cspwal

TX 288 Toll lane to start mid 2016

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cspwal    1823

I'm not sure if there's a current thread on this or not, but it looks like they are moving forward with toll lanes on 288.  I hadn't heard about this - much less hearing it was delayed.  Anyone have any idea what the design is going to look like, particularly coming into downtown & the med center?

 

 

 

Construction of new toll lanes in the median of Texas 288 will start a few months later than initially planned
On that timeline, the 10.3-mile tollway from U.S. 59 to Brazoria County would be completed in 2018, Lewis said.

 

http://blog.chron.com/thehighwayman/2015/10/texas-288-toll-lane-work-expected-mid-2016/

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IronTiger    723

Bah perfect place for commuter rail.

Optimistically, if the median was fully used, there should be lanes for roads and rail. Putting the rail on columns not unlike Inner Loop Houston's elevated HOV lane will work too.

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cspwal    1823

Another advantage of the rails being on columns is if 288 floods, the train would still run, with really eerie views

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JLWM8609    471

Bah perfect place for commuter rail.

 

I think the Columbia Tap Rails to Trails ROW could revert back to rail one day for that reason.

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JLWM8609    471

So will the 610 and 288 interchange be rebuilt then to accommodate the new lanes?

 

Not for the initial phase, which is what we'll see built soon. The reversible toll lane will snake through the current interchange as you can see in this exhibit:

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/hou/sh288_us59/harris_county_clear_creek.pdf

 

Ultimate plans do call for the interchange to be rebuilt when the reversible toll lane is expanded and rebuilt into a 4 lane tollroad. When that happens, the toll lanes will run through the interchange where the current 288 mainlanes are, and the 288 mainlanes will be relocated to run through the edges of the interchange.

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/hou/sh288_us59/bw8_ih610.pdf

Edited by JLWM8609
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ToryGattis    121

Bah perfect place for commuter rail.

 

Rail?! Rail in general tends to be a bad cost-benefit proposition, but why would you ever consider building one when one *already exists* a mile to the west perfectly connecting the Med Center and Downtown?  There *might* be a good argument for extending the existing line south (although I doubt it), but there's no universe where it makes sense to build a parallel line!

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ADCS    308

Rail?! Rail in general tends to be a bad cost-benefit proposition, but why would you ever consider building one when one *already exists* a mile to the west perfectly connecting the Med Center and Downtown?  There *might* be a good argument for extending the existing line south (although I doubt it), but there's no universe where it makes sense to build a parallel line!

 

While I tend to disagree with Mr. Gattis over the desirability of rail in general, I've got to agree here. The only thing advantageous about this corridor as far as rail goes is the relative ease of construction. The location poses significant barriers to pedestrian traffic, and exists on the periphery of Pearland's development, limiting its usefulness as a commuter route. After all, if you're already driving to 288 to get on the train, and the express lanes are a similar price, why wouldn't you do the familiar thing and just take the express lanes?

 

Any sort of heavy rail in Houston would do best by serving dense, central corridors that are already relatively underserved by the freeway system.

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IronTiger    723

One of my transit fantasies (although more grounded in reality and more highway-friendly than my HAIF peers) is to extend the Red Line down to 288 as sort of a hybrid commuter line. The biggest problem with this is Pearland falls outside of METRO's jurisdiction, and it's difficult by vote/impossible by law to add the METRO tax in Pearland, so you'll end up with free riders or a complicated multi-agency system.

Edited by IronTiger

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Slick Vik    444

One of my transit fantasies (although more grounded in reality and more highway-friendly than my HAIF peers) is to extend the Red Line down to 288 as sort of a hybrid commuter line. The biggest problem with this is Pearland falls outside of METRO's jurisdiction, and it's difficult by vote/impossible by law to add the METRO tax in Pearland, so you'll end up with free riders or a complicated multi-agency system.

Realistically from fannin south the commuter line down 90 will start. And any light rail would probably go to hobby airport.

Rail?! Rail in general tends to be a bad cost-benefit proposition, but why would you ever consider building one when one *already exists* a mile to the west perfectly connecting the Med Center and Downtown? There *might* be a good argument for extending the existing line south (although I doubt it), but there's no universe where it makes sense to build a parallel line!

Highways tend to be a bad cost benefit proposition but you advocate for those. You're ideologically against rail we get it.

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BigFootsSocks    2757

Rail?! Rail in general tends to be a bad cost-benefit proposition, but why would you ever consider building one when one *already exists* a mile to the west perfectly connecting the Med Center and Downtown? There *might* be a good argument for extending the existing line south (although I doubt it), but there's no universe where it makes sense to build a parallel line!

More highways amirite?

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IronTiger    723

More highways amirite?

