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por favor gracias

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por favor gracias last won the day on February 18 2014

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  1. Not sure there's a better city in the U.S. to host the World Cup than Houston.
  2. That Hillcorp building is underrated. I love how it peaks out when you're driving on Smith St looking to your left as you come up on Walker St.
  3. This is a problem all over Houston. Aside from Main St, Dallas St, Post Oak Blvd and recent landscaping improvements on parts of Richmond Ave, our major thoroughfares are largely neglected. If we just spent the money we wasted repaving roads that haven't had a pothole in decades (like Westheimer and Highway 6 right now around Bellaire/Beechnut) or those giant poles they're putting all over town that hold our traffic signals, our street grid in parts of downtown and midtown could be in much better shape. Just basic on and off road maintenance that is so desperately needed on our streets themselves...all those things you mentioned and lane/crosswalk striping and better signage are glaring needs here. It's like someone in the giant pole industry knows someone who works w/ COH...so this is what we get. I'm sure the tourists are lining up for that experience. SMH...I'm starting to think some of our management districts are run by Oakland A's fans. Most of the streets in midtown are also too wide and limit options for development and landscaping. Not sure what the solution is to the homeless problem in midtown, but I am open to the idea of relocating the concentration of shelters in the area. I'd be willing to bet these are the biggest reasons why some of these developers are pulling out of midtown. It has so much potential, but it will only be reached incrementally unless/until this changes. Hopefully, the Pierce Elevated and submerging 59 will also happen sooner than later.
  4. I'd like to say it's unbelievable that they're working on both ramps from 59 to 610 northbound at the same time, but here we are. Again, why not work on the ramp from 59 southbound first...get it finished in less than a month (of course that would require allocating resources like they should be doing for a project that has this much impact on traffic) and then start working on the ramp from 59 northbound? Perhaps they may need to close off the immediate area where the ramps will merge, but that shouldn't take more than a weekend to complete (again, if they used their resources like they should for a project of this magnitude)...much less 6-8 months by the time it will be complete. Why are they even focusing on this part of the intersection in the first place while the 610 southbound ramp to 59 southbound remains torn up...especially after they recently finished the 610 southbound to 59 northbound ramp? It's like a pissed off five year old is making these decisions.
  5. Updating our street grid should be viewed as more of an investment than an expense.
  6. IIRC, the old ramp (with the traffic from Westheimer & W. Alabama) merged onto the exit ramp off 610 that required weaving over a lane (with not very much room) for those getting onto 59 northbound. It didn't interfere with 610 itself, but it merged with the ramp for 59 northbound/southbound. I'm not sure how much impact that old ramp had on traffic as those who were taking 59 northbound were the only people who had to weave across that lane. They had the option to weave into that same lane and take 59 southbound as well, but were not required to do that as that old ramp added a lane for 59 southbound upon merging with the exit ramp from 610 to 59 northbound and southbound. Correct me if I'm wrong on that, but I think that's how it was situated. The new Chimney Rock exits will also help. Credit where credit's due, they did a great job on that. Most of the intersection will be an upgrade when complete, but one lane from 610 southbound exiting 59 northbound isn't going to be pretty, especially since they moved it to the far right lane to where it's going to be shared with some of that traffic exiting 59 southbound. Additionally, that exit is now situated a little before the 59 southbound exit, creating less time/room to get over to that far right lane before exiting. Even with all the "un-mixing" that will help around this area, this part of the intersection is going to be worse than it was before construction. Tbh, I don't even think 2 lanes is enough for the 59 southbound exit off 610 itself, especially when one of those lanes will be backed up already from those trying to get all the way over to exit 59 northbound. I get that they're not exactly working with unlimited right of way and there's consequently not enough room to do that here, but I'm just saying. That northbound exit ramp is going to slow everything down around it.
