Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A simple reasonable home elevation standard, Houston's coolest map, amazing Harvey graphics, DFW+CA rail fails, algorithmic zoning insanity, and more

Before getting to this week's smaller items, two more important items:

First, a random idea on the city's proposed and controversial 500yr + 2ft housing elevation standard, which may raise housing costs substantially in those areas while also devaluing existing housing stock and make neighborhoods look like Galveston beach houses on stilts, even if they've never flooded: why not just make Harvey the standard, since it is a multi-thousand year storm? Don't build anything that would have flooded during Harvey, or any of our other major flood events.  Show that your development wouldn't have flooded, and you're good to go.  Keeps elevations reasonable, especially in areas that didn't flood.  Simple standard, simply enforced.

Second, a bit of a yellow flag from a recent High Capacity Transit task force meeting.  Check out the 17:30 point in the Service concepts video where they aim for an 8-fold increase (from 87 million to 758 million) in transit usage by 2045, with a transit market share increase from 2 to 20% (!). Pretty darn ambitious. I have to wonder where that's realistically coming from, since Dallas, LA and others are losing overall ridership, and that decline may accelerate with coming autonomous ride share technology. I'm skeptical (especially if the assumption is rail), but looking forward to learning more over time and understanding the model.  Maybe this is the potential of MaX Lanes?!  If it's based on solid assumptions, it would certainly be amazing, and something no other American city is doing. Hat tip to Oscar.

Moving on to this week's items:
"That means that the loss in bus ridership was nearly nine times greater than the gain in rail ridership."
Finally, ending with a fun item.  I recently purchased this totally awesome 3D laser-etched multi-layer wood chart of the Houston-Galveston area at an art shop in the New Orleans' French Quarter.  Super-cool and a steal at only $298 (order it online here).  And I don't get a commission - I just think it's cool.

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At 10:06 AM, March 28, 2018, Blogger George Rogers said...

With max lanes and employer busses for some of the majors it could be possible, but not with rail.

At 11:14 AM, April 12, 2018, Anonymous Neil said...

I really can't say I believe in Kent Larson - who's trying to put his stake in the ground as the algorithmic zoning guy. But it seems a little off to cast this in terms of knowable human process versus dehumanized ways that computers will boss us around. When NYC's zoning code is 4,257 pages, after all, your process is dehumanized either way; it's much more a question of the top line and the bottom line. The top line: what outcomes are actually taken into account and enhanced? And the bottom line: democratization -- is everyone going to be able to get the same answers for free or a nominal fee, from a digital interface, or are you going to put a lobbyist and a planning consultant on open-ended retainers with several hundred dollars an hour in fees to interpret the possibilities for you and help try to bend them in your favor? The top line benefit is still a little hand-wavy at this point, but the bottom line potential's pretty clear-cut.

At 2:38 PM, April 12, 2018, Blogger George Rogers said...

No Zoning is the best Zoning.


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