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Grand Parkway Expansion

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Just read in the chronicle-

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/m...politan/3003806

that the county may start planning the extension of the Grand Parway loop to run from Katy, I-10 west, north all the way to 59 east in Kingwood I guess.

Does anyone have any details on what the plans for this are in terms of what communities it will pass through(Tomball Woodlands?). Not sure how much traffic this will ease in existing roads but it may be an investment in future development.

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Yes, we (members of the opposing group, Save Our Spring) received word of this upcoming vote in Harris County Commissioner's Court to take place next Tuesday. We have asked for (but not received, as of yet) any further clarification or insight into this from the Grand Parkway Association. To learn more about the efforts in the Spring/Klein/Cypress/Tomball areas to stop the Grand Parkway, you can go to: United To Save Our Spring

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********************************************************************

Questions & Answers about: The Grand Parkway

********************************************************************

The Northampton Neighbor newsletter posed the following questions to Robin Sterry, assistant to the executive director of the Grand Parkway Association. (This is going to be published in the February issue of the Northampton Neighbor, but in light of recent developments, will be disclosed now.)

QUESTION: What can you tell me about what is happening with F-2?

ANSWER: Currently, the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) is underway.

QUESTION: Has the route changed in any way?

ANSWER: At this time, since we are updating information to address impacts to all the alignments as well as investigating other alternatives, no changes to the route have been made. However, once all of the studies are complete there could be a change.

QUESTION: Is the alignment still south of Spring Stuebner?

ANSWER: As of this time, yes, but as I mentioned in the question above, it is possible that the alignment could change.

QUESTION: When will the SEIS be completed?

ANSWER: We are anticipating that the release of the SDEIS could be in the summer of this year.

QUESTION: When is the anticipated public hearing, if one is to be held?

ANSWER: The public hearing will be held approximately 30 to 45 days after the release of the document.

QUESTION: Has the project been taken over yet by any other entity, such as HCTRA or the TxDOT Toll Road group?

ANSWER: No.

QUESTION: Where is the funding coming from?

ANSWER: As with all of the segments of Grand Parkway, funding was dedicated from the counties and the Texas Department of Transportation for the preliminary studies including the environmental process. Grand Parkway is a place-holder project for future construction dollars, but none have been committed to at this date.

QUESTION: When can we anticipate seeing bulldozers out here?

ANSWER: Construction could begin in the year 2008.

QUESTION: If the alignment is to remain south of Spring Stuebner, what will that mean for Ronnie and Cathy Matthews' development, Northcrest Village, that is in the end stages of grubbing and clearing the land for their planned subdivision of 720 homes?

ANSWER: After the studies are complete, a recommended route will be chosen. That route will utilize best practices of environmental studies of avoidance first, then minimization. Since I do not know what that answer is yet, it would be difficult to predict impacts to Northcrest Village.

QUESTION: Is there still a possibility that the Grand Parkway, Segment F-2, is being considered as a leg of the I-69/TTC?

ANSWER: I have attended the public meetings for I-69/TTC and what I have learned from those meetings is that they are still considering Grand Parkway as an alternative since it was part of the I-69 legislation. However, the requirements for I-69/TTC (specifically available right of way) are far beyond what is available along any of the Grand Parkway alternatives. I would encourage you to participate in their process as well as the process for Grand Parkway.

QUESTION: Have any routes been considered north of Spring Creek and into the Woodlands, South Montgomery County area?

ANSWER: Since alternatives were presented to the Association by the public as well as Representative Riddle, we are in the process of studying those alternatives.

QUESTION: Where are they looking?

ANSWER: A few alternative alignments were presented, including the use of FM 1488 and SH 242. These are all being investigated.

QUESTION: Do you still anticipate that the Grand Parkway will be a tolled road?

ANSWER: With the current Texas Transportation Commission, yes.

QUESTION: If so, at what rate?

ANSWER: I don't know. None of those discussions have taken place.