  7. Don't get me started on how they manage their projects. You think my last few posts have been long...
  8. The new design forces everyone exiting northbound to the far right lane, which will also be shared with some of the traffic exiting southbound. So moving forward, any incident on 59 southbound near that area (or the 59 south ramp itself) will affect people on 610 still trying to exit 59 northbound as well. Those who are unfamiliar with this area are going to cut in line by default as they will only have a mile or so notice of their exit if they go by the signage...and by then, traffic is often already backed up to that point. When they finish the ramp for 59 southbound, traffic flowing from 610 southbound to 59 northbound and southbound will be better than it is now, but it'll be worse than it was before construction began...unless like 3 million people move out of Houston between now and then.
  9. The entrance from the feeder road w/ the traffic coming from Westheimer and W. Alabama had that same direct access to 59 before this project began. I agree that this has worked very well. The only real change in terms of accessibility is having only one lane exiting from 610 when we had two lanes before this project began, and that lane will be shared with the people who will be exiting 59 southbound when construction is finished. There will be two lanes for the southbound exit.
  10. That's correct. This same ramp was 2 lanes exiting 59 northbound before. And not only will it be one lane moving forward, that lane will be shared with some of the traffic exiting 59 southbound. So basically, TxDOT is taking 6 years to rebuild *the ramps* at the busiest intersection in the state...and the end result for this part of the intersection will go from having 2 lanes before to one now. Traffic is going to be how it is now until they finish the ramp for 59 southbound, and even then, it's only going to be marginally better and worse than it was before construction. We're also taking the far right lane to exit north where we used to use that same lane to exit south. They switched the alignment. They've actually done that in a few places around town lately with traffic realignments (some of which have been beneficial) and left exits. The 610/I-10/290 area and 288 corridor come to mind. I want public transit as much as anyone (higher speed transit that doesn't interfere with street traffic, at least), but this ramp has no impact on anyone's home in the area. The only entity I'm aware that was affected by this project was the Chick-Fil-A. Just to be clear, I don't think the guys who I spoke with in that web conference are in on an official conspiracy. There's really no need for conspiracies when you can routinely get away with stuff like this with little to no accountability. I doubt there's an actual script or itinerary here. The "conspiracy" is pretty much in the job description at this point. It's passive participation. It's maintaining an obviously flawed status quo. It's the "it is what it is...this is just how we conduct our business" narrative and it's their reluctance to change that, even when it's clear that their product is unacceptable. They don't want to ruffle any feathers and risk losing their job, so they go along with it...and that in itself should shine a light on the root of the problem. Hence, the interference ever lower-level employees give citizens when they even politely voice legitimate concerns that they know they have no legitimate answer for. That said, not unlike the business world, there are people higher up at TxDOT who are well connected and know how to keep both their employees and the public indoctrinated with the idea that everything is working great even when they know it's not. The photo ops with the executives holding shovels, the ribbon-cutting, balloon-releasing "ceremonies" for projects that have minimal, if not negligible impact on traffic, the marketing for those projects ("the new West Loop"), etc....just your average, run of the mill, standard line of public relations BS that many people have become so numb to, they've given up hope...which is exactly what some of these higher ups want. I'll believe they're counting on people (from within TxDOT or otherwise) to either be discouraged, asleep, or not care enough to demand accountability before I believe they "don't know" something as basic as this project (and many others, for that matter) turning out to be the cluster **** the rest of us can clearly see it's going to be (and already is). If you think that the planners and project engineers at TxDOT are incompetent to the extent of actually thinking that taking away a lane from the 610 southbound to 59 northbound exit ramp is going to improve traffic, I would ask how do you explain that? As much as everyone from TxDOT seems to have wanted me to believe otherwise in my experiences with them, this isn't rocket science. I mean, my 10 year old niece and nephew would scratch their heads upon hearing this. I totally get and agree that people are generally stupid, but there's no way I'm going to believe that any functional adult truly believes that taking away a lane here is an