Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dignified transportation for seniors

ITNAmerica.org   Helping Seniors Stay Mobile

Our Mission

Support sustainable, community-based transportation services for seniors throughout the world by building a senior transportation network through research, policy analysis and education, and by promoting lifelong safety and mobility.

A transportation solution for America's aging population
dignified transportation for seniors

Across America, communities large and small are struggling to meet the transportation needs of seniors. Everywhere, the issues are the same:

  • How to provide the kind of door-through-door service older people want and need
  • How to recruit enough volunteer drivers, and how to manage insurance
  • How to arrange rides, especially in rural and suburban communities
  • How to pay for it all

ITNAmerica provides its affiliates with a proven sustainable business model to solve these issues.




Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wal-Mart, please install a bike rack here!

LATE UPDATE, 13 May 2014, 9:14 PM Central Time... Anne Hatfield Wal-Mart tweeted me to let me know that a bike rack is going in to this location!

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Hello, I heard from Facebook that you are building a Wal-Mart neighborhood market in Houston, TX 77095, at the corner of Barker-Cypress Road and Longenbaugh Rd.

This store is adjacent to a neighborhood which has good sidewalks, and where bike trails have been developed.

It would be very good for your store and for the neighborhood to have a BICYCLE RACK at this Wal-Mart, so that shoppers and your employees can access this store without making yet another short-distance car drive.

Walgreens directly across Barker-Cypress from your future store already has a bike rack.

Thank you
Peter Wang

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Walmart Neighborhood Market coming to Cypress

by Marie Leonard

May 7, 2014

A new Walmart Neighborhood Market is planned for the northeast corner of Barker Cypress Road and Longenbaugh Drive.

Construction is expected to begin on the 41,000-square-foot store in about a month, said Anne Hatfield, director of communications for Walmart.

The neighborhood market will carry fresh produce, groceries, health and beauty supplies and other household items. The new Cypress location will also have a gas station and pharmacy.

Walmart Neighborhood Market stores typically bring about 95 new jobs to the community, in addition to construction jobs.

Hatfield said the future store is on track to open by early 2015.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New carpool

My carpooler drops me off at Westheimer and CityWest, and I ride my Dahon folding bike 1.5 miles to work at 10001 Richmond Ave.

We start on Western Pass Lane, 77095.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Why Ridesharing Is a Way Bigger Deal for Suburban Seniors Than Urban Millennials

This is a follow-up to my first post about the lack of senior citizen transportation options in our area, which is going to become an increasingly urgent problem as the years roll by. This TheAtlanticCities.com article discusses the use of ridesharing apps as a possible coping mechanism.

"Transportation for America's recent report, "Aging in Place: Stuck Without Options," shows that as we grow too old to drive safely, alternative transportation options are a necessity but often hard to find. Based on recent surveys, 88 percent of older adults continue to drive at age 65, but that percentage drops to 69 percent by age 75. This means that by age 75, 31 percent of seniors must seek alternative ways to get around."


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Elder transportation a big missing piece in Cy-Fair (part 1)

Someone who has lived and worked in Cy-Fair might reasonably expect to look forward to a bright and happy retirement. Maybe they worked in the lucrative energy industry for their career, bought an affordable home and paid off the mortgage long ago; their property taxes would be capped from further increases after age 65; an excellent Cy-Fair ISD school system, continued affordable housing, and an abundance of jobs which would tend to bring the children and grandchildren back to the Houston area.

Yet the big missing piece in Cy-Fair retirement is... what do I do when I cannot drive myself around any longer?

Everyone ages at different rates, but eventually we all can't drive any longer. There is really no such thing as someone who can safely drive their whole entire life, despite exceptional stories we may hear about so-and-so's Grandpa who is still driving at 90. That's great for him, but even he is going to have to quit someday, and what does he do for the rest of his life if he lives in Cy-Fair? He might be of sound mind, able to walk, but if he can't see well enough or react fast enough to drive a car, he might as well be in jail as far as our motorized culture is concerned.

