Monday, August 18, 2014

Reason TV features Houston, Portland vs. Austin rail, hurricane protection, greenways gamechanger, fast tech and fast cars in Texas

This week's items:
Finally, a great 10m video from Reason.TV that starts out talking about experiments with tiny houses in DC vs. their oppressive zoning regulations and bureaucracies, but then transitions to talking about the creativity and freedom allowed in Houston and Victoria.  If you want to jump to the transition about Houston, it starts at the 3:50 point with NYC.  Hat tip to Joel.

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At 9:37 PM, August 18, 2014, Anonymous Rich Robins said...

Speaking of rail & Houston, a more economical (shared) approach to rail expansion is finally getting unprecedented media attention:

Any thoughts?

At 9:11 AM, August 19, 2014, Blogger Jardinero1 said...

I beg to differ with you on the Ike Dike. It is not a solution. The solution is to encourage better and better construction standards in Tier 1 and Tier 2 residential and commercial construction.

I sell insurance in Southern Harris and Galveston Counties. Dollar-wise, the biggest claims were wind related with older houses. By older, I mean construction built to code prior to 1995. Newer homes suffered way fewer losses. An Ike Dike will not mitigate wind related losses only better construction standards will.

Flooding mostly occurred among older homes which had been grandfathered into Special Flood Hazard Areas. The solution to flooding in low lying areas is not dikes but elevating homes or prohibiting construction altogether.

At 11:44 AM, August 19, 2014, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I feel the same about 290 rail that I did when the possibility of Galveston rail came up a few years ago and sparked me to write this op-ed:

At 11:46 AM, August 19, 2014, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I agree with strong building standards, but that won't prevent the submersion of Galveston like happened with Ike, or the potential devastation that could be caused by a storm surge over Clear Lake/League City/Kemah/Seabrook/Texas City/etc or the industrial ship channel.

At 11:47 AM, August 19, 2014, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

The models show a strong surge up the ship channel could not only cause many billions of dollars in damage to the refineries, but also create one of the greatest environmental disasters in history.

At 3:31 PM, August 19, 2014, Blogger Jardinero1 said...

Dikes impede the flow of water in both directions. A slow moving storm like Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 did not bring much storm surge but an Ike Dike would have made the flooding even worse by preventing the flow of water out to the gulf. We are vastly more likely to be hit by many more slow moving Allison type tropical storms than a single Category 3 or above Hurricane.

Nobody in the insurance industry is lobbying for a dike. Everyone in the insurance industry is lobbying for tougher building standards and elevating buildings. Since they are the ones with the most skin in the game, I tend to believe them. The businesses along the ship channel have their own resources as well as the responsibility to fortify their infrastructure against inundation.

At 3:43 PM, August 19, 2014, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

The Dike, as designed, would not impede drainage at all. The gates on each end of the island can be left wide open as needed. They are only closed if there is a surge in front of the hurricane that will flood Galveston or SE Harris counties. The Dutch have done it quite successfully.

At 9:57 PM, August 19, 2014, Blogger Jardinero1 said...

I am not arguing against storm barriers, only against the so called "Ike Dike". I presume that you have read this:

This is the money quote, "Colbert presented computer models that showed the Ike Dike would not protect the Clear Lake region against storm surge. Even with the Ike Dike in place, a Category 2 storm could create a 16-foot storm surge into the Clear Lake area."


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