at the Ginger Man Pub, 5607 Morningside in the Rice Village. The event will feature animal rescue groups from throughout Houston and will focus on breed awareness and education. Basically we are talking about dogs, beer, wine, games and a silent auction – what a way to spend a Saturday afternoon!!!

Kuff's post is here. I've also been told from an insider that it will be swarmed by women who drink beer and love dogs - so single guys should strongly consider attending.

Finally, thanks to this Houstonist post, I discovered this site about the University of Houston's long-term master plan, which is pretty impressive. It should go a long way towards helping the university get to the next level ("slated to be Texas' third Tier 1 research university"), a critical need for the city. Watch the video if you're casually interested, and download the 79mb PowerPoint if you're want the deep detail - including some inspirational pics of very impressive improvements to Georgia Tech in Atlanta. And if you have the ability to direct or influence big philanthropy money, please consider a donation to the effort. I don't care if you went to UT, A&M, Rice, or wherever, if you care about the future of Houston, you should care about UH.


At 3:38 AM, November 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a UH alum, '02, I was thrilled to see the new plan. The campus has changed so much in the 5 years since I've been out of school and I'm glad to see some careful planning from the administration. One of the key developments will be closing Cullen Blvd., effectively expanding the campus to Scott St. At least when I was in school, Cullen seemed to be a sort of "barrier" to the campus with only parking lots on the other side.

One of the most interesting things about the UH plan is that it only relies on land already held by the University. There are no plans on the table to buy up any of the surrounding houses, etc. in the 3rd Ward. My only complaint is that the University isn't considering buying the land bordered by Scott, Elgin, Cullen and the I-45 feeder. That real estate would be a natural place for the university to expand and turning those houses into new recreation fields and student housing would help UH shed the perception that it is an a terrible neighborhood.

At 8:34 AM, November 10, 2006, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I agree. Rice has a pretty aggressive policy of buying up land near it (esp. in The Village), and UH should consider doing the same. It makes total sense as an endowment investment: you get the rent income and the appreciation of the investment, plus the option to absorb it into the campus at some future date when you need it.

At 4:01 PM, November 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the unused payment story, (at, there's not actually 20 miles of pavement that could easily be converted into barrier-separated HOV or diamond HOV. Between West Road just south of Beltway 8 and Parramatta Lane, there's an HOV lane, but also something that the North Freeway (and Gulf Freeway) lacks on almost all sections inside the Beltway: inside shoulders built to interstate standards (10 ft. wide). For safety reasons, I'm not sure TxDOT would want to lose those shoulders in favor of putting in an extra lane, without first doing a traffic and safety study. But north of Parramatta Lane, I agree with Christof's and your sentiments; the lanes should be opened up to traffic ASAP. I enjoy your posts; keep up the good work.

At 1:35 AM, November 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding who enforces the diamond lane, really it's everyone. If you see someone violating the law, then you can call BE-A-HERO and report them. I doubt they actually do anything to fine the violator because it's one person's word against another's. Personally, I think anyone who is that hard up to call and report should get a life - like those classmates in school who would always tell the teacher you were doing something bad. I guess those losers can now think they are "Heroes."

At 10:35 PM, November 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can someone be a hero without risking something? I've never understood why anonymous snitches are called heroes, any more than a helpless victim of terror, say someone in one of the towers on 9/11.
To me, a hero is someone willing to risk their own well being for the benefit of someone else. If we use up the word hero on these people, what will we call the real heroes?


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