Epilogue

This blog is closed, and will not be updated going forward.

A few post outlines, which were never published.

Rethinking Richmond Rail, Pt. II would have been a follow-up to the original post, offering two alternatives: a high-speed LRT trunk with forks to Westpark and HBU, and a dedicated bi-directional busway consisting of (i) traditional HOV lanes along 59, (ii) LA Orange Line style running along Westpark west of Hillcroft, and (iii) an elevated, bus-only diversionary route to serve local stops in Greenway.

This post would have included schematic level designs for both the rail and bus facilities, and a detailed tabulation of running times and capacities. However, back-of-the-envelope calculations made it clear from the outset that the busway option would overwhelmingly more effective, and the schematic rail design would simply be a fun drafting exercise.

This post became the transit component of A Better Plan for the Downtown Ring, and was integrated into that design.

Houston’s New Grand Central would have made the case for constructing a large hub for commuter rail, high speed rail, and intercity bus on the site of the Barbara Jordan post office. It was abandoned when that land was sold off to private developers.

The terminal schematic was incorporated into A Better Plan for the Downtown Ring, and can be seen where the Pierce Elevated/Downtown Connector peels off of the combined 10/45. The commuter rail side of the terminal was designed using joint BNSF/UP standards for turnout geometry, and is a mixture of No. 9, 11, and 15. The main hall of the station measures 1836″ wide, in honor of Houston’s founding.

Fleshing Out that BRT Plan would have been a follow-up to the Downtown Ring post exploring how iterative expansion of the Post Oak Line could eventually yield a citywide system. The first step is to extend the line north from NWTC (at IH-10) to Hempstead. The next step is to add bus queue-jump lanes at the intersection of Memorial Drive and Westcott, which repurposes the entirety of Memorial as a Downtown-Uptown BRT shuttle.

Legalize Purple would have made the simple case that FHWA should allow all-purple signboards, which were specifically forbidden in the MUTCD after HCTRA used them for the Westpark Tollway.

Toronto’s 401 uses a mixture of blue and green overhead signs to differentiate between local and express lanes, and a similar purple/green dichotomy would greatly simplify Texan managed lane networks. Instead, we get needless supplemental boards that say “Katy Tollway” or “Express Lanes.”

Happy New Year would have looked at the decline in American car culture and how that relates to our perception of urban life. Widespread auto adoption occurred during a time when good transit was widely available, suggesting that the car culture was initially more about escaping cities than moving around within them.

Tweaking Houston – Parking would have examined strategies for encouraging parking lots to be less overbuilt. Straight deregulation is attractive, but in the complete absence of city regs, many lenders require commercial developers to comply with the ITE Trip Generation handbook, which presumes suburban greenfield development. The principal recommendation was to allow credits for parallel parking at a multiple of off-street spaces, e.g., one newly-constructed public parallel spot counts for two or three off-street spots.

Our Values argued that the supposed benefits of mixed-traffic streetcars (and other transport improvements that don’t significantly improve travel times or rider comfort) were chimerical, since any neighborhood which has sufficient political capital to obtain a streetcar is already affluent enough to attract development without said streetcar.

Hartford Handwashing was a summary post detailing a previous abandoned effort to create a schematic design for the tangle of freeways around inner-ring Hartford, Connecticut. There’s something meta about abandoning a summary post of a larger abandoned post, which I think speaks to something uniquely depressing about second tier northeastern cities.

Most recently, [  a  e  s  t  h  e  t  i  c  s  ] proposed that one major hurdle for BRT construction in America was a psychological association between modern rail systems and historic trains that didn’t exist for bus. This is exacerbated by the fact that every busway in existence has been designed with modern architecture, which quickly becomes dated. Early LRT stations intentionally adopted an old-school look, which helped public acceptance. BRT has no real past to fall back on, but can utilize classical architecture to achieve an aesthetic of permanence.