QUESTION: Do you still think that the Grand Parkway will still be primarily used by light passenger car traffic, and not by eighteen- wheelers?

ANSWER: Yes, very few of the eighteen-wheelers are looking for a way to bypass the Houston Metropolitan area. Most have either an origin or destination in Houston due to a number of factors; the ship channel, industry, retail, the port, etc.

QUESTION: When can we see the updated aerial photographs taken out of the proposed alignment?

ANSWER: Those have just been flown (since fall is a better time with the leaves off of the trees) and they will be available in the SDEIS.

QUESTION: Has the leadership on the Grand Parkway Board of Directors changed in any way?

ANSWER: No.

QUESTION: Who are the current board members?

ANSWER: William F. Burge III, Robert C. Brown III, Guy Harrell, John Chiang, Edward Poole, Lori Klein Quinn, and Clive Runnells.

QUESTION: Has any decision been made to possible on ramps and off ramps locations along Segment F-2?

ANSWER: Yes, tentative locations have been proposed based on utilizing Alignment D, which could change and the access locations could change as well.

QUESTION: If so, where are these specifically located?

ANSWER: For Alignment D, they are SH 249, FM 2920, Kuykendahl Road, future Ella Boulevard and IH 45.(Editor

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Maybe he owns some farm land 50 miles from downtown he wants to sell, and a developer will snatch it up once the GP passes nearby.

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Okay... I'll take the chance on this last comment...  Why do you think that the Grand Parkway is a good idea?

Well, because extending the "spokes" of the Houston freeway system is a good idea. It will mean suburbs like Missouri City and Katy can prosper, and they will have additional retail stretch possibilities. In general, it means that the Houston area cam grow out more to the west, and I have always liked sprawl. After all, look where I live :wub: . Not that it's completely good, it is financially harmful, but so is not taking chances w/ sprawl. If you have sprawl, you have lower costs of real estate, which inflict lower costs of living. Chances are in cities (like Little Rock or Tulsa) that your cost of living will be lower than your average wages, meaning you have an excess of purchasing parity. :o

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If you have sprawl, you have lower costs of real estate, which inflict lower costs of living.

Until there are shortages of gas.

Anyway, who cares about Katy and Missouri City? There's plenty of open land within the city of Houston.

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Well, my home state will only benefit from this. There will be natural gas for cars to run on, which there is an abundance of in Texas, and Oklahoma.

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Well, because extending the "spokes" of the Houston freeway system is a good idea

You are SOOOO right!

However, the Grand Parkway only creates more wheels, not more spokes on the wheels. And, hey, for the uniniated, the Grand Parkway only extends to 59. It's dead in the water after that. So much for the circle they all envisioned. That's because it has always been a developers dream, nothing less, nothing more. Tomorrow in Commissioner's Court should be a real hoot!

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Tomorrow the Harris County Commissioner's Court is set to vote on and approve spending millions of dollars on an engineering firm to draw up schematics for the sections of the Grand Parkway that are still awaiting publications of their environmental impact studies this summer. Why would HCTRA do that? Number one, because the developers out here are building homes right directly in the path of the Grand Parkway. Why aren't they disclosing that the Grand Parkway may be built where these homes are going? Because they are not held to the same rules Realtors are regarding Full Disclosure. Number two, because HCTRA is worried that TxDOT is not moving fast enough to secure funding or routes. And number three, probably the scariest to the HCTRA; the Grand Parkway Association has been directed by federal law to seek out alternate routes in the Montgomery County area, which they are now doing. HCTRA does not want the route to move out of county boundaries; they don't want to have to do any deals with Montgomery County who is becoming more and more transportation savvy. Yeah, Grunt right back at you, buddy! See you in Commissioner's Court, or not! :) (Something tells me you ain't from around here anyway, now are you?)

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Tomorrow the Harris County Commissioner's Court is set to vote on and approve spending millions of dollars on an engineering firm to draw up schematics for the sections of the Grand Parkway .....