Highways are not going to be the answer in all cases (especially long term), but I'm getting really sick of this dogmatic "we must build rail like East Coast cities or we are failures" mentality. There was a recent article in the Houston Chronicle ("Kotkin, Cox: Light rail in the Sun Belt is a poor fit") that just seemed to prove an ugly fact--unless you're a Eastern seaboard, old-line "legacy" city, rail doesn't seem to work. Even Portland, San Diego, and L.A. have actually seen transit numbers decrease since rail was implemented.

Just because Gattis doesn't subscribe the popular urban theories du jour (like New Urbanism) doesn't mean he doesn't try to think of innovative solutions or that he's wrong.

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Slick Vik    444

Highways are not going to be the answer in all cases (especially long term), but I'm getting really sick of this dogmatic "we must build rail like East Coast cities or we are failures" mentality. There was a recent article in the Houston Chronicle ("Kotkin, Cox: Light rail in the Sun Belt is a poor fit") that just seemed to prove an ugly fact--unless you're a Eastern seaboard, old-line "legacy" city, rail doesn't seem to work. Even Portland, San Diego, and L.A. have actually seen transit numbers decrease since rail was implemented.

Just because Gattis doesn't subscribe the popular urban theories du jour (like New Urbanism) doesn't mean he doesn't try to think of innovative solutions or that he's wrong.

Actually LA is investing heavily in rail and actually wants to accelerate projects, learning from mistakes of not investing earlier.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-train-to-lax-metro-sales-tax-20151007-story.html

Pretty much every major city in the world is investing in some kind of expansion/improvement rail project so there is something to be said for rail mass transit. This includes many sun belt cities.

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MaxConcrete    243

Not for the initial phase, which is what we'll see built soon. The reversible toll lane will snake through the current interchange as you can see in this exhibit:

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/hou/sh288_us59/harris_county_clear_creek.pdf

 

Ultimate plans do call for the interchange to be rebuilt when the reversible toll lane is expanded and rebuilt into a 4 lane tollroad. When that happens, the toll lanes will run through the interchange where the current 288 mainlanes are, and the 288 mainlanes will be relocated to run through the edges of the interchange.

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/hou/sh288_us59/bw8_ih610.pdf

 

I believe those schematics for the initial phase are out of date. However, information on the exact design planned by Blueridge Transportation Group (the winning bidder) are not readily available, and may still be subject to change since they are having trouble securing the funding.

 

The presentation document which announced Blueridge Transportation Group as the winning bidder says there will be 8 direct connection ramps at BW8 and four toll lanes. See page 15

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2015/0226/11b-presentation.pdf

 

 

Here is more evidence that 8 connectors are still planned from the September HGAC meeting, see document page 14 ("page 4 of 7" at bottom of page)

http://www.h-gac.com/taq/commitees/TPC/2015/09-sep/docs/ITEM-06A-1.Resolution-for-Approval-of-Amendments.pdf

"Modify description as follows:

Description: CONSTRUCT 8

DCs AT BW 8 INTERCHANGE"

 

The October TIP update from yesterday's meeting mentions 4 toll lanes

http://www.h-gac.com/taq/commitees/TPC/2015/10-oct/docs/ITEM-06A-TIP-Amendments.pdf

 

Facility: SH 288

From: IH 610

To: BRAZORIA C/L

Description: CONSTRUCT 4 TOLL LANES

 

 

I also remember seeing a report that the interchange at Loop 610 will be fully or mostly rebuilt. However I cannot find that report and I don't know what is currently planned at Loop 610.

Edited by MaxConcrete
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IronTiger    723

Well, Slick, you either proved my point or missed it entirely, but no, L.A. with its expanding rail system is not immune to this problem either. But then, to be fair, I realized that I didn't post the article, which shows, no, pouring billions of dollars of rail isn't going to work.

Link (hope it works, if not, try Googling for it)

Edited by IronTiger
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KinkaidAlum    2120

Not understanding the difference between light rail and commuter rail is a pretty big flaw. They are not the same thing at all. A commuter rail on 288 from downtown to Pearland would be something entirely different than the rail that exists less than a mile away. The only bad thing is that without the University Line, there'd be no way to connect to anything without going to downtown first. A University Line would allow folks in Pearland to commute to the med center, Rice, UH, TSU, Downtown, Greenway, Galleria, and more. It would DEFINITELY take cars off the road and would be an excellent proposition. 

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BigFootsSocks    2757

Highways are not going to be the answer in all cases (especially long term), but I'm getting really sick of this dogmatic "we must build rail like East Coast cities or we are failures" mentality. There was a recent article in the Houston Chronicle ("Kotkin, Cox: Light rail in the Sun Belt is a poor fit") that just seemed to prove an ugly fact--unless you're a Eastern seaboard, old-line "legacy" city, rail doesn't seem to work. Even Portland, San Diego, and L.A. have actually seen transit numbers decrease since rail was implemented.

