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Posts posted by ADCS

  1. 2 minutes ago, august948 said:

    What I find interesting about this photo is that the bar(s) appear to completely block passage.  Could be that it's an optical illusion, but that's what they should do at all crossings.

    Four corner gates at level crossings are required for all high speed rail (above 79 mph) in the US by FRA regulation

  2. On 8/31/2021 at 7:35 AM, scarface said:

    But look at Dallas? That's about as business as it gets. But there's no denying that a little bit of flash helps that city stand out.


    That's just it - Dallas has always sought the flash to attract its business (in the tertiary realm like finance and corporate HQs). Houston is driven by resource extraction and small business - two sectors notorious for penny-pinching.

  3. 40 minutes ago, BEES?! said:

    I’ve been seeing a lot of opposition to this over on Reddit (among other places), but I’m confused. I thought that segment 3 has been pretty heavily-supported overall, and it was mostly segments 1 & 2 that were in contention.

    I keep seeing people talking about lanes being added- do they mean the whole project, a specific segment, or is it the putting multiple freeways together and giving it a big footprint people are talking about? I was under the impression that txdot wanted to add managed/transit lanes but not much else. 

    Is the project still open for public comment, or did they close the surveys? What is the timeline they’re looking at right now?

    Everything is on hold for now. Reddit is mostly teenagers/early twentysomethings who parrot what the current trends are, and right now, to be reflexively against any freeway project is very trendy.

    • Like 1
  4. 17 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

    I presume you're referring to the Massey Tunnel replacement.  About $3.25 Billion USD for an 8-lane tunnel roughly 700 meters long.  Soooo.... somewhere in the ballpark of $85 Billion to do an 8-lane tunnel from the Beltway to the Loop.  Yeah, we should definitely do that.  🤣

    Oh, it's expensive, but it's feasible. Also, Texas is way richer than BC, so why the hell not?


    (because Texas is politically structured to favor the interests of small-to-medium business and resource extraction companies, and they derive no benefit from spending on anything more than the cheapest infrastructure)

    14 hours ago, Ross said:

    I don't think so. Any tunneling would be done by cut and cover, not actual boring machines. Cut and cover is hugely disruptive. Tunneling in Houston also has the issue of not knowing what, exactly, is underground. There are thousands of unpermitted water and oil wells from 100 years ago, and no one knows where all of them are. Europe typically does not have that problem.

    Europe typically has buried artillery shells from the last 150 years of warfare, a bit more hazardous than an old oil well.

    • Like 2
  5. 1 minute ago, samagon said:

    it's unconscionable that they wouldn't pull in experts from another source if they need some help

    As far as they're concerned (remember, this is engineer-thinking we're talking about), they don't need help - perfectly good in-house solutions already exist to the problem they're trying to solve. Bringing in consultants would be unnecessary expense, and there's no political will to cover that expense.

    • Like 4
  6. 26 minutes ago, Big E said:

    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" us just stupid. A freeway, by virtue of being a big slab of concrete, can be neither of those things. 

    I think TxDOT and TTI take a lot of pride in the solutions that have been developed in-state (not to mention, the local engineering companies and construction companies have a lot of pull in the Lege). However, given the lack of mountain highways or submarine tunnels built in the last 80 years, not much research into or experience from building tunnels exists within the state. That's why I think there's the bias toward cut-and-cover methods for depressed highways, rather than underground tubes.

    It's not geology either - Houston used to have two functioning tunnels (now just the Washburn), and near Vancouver, they're about to rebuild a tunnel through alluvial silt in the middle of a very seismically active area (needs to withstand up to MM9.0 earthquakes).

    • Like 1
  7. 1 hour ago, mattyt36 said:

    That thought also crossed my mind, but from how she's governed the past couple of years, I think she's way smarter than thinking some 1960s anti-freeway coalition (when miles of freeways were literally being cut through fully intact neighborhoods) is worth anything winning today.  I don't see how the headlines "30-Year-Old First Term County Judge Kills $10 Billion in I-45 Improvements and X Thousand Jobs" would create anything more than a political death sentence.  There are two kinds of seats she could grab . . . solid D or toss-up R.  In solid D districts, she wouldn't need these voters.  In toss-up R districts, it would only work against her.

    Or did you mean like a Cabinet-level position?

    Cabinet level, or high-prestige NGO job. It would be tough to win any statewide election.

  8. 3 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

    This makes sense.  I can't think of a politician saying no to $10 billion in what really can be thought of as free money to appease a very small constituency that won't be material in an election, especially given the support from Central Houston and downtown business interests.