I'm glad to see HCTRA taking action. Northwest Harris County is going to fully urbanize with or without the Grand Parkway, and we'll just get a lower quality of life and more inefficient transportation options (eg FM 1960) is the Parkway is not built.

Also, the Grand Parkway is needed south of the Woodlands where it is presently aligned, not north of the Woodlands. If the project is left to TxDOT, I think it will be moved. In fact, in the long run I think the Harris County alignment and another limited-access facility near FM 1488 will be needed.

I'm not sure what you mean about Montgomery County become savvy. Do you mean that they see a profit in the tollway and would like to have it to themselves?

Nothing is final until it is built, so I don't consider this a final decision. The window is closing due to the heavy urbanization of the area, and there's just enough time to get the job done. If the Parkway is built, future residents of the area will be thankful.

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Tomorrow the Harris County Commissioner's Court is set to vote on and approve spending millions of dollars on an engineering firm to draw up schematics for the sections of the Grand Parkway that are still awaiting publications of their environmental impact studies this summer. Why would HCTRA do that? Number one, because the developers out here are building homes right directly in the path of the Grand Parkway. Why aren't they disclosing that the Grand Parkway may be built where these homes are going? Because they are not held to the same rules Realtors are regarding Full Disclosure. Number two, because HCTRA is worried that TxDOT is not moving fast enough to secure funding or routes. And number three, probably the scariest to the HCTRA; the Grand Parkway Association has been directed by federal law to seek out alternate routes in the Montgomery County area, which they are now doing. HCTRA does not want the route to move out of county boundaries; they don't want to have to do any deals with Montgomery County who is becoming more and more transportation savvy. Yeah, Grunt right back at you, buddy! See you in Commissioner's Court, or not! :) (Something tells me you ain't from around here anyway, now are you?)

Grand Parkway or no Grand Parkway, let's rebuild the inner city roads first. That can be done at a fraction of the cost of Grand Parkway!

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I agree with that development will come to NW Harris with or without Grand Parkway. I actually believe that beltways get TOO much credit in the sprawling of cities. Sometimes it's just raw (perceived) costs. Sure, one could argue that "a home may be cheaper on Mason than it is on Memorial but you'll make up the difference is gas", but there are just some costs that people seem to deal with regardless.

Also, because of Houston's polycentric nature, development that far out is a matter of manifest destiny. I can't remember the guy's name, but I remember a person in the Chronicle saying that Houston should do all it can to have "super-communities" a la the Woodlands with 60,000 residents, jobs, and retail along the Grand Parkway. The more I think about it, the more I prefer it to no building the GP and people moving out there in any fashion, especially with the GP having very few exits and virtually no feeders. It won't be as dense as a rail station, but access points to the GP will be prime locations for the next master-planned communities.

Remember, Austin had the attitude of not building freeways and hoping that the sprawl wouldn't come, but it came anyway. Now Austin will get those same freeways, except they are decades late and will have toll booths on them indefinitely. Phoenix is sprawling out of control to its north, with development occuring far north of its outerloop, which was finished not too long ago. Orlando is another big sprawler that is now trying to catch up with the development by placing overreaching tollway loops around its development.

Ironically San Antonio, IMO, with a very good freeway network (with no substantial centerline mile additions in a long time), may be the least sprawled major Texas metro.

