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Big E

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  1. The car was always going to dominate development, because that was the standard nationwide, and federal and state policies encouraged it. And even if it didn't, that area wouldn't have been open country, anymore than the suburbs of Paris are open country. The mall is unsalvageable because it doesn't need to be; there are more than enough malls in the area to pick up the slack, between Willowbrook, Woodlands, and Deerbrook. Too much competition to make it viable. But the skyscrapers are quite viable for their continued usage. Not everybody is moving back into the city; in fact, the suburbs are still adding tens of thousands every year. Most people are still moving out to the suburbs, not the inner city (not to say nobody is moving back to the city) and with rising crime in many American inner cities, the trend towards suburban development may only accelerate.
  2. Its still privately funded. Private projects and businesses get loans all the time.
  3. Are you kidding me? They'd want to be here! Can you imagine the tax breaks?!
  4. As @mattyt36 said, I don't really get what your point is. What is your actual point here? Fact of the matter is, these are a bunch of businesses nobody cares about, and no, they don't make Houston great, at least not on their own. There are hundreds of businesses like them, many of which actually support this project. Should this one business which opposes this project, for its own selfish reasons, get more consideration than others which support it, for their own self-interested reasons? Yeah, that was slip of the tongue on my part. I didn't want to imply that they were "literally" just going to take the business from them, only that they were going to get hit with eminent domain. Except the main point of this project is not to add lanes. Segments 1 and 2 are mainly adding bus/managed lanes. Segment 3 isn't adding any lanes at all, only moving existing lanes to the other side of downtown, sinking a whole bunch of lanes below grade, and straightening the freeways. This segment for I-69 south of downtown is only sinking a freeway, not adding lanes. So this argument is completely pointless in regards to this project. In fact, I remember the old Keep Houston Houston blog criticizing the proposal years ago specifically because it didn't add any lanes, as it pointed out that one of the problems with the downtown ring is that it has far fewer lanes within it than the freeways coming into it and going out of it carry, which snarls traffic is you squeeze multiple lanes into tighter roads.
  5. Congratulations, you found one of the probably 500 optical businesses in the city. Will you post a picture of one of the car lots too? Also, it says Third Ward on that sign so I looked it up. They are right next to the section of I-69 that's going to be sunk between Midtown and the Museum District. Keep in mind, that's one of the sections almost everyone universally wants to happen and nobody has a problem with. I don't even know if their business is actually in danger of being taken, since that segment is not going to have expanded ROW, I don't think. Then again, the nearby Mexican Consulate is moving, so maybe they are taking it just in case. If these guys were smart, they would have already made plans to move to a different location anyway. Sinking the freeway here would be a net positive for all of the surrounding communities, and nobody actually opposes this segment, so these guys should just suck this one up and move. One business should not stop something that would benefit the larger region.
  6. In this case, I think it would. It would be a great help to the surrounding environment and community, allow them to work on the entire freeway without causing significant disruption to existing traffic, and remove any perceived issues of adding lanes or increasing highway footprint.
  7. Doubt we'll get anything "small". All the other vacant lots around there are huge, full city blocks. Big signature towers ahoy! Either that or a bunch of squat, boxy apartments, like the lots closer to the ballpark and freeway. As long as its not ugly, I don't really care what its made out of. Though glass is decidedly "in", as far as looks go.
  8. I mean, it would be a huge mega project, that's for sure, but they are literally building a far longer tunnel through freaking mountains in Europe, between Italy and Central Europe, so it can be done. A tunnel like that could probably get federal backing, since the idea of burying a massive eyesore of a freeway would be something a lot of the current crop of bureaucrats in Washington would probably get behind. But I would take them just burying I-45 through downtown in its current footprint, deep enough so that the area it vacates could be built over, and connecting Spur 527 to it via tunneling to remove the need for lanes connecting directly to I-69.
