Open Letter on Bike Path Diversion

Mayor Sylvester Turner
sylvester.turner@houstontx.gov
@SylvesterTurner

Council Member Ellen Cohen
districtc@houstontx.gov
@EllenCohen1

Dear Mayor Turner and Council Member Cohen,

When I read the Chronicle article attached below, I understood the need for a detour around the often used route, and appreciated the thought put into it. It seemed like a good solution.

The article states “The detours will not be continuous, but periodic throughout the construction project when construction nearby could create unsafe conditions along the original bike trails” as well as “the detour and reroute are expected to begin between April and May and will last through the third quarter of 2017.”

However there seems to be either,

  1. a miscommunication,
  2. a failure to execute, or
  3. deception by someone

going on in this situation.

There are already signs up along the path redirecting users to use the detours. They have been up for over 10 days. There is also signage that appears to indicate that cyclists should use the sidewalk on the west side of Houston Avenue as the detour.

This is neither safe, nor acceptable.

I would like to know if the original decision has been changed or if there is a timing and communication failure occurring. Please remedy the situation.

Your Constituent,
Bill Shirley

Heights Area Bike Trails to be Rerouted to Houston Avenue“, Tara White, Houston Chronicle,  Wed Mar 9 2016

CC:
Council Member Karla Cisneros (as the detour is in your district)
districth@houstontx.gov
@Karla4Houston

Deidrea George, TxDOT Houston Public Information Office (quoted in the article)
Email via web-form
@TxDOTHoustonPIO

Tara White, freelance writer for Chronicle (author of the article)
viewpoints@chron.com
@houstonchron

Continue reading Open Letter on Bike Path Diversion

Politically Correct Incorrectness

Recent Reuters coverage by Emily Flitter of the 2016 campaign was asking Donald Trump supporters why they liked and supported Trump. Many of the answers were “he’s not Politically Correct”, that he “says what he thinks, I like that, he’s not political [sic] correct”, “he’s not afraid to say what he thinks”, and “he’s speaking for a lot of people … who have been hindered to say anything because of how political [sic] correct we’ve become as a nation … Trump’s made people feel like they can ‘voice out'”.

trump quoteFrom there the comments went on to The Wall™– “there needs to be something done about our border, he got right to the point”, “we need to just not let any more people in. Their values are different than ours. Are we allowed over there without a visa?”, and “he says what we’re all thinking”.


The phrase “he’s not politically correct” seems to be the politically correct term for “openly racist” to me. Certainly among parts of his base. They feel they can “voice out” their racist opinions. (‘Racist’, ‘Dangerous’, and ‘Un-American’ -U.S.News.)

I’m sorry if they didn’t feel they can always voice an opinion. I’m also sorry they feel it’s acceptable to voice out their racist views in public.

I think even more of his supporters aren’t necessarily racist, but ignorant of the overall economic necessity of the flow of people, for everyone but, in this case, specifically for the U.S. We do need to fix immigration policy. But it needs to be changed so that we can track and manage those in our country supporting the lower tier of our economy.

Yes, there’s something we need to fix. No, the solution is not a wall.

Aside: travel, with or without a visa, is not particularly the issue here. In response to the supporter asking “are we allowed over there without a visa?” …

Yes. Yes, we are allowed to travel “over there” (by which I suspect you mean “south of the border”) without a visa. American citizens can enter 166 countries visa free. They include most of Central and South America, most of Europe, Southeast Asia, and large parts of Africa.

Take them up on it. Please travel. Perhaps your xenophobia will be tempered after you do.

Saint Arnold and Art Cars

Thursday August 6th, 2015 was IPA Day. Also commonly referred to as National IPA Day or International IPA Day, Craft Beer says

IPA Day is opportunity for all breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer.

Bars and breweries around Houston and the world set to celebrating.

Saint Arnold Brewery, being a true member of the Houston community, loves artcars.  Owner/Co-Founder Brock Wagner calls the annual Art Car Parade his favorite event in Houston. The brewery has used artcars as an advertising tool since the beginning. They have created or consigned 15 cars to date. The most recent is a fabulous 1959 Cadillac painted by Robyn Sanders.

