Here Comes the Grand Parkway Sprawl; Mary Lee Donuts Burn

downtown skyline

Photo of: Bill Barfield via Swamplot Flickr Pool


26 Comment

  • Hens for Houston got cockblocked.

  • Please, please, please get high speed rail between Houston and Dallas, then complete the triangle to Austin, San Antonio, and back to Houston. This is so long over due, though frankly I’m dubious about this 2016 date, since I’ve been hearing all my life about high speed rail in Texas and shocking! it’s never happened. Texas is a perfect candidate for high speed rail since all our big cities form a triangle. It’s a shame Texas, like Kansas, Oklahoma waste all their time fighting to discriminate against people instead of things that we actually need

  • High Speed Rail is not such a great idea, it creates no benefit, it’s slower than flying and you still have to get TO the station and rent a car on the other side like flying, it’s just as expensive (according to their own estimate before even considering TSA requirements which will surely kick in). Driving is cheaper, takes the same amount of time if you consider time lost getting to and from the station, and is infinitely more convenient because you get to drive your car around destination and take direct routes.

  • I think high speed rail between the three major cities would be awesome too… However, I’m curious about this comment? Seemed a bit random? ” It’s a shame Texas, like Kansas, Oklahoma waste all their time fighting to discriminate against people instead of things that we actually need”

  • The proposed high-speed rail are all along major freeways. Maybe they can join with Metro to use the same rails for commuter trains with more frequent stops along with the high-speed trains.

  • I have no problem with a private entity building high speed rail as long as NO public money is involved (this includes tax deferments, right-of-way etc). Free enterprise, baby! Go for it!

  • Just having the high-speed rail option should be great. Not needing to think about I-45 traffic when planning the trip can make it better than driving. The competition would serve as a check against airline fare hikes. And surely developers must be excited at the prospect of projects blossoming around a rail corridor, right?

  • Let me clarify… Instead of finding smart ways to get us water we so desperately need, or giving the full allotment to get the funding back to education, we get grandstanding about social issues –anti gay marriage, anti abortion, etc–do you think anyone mentioned high speed rail lazy term?? –please –yeah, and no way this is a go workout tax dollars–do you think all that Euro rail could have been built without public money –give me a break–I’m so sick of people saying not with my tax dollars–if it were up to them there would be no public transportation, no Arts of any kind, no public parks–hey that costs my tax dullers–

  • First someone runs into a Shipley’s; now a Mary Lee’s gets torched. What do people have against donuts?

  • I mean wouldn’t it be cheaper to sell off Hermann and Memorial Park–they cost millions of tax dullers to maintain and hey that land is valuable and think of all private enterprise could do –tear down the zoo for a strip center, bulldoze the MFAH (after we sell all the Art of course) and build a tacky apartment tower, think of all the tax revenue!–hey and Memorial has lost most of it’s trees (too bad we could have sold all the lumber) but now it will be easier for developers to have a clean slate for their condos and strip centers and tacky 4 story town homes!–geez, think of all the saved tax dullers and all the tax revenue, who cares about parks, what a waste of space!–of wait George Hermann and the Hoggs have both of those parks with the stipulation that they’re always public parks–well heck!

  • The chicken thing is ridonkulous. Why is it so hard to get something passed? Not like it’s on par with legalizing marijuana. Something so simple shouldn’t hit such a big brick wall. I guess it will take something like a Willie Nelson campaign to get some push behind it. I would assume that the elected officials at City Hall consider it somewhat of a nuclear issue, hence the pocket vetoes.

  • High speed intercity rail is just another politician boondoggle to extort contributions from the contributor base. Think the current Dome situation, spread across hundreds of miles, and thousands of acres. Perhaps a great idea, in theory, but just waiting to get corrupted and “monetized” in Austin and Washington.

  • I agree with Shannon. While we’re at it – no more roads or highways! Where do you think that money comes from? You who believe in libertarianism – let’s take it all the way instead of just on things you don’t agree with. You have no trouble with giving the people’s tax money to developers and road builders and oil companies, and factory farms. Don’t hear you cry out against corporate welfare – just in doing something for the common good. You teahadists make me sick.

  • Isn’t all that grandparkway development evidence for the case that major infrastructure drives development not the other way around? I seem to remember a lot of people here whining about what a waste of time the light rail is and that whatever development that has sprouted so far around it would have happened anyway. I wonder if those same people are bemoaning the grandparkway….I mean there is nothing there why would we build such a thing?

  • If you want to raise livestock, move to the country.

  • Hens for Houston probably would have gotten the new hen ordinance passed if they had included in it two things:
    – 1: Reassurances that the hen ordinance would not preempt local deed restrictions banning livestock; and some way for neighborhoods without deed restrictions, to be “chicken free zones” if they choose to.
    -2: A city-wide ban on Roosters. No exceptions. According to many farmers, roosters are really only used to protect the hens from wild predators like coyotes; you don’t need that protection in a built up area like Houston. Such a ban would make it a lot easier to go after cockfighting rings.

  • @Shannon, “we desperately need” is a tiny minority opinion. Europe NEEDS them because most people can’t afford cars and their lifestyle also allows for waste of hours on transportation (not just high speed rail).

