Sunday, April 14, 2019

HTX most diverse city in America, attracting millennials, congestion pricing, bus vs. rail, Tokyo's affordable housing supply

Some good stuff this week:
"What’s frustrating is that the last 25 years have shown—in Los Angeles and other cities— that expanding bus service increases transit ridership while expanding rail service decreases transit ridership. Further, bus is almost always cheaper than rail. Even premium express bus and bus rapid transit services cost one-third to one-ninth as much as the most cost-efficient light rail lines. Yet L.A. leaders, who should know better, continue to push for rail. 
Unfortunately, this is true in many places across the country. When Houston built a multi-billion-dollar light-rail network, total transit ridership (including bus) declined. A few years ago, Houston redesigned its bus network for a minimal additional cost, which led to an increase in bus ridership. The redesign, which included adding service on weekends, helped transit-dependent riders reach jobs they could not previously access on weekends. Yet Houston politicians have responded by calling for more rail funding."
"Congestion pricing is premised instead on the notion that public roads are a valuable and scarce resource. And we should pay in some places to use it not primarily to gin up revenue, but to help manage access for everyone.
In reality, the government is a monopoly provider of road space, and the government has largely chosen to give it away. It’s no surprise, then, that the vast majority of American commuters drive to work alone, or that all those lonely commuters (plus taxis, Ubers, buses and delivery trucks) cause congestion. 
When the government holds down the price of something people value, Mr. Manville said, we get shortages. And congestion is effectively a shortage of road — one that occurs at the peak times when people want to use it most. 
If we had that problem with other kinds of infrastructure or commodities, we’d charge people more for them. If airline tickets were particularly in demand, their prices would go up. If there were a run on avocados, grocers wouldn’t respond by keeping them as cheap as possible."
Hear, hear! 
"Meyers Research, which studies housing markets, asked Millennials where they wanted to move to. Their top five choices were Denver, Portland, Seattle, Washington, DC, and New York City 
Then Meyers asked where should Millennials want to live, based on the factors millennials said were most important: job opportunities, affordability, and lifestyle. The answers were Dallas, Houston, Austin, Phoenix, and Orlando. Although Denver and Seattle were both in the top ten, neither of the top-five lists had any cities in common. 
Perhaps a more pertinent question is: where are Millennials actually moving? According to a Brookings Institution analysis of American Community Survey data, the top seven destinations for millennials have been Houston, Denver, Dallas, Seattle, Austin, Charlotte, and Portland — which is more-or-less a combination of Meyers’ two lists.
Brookings also found that Millennials are leaving New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, and Miami. That pretty much kills the myth that Millennials prefer density, as those urban areas all have much higher than average densities (4,000 people per square mile and above). Numbers six and seven are Boston and Philadelphia, which also have very dense cores although their overall urban areas are less dense."

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At 11:42 PM, April 14, 2019, Blogger George Rogers said...

The mention of Houston is a mixed one rather than a bad one, most cities do far worse.

At 8:35 AM, April 15, 2019, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Fair point! Maybe I'm crazy for aspiring to "much better" than "less worse" ;-)

At 9:15 AM, April 15, 2019, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a millennial who has recent moved to Houston I’d like to add my thoughts on your last point

Talk to a millennial in Houston. After about 5min they will give you their escape from Houston plan. This is a great city to raise a family but it caters to them only. It’s a very isolating place. You can’t do anything unless you get in your car for 20min.

At 9:45 AM, April 15, 2019, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I would say that depends on where you choose to live. I can walk to a ton of stuff in Midtown. Downtown is the same. There's even Memorial City Centre. Pick an apartment on Washington and you're 5-10 mins from everything.

I do know a lot of 20-somethings that found their way to leave Houston, but most ended up coming back once they saw the hidden downsides of other places.

Then there are the more sophisticated millennials that know Houston's secret:

At 2:30 PM, April 23, 2019, Blogger Pseudo3D said...

The idea that "congestion pricing only makes sense" is if the subways operated the same way. If you got rid of subsidized pricing and actually raised it to the level that subways should cost, then people would start rioting in the streets. What makes this even more egregious is that the congestion pricing goes toward the subways and not for maintaining the existing road network.


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