Just because Gattis doesn't subscribe the popular urban theories du jour (like New Urbanism) doesn't mean he doesn't try to think of innovative solutions or that he's wrong.

Well yeah...that's kinda pointing out the obvious. Htown is a car-centric city, but there's a ridiculous amount of cars on our highways, and it's only going to get worse.

I didn't actually say "rail is the only answer" if that's what you got out of it. Rail is a nice portion of a set of solutions though.

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ToryGattis    121

Highways tend to be a bad cost benefit proposition but you advocate for those. You're ideologically against rail we get it.

 

Compare the taxpayer cost per person-mile moved - it's no contest.  Recent Chronicle story said the new Tomball tollway is attracting twice the usage they predicted - freeways are popular, even tolled ones (which pay for themselves, unlike any rail project).

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BigFootsSocks    2757

Compare the taxpayer cost per person-mile moved - it's no contest. Recent Chronicle story said the new Tomball tollway is attracting twice the usage they predicted - freeways are popular, even tolled ones (which pay for themselves, unlike any rail project).

I would argue that the recent decision to remove rolls on a San Antonio project (not sure which one) would disagree with your point. I know, I know, that was thanks to the rainy-day funds that voters moved over.

I also get that toll roads are essentially the states' way of getting out of raising taxes by just throwing up tolls, but there's no reason to argue that they are popular. I mean, even arguing that freeways are popular isn't really fair for a state like ours. If that's all most of us have access to, then yeah it's popular, but only because it's the only choice we have.

I get the point of freeways, I really do. I just don't understand the pride one gets from seeing a highway cut across an untouched landscape that will soon fill up with the same boring, cookie-cutter, suburban hellacape that it will inevitably become. The fact that our flat city only exacerbates this issue makes me more frustrated.

I understand that we can't just build a million mid rises or high rises, etc, because land here is cheap, but I'm tired of looking at the same flat 2-3 story landscape outside of the Beltway in most areas, while having people simultaneously complain about traffic, argue for bigger roads, and then turn around and complain when those bigger, newer, tolled roads are full almost immediately upon opening. Unless they are the toll roads to nowhere, or through nowhere (249 or Grand Parkway), they are just as full as other roads.

But yeah, freeways are super duper popular.

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Slick Vik    444

Well, Slick, you either proved my point or missed it entirely, but no, L.A. with its expanding rail system is not immune to this problem either. But then, to be fair, I realized that I didn't post the article, which shows, no, pouring billions of dollars of rail isn't going to work.

Link (hope it works, if not, try Googling for it)

I didn't miss the point, if you knew anything about LA's lines you would know that there is heavy expansion in progress, more than any other city in North America. It's a major undertaking and will have big effects when complete.

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Slick Vik    444

Compare the taxpayer cost per person-mile moved - it's no contest. Recent Chronicle story said the new Tomball tollway is attracting twice the usage they predicted - freeways are popular, even tolled ones (which pay for themselves, unlike any rail project).

Freeways are a huge loser financially, per person mile moved is a clever statistic at best. Also when for almost 100 years the thought of decent alternative transit has been shut down in this city what do you expect? People are almost pressured into driving because it's what the power brokers made convenient. But it's only a matter of time before there's a reckoning like LA and people in power figure out they have to invest in more rail. There are only so many widening projects left, and even once they complete the freeway is just as full as it was before, totally pointless projects.

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ADCS    308

I get the point of freeways, I really do. I just don't understand the pride one gets from seeing a highway cut across an untouched landscape that will soon fill up with the same boring, cookie-cutter, suburban hellacape that it will inevitably become. The fact that our flat city only exacerbates this issue makes me more frustrated.

 

I don't want to speak for him, but having read his previous thoughts on the subject, he does make a fairly compelling argument about this - the suburban hellscape, while awful and alienating for many, represents comfort and opportunity on several orders of magnitude greater than where many, if not most, of the newcomers to Houston come from.

 

If you're privileged to come from a relatively stable society, where your environment is generally trustworthy, and you can count on greater complexity leading to greater opportunities for personal development, then yes, suburbia is oppressively banal. If, on the other hand, your previous life experiences are of a relatively chaotic environment, where institutions cannot be trusted and you're stuck in a small, cramped, dangerous living environment, those suburbs represent space, safety, stability and the opportunity to realize dreams that were impossible where you grew up.

 

There's something to be said for that point.

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IronTiger    723

I didn't miss the point, if you knew anything about LA's lines you would know that there is heavy expansion in progress, more than any other city in North America. It's a major undertaking and will have big effects when complete.

In the same thread, you "railed" about highway expansion projects, citing induced demand and how it just fills back up again. I've come to accept to accept this fact, but yet you support an idea of "No one uses our railroads, lets keep pouring money into it until something happens". How is this a better idea?

Edited by IronTiger

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