Monday, November 01, 2010

Houston catching Brooklyn, our outsized GMP, Metrorail, rankings, and more

Some more smaller items this week:
  • A new index estimates new house cost impact of land regulation.  As you might expect, Houston comes out very well - actually #1 - with the lowest cost impact of any of the cities listed.
  • Wendell Cox at New Geography details Portland's Runaway Debt Train, an anti-model for Metro.  Let's hope they're not making the same mistakes.  Scratch that - is somebody actively watching to make sure they're not?
  • To those who always dismiss bus rapid transit as an affordable quality alternative to light rail, go to the 2:30 point in the NYC video here to see a very successful example from the king city of rail, NYC.  The Bronx BX12 crosstown with some traffic light prioritization and off-board fare collection increased speeds by 20% and ridership by 30%.  Even more impressive, *98%* of *New Yorkers* are very satisfied with the service.  Come on.  If surly New Yorkers can be happy with it, why don't we think we can create a successful signature bus/BRT network as an alternative to rail bankruptcy at Metro?
  • I've done my fair share of Metro criticism (see above), so it's only right to give kudos when they're due, and these actions are all good steps in the right direction towards fiscal prudence by the agency.
  • According to this list based on 2008 data, Houston has the fourth-largest Gross Metropolitan Product in the nation at $403 billion behind NYC, LA, and Chicago.  I'm surprised we beat DFW (more people) and DC, Boston, SF (more higher-earning college-degreed people, although they split SV from SF), and really smoke similar-population areas like Atlanta, Philly, and S.Florida.  Hat tip to an anonymous commenterAlon also has a comment/analysis over there on metro GDP vs. income and living standards - and Houston still comes out pretty well.
  • An odd blog post at the NY Times pointing out that if Brooklyn were its own city (which it used to be until being incorporated into NYC), it would be the 4th largest in the country until Houston passes it up sometime in the next couple of decades. "Don’t Look Back, Brooklyn; Houston Is Gaining on You" Hat tip to Anthony.
Finally, a few items to pass along from the Steve's Houston Digital Ambassadorship email newsletter:

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At 9:38 PM, November 01, 2010, Blogger Alon Levy said...

Meanwhile, the M15 SBS is attracting a lot of negative publicity. The time travel reduction versus the old limited buses is trivial, to the point that the split between local buses and BRT is reducing frequencies more than the average time saving. The fare collection is not done well in either Manhattan or the Bronx; until recently, the fare inspectors held the bus.

The city's plans about where to extend future lines are just as bad. They're based on which areas Bloomberg likes rather than on where there is the greatest demand. The next corridor the city is planning on upgrading is the M34/M16, whose ridership ranks in the middle double-digits citywide. Meanwhile, the city's single busiest route, serving a mostly low-income part of Brooklyn, is getting nothing.

American transportation planning is communistic in all modes, not just rail.

At 10:23 AM, December 02, 2010, Blogger StacyinNYC said...

"Surly New Yorkers"?? Clearly you haven't been to the City since 9/11. It's a whole different place.


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