Category Archives: Housekeeping

Back in the Air Again

The Antiplanner was in Austin yesterday speaking at a Texas Public Policy Foundation conference for Texas legislators. I gave two presentations, both of which are available for download.

First, I talked about how Texas can keep the “Texas miracle” going by protecting property rights (8-MB PowerPoint show). I made three recommendations:

  1. Don’t give counties the authority to regulate land uses. Texas may be the only state that doesn’t allow counties to zone, and this keeps city zoning from being too restrictive because developers can simply avoid city rules by developing outside of the cities.
  2. Relax the financial requirements for municipal utility districts. Municipal utility districts allow developers to borrow funds to install infrastructure and then charge homebuyers and other property owners a fee for 30 years to repay the bonds. After the financial crisis, the Texas legislature required developers to put up more of their own funds for infrastructure, leading to a significant increase in housing prices. I argued that the risk of defaults was worth it to keep housing affordable.
  3. Retain city authority to annex land without the permission of the residents being annexed. Most debates over urban sprawl are really debates over who gets to collect taxes. In states where cities have a hard time annexing land, they use other tools, such as urban-growth boundaries, to limit land development. While annexations without voter permission are controversial, the alternative is worse. However, Texas cities are also allowed to have control over certain “extraterritorial” lands outside their city limits. This does not seem to be needed to keep housing affordable and eliminating that control would relieve many of the debates over annexation.

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Happy New Year

The Antiplanner got to spend the end of 2014 cleaning up this web site when the server suddenly shut it down for having malware. While it turns out the offending files had been there undetected for nearly three years, and no one in the industry had even discovered the malware until about a month ago, the server company felt it was enough of an emergency to shut down all my web sites without any notification.

When I contacted them, they sent me a list of malware files, which I deleted in about an hour. They then took nearly 24 more hours before re-enabling the site. This is annoying, but it seems to be standard practice in the server industry. In any case, we’re back on line for 2015.

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Autonomous Vehicle Presentation

The Antiplanner’s presentation on autonomous vehicles, mass transit, and long-range transportation planning is now available for download. It’s about 20 MB.

Tonight (October 16), at 7 pm, the Antiplanner will speak about the Tide light rail in the Virginia Beach Central Public Library Auditorium. (The event was originally to take place elsewhere but the location has changed at the last minute.) If you are in the Hampton Roads area, I hope to see you there.

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Back in the Air Again

The Antiplanner is flying to San Antonio today for the first leg of a three-city trip to talk about smart growth and rail transit. Early next week will find me in St. Petersburg, followed by three days in Austin.

Tomorrow–Thursday, September 4–I’ll be speaking to the San Antonio Tea Party about what the city should do now that it has decided not to build the streetcar. The meeting is from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Old San Francisco Steakhouse, 10223 Sahara Drive.

I’ll try to post St. Petersburg and Austin meetings here soon.

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Back in the Air Again

The Antiplanner is in the Twin Cities this week giving presentations on land-use and transportation issues in that region. Here are the sessions, most of which are open to the public:

  • “Thrive Planning vs. the American Dream,” sponsored by the SW Metro Tea Party, Chanhassen Recreation Center, 2310 Coulter Blvd., Chanhassen, 7:00-8:30 pm, Monday, August 4
  • “Rebalancing Transportation Planning,” sponsored by Expose the Truth, Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center, 800 Conway St., St. Paul, 5:00-8:00 pm, Tuesday, August 5
  • “Transportation and Your Business,” sponsored by the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce (must pre-register), Harvest Grill, 12800 Bunker Prairie Road, Coon Rapids, 11:15 am to 1:15 pm, Wednesday, August 6
  • “The Folly of High-Speed Rail,” Goodhue County Fairgrounds, 8:00 pm, Friday, August 8

By coincidence, the Antiplanner’s faithful ally, Wendell Cox, will also be speaking in Minneapolis about the Thrive plan at 7:30 am, Wednesday, August 6 at the Doubletree Hotel Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd., pre-registration will save money if done by noon, August 5.

If you are in the Twin Cities area this week, I hope to see you at one of these events.

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Back in the Air Again

The Antiplanner is attending a conference on driverless cars near San Francisco this week. The first session, on Monday afternoon, dealt with the process of developing standards and best practices.

In 2009, when I was writing Gridlock, my main recommendation was that someone should convene a working group to write such standards. I suggested that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials lead the process, but I should have known that a better group would be the Society of Automotive Engineers. In any case, I’m glad it is getting done.

Today there will be a session on implications of driverless cars for regional planning. Since most regional planners seem stuck in the early twentieth century, it will be interesting to see what the presenters propose.

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Posts Disappearing

On Sunday, April 27, the Antiplanner decided to try to do something about the 58,000 phony users (sometimes called “sploggers”) who have signed up on this site, so I installed a new plug-in. Today, I received a few comments on this morning’s post about Christchurch, but this evening, that post is gone. Last week’s post about traffic in Ethiopia is also gone.

I don’t know if the new plug-in caused the problems or if my server somehow lost the posts in a back up. I checked Google’s cache, the Wayback machine, and other sources; Google remembered that there was a Christchurch post but no longer had it in its cache. I apologize for any problems and hope that more posts don’t disappear in the future.

If anyone cares, I can probably re-create the Christchurch and Ethiopia posts, though of course I can’t re-create everyone’s wonderful comments. Are any other posts missing? Has anyone seen any other problems on this site I should be aware of?

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Back in the Air Again

The Antiplanner is flying to Salt Lake City today to speak at a legislative forum tomorrow sponsored by the Sutherland Institute. The topic will be Utah’s 30-year transportation plan. Since the Antiplanner is skeptical about our ability to know things even five years in advance, you can imagine what I’ll be saying about a 30-year plan.

Thursday, I’ll be in Olympia, Washington to speak at a Senate Governmental Operations Committee work session about growth-management planning. My main message will be that growth-management created many more problems than it solved. Most important, according to Coldwell Banker, the price of a 2,200-square-foot house in Seattle is more than three times the price of a similarly sized house in Houston.

Friday I’ll be in Lake Oswego, Oregon, talking about a proposed “high-capacity transit” line to Tigard, Oregon. The term high-capacity transit is a joke, as Portland’s light-rail system can’t run more than two cars in a train (due to the city’s short blocks) and no more than 20 trains an hour. At 150 people per car, that’s 6,000 people per hour. A good busway could move nearly ten times that many people.

In any case, if I get a chance, I’ll try to post some updates over the next few days.

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