Mapping Houston’s Fault Lines; Settlement in Westchase Hilton Pool Electrocution Case


Photo of Buffalo Bayou Park: Swamplot inbox


17 Comment

  • Gerald Hines calling for more mass transit in the city of Houston!? What a hippy!

  • I guess Gerald doesn’t consider our toy train system to be legit mass transit. I sure don’t.

  • $48k in property taxes on $1.35M appraised value seems high to me. I would have expected closer to $33-34k inside the city limits.

  • @Angostura
    I think you are right. HCAD has it appraised (2014) at $950k and a tax table of 2.695649% for a grand total of $25.6k making their guess ~100% higher than actual. Or am I doing this wrong?

  • My grand aunt lived in a house in the Heights that was on a fault line. It was so weird to me as a child to see how amazingly slanted that home was. It bothered me. If one were to place a basketball on the floor, it would roll until it hits the wall.

  • To be fair, the question has never been about whether we do or don’t need mass transit. It’s always simply been how do we pay for it. As a developer with large pits of money how is Hines proposing we go about this; sales tax or property value increases. Or is he just blowing hot air? If the concern is the community as a whole then property taxes has been proven to be the most distributive and fair process.

  • Where was Hines 30 years ago when the city was considering mass transit, only to get shot down by state and federal politicians? Where was he when certain area Congress members insisted that we could pave our way out of traffic congestion? While I applaud his effort to finally get the ball rolling on public transportation, it’s almost too little, too late. I can only imagine what the MetroRail system would have looked like today, or how much heavy commuter rail to the suburbs would exist if he’d used his influence earlier on.

  • How are we paying for the 45 redesign that’s slated to cost north of $6G?

  • Re: Transit: I am convinced that driverless electric vehicles powered by an Uber-like software application are our society’s future; and if one accepts that as an eventuality then METRO is an entity on the cusp of sweeping technological obsolescence. It needs to refocus its efforts on managing the system that its got and not as much on capital expenditures. It needs to become more financially nimble so that when the time comes for it to be dissolved that it can finance its liquidation and the re-conversion of light rail back to pavement without sticking taxpayers with a long-term financial obligation that survives METRO once the entity has been dissolved.

    Conversely, this also implies that TXDoT, the County, the City (and also Centerpoint Energy, as an emergent automotive fuel provider) should be more proactive about reaching out to companies that are researching these automotive technologies and asking about what can be done to facilitate cost-effective high-speed regional transportation in this new era. I would suspect that system optimization will probably entail a greater number of grade separations and ramps but perhaps less pavement overall. And then we need to start engineering our road projects in a manner that proactively addresses the transition period that we’re about to find ourselves in.

  • “property taxes has been proven to be the most distributive and fair process.”

    Are you fucking kidding me???!!!! This past year my property taxes on our property in the heights shot up fucking 30% over last year. Up from 20% the year before. (Both years zero equity investment). How the fuck is that fair? Where’s my muni bond loan when I can’t afford to make another payment to a bank? Fuck that, where’s my muni bond loan when I want to setup a large electronic toy train set in my backyard for hobos that I can leverage on the city for a 30 year yield?

  • @anonymous … so any public infrastructure you personally don’t use isn’t legit? thinking can’t get any more insular than that.

    As the whole region densifies, right-of-way mass transit (e.g., rail) becomes increasingly important as a transportation alternative to private vehicles and non-right-of-way transit (e.g., buses). Expansion of the light rail system inside the city along with commuter rail lines feeding into it from the suburbs are absolutely essential for this area’s quality-of-life and economic growth. The longer political obstinacy interferes the more urgent the need for rail grows.

  • @tony: On the contrary, I think the toy trains are not enough of a solution. We really should be doing heavy rail above or below grade. The light rail design is stupid because it’s slow trains at ground level and auto traffic lanes are sacrificed for the track, stations, etc. I think Gerald Hines looks out his window in London and sees a mass transit system there of a scale and capacity we will never achieve with half-assed light rail.

  • @roadchick
    A little history lesson, Gerald Hines not only tried over the last 40 years unsuccessfully to increase mass transit in Houston by using his “influence” he spent hundreds of thousands of his on money on plans that were shot down by folks that wanted more buses during the 80’s!

  • Toby, I’d agree that rail is not a solution to any problems at this point as it’s simply unfeasible. However, the city should not be required to outlay future infrastructure funding or restrict potential for lcoal GDP increases based on your affordability of your property taxes. You pay high taxes not because of our tax rate, but because of your property value which is tied to supply and demand. You’ve made a consumption choice and are welcome to choose an alternate path at any point in time or join the other 60% of Houstonians that are renters. I hear Katy has wonderful schools and all the drivers are courteous during rush hour.

  • Niche: so why won’t these driverless uber cars make the need for high speed rail go away? I agree that change is on the horizon and the 2040 fears for I45 may very well be unfounded.

  • Toby: Watch your language.

  • When asked what he learned from Horne, Hines said, “Integrity and a sense of responsibility to the community. Thinking about the whole community, and not just your part of it.”

    Haha! He realized his new high fingers don’t have traffic capacity and will fail. Greed personified.