Saturday, June 23, 2018

Why LA tourism is exploding and might help Houston too, flood overregulation, Houston and transit, and more

Some good items this week:
"Houston is one of the few regions where transit ridership is still growing. From 2012 to 2017, when San Antonio ridership declined by 23 percent, Houston ridership grew by 7 percent. In the first four months of 2018, when San Antonio ridership fell another 3.2 percent, it grew by 3.5 percent in Houston. (Houston’s market share still declined despite ridership growth because ridership didn’t grow as fast as driving.) 
Houston’s success appears to be due to a major reorganization of bus routes. Instead of operating buses on a hub-and-spoke system focused on downtown, Houston rerouted them into a grid system. Since most jobs are no longer located downtown, a grid bus network allows more people to get to work with fewer transfers and out-of-the-way trips. 
Houston’s success is not a complete victory. Houston-area transit ridership was much higher before the 2008 recession than it is today. Ridership peaked in 2007 at more than 102 million trips per year; in 2017, it was just 89 million trips per year."
"It ain’t the heat here, Bourdain realized, it’s the humanity."
Finally this week, an older item I'm finally getting around to from the LA Times: Los Angeles, Houston and the appeal of the hard-to-read city:
"Houston is casually written off even more often than Los Angeles, which is saying something. Now the fourth largest city in the country in population — and gaining on third-place Chicago — it's an unruly place in terms of its urbanism, a place that (as Los Angeles once did) has room, or makes room, for a wide spectrum of architectural production, from the innovative to the ugly.
Roughly one in four residents of Houston's Harris County is foreign-born, a rate nearly as high as those in New York and Los Angeles. Houston's relationship with Dallas, the third biggest city in Texas, is something like L.A.'s with San Francisco; the southern city in each pair is less decorous, less fixed in its civic identity and (at the moment, at least) entirely more vital."
Speaking of LA, an observation that came out of my recent vacation there.  It relates to this Cranky Flier post showing the dramatic increase in LAX traffic from 2009 to 2017, growing by more than 50% (!) in those 8 years. Why? My hypothesis: before the smartphone (circa 2007), vacationing in a city like LA was pretty nontrivial, involving a rent car in a large unfamiliar city and a lot of paper maps and planning - unlike New York, DC, San Francisco, London, Paris, Rome, and other older, more concentrated tourist cities with subway transit where you can just show up and figure it out without too much trouble.  But now with a smartphone, LA is a whole lot easier to "wing it" on vacation: driving and exploring, finding good restaurants on Yelp or tourist attractions in TripAdvisor and navigating there easily (avoiding traffic!) with Google Maps or Waze.  I think people have discovered this and LA has become a significantly more popular tourist destination.  Maybe Houston will do the same on a smaller scale??

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At 1:27 PM, June 25, 2018, Anonymous Rich Robins said...

About 1/3 of the entire USA's welfare recipients reside in California nowadays. As federal subsidies for the non-working become increasingly bloated (at the expense of California taxpayers), the non-working folks' extended families and co-conspirators are increasingly visiting Los Angeles to stake their own claims. Mayor Garcetti has presidential aspirations, by the way.

California hasn't elected a Red official, state-wide, in many years. This is largely due to the mass-exodus of Red voters in the wake of the federal gubmint's judicially overturning Prop 187 just over two decades ago, after California had attempted to make its own immigration laws as strict as neighboring Mexico's (which are far more strict: ). Cox is a Red candidate for governor (and real estate entrepreneur) who managed to make it to the ballot for this November despite California's quirky primary system that could have otherwise pitted two Dems against one another for the state's highest office. The more that state of fruits & nuts implodes, the more Texas can benefit from an influx of folks seeking greener pastures. We need to abolish magnets for the non-working though, such as sanctuary cities and accompanying freebies. How much more debt can we endure?

At 8:28 AM, June 26, 2018, Blogger George Rogers said...

Rich Robbins Texas leaving the Union is the answer.


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