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DNAguy last won the day on May 23 2014

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  1. Am I missing something? Can't there be multiple phases to this property? I mean there is significant surface lot space that can one day be turned into multi-story residential / office / hotel, etc. I know it's not in the plan now, and a KBR-site-like complete redesign would be nice.... but what's being proposed is actually WAYYYYYY better than post office.
  2. Two thoughts: 1.) The slow march of the eventual merging of Upper Kirby, Greenway, Highland Village, ROD, and finally the Galleria keeps progressing 2.) The AT&T building's (or at least its large parking lot) days are numbered.
  3. In the new configuration, you'd be able to exit for Houston Ave, Turn right on Houston, then turn left at the Allen Parkway intersection, and then take the cloverleaf on-ramp to the Spur. I guess in that way, the cloverleaf entrance does have a benefit in that it can serve both memorial AND allen parkway.
  4. Also, Why use the clover-leaf design from Allen Parkway eastbound to the Spur northbound? Would it be a better use of space to just make that a flyover? Heck it might even add some symmetry. It also allows for an almost city block sized parcel of land to open up for development if sold by TxDOT
  5. Why is the Walker street to Allen Parkway west connection left in the design? Do we really need this road? It cuts off the Sam Houston Park from the Bayou unnecessarily. If the new, nice suspension bridge goes in which will help to reduce the obstructions between the parks, why put in a street that will most likely have cars driving 35-45 mph on it? It's not like this street really helps with access or addresses any real traffic need as Sabine St. can be accessed via an intersection with Allen Pkwy now. You can get on Allen Pkwy from Lamar which is … a block away! I say eliminate it, reduce the need to keep it up, increase access from Bayou trails-Buffalo Bayou Park-City Hall, and reduce the potential for cars coming into contact with pedestrians / runners.
  6. I actually don't think this is a bad thing. Moving the transportation center to Gulfton might actually speed up the BRT expansion to Hilcroft. Hilcroft to Gulfton TC to the new Bellaire BRT building. That would be a great way to serve a lot more folks with the new BRT line. Looking at the map, it would actually be nice if they could throw BRT only lanes in the powerline ROW. My guess is that isn't going to fly.
  7. My take: 1.) SB 45 connector does not need 3 lanes past the midtown / Bagby exit. It would seem highly unlikely that there is enough traffic demand for east / west downtown south downtown / upper midtown lanes coming from I10 or 45. 2.) The McKinney to Lamar St road along bayou not needed. Downtown street grid is sufficient. Plus it will add more area to the park and allow for almost unmolested access from the hike/bike bayou trail to City Hall, Sam Houston Park, and the Public Library. 3.) The eastbound Allen Prkway to NB connector cloverleaf on-ramp needs to go. The demand for this direct ramp do no support the real-estate it takes up. Considering that it would take ~ 5 more minutes to require folks to take two lefts (Dallas @ Bagby and Bagby @ Walker), I can't see how tying up real-estate that could be sold to a developer for a skyscraper makes sense. I would say that a compromise might be that a direct connector from Westbound W. Dallas St to the NB connector lanes. This would add another outlet for western downtown traffic and the folks on Allen Parkway would then just turn right at Clay / W Dallas. It would take some land acquisition from the parking lot, but also
  8. This is incorrect. HCTRA has a financial agreement with TxDOT that they receive a portion of the toll revenue from 290. Originally HCTRA agreed to contribute ~ $400 mill to the 290 project to speed up its competition. For this $400 mill, HCTRA would own and operate 3 bi-directional managed lanes (HOT/HOV) with 100% of the maintenance cost being the responsibility of HCTRA and 100% of the revenue going to HCTRA. However, the state's financial situation changed after the agreement was reached. Subsequent bond measures were passed that "freed" up $$ for TxDOT. TxDOT no longer needed the money so badly to get the project completed in the expedited timeframe. In addition, mounting issues with building / engineering a 3 reversible lane configuration led HCTRA to try and find a more tenable deal with TxDOT. TxDOT and HCTRA came to agreement that: 1.) Halved HCTRA's contribution to the 290 project ($200 mil