For the recent IPA Day Saint Arnold toured a variety of local bars with collections of their cars in three different groups. The reason behind the tour was their new beer: Art Car IPA. At each bar they were offering “buy the beer, keep the glass” with both a street graffiti style logo created by local artist GONZO247 for the new beer and a new Elissa IPA logo with stylized ship’s wheel.

Their dancing card filled so quickly that Saint Arnold extended their Art Car IPA debutante to Friday evening as well. It was then that I found time to walk to one of my local purveyors of food and drink to try out the new brew. Not coincidentally perhaps, I ran into some friends and local art car (and scooter) artists.

Art scooterist Gay Barlow said, “I’m an Elissa fan. This tastes a little lighter.” The new beer is a deceptively refreshing beer, hiding the 7.2% alcohol well. Compared to their other IPA offerings (Elissa and Endeavor Double IPA) it has less malt helping it feel lighter. Lots of fruit and citrus flavors abound, but there is not too much lingering bitterness (with a reported 55 IBU).

We met Allison King, one of Saint Arnold’s local sales representatives. The sales reps often use the art cars as business cars, and she was one of the group trekking them about to different bars. She informed us that the beer isn’t generally available yet, but will be this fall in cans (after the Oktoberfest and before the Spring Bock) from their recently added canning line.

It will be available in a limited release on tap, lingering in area bars after this special Art Car Day draft-only release.

Who ever thought … not, Scalia

The United States Supreme Court today affirmed the right of marriage for all people in a 5-4 judgement in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Justice Antonin Scalia dissented. Among other things he wrote:

Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality … were freedoms?

In his heavy-handed need to disparage his associates, he seems to have forgotten some of our basic roots. If not a legal basis, a sounding on where the framers (Thomas Jefferson, et al) stood:

heading of Declaration of Independence… all men are created equal, … with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are … the pursuit of Happiness.

If intimacy and spirituality are not among some of the basic pursuits of happiness of anyone, then nothing is.

I also think the irony of the invective that he throws earlier in his dissent is lost on him.

It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; …

Yes, it is “one thing”, Mr. Justice.

Mobility Study of The Heights and Surrounding Areas

City of Houston“Pedestrian facilities along Studewood Street are in great condition north of White Oak Drive, but virtually nonexistent along the 4-lane segment of the roadway south of White Oak Drive which includes a 4-lane bridge. However, the use of this segment by pedestrians is evident by foot paths flanking both sides of the corridor. The contra-flow lane confuses drivers who are not familiar with its function, and additional signage could help mitigate this issue. The contra-flow lane also causes problems at major intersection due to the lack of protected lefts. At its northern boundary, the corridor terminates into a 6-legged intersection with E 20th/N Main Street/W Cavalcade Street. The current intersection configuration creates confusion, particularly for the pedestrians and bicyclists to navigate.”

This is the “Identified Needs” of Studewood in the recently completed Heights-North Side Sub-regional Mobility Study. It’s quite comprehensive. See Chapter VI for a listing of many of the streets. What does is say about the ones you care about?

The Michigan U-turn was a new one to me. An alternative to a left turn. See Chp 5, pg 60 for an explanation.

Also, Chp 5, pg 61 has a diagram of a roundabout next to an arial photo of the 20th/Main/Studewood intersection. To this I say YES, YES, YES!

The report is nicely and simply designed and written. Whether it address what you wanted it to is another question.

Voting is a Right

Everyone in Texas that thinks our new Voter ID law is a good one, should read the Kuff’s digest of a recent article from MSNBC.

voter registration cardThe telltale numbers: The “free” Election Identification Certificates written into the law were provided as an option for the estimated 600,000 to 750,000 citizens who didn’t have the needed documentation.  371 had been issued by the Thursday before the election.

The current Voter ID law is going to cost the state money defending in court, whether it prevails or not.  (I would love for there to be an organization that tracks legal defense costs of legislation.  If you know of one, let me know.)

I would love for there to be an organization that aids those in need of a Texas ID, whether an EIC or other.  (If you know of one, let me know.)

I would challenge those who thing the Voter ID law is a good thing to assist one of the 100s of thousands of disenfranchised voters to obtain the necessary identification.  If it’s so easy to do, it should take much work on your part.