Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Job generating ideas for Mayor Parker

Mayor Parker recently called for job-generating ideas to be submitted to her campaign web site, and I thought I'd share with you my suggestions I submitted.

What can Mayor Parker and the City of Houston do to create more jobs in Houston right now?:

Employers are creating more new jobs outside the city than inside of it because of severe traffic congestion.  They want to be close to their employees who want new, high-quality, affordable housing and good schools (for example, see the new far north Exxon campus).  We need faster, better, nonstop HOV express commuter bus transit from all the far neighborhoods to all of Houston's job centers (not just downtown).  Open up the express commuter bus/shuttle market to private competition by offering a flat Metro subsidy per passenger-trip and/or per passenger-mile and letting private companies compete on service, routes, schedules, and amenities (like wi-fi). Let them use the existing Park-and-Rides or cut deals with private parking lots like churches and malls. This is the fastest way to not only improve commuter service, but also maximize ridership to reduce rush hour congestion.  Then employers will feel comfortable adding jobs in the city core knowing they can draw on employees from all over the metro with reasonable commutes.  Employers also get another bonus: when employees aren't driving, they can spend that hour+ a day on the express bus being productive with email and other work on their smartphones or laptops.  With that kind of productivity increase, maybe employers would also offer transit subsidies/incentives, further increasing ridership and service?

How can Mayor Parker make sure that Houston’s workforce has the skills to compete for the jobs of the future?:

Help organize a nonprofit led by some very wealthy Houstonians to convert the Astrodome and old Astroworld site into the world's largest engineering and technology museum (possibly part of the Smithsonian museum network), but focused not just on history but the great challenges of the present and future and inspiring kids into STEM fields.  More details on my blog here.

How can local government partner with the private sector to foster opportunity that will lead to more jobs for Houstonians?:

Spin internal City IT applications out to the private sector (possibly small tech startups) for continued development and marketing to other cities, creating new tech jobs, better software for the city (which can improve efficiency), and a royalty stream back to the city as other cities adopt the same technology as the 4th-largest city in the country.  Houston could become a national hub/cluster for local government IT application companies.

I welcome your own thoughts in the comments.  Even better, send them to the mayor.

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At 8:18 AM, August 31, 2011, Blogger MIke Trozzo said...

great stuff as always. Is there any anti-bus sentiment amongst high income employees in Houston? I could always feel that from people in LA.

At 8:48 AM, August 31, 2011, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Although that's almost certainly an issue with local buses, I don't think that's the case with the big Park and Ride commuter buses. Also, by privatizing, different services can go as upscale as they want and they think the market will support.

At 8:46 PM, August 31, 2011, Blogger JC said...

I used to work in the Park Ten area. The ous Park and Ride bus service ran only toward downtown in the mornings, and from downtown in the evenings. Presumably, the buses, after their strenuous commutes, were stacked in warehouses to rest up in preparation for the next run. Did me no damn good at all.
BTW, my lil' ol' blog could use some traffic. Clicking my name should take you there.

At 8:02 PM, September 04, 2011, Anonymous KFT said...

As part of the museum (or standalone) how about building the world's tallest wind turbine? It fits with the engineering aspect of the museum, gives us an iconic tourist attraction (with an observation deck) and ties in energy and helps cement Houston's claim to renewables capital in addition to oil and gas? It would need to be really huge to work, but I bet you could get lots of donations from all the energy companies in town.

At 8:12 PM, September 04, 2011, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

That is a pretty cool idea! Especially if they could put it at the gateway to the ship channel. Lots of wind off the gulf and visible for miles...

At 12:00 AM, September 06, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: commuting, also get citizens/neighborhood groups to sponsor thoroughfares, like Sheperd, Westheimer, Bellaire Blvd.,etc and get the lights syncronized and keep them that way, all it takes is a few interested citizens and a stopwatch and follow through to re-set lights after disruptions.

Also, do a Flint Michigan like tax incentive, or no tax to draw varieties of businesses, large and small to downtown, make it a try downtown again like in the 40's with.

Also re: toll roads, outside purview of Mayor Parker, re route the Hardy onto the Eastex 59 HOV lane to get people south bound fast and save the $150MM for moving of RR lines and apply that to a Hempstead toll road.

Blessings and Keep Up the Good Work!


At 8:49 PM, October 05, 2011, Blogger Eric said...

For those who are looking for work or extra money, they should check out Task Rabbit http://makehoustongreat.com/2011/09/18/taskrabbit-an-ebay-for-real-world-labor/



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