instead of $400) 2.) Reduced the managed lanes from 3 to 1 3.) Ceded control of the 290 managed lane to TxDOT and therefore shifted maintenance / upkeep to TxDOT 4.) Ensured a HCTRA a percentage of the tolled revenue (IDK what the final % was, though) In addition / as part of the agreement, HCTRA also: 5.) Ceded control of the I10 managed lanes to TxDOT and therefore shifted maintenance / upkeep to TxDOT 6.) Locked in 1/3 of the I10 managed lanes revenue in perpetuity So now HCTRA doesn't manage or control any tolled lanes outside of the southern tolled section of 249, the northern part of the Fort bend tollway, and most of the Westpark tollway. And of course the entire Sam Houston and the Hardy tollroads. I don't think the facts support your representation of HCTRA as being a malignant force or the tollroad offshoot of SPECTRE
  9. Looks like they're removing trees / vegitation at the 288-610 interchange as of yesterday. Sorry no pics. Traffic was actually moving well heading west yesterday at rush hour. Sidenote: Is there a more mind-boggling bad stretch of freeway in Houston as 610 between 288 and 45/225? I'm not talking about traffic (but it sure does get bad.... Just not as bad as other stretches) per se, but the design. You can really tell that it was built to older and lower standards of freeway design. The short on ramps and off ramps, the discountinuous frontage roads, the relatively sharp curves / obstructed sight lines, and the terrible 45 interchange all create massive backups everyday that just wouldn't be there with a properly designed highway. Outside of the 45 interchange, there is some real low hanging TxDOT fruit when it comes to reducing congestion. Maybe the traffic count and the demographics of the area just don't support it.
  10. VV, Rail at HCTRA all you want, but as I said before, they only exist because voters allow them to exist. There's nothing nefarious about its existence. If you have a fundamental disagreement with their mission or actions then I suggest you start a campaign for Harris county to eliminate it. I think you'd have a tough case to prove that HCTRA is cooking the books, but I learned on Tuesday that your general mistrust in institutions / government is an extremely effective way to politic right now. I do not agree with 99.99% of what your saying, but your anger is real and government needs to start listening to it. The appointed bureaucratic institutions like HCTRA, METRO, and TIRZ's need to get ahead of this sentiment and really lobby the public at large, They need to prove their worth and be as open and transparent as possible. It's either that or they'll see to exist.
  11. HCTRA is not a private company. It's a democratically approved enterprise by Harris County. People wanted / voted for this as the state of Texas was constitutionally prohibited from building / running toll roads. If you don't like it or disagree with its mission/function, then I would try to start a ballot initiative in Harris county to repeal its existence. However, as of the late 2000's (I can't remember what year) the state of Texas now has the ability to build roads as tolled facilities by initially floating bonds and using tolls to service said bonds. In addition, the state of Texas can go further and actually give a private company exclusive rights to a tolled facility if they design and build the road in state owned / purchased ROW. So if you get rid of HCTRA, most likely you'll have less local control and possibly have private companies running the toll roads..... which is exactly what you're getting with 288. That's not a HCTRA project, that's a TxDOT project. The portion in Brazoria county is not, however. That is the Brazoria county analogue to HCTRA. If you take the state's ability to build, sanction, or run toll facilities then you have no new roads. So if your gripe is with toll roads in general, then bitching about HCTRA is sort of misplaced. Tolls fill in a funding gaps. Current tax levels cannot support the maintenance on existing roads. To be able to service current roads and build new ones for the growing population would require a large increase in taxes through some sort of increased registration fee, gas tax, mileage tax, or carbon tax of some sort. If you're not ok with that, then HCTRA and TxDOT have to fill in the funding with something.... like a usage fee.... which is exactly what a toll is. There are arguments that say this is actually the fairest way to fund roads as those who use it, pay for it. There are a lot of nuances to this argument. "tolls=bad" doesn't scratch the surface.
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