Year 1 of the Reimagined Metro Bus Plan; Improving Tunnel Cell Service


Photo of IRC Surplus at 4329 I-10 Frontage Rd., Sealy: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool


10 Comment

  • Schools and home prices: I’ve always heard that homes in the burbies had great schools and reasonably priced homes. At any rate the articles cited by the Chron are innumerate, conflating average and median with ignorant abandon. Draw no conclusions.

  • There is correlation, but is there causation? I’ve long wondered if a neighborhood’s schools perform better just by attracting families with greater means to move in with their ready-to-learn kids. Greenfield suburbs start off as blank slates with no schools. Or at the very least, there seems to be a self-reinforcing cycle between the two.

  • The thing to really look at are home price differences WITHIN the suburbs between high-reputation and low-reputation school zones. Houston has plenty of examples of both, often in close proximity to each other. For example, look at North Katy / South Cy-Fair (lower reputation schools) vs. South Katy and North / Northwest Cy-Fair (high reputation schools). Focusing on these types of differences, where the role of accessibility to major job centers and urban amenities is reduced because it is similar across areas, gives the most accurate picture of the school reputation impact on home prices. And that impact, especially in suburban areas, is often enormous.

  • Re Metro Ridership: A 1.2% increase in bus rides seems way behind the 2.4% population increase over a similar period, doesn’t it?

  • @slugline: In most suburban locations, a reasonably well-performing school zone needs to be in place first before you can count on selling significant numbers of homes to educated professionals, particularly homes priced $275K to $500K. Sometimes a school zone with homes that are cheaper is well-performing enough to allow that, or a developer has to try to create it. Elementary schools are the easiest to manage in this regard because of their relatively small size, meaning a small draw area, often entirely within a new community. High schools are much much tougher because their draw area is so large. I personally think developers intent on building communities targeted at educated professionals surreptitiously work with school districts to ensure that high school zone boundary lines are drawn in a way to ensure their project will be zoned to the favored high school.
    The new communities going in along the Grand Parkway between the Katy Freeway and 290 face this issue. Getting zoned to high schools with the right reputations (basically ones with as small a moderate-income student base as possible) will have a huge impact on the market feasibility of homes in more upscale price ranges.

  • If you’re implying that half of all people moving here are using the buses, I’d say that’s pretty darn impressive.

  • @membag, that would assume the same percentage of new residents are public transit users which is doubtful. Another key comment in the article is that the new network is more efficient with less connections, meaning lower ridership numbers which is a good thing. Also, any positive growth is a reversal in the continuous decline it had seen previously which spurred the initiative.

  • My faith in the Chronicle was greatly diminished last week….got invited to a Meet the Editor thing one night starting at 7pm. They started 10 minutes late which is a bad sign when you have a room full of your customers who gave up their time to talk to you about your business. The biggie was this – they had a slide up with a skyline and the Chronicle logo across it. The skyline was Dallas, not Houston.

    The very first question from the audience was about the incorrect skyline. The Executive Editor, the presenter, apologized and blamed it on Marketing and gestured towards the back where all the Chronicle people were standing.

    All in all a pretty unprofessional presentation that did not leave me thinking that the Hearst folks are customer focused.

  • Also, how much of that 2.4% growth is occurring in areas reasonably served by METRO’s local route network?

  • I wouldn’t put all the blame on the Chron for those results. Those studies do not seem very well done either. Identifying the difference between a 27.5 and a 32% ROI isn’t that complicated a statistical analysis, but you can’t just measure absolute values and call it a day. Heck, in one of the quoted “studies” it even shows that zips without good schools actually outperform the good school zips for the first 5 years.


    In general I would just argue that people use plenty of salt when reading analyses of complex data that are summarized in infographics.