  9. Freeways also ran through parks, business areas, rich communities, downtowns, waterfronts, etc. They were pretty indiscriminate in what they ran through during that period, as the focus was to run the freeway in the straightest possible route from point A to point B. This is part of the reason why the freeway revolts started in the first place; nobody was safe from them, and even the prominent wealthy communities and neighborhoods had to sit up and take notice. Remember that the first major freeway revolt happened because New Orleans wanted to build a massive expressway through the French Quarter along the riverfront. I can appreciate that TxDOT lacks practical experience here. I can also appreciate that everyone remembers Boston's "Big Dig" and the right mess and a half that was. But the Big Dig worked; the freeway was sunk down, removing a massive eyesore from central Boston, capacity was added successfully, and a new East-West cross bay connection was added to the airport, taking pressure off the Central Artery. It was ultimately successful, despite the cost overruns, delays, leaks, design flaws, charges of poor execution and use of substandard materials, criminal arrests, and death of one motorist. We can learn from the failures of that project and know what mistakes to not make next time. The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement happened largely without (major) incident (there was one semi-major incident that stopped the project for two years) compared to the Big Dig. True, cars are toxic polluters, but the freeway itself is just a big slab of concrete; if it was mostly unused or underutilized, it wouldn't have much effect on the actual environment. They are moving I-45 to that side because there is literally no other place to effectively move it. Since TxDOT won't completely bury I-45, and I-69 isn't being moved, only sunk, that is the most logical place to put the new freeway. TxDOT are probably counting on the fact that they are sinking both freeways, and a possible future highway cap, as making up for this. If the cap happens, no matter how one feels about them moving the freeway to that location, its probably a net positive for the community in the end.
  10. Austin is no real model to anyone on anything regarding traffic, highways, or transit, considering how bad its own traffic issues are, directly due to its lack of major north-south and east-west routes, how terrible and broken its own street grid is, its persistent suburban sprawl, and lagging transit. I-35 is a mess and probably does need to be rebuilt, especially the double decked portion. But the one thing this article makes supremely clear is that TxDOT is deafly afraid of even attempting to tunnel a highway, and will always throw that idea out first. Which makes the fact that they aren't planning to cap I-45 and I-69 themselves make all the more sense. Also, calling a freeway "racist and toxic" is just stupid. A freeway, by virtue of being a big slab of concrete, can be neither of those things.
  11. I didn't even realize the needles were gone till you said something! Why did they take them down?
  12. I mean the actual positives of the project for people who will use the freeway (like trucks no longer running into bridges) are things we can calculate to some degree, regardless of whether people who will be using the freeway the most want the project or not. But in regards to that particular point, it must be pointed out that most of the known opposition to the freeway is coming from inner city interests, not suburban interests, and the general assumption by most people in regards to this highway, even in this very thread, has been that the freeway will mainly benefit three groups: 1) suburbanites and commuters, 2) intrastate/interstate traffic, and 3) crosstown traffic. Nobody's polled any of those people either, even though it seems to be the general consensus that it will benefit them, but those groups are not overwhelmingly or even minorly opposed to this project. And of course they will maintain the freeway as is, as they've continued to do while they were planning for this project. But that's irrelevant to the discussion. This freeway is old, outdated, and has tangible issues, which people have brought up numerous times in this thread. Not engaging this project means those issues don't get fixed, no matter how much preventative maintenance is done on the road. The Pierce Elevated is not getting any younger, and the North Freeway is still one of the most raggedy freeways in Houston. These issues remain, whether the road is still undergoing maintenance or not. However, if this project goes pear shaped, the state will take the money allocated to it and spend it somewhere else, more than likely in another more reliably Republican part of the state. The TxDOT is obligated to maintain the freeway. It isn't obligated to fix its issues, do anything else with it, or keep fighting with the city and county to get things done. They will just leave Houston holding the bag. So yes, this is a "you take it or you leave it" project. You take it as is, or the state reallocates the funds. The money will get spent, but it doesn't have to get spent in Houston.
  13. Which I've never discounted, nor have I ever seen anyone in this thread discount either, but I've seen people in this thread act like the actions of a few inner city politicians equals everyone in Houston opposing the project, not the other way around. I've also seen people try to discount the support provided by other such inner city politicians. It works both ways, and my point has always been that nobody has actually asked the general population how they feel about the project, and maybe they should.
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