Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rail, bikes, IAH, Texas, infrastructure, and more

Sorry for the late post this week - busy holidays, you know. Got some smaller misc items to pass along:
"There's no better thing I've seen in any airport, and I've been everywhere," said Flood, 48. "In this economy, there is nothing better than seeing smiles like this. It shouldn't just be for Christmas."
"Rather than dictating uses for neighbourhoods, as almost all American cities do—apartments here, light industry over there—Mesa’s planners will determine the appearance of buildings. They want to encourage a mixture of uses in one street, and allow for change (so a warehouse might eventually be converted into apartments). They hope that, by putting many of the essentials of life in a small area, people will walk around. Mesa’s scorching summers might be a problem here."

Good thing we don't have that problem here, eh?
"Spending on upkeep of transit systems in older centralized cities such as New York, Washington and Chicago also seems logical. But with few exceptions -- the heavily traveled corridor between downtown Houston and the Texas Medical Center, for instance -- ridership on most new rail systems outside the traditional cities has remained paltry, accounting for barely 1 or 2 percent of all commuters. Such projects are almost absurdly expensive on a per-capita basis."
A big part of the problem, IMHO, is that politicians can't cut ribbons and get big PR for basic maintenance.
  • Texas did well in a recent ranking of The Best State Business Climates:
"While it has been a tough year for state economies across the US, that hasn’t changed the positive views of corporate site selectors when it comes to doing business in North Carolina. The state took the top slot for the fourth straight year in Site Selection magazine’s 2008 Top State Business Climate rankings. North Carolina’s strong education system has been the real difference maker, but other important factors include the state’s aggressive economic development programs and lower cost of living. Other top performers in the rankings include (in rank order): Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Indiana. A separate poll of business executives produced a slightly different list of the most “business friendly” states with Texas topping that poll, followed by North Carolina and Georgia. When asked to identify the key factors in a favorable business climate, the top three, according to corporate real estate executives, were ease of permitting and licensing, transportation infrastructure, and workforce skills.

Access the article, “Pedal to the Medal,” by Mark Arend (also appears in the November 2008 issue of Site Selection).

Hat tip to Peter.
Not sure how much blogging I'll get done over the holidays. Hope you and yours enjoy them.

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At 11:43 PM, December 24, 2008, Blogger BeyondGreen said...

We seriously need to get on with becoming energy independent. Utilizing alternative energy sources would not only lessen our dependence on foreign oil it would create cheap, clean energy, as well as create millions of badly needed new green collar jobs. This past year the high cost of fuel seriously damaged our economy and society. It destroyed every imaginable budget from national to state to the local school. While some are foolish enough to be doing the happy dance around the lower prices at the pumps they are totally missing out on the news that OPEC is planning to cut production and raise the price per barrel back up to between 75-100 bucks again. I just read Jeff Wilson's new book The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. you can see it @ It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric vehicle. The electricity to charge the vehicle could come partially or totally from electricity generated by wind or solar. One of the most fascinating facts in the book is that ...If all gasoline cars, trucks, and suv’s instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. Why don't we use some of the billions in bail out money to bail us out of our dependence on foreign oil? We must move forward as nation towards energy independence. Oil is finite, it will run out one day in the not too distant future. We need to use some of these bail out bucks to bail us out of our dependence on foreign oil!

At 7:16 PM, December 25, 2008, Blogger Brian Shelley said...

I have been hostile to the Katy Freeway expansion for quite a while, because I thought that the expansion would not significantly reduce congestion. This study shows, that at least for now I was wrong. Having also driven it a couple times since completion I have to admit the improvements. In years past, going by Memorial City Mall near Christmas time meant a horrible bottleneck. This year, we just flew by at 70+. Big difference.

At 2:50 AM, December 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I read that correctly - the Galveston line will only go to the Harrisburg light rail stop, not downtown? Big mistake, if so. People riding an intercity-type transit system like commuter rail do not want to have to switch to an intra-city transit system like light rail to get to the center of town. I can't think of any city where you have to do this.

At 9:04 AM, December 26, 2008, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Yes, let's definitely hope that's a misprint.


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