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Northwest Harris County is going to fully urbanize with or without the Grand Parkway
so your reasoning is; why not just hurry that whole urbanization thing along and get it over with already?
and we'll just get a lower quality of life
yeah, the quality of life we have now is just a little too darned good right now, and that whole Grand Parkway thing that will split our community in two will just make all our lives easier, especially with that exits spaced 10 miles apart?
the Grand Parkway is needed south of the Woodlands where it is presently aligned, not north of the Woodlands
I'm sorry, but I missed the part where you actually tell me WHY?
If the project is left to TxDOT, I think it will be moved.
From your lips to TxDOT's ears...
I'm not sure what you mean about Montgomery County become savvy. Do you mean that they see a profit in the tollway and would like to have it to themselves?
in a word, yes!
There's just enough time to get the job done.
Max, maybe you just need to come on out here sometime, IT'S ALREADY TOO LATE, and it's been too late for thirty years!
If the Parkway is built, future residents of the area will be thankful.
Man, are you dreaming, I really expected better b*s* outa you! You really think those future residents will be thankful that they get to hop on this magical road and go where ....Sugarland, .....Katy. Yeah, that's definitely worth the price paid! I'm really surprised you just keep parrotting the same tired tripe that spewed forth from David Gornet for years as justification for the project. Even he gave up trying to peddle that crap out here after a while. Of course, their official website doesn't reflect those changes, so maybe you missed that.

You know, just wondering here; how many of you who have responded over time to the Grand Parkway problem are 1. at least 30, 2. own a home in northwest Harris County, 3. have children in the Klein ISD (extra points if you actually know where Hildebrandt and Klein Oak are!). I'm guessing at least ONE of you...

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You know, just wondering here; how many of you who have responded over time to the Grand Parkway problem are 1. at least 30, 2. own a home in northwest Harris County, 3. have children in the Klein ISD (extra points if you actually know where Hildebrandt and Klein Oak are!). I'm guessing at least ONE of you...

I fit all of the above. I am opposed to the development of the Grand Parkway as it stands now. It WILL negatively impact the quality of life for residents of Spring. I applaud Debbie Riddle in the stands that she has taken concerning this project. I continue to be confused about the other politicians who support the developers and ignore their constituents who live in established neighborhoods who would be impacted by the Grand Parkway. I guess they are listening to money -- not people.

When I posed my question a few post ago I was curious to see what would cause someone to continue to support the development of the Grand Parkway (especially the current F-2 alignments) with all the information that is available on the web as to the impact it would would have on current Spring residents in the path of the alignments, as well as areas along other segments of the Grand Parkway.

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Pineda,

While I commend you and the other residents of Spring for your will to stand for your neighborhood, you have to understand that most people outside of Spring will not quite understand your perspective, simply because they don't live there. On the other hand, if more people see a benefit in something in *their* lives, then they will speak out about it.

I said this before, but I highly doubt the folks in Spring feel as vigorously as the folks in Alvin do about the GP's alignments in their city. And you can't be expected to because you don't live in Alvin.

Same principle applies in lots of cases; e.g. some people think that the US spends too much on defense, well, if you cut costs, you could also end up closing bases which are the economic lifebloods of several communities (like my hometown, which is still on life support after our base--which was the home of the Military Police School and the Chemical Weapons School--closed in 1999), but around the country, people think that the costs are cut. I also heard a man once say, "it's easy to be liberal or conservative in abstract, but you know how yoou are when you're confronted with an uncomfortable situation". Or how about the people who live in areas that become gentrified and have to leave. Most in a community will feel like that area is coming up and a positive for the city--but those who were forced out have a different tale to tell.

Sorry about the babble but I hope you get my point--outside of you, adagio, and other Springers, most Greater Houston residents will feel like they know what's best for the community on a macro scale, including yours on a micro scale--and you will likely disagree. You're not the first group of people and likely won't be the last.

So, do what you feel will help your community (thus your interests), but don't expect others to fully relate, just as you can't always fully relate to other people's struggles.

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I think I'm outside the loop on this one. (ouch... did I just say that?) I definately need to put some time aside and read through all the info pineda has posted on this topic.

I used the projected corridor from sugarland to katy a while back to take my parents to see that Forbidden City museum. I remember thinking that it seemed convenient but also wondered how useful it was going to be and just how expensive. Is it projected to releave much stress on the inner rings? Reminds me of electron shells... each layer has slighly more energy but has to spred it relatively thin over the greatly increasing surface area. ie reduced returns.