    I'd really like to hear the "real story" of how we got here.  And, while the City may be proposing alternatives now, what was it doing 5 years ago?  I can understand TxDOT frustration with an about-face.  I also don't understand why TxDOT would take a "take-it-or-leave-it" approach for any reason other than posturing.  I feel like I follow it closely enough, but the Chronicle articles haven't been particularly enlightening.

    As a former State Rep, Turner has a history of working well with the State (which I feel is a tremendous asset).  Can't say the same about Hidalgo, though, and with Abbott going full DeSantis, who knows, maybe his next move will be to pick a stupid fight with someone the GOP recognizes is a rising Democratic star over a highway project just to try to torpedo her in 2022.

    I get the sense that Hidalgo, while well-intentioned, is absolutely setting herself up for federal office of some sort. Opposing a highway project in a time where that action gets you high-profile attention does that. Working on the bread-and-butter aspects of improving regional mobility doesn't, since that just involves being a quiet facilitator.

  9. On 6/26/2021 at 9:21 AM, BeerNut said:

    HSR maximum curve radius at speed are often incompatible with highway RoWs.  Brightline in FL plans to build in RoWs. Their trains will be travelling at less than half the speed and the corridors aren't as developed as I45(I assume that's the one you're talking about).

    I think some of attitudes expressed are just another manifestation continuing divide between rural and urban areas.  Personally I have no property on proposed route but the one family I do know is excited about the possibility of selling.  As discussed earlier in this thread I think the people that wouldn't mind selling are staying quiet because it's such an emotional issue.   If my friend's parents didn't tell them till I brought it up...

    I wonder how much the people in this area care about the train...


    Ding ding ding. The *neighbors* want to stick it to the folks in the big cities, or try to wrench concessions from TSR. The people on the route are getting way more than fair-market value for what's essentially pastureland. The cries of "the poor rural landowners" are almost entirely disingenuous.

    • Like 3
  10. 3 hours ago, Ross said:

    There are a lot of people in rural areas who don't want to lose any of their property, even if it's just an easement. A friend who has 530 acres near Victoria had to give in and sign the papers for a pipeline easement after his attorney told him that it wasn't worth fighting. So, he now has a 2400 feet long 50 feet wide clear cut easement running diagonally through the most wooded part of his land. He did not want the pipeline, he didn't want the money, he just wanted his land left alone. The pipeline could have changed the route to run along the road, but that might have cost them more, so screw landowners. The construction also destroyed an entire hunting season on the most productive portion of his land, running from mid-November through March.

    I don't think you can speak for all of the affected landowners and claim they are just holding out for more money. You don't know them, you have never met them, and you have no clue how the rail might impact them. You just sit there in your chair, holding up a big middle finger to them and their lives, simply because you want your life easier. 

    The rail should have been routed along the freeways to minimize impacts on rural areas. After looking at the maps on the project site, it is obvious that their claim that they would use existing power line easements is a lie. Their own maps show them taking right of way adjacent to the power lines, requiring the removal of millions of trees. So much for being green. Here's the alignment  map page https://www.texascentral.com/alignment-maps/

    I am not affected by rail. I will never be taking rail to Dallas, since I will continue to drive to get there, which costs far less than any of the proposed fares. If it gets built, and fails, then the investors need to lose every damn dime they put in it. 

    Pretty damn presumptuous of what and who I do and do not know, aren't you?


    And I do hold that middle finger high, because their entire scope of life is that they owe nothing to anyone beyond their own small community. I reject that entirely, and despair that it takes the force of state to bring them around to the folly of that view.

  11. 19 hours ago, Ross said:

    It would help if the people who want TCR built no matter what had some empathy for the people who will lose land they didn't want to sell, probably at below market price because that's what usually happens, rather than just saying "F the landowners, me getting to Dallas on rail is more important than their feelings".

    If those folks weren't consistently sabotaging what people in the cities want, with their outsized political influence, maybe, just maybe, their crocodile tears would get through.


    But this has never been about landowners who don't want to sell - they don't exist (since it's just an easement they're selling - any opposition is negotiating for a better deal). It's the neighbors who are annoyed that they aren't getting a cut of the pie in any sense that are trying to scuttle this. Just petty rural politics.

    • Like 3
  12. On 5/7/2015 at 7:30 AM, ADCS said:

    Makes you wonder why they didn't expand the Richland Curve down to Streetman to three lanes (or at least, the possibility of quick expansion by restriping) 10 years ago when they reconstructed that segment. Lack of funding, I'd guess.

    Isn't it funny, they expanded it three years after I posted this.

  13. moo, Houston isn't naturally beautiful. There are plenty of other great cities that don't have much when it comes to nature, either - but they do build up their human environment to make up for it. As noted, Houston hasn't really invested in that until the last 20 years or so - it was a city only an engineer could love. That seems to be changing; Memorial Park in particular is a true vision.

