Monday, January 28, 2019

No-AC Astrodome ok, Houston winning tech jobs, NZ learns from Houston, funding tech startups, and more

My MetroNext op-ed made a big splash last week and got a ton of positive feedback (very much appreciated everyone).  Numerous smaller items this week:
"The Market Urbanism stance on affordable housing:
Deregulate land. In hot markets, this will lead to rapid construction & price stability. Take Houston: since 2010 it's #2 in population growth, but #1 in permits - maintaining price medians below the US average."
"But it goes much further. Even the metropolitan areas of Texas have comparatively high residential densities, despite their reputation for urban sprawl. A seminal analysis by the Brookings Institution characterized Texas metropolitan areas as having “an unparalleled openness to growth and development.” Indeed, Brookings named the Texas land use category, “Wild Wild Texas,” noting that “Wild Wild Texas presents the closest thing the United States has to land use deregulation.” This reflects the most market oriented land use regulations in the United States, and as every planner seemingly from Adelaide to Berlin seems to have been taught, “Houston has no zoning.” 
In fact, the four largest Texas metropolitan areas, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin each have median lot sizes of from 0.18 acres to 0.25 acres, small or smaller than Philadelphia, Boston or Washington. The market orientation of Texas land and residential development have not resulted in less efficient use of land."
  • Vision Zero, a ‘Road Diet’ Fad, Is Proving to Be Deadly: Emergency vehicles get stuck on streets that have been narrowed to promote walking and bicycling.  To be clear, I support Vision Zero efforts when it's about pragmatic accident reduction at problematic intersections, but not when it's a smokescreen for anti-car efforts shrinking roads, reducing speed limits, and adding speed humps.  Excerpt:
"It’s noble to want to make America’s streets as safe as they can be. But government officials shouldn’t impose projects on communities that don’t work, inconvenience residents, hurt businesses and impede emergency responders in the process."
Finally, new County Judge Lina Hidalgo has put out a survey to the public to help set the priorities for her administration. I encourage all my readers to fill it out here.

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At 10:02 AM, January 29, 2019, Anonymous Matt said...

On road diets and emergency vehicles:

The glib answer is that we should design our emergency vehicles to fit our cities, rather than designing our cities to fit our emergency vehicles.

The better answer is that the lowest-hanging fruit w/r/t road diets, the 4-to-3 conversion, not only reduces accidents and pedestrian fatalities with minimal impact on traffic flow, but arguably IMPROVES access for emergency vehicles.

At 10:14 AM, January 29, 2019, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I remember when Westpark went from 4 lanes to 3+bike lanes, and it was a disaster. Huge loss of throughput for bike lanes no one wanted to use anyway because they were so dangerous. And there's an adjacent power-line right-of-way that would be perfect for bike paths!

At 10:41 AM, January 29, 2019, Blogger George Rogers said...

Road diets within superblocks can work. But on arterials and feeders hell no.

At 10:50 AM, January 29, 2019, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Completely agree.


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