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While I commend you and the other residents of Spring for your will to stand for your neighborhood, you have to understand that most people outside of Spring will not quite understand your perspective, simply because they don't live there. On the other hand, if more people see a benefit in something in *their* lives, then they will speak out about it.
I understand that point completely, thank you so much for bringing that up! I just came from the Harris County Commissioner's Court where the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of spending $6 MILLION for a schematic of the Grand Parkway. It was discussed and someone mentioned that Gary Trietsch of TxDOT has said that the redundancy of these studies in addition to what processes the Grand Parkway Association is already going through, is in fact a waste of taxpayer dollars for doing what the GPA has already been charged to do. Wow, a waste of YOUR HARRIS COUNTY TAXPAYER DOLLARS! Get your attention yet?
I said this before, but I highly doubt the folks in Spring feel as vigorously as the folks in Alvin do about the GP's alignments in their city. And you can't be expected to because you don't live in Alvin.

Not sure why you decided to pick (of all places!) ALVIN! They had their own unified coalition called STOPGRANDPARKWAY! They were very well-funded and covered by the media in that area, so I'm afraid I'd have to correct you there.

So, do what you feel will help your community (thus your interests), but don't expect others to fully relate, just as you can't always fully relate to other people's struggles.

I'm sorry if I've upset you with my voicing of my very strong opinions on this issue. I actually love it when people on this board disagree with me and force me to defend my stances; it's great practice when I have to stand toe-to-toe with Senator Jon Lindsay, Commissioner Jerry Eversole and Judge Robert Eckels. So, thanks for being my "target practice", it came in especially handy today! :D

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I don't really think development will come, for 10 years, if we don't build this freeway. Not enough exits? In my own hometown, they are adding exits onto a freeway that zips by my house, you can ADD the exits. The only thing that they will really, really need is a feeder road, a Houston staple.

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I don't really think development will come, for 10 years, if we don't build this freeway.
Not sure I even understand what you're trying to say here. Please clarify.
The only thing that they will really, really need is a feeder road, a Houston staple.

Not sure what it is you call home, but the last legislative session in Austin, Tx. saw a move away from feeder roads, no longer a Houston staple, I'm afraid.

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By development, of coarse I meant S P R A W L

And, Houston was the city that began pioneering the feeder road concept in the 60's.

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By development, of coarse I meant S P R A W L
I don't really think development will come, for 10 years, if we don't build this freeway.

I don't really think sprawl will come if we don't build this freeway. So, you think sprawl won't come if we build this freeway? Is that right? There's a little concept called "induced development". Ever heard of it? "Build it, they will come."

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Let's study this sentence structure...

"I don't really think development will come"

This is stating the main point of the sentence

"for 10 years"

This is clarifying the conditions, because the author of this sentence believes it will come either way, but that this will speed up the growth.

"if we don't build this freeway"

In other words, stating that the main point, will happen if we do this, which is not building the GP.

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Yes, Sooner or later. But... we can speed up growth in West Houston, and that would place Houston a couple years ahead. Also, will there be another good opportunity to atleast get this laid down, look at FM 1960 (HWY 6) that is what happens when you wait to long, and the Spring area residents get in the way of highway construction. Notice that no other area is protesting this...

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we can speed up growth in West Houston
And this would be a good thing because....
that would place Houston a couple years ahead

Ahead of what?

will there be another good opportunity to at least get this laid down
Their opportunity to "get this laid down" passed by 30 years ago.
the Spring area residents get in the way of highway construction

Yeah, those pesky Spring residents. Why don't they just let the politicians determine what is in their best interests? They DO know best, don't they?

Notice that no other area is protesting this...