    • Like 5
  14. 3 hours ago, tigereye said:

    I like the High Line conversion idea for Pierce Elevated. Could be an area for jogging trails, outdoor movies or amphitheater. Under the overpass could be used to stage a covered Farmers Market for the growing residential population of Southern Downtown and Midtown. And the overpass doesn’t take up the full block between Pierce and Gray. That leaves the Gray portion as developable with direct connections to the overpass as an amenity. 

    But I understand TXDOT’s funding mechanism for the overall project by demolishing the overpass and selling the land. 

    Maybe we find a compromise. Leave the Pierce Elevated standing and redevelop this portion from the Jefferson/Pierce/Bagby split to Main St. Let Main St be a gateway terminus for Pierce Elevated Park. Demolish the Pierce Elevated south of Main St and sell the land. 


    There's no compromise to be found in leaving the structure standing. It's either there, or it's gone.

  15. 3 hours ago, samagon said:


    right, the whole point of getting rid of the pierce elevated is that it is a kind of block between midtown and downtown.


    whether there are cars or trees on it, it is going to have the same effect.


    if we're going to displace as much of the east and north around downtown to re-route 45, get rid of every remnant of the pierce elevated structure. just get rid of it.

    Agreed. Selling the land is the only way TxDOT is going to offset some of the cost of the structure, too. This isn't a High Line situation where the linear park combines with a significant improvement in pedestrian infrastructure.

    • Like 4
  16. 2 hours ago, bulldog said:
    Funny that this thread just woke up again. I was about to post on it myself. I found out how the sneaky tear-down project came about in the first place.

    Public Works lied publicly about the origins of the tear-down project, which covered up the fact that the whole thing was initiated by one person in the Mayor's Office. Public Works was completely blindsided with the tear-down initiative by the Mayor's Office. The Brazos Street bridge tear-down proposal was just the start and Public Works threw in the Bagby Street closure as a bonus after the project landed in its lap.
    There was an orchestrated effort by people in the Mayor's Office to manufacture "public support" for tearing down the bridge, by leveraging influence over the various Management Districts, TIRZs, and other local advocacy entities (Rice Kinder Institute, Bike Houston, etc.). All of the initial community support (Kinder Institute, Public Works' proposal, endorsement by the TIRZs and management districts, endorsement by Westmoreland and Annise Parker, etc.) all came AFTER it had already been decided by people in the Mayor's Office that they wanted to tear down the bridge and BEFORE any attempt was made to have a public announcement or meeting.
    Regardless of your opinion on the bridge tear-down itself, you have to understand that this whole attempted project was a product of our corrupt local government.


    One of the most frustrating things about the Turner Administration has been the lack of transparency and the dishonest way it has been attempting to pursue initiatives.

  17. At the very least, they need to give it a sense of place. Right now, the Texans have the most generic branding in the NFL, and NRG shows it. I really get the sense that their marketing since 2002 has been no more than "slap a Texans logo on it, that's good enough". Fits in with Houston's conservative business culture, but it's nowhere near modern.

    • Like 2
  18. No, because Randall's is Albertsons now, and that's not working.


    The late-'80s to early-'90s mid-range grocery store market segment really doesn't exist anymore. Price-conscious shoppers go to Walmart or Aldi, while people willing to pay a premium for better selection and nicer stores will go to H-E-B, upgraded Kroger stores, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, etc.

    • Like 2
  19. On 9/27/2019 at 7:44 PM, arbpro said:

    When this first broke I told you it would never happen. A few said I was delusional, that UT was boss and what it wants, it gets. Well, how did that work out? And even now, you continue to miss the point. There was NO objection to UT having a "research facility" but when renderings were leaked disclosing athletic facilities and diverse campus facilities, the true motive for the site was obvious. What was objected to was UT intending degree programs already offered by another public university. That constituted a waste of taxpayer funds and the motive therefor could only be to dilute the strength of the other public university. So if you are going to complain, be relevant. 


    This parochialism is why Houston continues to self-sabotage. Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia all do fine with several major research universities nearby.

  20. 20 hours ago, Houston19514 said:


    There might be a case to be made for your plan, but tearing down the Embarcadero does nothing to support it. The Embarcadero was not a through-freeway, it was little more than an extended exit ramp; same for the Central Freeway.


    The better comparison is the no-build on 95 north through DC. The Beltway is a beast, but the only real choke point is the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.


    I also don't think replacement of the Ship Channel bridge is all that much of an issue. It's nearing the end of its service life already, and will almost certainly be replaced within the next 25 years.

    • Like 2
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