    @Heightsite, while we’re at it lets greenlight every single Grand Project that comes to mind, new roads and bridges everywhere, free education and medicine for everybody, can’t find a job… here’s free money for 5 years, let’s start raising taxes to 100% to pay for it all then that’s not enough let’s take all private property and private businesses and nationalize them, let’s cap salaries, let’s make sure gas is 5 cents a gallon, i mean it’s for greater good, then we’ll have a Utopian society… just like North Korea and Venezuela.

  • Are we just serving up plots from Ayn Rand novels as snarky comments now? You gotta build roads. It sucks to pay for them, but this is the United States, keyword United, we can’t all lone wolf-it like a bunch of Jeremiah Johnsons. Plus I want to get my ebay stuff in on time.

  • Commonsense:

    Do you have anything besides ignorant conservative remarks about Europeans?

    Do you not understand how our road infrastructure is absolutely due to massive govt subsidies and govt regulations to promote the use of automobiles….. Hell in 2014 in Houston I can’t build a residential or commercial project without building mandatory parking unless I jump though a few hoops….. Yea talk about automobiles being the pinnacle of free-market capitalism…

  • Why would anyone want to take a train to Dallas? Flying is so much faster. Driving is so much cheaper.

  • Driving isn’t necessarily cheaper than flying or a high-speed train, if you’re doing it for business (a major share of travel between the two metros, I assume). You have to account for the cost of your time to drive, in addition to the fuel and the wear on the vehicle.

    Nevertheless, I would imagine that most folks who prefer to drive will still prefer to drive whether there’s a train or not. You’re mainly peeling off those who would find it more convenient or comfortable than flying, which may be a substantial number of folks (I just flew up and back over the last day and a half and found myself pining for a high speed train after all the hassle). If the company Eckels is associated with can deliver the speeds they’re talking about, it would be competitive with flying for many (depends on how close you are to the train station vs. the airport). It’s horribly expensive to put in service, but if it’s a private company and not publicly subsidized, then hey, have at it.

  • @Dom, I lived in Europe for many years and it is definitely the case is greener on the other side (from US hipster perspective). Vast majority of Europeans WISHED they could have cars and could afford them. The public transport is not a want but a need, and it’s incredibly inconvenient if you have to use it for any trip other than work and back. It pretty much locks your life to the available lines of public transport and you have to consider hours every day that you would waste just getting from place to place. “Going to that new restaurant you’ve heard about” becomes a trigonometry problem of time and space, and picking up enough groceries for a party is an act of EU Congress. I saw it as a huge downgrade in quality of life because it limits your sphere of social life to a couple of miles and a handful of convenient and familiar places. With a car the entire Houston Metro area is your oyster.

  • As someone who frequently makes the Houston to Dallas trip, high speed rail would be a welcomed option.
    Flying, in theory, may be faster but when you add in the time it takes to drive 14 miles to the airport (20 minutes), find offsite parking and shuttle in (up to 10 minutes) get to the airport early as directed ( the increasing hassles of airport security (15 minutes) plus being there an hour or so early (60 minutes), flying (60 minutes), walking to the cab zone, rent a car, etc….(5-10 minutes w no baggage claim) and depending on your final destination in Dallas (10 to 45 minutes) what have you really saved other than wear and tear on your car and brain. 30 minutes to an hour for $300 last minute or $120 if you plan it out? Car requires the monotony of a mostly unattractive landscape, a sea of highway patrol, the inevitable Conroe bottlenecks, and the 60 mile an hour left lane drivers. At least you could get on a train (presumably downtown to downtown) and read a book, play on Wifi, sleep, play cards etc…..on a train and relax. This past Sunday traffic was extremely heavy all the way from Dallas so you cannot tell me some people would not have opted for another means of transportation. God knows you could run it up the medians of the freeway for most of the journey.

  • JT: Not to mention, if it’s more than just you, the cost drops in 1/2 on drive v. flying. I’d always debate driving v. flying when I was in San Diego going to Vegas often. My rule was, if it was just me, fly. A group, drive.

  • @FarmerWannabe

    Thank you for your simple recommendation. Unfortunately, I do not want to run a 100,000 sq ft chicken house with a half million chickens in it. I want 2 hens in my back yard to lay a few eggs for me and to eat my kitchen scraps. This will help me reduce my food waste, raise the eggs I eat locally and organically, and not worry about the cost and hassle of transporting fragile eggs from the grocery store every week.

  • commonsense: your arguments regarding high-speed rail typify rampant conservative short-sightedness under the guise of pragmatism. rail of any nature is a public benefit. it’s easy to speak about the obvious advantages to personal vehicles, esp. from someone who obviously spurns mass transit for its inconveniences and who’s quick to highlights public costs. do you care to look 15-, 20-, 30-years from now and consider how regional mobility (er, immobility) would impact quality of life in a multitude of aspects if cars continue to dominate as the primary transportation mode? your comments on a myriad of topics repeat the general theme that as long as you’re not positively impacted by public policy we’re far better off without it. think ahead, consider the whole community, don’t be so selfish.