COMMENT OF THE DAY: LIGHT RAIL FOR THE PEOPLE “One very interesting upshot to delaying Uptown and University is that it heads the ‘LRT is elitist’ argument off at the pass. If you open the E, SE, and N lines without Uptown and University then you’ve just created an LRT system that predominantly serves black and hispanic neighborhoods. Possibly the first such new-start system ever built in [the US and Canada]. Opposition to the ‘white man’s train,’ whether it takes a grassroots, Los Angeles Bus Rider’s Union form, or whether it’s simply a talking point for people who will always think rail is a ‘boondoggle,’ is thus impossible. Considering that H-town will be minority-majority by the 2020 census, I think it’s kinda cool. And I’m an elitist white dude.” [KHH, commenting on Light Rail Scorecard: 6 Miles Down, 9 To Go, Culberson Blocking Goal]
I’ve suddenly changed my mind on light rail. I ride 033 which could be replaced by the rail line planned for the Galleria. It might cut a few minutes off my commute every morning. Now that I will get a slight benefit from it I consider it billions of dollars well spent. I wonder if I’ll still be almost the only white person riding when the train gets here. Probably not. I think the other white guys must be people who’ve lost their license due to DWI. I just do it for the exercise I get walking 2 miles to the bus and back everyday.
I’m very interested in seeing what sort of effect the rail lines running through their neighborhoods has on the re-gentrification process. There are some neat homes in those neighborhoods and I’m sure lots of hip elitists are licking their chops to come in and get to work on.
The thing is, there is a subset of nonhip elitist white people who *don’t want* in a neighborhood full of hip white people. At some point, when the place is too hip and too white, this set of nonhip elitists moves on.
DrewJ, hip-elitists do not ride the rail they just whine for it and complain about the world class city that we aren’t because of the lack of, all while zipping around town alone in a BMW. I do not want my neighborhood to fill up with those schmucks, nor do I think it will happen. If you make the choice to buy or rent near mass transit, I believe its because you will actually use it and believe in it, or as KHH points out, out of necessity. The irony is, most people who ride transit out of necessity would much rather have their own car, so it is probably a reverse cycle anyways:
RIDES RAIL -> GETS TO JOB FASTER AND CLEANER -> HAS MORE FREE TIME -> FEELS BETTER -> WORKS HARDER -> PROMOTION -> EARNS RAISE -> BUYS CAR -> SEE YA’ THANKS RAIL
All this pontificating and posturing is ridiculous. Houston is the largest American city without an appreciable rail system, a distinction that only highlights heavy-handed and considerable political machinations by high-income enclaves. We’re going to build a real rail system sooner or later because we’ll be desperate for it and it appears we’re waiting to become more desperate because obviously our air isn’t polluted enough and traffic congestion only seems to exist in other cities. They should just lay rail in all the HOV lanes out to the burbs and then people might get to experience that moment of clarity.
Comingling neighborhoods, previously separated, via new rapid transit leads to something else rapid: high crime. Seen it before elsewhere in North America (Montreal, Atlanta, for example), crimes previously completely unheard of in that area. Main street has changed vastly, the only “island” out of downtown (until Museum District) is near the HCC campus (Continental Club, Natachee’s, etc.) which I envisage slowly blossoming, thanks to elite hipster settlers, not thanks to metho-crackheads tripping/dripping across around. Otherwise, Main street has devolved and don’t tell me how wonderful downtown is, Main street is just a corridor. Any politician’s promise that effects on street XYZ will be mitigated is just a salve to get thru the next election round.
Houston already is a minority majority, take a look at the stats; 41.3% Hispanic. What skews that data is that Hispanics are included as Caucasians for the census. Elitist is such a trite term, reminds of the old warez scene back in the late 1980’s on Commodore/Amiga Computers; and it’s every bit as annoying now. Build it they will ride.
So what if we’re the biggest city without rail? Hasn’t the DART expansion in Dallas proven a waste of money? What about Denver’s light rail? Or Austin’s?
And a lot of you believe that since the Feds are willing to print some $$ to fund the lines it’s a no brainer. The problem is that we can’t afford to operate the lines once they’re built.
i take it that you mean it “primarily services gentrifying parts of black and hispanic neighborhoods.” these aren’t going anywhere near the real hoods or the mass transit deserts in this city.