Sunday, January 13, 2019

Great quote on Houston, Complete streets not adding value, planning problems, NYT love for HTX, and more

Quite the backlog of smaller items this week:
"After adjusting the two sets of data to make them comparable prior to the time when one group adopted Complete Streets, they found that “Complete Streets policy has no effect on house prices, and therefore we are unable to find a positive amenity value from a municipality-level commitment to Complete Streets.” 
"State DOTs should be far more cautious in agreeing to requests from municipalities to convert arterial routes to Complete Streets treatment. Most of the information provided by New Urbanists consists of anecdotes, rather than careful analysis such as Vandegriff and Zandoni have provided."
Rebounding bigger and better after a hurricane

"After Hurricane Harvey, the city is back on its feet and showing off the everything-is-bigger-in-Texas attitude. Four food halls opened in 2018, including Finn Hall, which features up-and-coming chefs including the James Beard-nominated chef Jianyun Ye with a downtown outpost of his Chinese hot spot Mala Sichuan and a taqueria from the local favorite Goode Company. The five-diamond Post Oak Hotel opened in March 2018 with a two-story Rolls Royce showroom, art by Frank Stella and a 30,000-bottle wine cellar. The Menil Collection, known for its eclectic art ranging from Byzantine antiques to 20th-century Pop Art, underwent a seven-month renovation of its main building and opened the 30,000-square-foot Menil Drawing Institute. The low-slung white steel-and-glass building with a trapezoidal roof is the first addition to the Menil campus in 20 years and the first freestanding museum dedicated to modern drawing in the United States. The city’s museum boom continues with a massive expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to be completed in 2020, a newly built location for the Holocaust Museum, which will move in the spring of 2019, and a restoration of the Apollo Mission Center that will open in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in July." 
"Transit riders are more sensitive to frequencies than to whether a transit vehicle runs on rubber tires or steel wheels. A bus carries fewer people than a train, but that’s a virtue, not a flaw, because it allows for higher frequencies. If Ft. Worth had used buses rather than rails for this route, it could have run those buses every 10 or 15 minutes (instead of hourly), attracting a lot more riders."
"Houston is a city of immigrants and engineers. Function trumps fashion with this no-nonsense crowd that expects to work hard and earn rewards based on merit. Looking at demographics and migration patterns, people voting with their feet consider the Bayou City the most egalitarian of the Texas metro areas."
Finally, I wanted to end with a longer set of excerpts from an excellent piece by Nolan Gray in CityLab: "How Cities Design Themselves"

"Sometimes when I read the papers of my fellow urban planners, I get the sense that they think cities are Disneyland or Club Med. Cities are labor markets. People go to cities to find a good job. Firms move to cities, which are expensive, because they are more likely to find the staff and specialists that they need. If a city’s attractive, that’s a bonus. But basically, they come to get a job.
Urban planning has an important role to play. With the exception of fire and safety regulation, planners should focus much less on what people do on their plot or in their apartment, and much more on the management of the public spaces, like streets and parks.

Insomuch as urban planners deal with land uses and densities, they should closely monitor trends to be aware of what’s happening. For instance, in New York, household size has plummeted over the past 30 years. Urban planners should be aware of that and address rigidities that prevent the city from accommodating those demographic changes.

An area where urban planners should play a much more active role is mobility, mainly by adapting existing systems to emerging trends. Urban mobility is the key to housing affordability. Improved urban transport makes more land available for housing and therefore allows low-income people to live in areas that are both affordable and accessible to most of the city.
In my book, I talk a lot about income distribution curves. Every time urban planners do something, they should ask: Who is going to pay?"

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At 7:06 PM, January 13, 2019, Blogger George Rogers said...

At the type of grid densities where complete streets make sense one way automobile traffic makes sense because of conflict avoidance.

At 7:43 PM, January 13, 2019, Blogger George Rogers said...

History reveals a lot about the business communities in Texas’ top cities Archive Link


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