Author Topic: Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston  (Read 3459 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston
« on: September 01, 2006, 12:00:00 AM »
Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston



Taking a look at various urban redevelopment strategies from the State of Texas.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/196

Steve Nice

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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2006, 03:40:57 PM »
At street level, downtown Houston resembles downtown Jacksonville. The exception being the rail.

finehoe

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Re: Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 09:36:50 AM »
Greening Houston
Changing the plans
America’s oil capital is throwing up a few environmental surprises


Steve Klineberg, a sociologist at Rice University, mentions a couple of events that made Houston’s leaders take notice of a looming problem. One was the day, in 1999, when their city overtook Los Angeles as America’s most polluted—evidence that the rise in asthma attacks among the city’s children, and the students passing out on football pitches, were no coincidence. Another was when Houston came up short in its bid to compete to host the 2012 Olympics. No one on the United States Olympics Committee voted for it, despite the fact that Houston had a brand-new stadium and had promised to turn an old sports field into the world’s largest air-conditioned track-and-field arena.

At a casual glance, Houston looks much as it ever did: a tangle of freeways running through a hodgepodge of skyscrapers, strip malls and mixed districts. A closer inspection, though, shows signs of change. The transport authority, which branched into light rail in 2004, is now planning three new lines, adding more than 20 miles of track. Most of the traffic lights now boast LED bulbs, rather than the incandescent sort. More than half the cars in the official city fleet are hybrid or electric, and in May a bike-sharing programme began. Every Wednesday a farmers’ market takes place by the steps of city hall.

Other changes are harder to see. The energy codes for buildings have been overhauled and the city is, astonishingly, America’s biggest municipal buyer of renewable energy; about a third of its power comes from Texan wind farms.

Houston, in other words, is going green. Laura Spanjian, the city’s director of sustainability, says that businesses are increasingly likely to get on board if they can see the long-term savings or the competitive advantages that flow from creating a more attractive city. She adds an important clarification: “We’re not mandating that they have to do this.” That would not go down well. Houston is the capital of America’s energy industry, and its leaders have traditionally been wary of environmental regulation, both at home and abroad.

In fact the city has been sceptical of regulations in general, and even more of central planning. Houston famously has no zoning, which helps explain why the city covers some 600 square miles. It is America’s fourth-largest city by population, but less than half as densely populated as sprawling Los Angeles. People are heavily dependent on cars, the air quality is poor and access to green space is haphazard. At the same time, Houston has jobs, a low cost of living and cheap property. Many people have accepted that trade-off. Between 2000 and 2010 the greater metropolitan area added more than 1.2m people, making it America’s fastest-growing city.

Still, the public is taking more interest in sustainability, and for a number of reasons. As the city’s population has swelled, the suburbs have become more crowded. Some of the growth has come from the domestic migration of young professionals with a taste for city life. And despite living in an oil-industry hub, the people of Houston are still aware of the cost of energy; during the summer of 2008, when petrol prices hovered around $4 a gallon, the papers reported a surge of people riding their bicycles to bus stops so that they could take public transport to work.

The annual Houston Area Survey from Rice’s Kinder Institute also shows a change. This year’s survey found that 56% think a much better public transport system is “very important” for the city’s future. A similarly solid majority said the Metro system should use all its revenue for improvements to public transport, rather than diverting funds to mend potholes. In the 1990s, most respondents were more concerned about the roads.

People’s views about houses have changed, too. In 2008 59% said they would prefer a big house with a big garden, even if that meant they had to use their car to go everywhere. Just 36% preferred a smaller house within walking distance of shops and workplaces. By 2012, preferences were running the other way: 51% liked the idea of a smaller house in a more interesting district, and only 47% said they wanted the lavish McMansion.



http://www.economist.com/node/21558632

fsujax

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Re: Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 10:34:03 AM »
i was in Houston back in March of this year. I have to say their downtown was pretty busy and big! They have the simple things like McDonalds, Macy's, a huge convention center which had brought thousands in town for a petroleum convention. I stayed right on Main St next to the rail line, took it to the Houston Live Stock and Rodeo Show at Relaint Stadium, that train was packed beyound belief. It seems the City is making huge gains.

Ocklawaha

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Re: Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 01:48:44 PM »





And like Jacksonville, Houston cashiered their 'Union Station,' to create a ball park which is, of course, open on game days. They got one of the ugliest Amshack's in the nation in trade. As the world goes green, both Houston and Jacksonville have some soul searching to do.

« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 09:03:40 AM by Ocklawaha »

fsujax

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Re: Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2012, 01:52:49 PM »
well, at least ours can be corrected. Not sure about Houstons.

Ocklawaha

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Re: Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2012, 01:55:06 PM »
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing!

unifiedthought

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Re: Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 04:41:51 AM »
i was in Houston back in March of this year. I have to say their downtown was pretty busy and big! They have the simple things like McDonalds, Macy's, a huge convention center which had brought thousands in town for a petroleum convention. I stayed right on Main St next to the rail line, took it to the Houston Live Stock and Rodeo Show at Relaint Stadium, that train was packed beyound belief. It seems the City is making huge gains.

As I read fsujax's comment I was brought back to my rant on a previous post. Essentially I used to live in Houston but now I live here.

When I left Houston park-and-rides were making big waves along with their express routes.

The line on main in this page's main post was an immediate success because of strict regulation and easy commuting to work from the cheap parking provided. The bus system in Houston is called Metro and they run their system with an iron fist.  More specifically, their bus system boasts their own security response team an at-all-stops-on-time reputation. 

They are called Metro Police and when the line opened they added walking representatives of metro police to ticket 'violators' not paying for the ride. In short no one rode unless they had a day pass (another vital element missing from our bus system). As things are now, the new machines installed into our old buses are too fancy and not practical. What we needed was machines that printed day passes for x amount of dollars. JTA made a good decision in allowing 'any day of the week start' for purchased bus passes. Previously all bus passes started on Monday and ended on Sunday.

Additionally Houston has lines that run upwards of 11 p.m. but usually never past 2 a.m. but resuming a few hours past the last bus for the night.

I believe we can catch up or even innovate. When I left, Houston buses did not have bike racks in the front. I happened to like that about Jacksonville buses as soon as I noticed that difference.

Thanks,

unifiedthought
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 05:45:41 PM by unifiedthought »
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Ocklawaha

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Re: Downtown Texas vs. Downtown Jacksonville - Part 1: Houston
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2012, 09:10:19 AM »
Most modern systems have dumped onboard "pay-as-you-enter" (PAYE) systems, as they delay boarding and cause bottlenecks in passenger flow. The result is a system of vending machines and C-Stores, Wal-Marts etc that sell passes, or tickets, the passes are enforced through the use of transit police.  Passes and transit police are not unique to Houston, and JTA has been slowly moving in the same direction.