Actually, every segment of this has been protested. You're just noticing this one because it's happening now, and we get really good media coverage! :lol:

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Spring residents fail to block Grand Parkway

By BILL MURPHY, Houston Chronicle

Despite pleas from a group of Spring residents who oppose the road, Commissioners Court gave the Harris County Toll Road Authority permission today to spend $5.6 million to plot out a 52-mile section of the Grand Parkway in north Houston.

The county has yet to commit to building the section of the Grand Parkway, a 182-mile super loop around Houston that has been planned for decades. The Texas Department of Transportation will make final decisions on expansion of the Grand Parkway, and the county would need TxDot's approval before it could build the section.

The Spring residents say one proposed route for the toll road would divide subdivisions in their town, cut across a high school baseball field and provide no relief to congestion on local roads.

"The more I know, the less I like," said Connie O'Donnell, a member of United to Save Our Spring. "I think it is and always has been a developer's dream of a highway."

Commissioner Jerry Eversole, whose Precinct 4 includes Spring and most of the other areas where the section would be built, said the road is needed to provide solutions to the area's current and future traffic needs.

"It still goes back to I think it's the right thing to do. It has nothing to do with selling homes or building shopping centers," Eversole said. "The solution will be to build the road, to take the consequences and, if it means my defeat, then it means my defeat."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(In other words, to hell with what my constituents want, I'll do as I damn well please, and they'll just have to learn to live with what I've done to them!) <_<

HoustonChronicle.com -- http://www.HoustonChronicle.com | Section: Front page

This article is: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/3008546

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Let's see... if I look at the map posted on the United to Save Our Spring website. The proposed route for Segment f-2 of the Grand Parkway would go through Hildebrandt Intermediate and possibly Klein Oak High School. It would be in front of Northampton Elementary School then continue through the middle of Northampton subdivision. Am I reading this map correctly. If so, is there anyone at the Commissioner's Court thinking clearly?

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Yes, Sooner or later. But... we can speed up growth in West Houston, and that would place Houston a couple years ahead. Also, will there be another good opportunity to atleast get this laid down, look at FM 1960 (HWY 6) that is what happens when you wait to long, and the Spring area residents get in the way of highway construction. Notice that no other area is protesting this...

I don't think any other area is protesting it because no other area is going to get mowed over by this thing. The completed sections of the freeway extend from 59 to a mile past I10. When they started building this section it went through nothing but farmland. Drive down this stretch now and you see nothing but subdivision developments. If it continus past I10, it will still go through nothing but farmland until you get to the Cypress area. Then you will have to mow down homes and split communites.

I look at it this way: Sure it sounds great, no feeder roads and few exits, but for how long. Like the current stretch, once the road is there come the people. The people notice the freeway and try to use it. Few entrances and exits, more cars trying to get to those exists and entrances. More cars less access, more frustrated people. More frustrated people, more complaints to officials over why not enough exits. More complaints to officials, a new plan to widen the Grand Parkway and add more entrances and exits and while we'e at it we'll throw in a feeder road or two.... so i can earn more and do more coke.

The best way to deal with a junkie is to lock them in a room so withdrawal can set in. I say we lock in the county commisioners in one of the MetroRail trains.

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"The solution will be to build the road, to take the CONSEQUENCES and, if it means my defeat, then it means my defeat."
Jerry Eversole

Oh, don't we all wish it would be that EASY to get rid of you, Jerry! <_<

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I have no pity for those who buy their homes based on the placement of a nonexistant road. It's no secret that home developers build along roads that can't handle the needed capacity because they know that later the rest of us will have to pay through the nose to fix things or watch these places turn into slums.

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That's not true. The nation's best small city, according to Universal Publications, is a city that is comprised of rolling hills, some neighborhoods, and nothing but 2 lane roads leading to where these people work.

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The nation's best small city, according to Universal Publications, is a city that is comprised of rolling hills, some neighborhoods, and nothing but 2 lane roads leading to where these people work.

I'm sorry, Sooner, but did you mean to say "Universal STUDIOS"? JK......

