Pasadena Chemical Plant Expansion; Ellington Spaceport Designation; Houston Crosswalk Complaints

Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion Hermann Park

Photo of Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, Hermann Park: Bill Barfield via Swamplot Flickr Pool


12 Comment

  • About that spaceport plan… Those renderings are confusing. What year is that supposed to be representative of? What are those buildings for? There seems to be a rail component, and it goes from where to where? Help me figure this one out. Is there a report somewhere that I can read? Not just engineering stuff and specs and public input, but a business plan of some sort?

  • Re: crosswalks
    Numerous cross-sections Downtown and Midtown give inaccurate time. I’ve seen the lights blink at 62 and in about 3 seconds, turn to 0. Others aren’t so dramatic but are in the 30s and then go down to 0 in a few seconds as well. Do agree that some intersections are too short. I walk pretty fast myself, and some of the lights barely give you enough time to cross safely.

  • @TheNiche: The year is space. The buildings are for space. The rail goes to space. The business plan is “like an airport, but space.” Also, space.

  • Screw the crosswalks, am I the only one that sends 311 reports of poorly timed red lights?

  • Wow really? Someone please educate me on how to use a crosswalk!!!! “It’s that the people who are complaining don’t have complete understanding of how the traffic signals work.”

    The biggest problem is dodging cars trying to beat the pedestrians so they don’t have to wait on the pedestrian already in the crosswalk to pass. Some drivers have no perception of space and distance and cut it wayyyyy too close.

  • I really do try to look for the best in people and not be cynical. And as a fairly new Houstonian I do not have any emotional investment in the Astrodome. But whenever I see a story about the ‘dome all I can think about is that there are two possible scenarios for how this whole story ends: Either it’s going to get torn down or someone is going to grift the taxpayers out of hundreds of millions (or even billions) of dollars on a failed project to do something else with it.

  • @coconutbutter: You need to learn some binary counting schemes to cross the street. Anytime the countdown is greater than 64 (8 bits), the processor has slipped a bit and the time is inaccurate. You’ll see “67” … “66” … “65” … don’t walk. I think I’ve seen it happen for numbers above 32 (7 bits) as well. I figured it was part of a city initiative to weed out the computer illiterate.

  • coconutbutter,

    It’s caused by sticky bits in the binary numbers representing the time remaining. That means it adds a power of 2 to the actual time. If the fourth bit is stuck, it adds 16 to the real time. If the fifth bit is stuck, it adds 32. And as you’ve seen sometimes, if the sixth bit is stuck, it adds 64. I don’t know why this happens so much downtown and midtown, but no other places in the city seem to exhibit this behavior. I’ve been seeing it for years, so I guess they just can’t fix it.

    But those problems I can deal with. The worst is along the light rail, where the signals are just totally messed up. Usually it’s harmless (both white and orange lights lit up at the same time, or the don’t-walk countdown counting down to a walk instead of a don’t walk), but the worst, which has happened to both my coworkers and me, is when the walk sign instantly changes to a don’t-walk (with no countdown) and cross traffic gets the green while you are in the middle. That’s extremely dangerous.

  • @Memebag @Eric Thanks a lot for the explanation! I’ve asked people at work why this happens, but they all looked at me like I was crazy or weren’t aware that this was even an issue. I’ve always just waited it out until the next cycle because 1) I knew the counter was lying (lol) and 2) competing against Houston drivers on the streets will not end well.

  • @TheNiche, I think the term is “wishcasting”.

  • @coconutbutter,
    Um, yes, the countdown lights are buggy, but re not entering the crosswalk because the light is flashing a red number that you know is misleading, that’s the way the system is supposed to work. If the crosswalk shows a white walky man, enter the crosswalk. If the crosswalk shows anything else (flashing or solid red), don’t enter it. If you’re already in the crosswalk when it switches from white to red, hurry up and finish crossing.
    It’s analogous to an amber caution light: if you can safely refrain from entering the intersection, you’re supposed to stop.
    I can’t believe I have to explain how to use crosswalk lights. Then again, having had to honk at and/or swerve around pedestrians entering the crosswalk against their light, on second thought I can believe it after all.
    Texas isn’t like some of those stupid other places that some of y’all came from, where even jaywalkers have the right of way. Here we ticket jaywalkers as they’re lying in the street.

  • “What we typically find is that the intersections are timed correctly,” Jeffrey Weatherford said. “It’s that the people who are complaining don’t have complete understanding of how the traffic signals work.”

    And this is why you don’t have your deputy director for traffic operations talk to the press. Could this guy’s comment be more tone-deaf?! Such a weirdly/unnecessarily defensive comment.