Sunday, July 28, 2019

How Metro should spend $400m, what brings people here, gentrification helps residents, expanding market-based parking, realistic Dome plans, Newsweek on HTX

This week the Metro board will be meeting to discuss what to do with $400 million in savings recently created in the MetroNext 2040 plan by consolidating two light rail lines to Hobby into one.  The initial ideas are a new park-and-ride for Kingwood (looks good) and extending the Hobby rail line to the Monroe park-and-ride (~$350 million!).  That extension is super questionable.  I have trouble understanding who exactly would use it? Anyone at that Monroe park-and-ride will be able to choose between a fast express HOV bus ride downtown (maybe 10 or 15 mins?) or a 45+ minute light rail ride - who's going to take the rail? Maybe to go to Hobby or UH, but if you're already in a car, why wouldn't you just go the rest of the way to their parking lots?  I just can't see a compelling use case. I'm curious what kinds of marginal ridership gains the Metro staff predict for the extension.

My own alternate suggestion: reduce rides system-wide to $1, including commuter buses. Any ride anywhere within Metro would only be $1.  This would attract a ton of riders to the park-and-ride express buses (which cost several dollars each way now, depending on the route), and reduce congestion on the freeways - a huge winner with voters across the Metro service area whether they ride transit or not.  Certainly, a lot of commuters now do the time+cost+parking math on park-and-ride commuter buses vs. driving and end up picking driving.  This would strongly tip that value equation back over to commuter buses for a *lot* of people.  If you're interested in putting in your two cents, the Metro board meeting is at 10am this Wednesday.

More on my Metro Moonshot proposal here.

Moving on to this week's smaller items:
Finally, a couple of links related to Houston's identity.  First, this local NPR Houston Matters episode on "What Brings People To Houston?"  Some great keywords you'll hear in it: opportunity, diversity (and how that spawns the amazing food scene), and a welcoming friendliness (Houspitality!).  And then this NY Times piece on "Want to Be Less Racist? Move to Hawaii -The “aloha spirit” may hold a deep lesson for all of us."  Again, I think Houspitality is our version of the Aloha Spirit, and something we should definitely hold on to and actively cultivate (starting with Houston drivers! ;-).

Labels: , , , , , , ,


At 5:28 AM, July 30, 2019, Blogger George Rogers said...

"Drive Friendly the Texas way" is turning into an inside joke.

At 3:37 PM, August 06, 2019, Blogger 0572 said...

"Nice renderings and ideas, but they need to be integrated into a *climate protected/controlled* Dome where the space will get used year-round. We don't have CA weather like this architect ;-) The County plan is a good start until there's budget for air conditioning in the future. At least it would be usable 7 months a year, including the Rodeo and OTC."

How would lack of air conditioning render it "unusable" for 5 months a year? The heat rarely stops people from going to Memorial Park, Hermann Park, Houston Zoo, etc, and this would at least have some shade from the roof skeleton. Can't it just be an outdoor public space like any other park without the huge expense and maintenance of air conditioning?

At 4:38 PM, August 06, 2019, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I just don't see any compelling reason people would drive to it vs. the exact locations you list. Houston has some great outdoor spaces. What we lack are great spaces for events that are protected from heat, cold, and rain. The Astrodome could be that space properly renovated.


Post a Comment

<< Home