This excellent animation from TrueMajority shows in
graphic detail (using Oreo cookies) how ridiculously, large
the military budget is, and how we could solve many domestic
problems with a modest 12% cut. A must-see. (watch
Light Rail answers
many of our needs by Ken Hoffman, Houston
Chroncle, June 14,
Two blocks from my house, there
is a bus stop on the corner of Bellaire Boulevard and West Point,
across from the Palace Bowl, home of the best greasy hamburgers in
This bus stop has a bench, a
shelter, garbage can, the whole thing. There's always a couple of
ladies sitting on the bench.
I see buses stop there all the
time. Yet I have no idea where they go. I don't know how much it
costs to ride a bus. There's just no way I'll ride
Like most Houstonians, I would
rather sit in traffic, listen to the same 10 songs on the oldies
station, get all upset, be late for my appointment and pay $5 for
Now a train, that's another
If we had trains running around
Houston, I'd be on them.
It's called "rail bias." People
who simply won't ride a bus will take the train. Trains are more
comfortable. They don't go bumpety-bump like buses do. They don't
get stuck in traffic because trains have their own
The seats are clean and comfy,
and the windows are big and bright. The people seem nicer. You
don't have to worry about the person sitting across the
Frankly, he's a little worried
Recently I went around the
country visiting cities that have light rail. In each town, I
rolled out of bed and pretended I had a job and things to do --
much like I do here.
I spoke with public transit
officials and regular people on the train. I hopped on and off. I
ate dinner. I checked out the sights. Light rail got me where I
wanted to go, on time and in one piece. It's easy. You know
exactly where you're going because you can look down and see the
Light rail means more
development, more restaurants and loft apartments. It means people
can come back downtown at night.
Light rail means
Trains also mean fewer traffic
jams, less air pollution, fewer parking nightmares and fewer
drunken drivers on the road.
Do we have those problems in
Houston? Do we ever.
Houston is beginning the
process of getting light rail. The plan in motion starts with a
7-mile route from the Astrodome through the Medical Center, up
Main Street to downtown. It will cost $300 million.
There are critics of this plan.
The price tag is a heart-stopper. I have serious questions,
But the answer always comes
back: It's a start, and everything has to start
For starters, this route will
get 1,200 bus trips per day off downtown streets. That's less
pollution and less traffic.
It will jump-start restaurant
and business development along Main Street.
I hear the argument that they
(you know, they) want to put the train on Main Street so property
owners and restaurants will get rich. I'm naive on business
matters, but I don't see a problem here.
I want restaurant owners and
businessmen to make obscene amounts of money in Houston. If the
lasagna tastes good, the guy who owns the joint deserves to make a
As for the shortsightedness of
a train on Main Street, in all the cities I visited, the first
route was a shorty through downtown.
Metro's hope is that, once the
Main Street line is up and running, Houstonians will realize the
benefits of light rail. Then Metro will present voters with the
Big Picture, including traffic studies that discuss where to put
I don't need traffic studies. I
have two eyes.
We need trains on the Southwest
Freeway from Sugar Land, through the Galleria and Greenway Plaza,
We need trains on the Katy
Freeway from Katy to downtown.
We need trains on I-45 from The
Woodlands all the way to Galveston.
This is where people live. This
is where the traffic doesn't move.
How much is this going to
Not as much as it will if we
wait 20 years.
You know that $300 million rail
line Metro is talking about now? If we had built it 10 years ago,
it would have cost only $150 million.
In Dallas, someone told me that
fixing a traffic problem by widening freeways is like treating
obesity by letting out your belt a few more notches.
I hate it when Dallas makes
more sense than we do.
I've tried without success to get local groups to add their events to this calendar (Bike Texas, the Yellow Bike Project, City's Bicycle Program, Bike Austin, etc.)
If you'd like to help edit the calendar, or at least add your group's events to it, then please let me know!