We pay the METRO sales tax in our area, but METRO long ago decided, and it continues to affirm, that it does not want to or cannot afford to provide local transit to our neighborhood. Also, many people in our area oppose transit because of their belief that transit breeds crime. I personally don't agree with this view*, but given that they often let METRO know how they feel, this makes METRO even less inclined to bring local transit out here. We also have no paratransit (METRO LIFT on-demand services to the disabled), because Federal law requires that METRO only provide paratransit within the regular transit service area. In Cy-Fair, we are outside of the regular transit service area.

So what do we do? How do we prepare to live through that portion of our lives when we or our parents can no longer drive a car for ourselves / themselves?

More installments to come. If you have ideas, write to me at pwang01@gmail.com


* Criminals long ago (since Bonnie & Clyde) discovered the tactical advantages of using cars to commit crimes. They steal cars if they have to. I ride METRO when I can in the city, and I don't see people carrying stolen HDTVs on the bus or light rail.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Houston's "Lifestyle centers" - little islands of walkability in a raging car sea

The Houston vision of "lifestyle centers", or mixed-used commercial developments, seems to be one of isolated islands of walkability in a raging, boiling, frothing, crashing seascape of cars only... no bikes, pedestrians, or transit, no independent transportation for people who can't drive (under 16, the elderly, seriously handicapped, etc).

The very best jobs and closest jobs for people in Bridgeland will always be in the Energy Corridor and Westchase, so if Mr. Peter Houghton of West Houston Association is really concerned about getting his residents to the best, closest, highest paying jobs without getting on a freeway (or tollway), he should become an aggressive advocate for suburban transit modes, which will get them from Bridgeland and communities like it to the famously high-paying Houston energy jobs. In the short term, this will be cost-effective, quick deployment modes like vanpool and bus rapid transit, with commuter rail slated for the long term (vanpool and BRT use roads, but at least you can surf on your phone while someone else drives, and they use the road and energy resources much more efficiently).

Let's admit it - the jobs in a lifestyle center are not at all likely to match up in quantity or quality with the jobs at BP's WestLake campus, or ConocoPhillips and Shell Woodcreek north of I-10. A lifestyle center will have retail & restaurants, a real estate broker (affiliated with the developer itself), personal services like massage, yoga, hairstylist, nails, dentistry, family practice medicine, a small law office... and lots of unleased space, most likely.

Additional food for thought - minimum wage workers in a lifestyle center's retail & restaurants might not be able to afford a car in order to report to work. How is that staffing plan supposed to work? These people need transit also. No transit = no workers = no services delivered = no revenue = no profit = rents not paid = someone's asset is going to be "non-performing".


- Peter Wang



Houston Chronicle, January 2, 2014

By Lindsay Peyton

He {Peter Houghton} said mobility issues affect the quality of life for residents - adding that their expectations have changed over the years.

"The days of endless rows of houses and having to get on a freeway to shop are over," Houghton said. "Consumers and homebuyers demand more than that. They want shopping developments in their own neighborhoods and to go to work without getting on the freeway."

He said "lifestyle centers" - or mixed-used commercial developments - have become central features in master planned communities.

"You see them happening in The Woodlands, Sugar Land and Cinco Ranch," Houghton said. "The next ones will be in Cy-Fair."

Already restaurants and shops are popping up along U.S. 290, he added.

"We're seeing the Cy-Fair area start to dip its toes into the water," he said. "Once you get offices, retail and restaurants follow suit. I'm very excited about what the area will see in the next 20 years."

Houghton expects more businesses to locate in the area - now that the development of the Grand Parkway is moving forward.

"As people start to drive the Grand Parkway, they will realize they can get quickly to both sides of town," he said.

In the meantime, the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce plans to foster further discussions addressing infrastructure in the community, Martone said. "We're the entity that supports growth," she said.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Top Job Centers

Houston Tomorrow sent me a really nice graphic, attached.

What it shows is that even our here in the suburbs we're really in the "hot" zone for proximity to jobs; of course, we who've lived here for twenty years and have worked in the Energy Corridor and Westchase have always know that, which is why we came... but it also shows that a minimum-investment (Bus Rapid Transit) system going north from I-10 up State Highway 6 could be very useful in connecting Cy-Fair / Copperfield to the employment centers, and it would greatly debottleneck State Highway 6 and I-10.

Bus Rapid Transit would be a faster service more like Park & Ride buses than like slow local services.