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Pineda - I have looked at the map on the United to Save our Spring again and believe I was reading property lines for roads. Is there another map out there that show how this particular alignment will continue going eastward? Were the maps shown at the meeting today updated or the same old material used for public hearing for F-2?

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Actually, there were no maps shown or used before the vote was taken and approved for $6 MILLION DOLLARS. This map that you are now referring to seems to be without an author. Art Storey, Mike Strech, Jerry Eversole all clammed up when asked who came up with the map. The Grand Parkway Association claims to have never seen it, even though their symbols were clearly on it. So, we don't know who came up with it. But, since it was a recent aerial and very well-done, I'm guessing the guy who WASN'T in attendance today and has been enjoying some private meetings with developers in this area (that would be Senator Jon Lindsay) is the co-author of the map. As to where it extends eastward, since no one will even claim knowledge of the map, even with HCTRA, GPA and TxDOT symbols on it, who knows? Maybe we'll find out more at the TxDOT meeting to be held this Thursday in Houston near the Galleria.

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I don't think the people of Spring are against the Grand Parkway altogether, they just disagree with the current alignment options. I've seen suggestions to push the road further north into Montgomery County.

Pineda, I think you misunderstood my comments regarding Alvin. My point was that people in Spring can't be expected to be as zealous about the southern part of GP through Alvin, just as people in Alvin or anywhere else can be expected to be so exciting about opposing "just" segment F-2. I know Alvin has its own website and coalition standing against GP.

Speaking of that site, Alvin's people are against building GP for reasons e.g. traffic, pollution, crime, and ending their 'rural' lifestyle. But they would rather the money be spent on widening current roads? You get the same problems in either case. One four lane tollroad or 12 roads crisscrossing your area that are 4-6 lanes wide--either way there will be pluses and minuses.

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My company manages and assiste developers in MUD 368 just east of SH 249 along Tomball road. A 5 level stack is planned between the grand parkway and SH 249 in this area. The aligment is known through the MUD currently and we are designing the developments around there to accompany the proposed parkway. One ramp will pass over a church parking lot at 249. The alignment will parrallel just south of Boudreaux Road in this area.

Developers that have good relations with TxDOT, GPA, the City of Houston, and Harris County know where the primary location of the parkway will be placed. It is the responsibility of the engineer working with the developer to prevent issues like a proposed freeway that will destroy the development. Typicall a developer will not buy land that is under consideration for a freeway. Some will on purpose to force the government to pay more for the land.

In the spring area, the parkway will not bypass and go to the Woodlands. The bridge for the parkway is currently being built over Spring Creek by Riley Fuzzel Road. This bridge is being design to accomadate the parkway in the future. The bridge is being built as a flood and traffic improvement project along Riley Fuzzel Road across Spring Creek. But this was to get the money to construct the bridge early and go through the lengthy proccess of getting approval by the Army Corps of Engineers for crossing a major stream.

Also, the Grand Parkway in Chambers county south of I-10 to FM 53 is currently under construction. The freeway in this area is meant to pull truck traffic out of residential areas. A new industrial development of warehouses, port facilities, evironmental servicing firms are moving in as part of a planne port expansion to the Chambers County side of Baytown. This leg of the Grand Parkway will be a great benifit to the area.

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This advice may be unwanted, but here goes anyway--

I think the people who don't want the Grand Parkway, e.g. those in Spring and Alvin, whould have their organized groups focus on a list of priorities based on their goals and objectives. For example, 1st priority is no construction of the GP altogether. 2nd priority is to get all the mitigation you can if they decide to build it anyway, such as neighborhood sensitive treatments to the GP (decorations, planings, pedestrian and bike crossings, easements), maybe even try to convince them to make it below grade. A 3rd priority (and actually should go on during the entire protest) is how to maintain (what's left of) your neighborhood after the GP comes through there. I think strong neighborhood advocacy groups that really look out for the interests of the neighborhood and its well-being would prove vital to the upkeep of the area.

