Observations about Houston

  • There's just something special about the reddish-purple haze of an ozone sunset.
  • They aren't open-air drainage ditches, they're called "Bayous". (Much like River Des Peres in St. Louis)
  • Much of the light rail runs on the street, sharing lanes with traffic. Not only does this slow trains down during rush hour, but the idiot drivers like to make things worse by darting in front of it. That's right, they honestly believe that playing chicken with a train sounds like a great idea.
  • Turn signals? What are those?
  • They aren't speed bumps here, they're "road humps". They are also, on average, sixteen feet high.
  • There are no zoning laws here, which is a major reason for Houston's immense sprawl. It also leads to such oddities as residential neighborhoods with both a church and a strip club in them.


Written by Liz -

Zoning laws aren't a great idea anyway; they don't do much to control sprawl and in many ways they encourage it. Think of the church/strip club situation as a "mixed use community"- that's what the planners and architects call it and it's very much in vouge right now.

Written by Chris -

Mixed use is a little different. One of the ideas behind those kinds of neighborhoods is that its residents have the convenience of walking to all the stuff they need. People live above shops, there's a food market down the street, a coffee shop on the corner, etc.

Houston is very much a mecca of flat suburban sprawl - there's no effort to be in vogue or even practical. It's the growth in the suburbs, cars are mandatory model. There also seems to be little desire to change that fact. Sigh...

So far I seem to be missing the whole 'Texas charm' thing that makes people so proud of the state. Houston's not a bad to live, but right now I can't see it as someplace I'll be settling down in once I get out of school.

Written by Liz -

Sarcasm... yep. Ok- mixed use community it's not, but that's what you get for moving to Texas. Maybe you'd like Austin? Have you been there? Or maybe you should move over yonder in my neck of the woods- mass transit (and everything else- including the shitty stuff) aplenty. Speaking of mixed use communities- I'm going down to the corner to get a coke... Oh grad school... it will be a long night.

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