upgrade if you talk to them one on one in a serious conversation with no strings attached...much less one who works for TxDOT...much less the person who approved this project for TxDOT. I think *that* is complete BS and am inclined to question how anyone living in America for longer than 10 minutes would be skeptical to the idea of cronyism here in one of our most important industries. Time and time again, industry has lobbied its way to get what it wants, even at the expense of human life. Hopefully it won't happen, but I can tell you right now that this ramp design increases the chance of loss of life, and it most certainly will affect millions of people's lives in a variety of ways over time. The slowdowns alone will cause accidents, it will delay millions of people over time, it could be the difference between life and death for someone having a medical emergency. They advertise "end the streak of Texas deaths" while they're throwing banana peels all over the city. Whether it's corruption, incompetence or (most likely) both to some degree, everyone involved in that process should be forced from their positions just based on the impact the design they came up with and approved is going to have for millions of Houstonians moving forward, and it shouldn't take an MIT grad...or even a GED to see that. There needs to be accountability when shit like this happens...and this is closer to the norm than the exception with TxDOT. Speaking of which, isn't it about time they repave Westheimer again? At this rate, there could be a pothole forming by the year 2050 at the intersection of GFY Houston Blvd. I don't know about you, but I would hate to see that get overlooked.
  11. Yep...I'm one of those people. It's actually quicker sometimes to take the Westheimer exit and get onto 59 northbound from the feeder road after Westheimer & W. Alabama than it is to stay on the freeway, especially that right lane. About a year ago, I had a web conference with five people from TxDOT...although only two of them actually spoke the whole time. I asked them why they don't work on one ramp at a time before tearing up other parts of the freeways and intersection. One of the reps told me that they didn't want their people working on top of the each other for safety reasons. Let me repeat that...one of TxDOT's reps told me that they didn't want their people working on top of each other in response to my "why not work on one ramp at a time" question. When I kindly reminded him that my question takes that into account by default, he told me they have other projects going on simultaneously across the entire state. So I asked why they work on multiple major highway projects at a time just in one city (Houston in this case) as opposed to allocating more of their resources on one project at a time in that city and getting it done in a fraction of the time before starting the next one, and then he "informed" me that we were out of time. All I could think of was what Bill Burr once said...it's like they want to frustrate you enough so you say a curse word or something, so they can have an excuse to hang up on you. Like you mentioned, this kind of practice not the exception with TxDOT...it's the norm. It's not a fluke, it's by design. These people aren't stupid. They know exactly what they're doing. After over two decades driving in this town and years worth of experience dealing with TxDOT, it couldn't be clearer to me that this is a racket...and I'm willing to bet there's a ton of hands in that pot. When things that seem easy don't make sense, there's almost always corruption involved. Look at who benefits from poor roads, traffic jams and accidents and tell me with a straight face that I'm insane to think there's a better chance than not that they're getting kickbacks in some way from the automobile, oil & gas, insurance, etc. industries...in the oil & gas capital of the world no less. There's a lot of money to be made from traffic jams and accidents, and when you look at shit like this under the lens of "maybe that's the goal in the first place," TxDOT's actions make a lot more sense.
  12. Got confirmation from a source at TxDOT that the permanent 610 southbound exit ramp to 59 northbound will remain one lane similar to the current configuration, and that lane will be shared with some of the traffic exiting 59 southbound. If you go to TxDOT's "projects and studies" page on their website, the first paragraph reads: "Before a project is built, a study must be done to determine if it will fill a transportation need, will not negatively impact the surrounding area and fits the department's overall plan. During the study phase, potential projects are analyzed to determine if they are cost effective, while also efficiently improving mobility." I'd love to see this "study" that suggests going from two lanes exiting off 610 southbound like we had before this project to one lane will "efficiently improve mobility" and "not negatively impact the surrounding area"...and who approved this design? This is unacceptable.
  13. That's a great view of Houston. Love how green the grass is right now.
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