I'm sure most of these people own property and homes in these areas, so there is emotional attachment--otherwise they wouldn't fight so passionately.

My point is that if it looks like the GP will be built, don't give up on your neighborhood. You might have to fight a little bit more for it, but it's your home. GP might be a giant sour lemon to you, but hopefully some lemonade can still be made from it.

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I aggree completely with you GovernorAggie.

I really get aggrevated when neighborhood groups will protest something that is inevitable. If the groups would be prepared to work with the agencies, they can get more what they want in a good compromise. The village of Spring Valley had initial complaints of the Katy Freeway expansion in their area, but they worked with TxDOT to achieve a common goal. A few people protested that they wanted no widening of freeway. That goal is obviously impossible to achieve, but understanding the project, they can work issues out.

The Grand Parkway is the same way. The concept of this facility has been on the metropolitan planning commission's Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan for years. The construction was inevitable. If residents and business would attempt to understand the project, the reasons for it being built, and who is planning it, they can work with them and get a good solution.

Residents in Fort Bend and Western Harris County have been approaching it this way.

Portions of the unbuilt GP in southern Fort Bend County will pass through environmentally sensitive area. The residents and supporters of the wetland areas have been suggesting alternative alignments and path that don't completely bypass the sensitive portions of land, but instead just minimize the impacts. Don't get me wrong, they did propose a complete bypass option, but the cost and effectiveness of the new roadway would not justify the alignment.

The same issues are being addressed in western Chambers County.

Just wait until Montgomery and Harris County decide to extend the Hardy Toll Road to just south of Conroe. It's already in the planning phases. Developers that have already build in the path of the proposed road have alread taken into account the alignments and have left room for the road.

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kjb434, you seem to be well plugged-in to the developments on the Grand Parkway.

Perhaps you could elaborate on a couple items you mentioned and a few questions I have.

1. Are the contracts awarded this week mainly for engineering or is it a total restudy of the alignment? In other words, can we expect major alignment changes, or will they take the existing recommended alignment and just tweak it where necessary?

2. Will the corridor still be 400 feet wide if Harris County builds it (rather than TxDOT)?

3. Do you know if there is any plan to give the corridor true parkway characteristics? By that I mean not clear-cutting the corridor but instead leaving a wooded median, similar to I-45 north of Conroe? It seems to me that would make the highway much more acceptable to local neighborhoods.

4. In terms of the stack at SH 249 and SH 99, is that a long-term plan or can we expect to see some or all of the ramps built in the initial construction phase?

5. For the Chambers County section currently under construction, do you know if Ric Williamson and his henchmen on the commission are going to force that section to be tolled? It would seem absurd to me to toll it, since it would attract neglible toll-paying traffic and could possibly kill off development in the industrial areas nearby. www.fireRicWilliamson.com

Thanks.

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The Katy Freeway widening caused a major spike in property taxes for Spring Valley residents because of the loss of their most valuable properties. They didn't get a compromise, so much as they got steamrolled.

The Grand Parkway project hardly seemed inevitable until it was added to the maps recently by those with lots of land to sell in the West. It was nothing but a crude plot to direct the region's fortunes into their own personal pockets.

I've never seen any evidence that this excessive sprawl is healthy for the community, btw. Cities that enact urban growth boundaries around their perimeters, such as Portland and those in New England, enjoy communities that are many times healthier than the city of Houston. Ones that have let sprawl take over (Los Angeles, Detroit) seem to be decaying from the inside out.

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I'm not really familiar with any of the current specs for the layout of the "F-2" (?) segment for the Grand Parkway. From what I've gathered on here is that its going to cut through neighborhoods (existing or planned?) and schools.

What is the "Save our Spring" organization counter-proposing in lieu of the current layout? Is there a safe alternate layout for the GP up there or is it all already too developed and somethings just going to have to give?

27, Please visit our website at:

United to Save Our Spring

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