Ending the Monthly County Tax Sales Spectacle; Sneak Peek at The Wilshire; Manmade Texas Earthquakes

Spaghetti Warehouse, Downtown Houston

Photo of Spaghetti Warehouse: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


9 Comment

  • Stop trying to make Houston walkable. The only time in Houston I should be walking is from my bed, to the kitchen, and to the car. From that point, I should be carried from car to my office, Never leaving a utopia of cooled air. Anyone who advocates walking, is nothing but a Liberal Communist-facist pedesti-terrorist. Its just way too hot to go outside in Houston. It’s exactly why walkable cities south of us in latitude, are mythical and non-existent, like Hong Kong: A totally unwalkable city.

  • Curious what earthquakes West of Fort Worth have to do with Houston real estate…

  • Walkable, bikeable streets are great. I’ve designed several. However, this quote: “Cities like yours that invested in roadways expansion to ease congestion ended up with more time spent in traffic” – is just hokum.

    NYC, with the highest transit mode share, has an average commute of 39 minutes. DC, with minimal CBD freeways and an extensive Metro, clocks in at 37.3. Chicago, with the best-utilized commuter rail network, is at 34.6, while SF clocks in at 32.2.

    Houston is 28.1. DFW is lower, at 26.6.

    Suburban employment centers – “Edge Cities” like Uptown and the Energy Corridor – are the most proven way to reduce commute times, even moreso than trains. They have their own issues; transit service can be sparse, and walk/bike facilities are often subpar. As we’ve discussed on my blog, there is also an issue where Edge Cities on the affluent side of town lead to extreme, road-warrior commutes for lower-wage workers on the opposite side of town.

    However, the best way to mitigate these issues is to design better Edge Cities – better street grids, multi-modal thoroughfares (aka “complete streets”), express transit connections. This means perhaps not lavishing quite so much attention on the Inner Loop. Simply adding a 5-foot bike lane to our standard suburban thoroughfare cross-section – the ubiquitous T-4-100 – would do more to improve cycling than all the bike boulevards you could throw at Montrose and the Heights (an idea which I also support).

  • @ Purple city.

    It’s not fair to compare commute times in New York City to Houston because they are not of comparable size. Smaller cities are going to have shorter commutes as a general rule. You would need to compare a city with similar population to Houston with a compact layout and public transit. You would need to look overseas for such a city, but I’m sure the numbers are out there.

  • They really aren’t that much different in size. Density, sure, but not geographic size. The five boroughs take up 300 something square miles. Houston takes up 630. True, the New York Metroplex is way bigger, but if you’re commuting from Newark or way down on Long Island is it any more fair to count you than the people who live in Katy and commute to Freeport (I actually know people who do this)?

  • Well heck,it’s easy enough to look up. The New York Metroplex is 13k sq miles. The Houston Metroplex is 10k. Still not all that different. Density, absolutely different. Area? Not so much.

  • I think Purple City’s comment just drifted a bit before clearly refuting this statement made ““Cities like yours that invested in roadways expansion to ease congestion ended up with more time spent in traffic””
    Every freeway expansion in Houston has shown a proven reduction in commute time so I’m not sure where the interviewee had pulled his analysis for this statement. I understand what he’s getting at in that freeway expansion creates further out development which will just add to more traffic in time, but it’s entirely incorrect to state that freeway expansion doesn’t reduce commute times. That only means that freeway expansion is better at creating extended development rather than dense development. Both models have their benefits and weaknesses so there’s by no means a simple right or wrong way to develop.

    I would agree with Purple City that we have a model that is much more beneficial to the middle and upper classes in terms of quality and length of commute in comparison to the denser american cities. The same could not be said for lower income residents who are tremendously disadvantaged with our system.

    At the end of the day though, walkability is a luxury that not all of us will ever be able to afford. This guy is concerned about the quality of our sidewalks and existing roadways while ignoring the fact that our city is too poor to even build sidewalks throughout vast expanses of the city as it is.

  • As someone that has been to and bought property at these auctions, it’s chaotic to say the least and seemingly inefficient for inefficients sake. It’s hard to even know who has the property you want to buy. Where they are. If it’s going to come up. Etc.
    It would be TRIVIAL to make the process 10000x better for all involved. The prices paid would go up, making it also better for lenders (and borrowers since the more that’s paid, the better off they are).

  • @joel, regarding your statement, “…walkability is a luxury that not all of us will ever be able to afford.” I disagree. Owning a car is a luxury that not all of us are able to afford, but walkability is one of the most basic elements of urban infrastructure that a city needs to provide to all citizens. The only reason it’s expensive to make walkable areas in Houston now is because our city decided to destroy it’s original walkable infrastructure in favor of accommodating the automobile. Now it’s more expensive to get it back.