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htownswami

Grand Parkway Expansion

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According to this video(LINK), it sounds like they want to have the Grand Parkway from 59 south to 59 north completed...in Four (stated at minute mark 1:36:37) years (Basically, ready for the Exxon's opening).

Fort Bend county will have bridges under construction later this summer/fall, 9 of them in their county.

Segment E (I think that's I-10 to 290) will be shovel ready, if they can take on the design work that's already in place, later this summer/early fall.

(Also, if you can watch the speaker, who I think is head of the Grand Parkway association, who spoke before the one at the 1:36 mark, it's a hoot)

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If Forbidden Gardens is any indication (closing to make way for Grand Parkway), some local businesses are expecting Segment E to be moving forward soon. Although I'm a little surprised that they are not extending 99 over I-10 right now (as far as I know), since they are currently building some connectors from I-10 westbound to 99 southbound and 99 northbound to I-10 eastbound at that intersection.

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Does this mean it's a GO?

The timely development and construction of the Project is a priority of the commission and the department as it will benefit the state and the traveling public and improve the efficiencey of the state's transportation system by enhancing mobility and operational efficiency, increasing safety, increasing economic development opportunities, decreasing air pollution, and enhancing quality of life in the Grand Parkway corridor.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED by the commission that the Project is authorized with CONSTRUCT authority.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the department is authorized to enter into agreements with the counties in which the Grand Parkway is located for the development, financing, construction, and operation of the Grand Parkway, subjec to the terms and conditions of the Market Valuation Waiver Agreement.

http://www.txdot.gov/about_us/commission/2011_meetings/documents/minute_orders/feb24/7.pdf

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Does this mean it's a GO?

Sure, if the 2003 passage of the METRO Solutions referendum meant that that was a go.

Which is to say...no. Not really. It's just one of many steps, with terms and conditions attached.

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Grand Parkway just got $350 million approved by the state. Next segment to be done will be Segment E from US-290 to Interstate 10.

[link]

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Is just me or does it feel like Grand Parkway construction moved into high gear immediately after Exxon started construction of their campus? Sounds like the timeline for completion of the half circle from Sugarland to Kingwood is on about the same timeline that they are.

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Funny how they spin it as "one step closer to reduced traffic congestion." As if a massive development ring is going to reduce traffic congestion.

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Funny how they spin it as "one step closer to reduced traffic congestion." As if a massive development ring is going to reduce traffic congestion.

Congestion occurs on and off of freeways. And even in uncongested conditions, at-grade roads are still slower than freeways, requiring repeated acceleration and deceleration, which is inefficient not only in terms of time but in terms of fuel economy and emissions.

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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!

There's another spoke that never got very far. Spur 5, it was supposed to go down to Alvin along Mykawa, any news on how that's going? IIRC, the La Porte freeway was supposed to penetrate farther into the loop but they killed it.

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By the time it starts expanding, will they have completed the Grand Parkway from Interstate 10W to 290? Seems like they would, given the construction in the area.

http://katytimes.com/news/article_06de35f8-dd5a-11e0-8f20-001cc4c002e0.html

According to this article from the Katy Times the timetable was 28 months from September 2011. So around January 2014 segment E should be complete.

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There's another spoke that never got very far. Spur 5, it was supposed to go down to Alvin along Mykawa, any news on how that's going? IIRC, the La Porte freeway was supposed to penetrate farther into the loop but they killed it.

It's still in HGAC's Regional Plan as a tollway.

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

I've hiked the stretch under construction from I-10 in Katy north to Hwy 290, and I can tell you for sure that it is more like 400 YARDS wide. It cuts a very wide swath through the countryside. The roadway itself is elevated with fill dirt to get above the prairie flooding, then you have shoulders on both sides, and then you have a wide drainage ditch beyond the shoulders, and finally another shoulder outside the drainage, before you get to the new pasture fencing. Or you can just drive the already-completed stretch from I-10 going south to Sugarland, and look at how wide that is.

Highway 99 - Katy Prairie

by John Rich

These photos have been taken during my hikes along the new section of Highway 99 (Grand Parkway) which is under construction from Interstate-10 north to Highway 290. The general theme is the contrast between human construction and the natural beauty of the Katy Prairie. During this spring season, wildflowers were in profusion, and quite beautiful. Come see the prairie beauty, before it's gone...

https://picasaweb.go...5JYK&feat=email

Edited by John Rich
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really enjoyed the photos John. Guess this will all be neighborhoods, big box stores , chain restaurants, and strip malls soon?

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really enjoyed the photos John. Guess this will all be neighborhoods, big box stores , chain restaurants, and strip malls soon?

I'm sure it will take a few years for all this to come true, but no doubt it will, as developers take advantage of the new super-highway surrounded by "empty" land. Glad you enjoyed the photo album.

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It absolutely disgusts me. All that private farmland, gobbled up. Also, whenever the new "ring" is finished, it's gonna look like a damned bullseye from space. Greeeeaaat, that's exactly what an oil and gas powerhouse city needs, is a target on it's freakin' forehead. :unsure:

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Well at least the aliens will know where to aim their photon torpedos when the invasion begins.

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Why would they build a highway when there is no one there?

...for the people who are going to BE there in 10 years.

...and for the people who want to go from the new Exxon Campus, Woodlands and Spring to Katy, Cinco Ranch and Sugarland without having to get on a super crowed Sammy/Beltway 8.

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Why would they build a highway when there is no one there?

To make it profitable for developers to build on the Katy prairie. Remember the Grand Parkway was planned long before Exxon announced its Woodland campus.

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Why would they build a highway when there is no one there?

The timing actually had a lot to do with the decade of construction work that has only just begun on US 290. Beltway 8 to I-10 is already a preferred alternative just due to pre-construction congestion, but that detour is going to become much more heavily utilized in the next few years and they want an alternative to the alternative.

Edited by TheNiche

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The timing actually had a lot to do with the decade of construction work that has only just begun on US 290. Beltway 8 to I-10 is already a preferred alternative just due to pre-construction congestion, but that detour is going to become much more heavily utilized in the next few years and they want an alternative to the alternative.

Spot on... for once we agree!!

An alternative to the alternative's alternative. But the central question remains... when does this cycle of Sprawlmageddon stop?

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Spot on... for once we agree!!

An alternative to the alternative's alternative. But the central question remains... when does this cycle of Sprawlmageddon stop?

It wont.

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To be fair, Grand Parkway has been planned for over four decades. This is a planning map from the 70's.

houston_1971_merged.jpg

Edited by WestGrayGuy
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But the central question remains... when does this cycle of Sprawlmageddon stop?

LTAWACS is right. It won't stop. It'll only slow down when as it leap-frogs over Austin's sprawl into the hill country.

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To be fair, Grand Parkway has been planned for over four decades. This is a planning map from the 70's.

If they planned that far ahead for the grand parkway, I wonder if they have other plans outside it for the future?

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If they planned that far ahead for the grand parkway, I wonder if they have other plans outside it for the future?

http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/DevelopRegs/mobility/MTFP.html

there's that, but basically, I am guessing by 2243 that Houston will be visible from space as a big target as the ring roads expand.

there's also this site which has a pretty good historical reference point for freeways, which I believe is where that map is hosted.

http://www.texasfreeway.com/houston/historic/freeway_planning_maps/houston_historic_maps.shtml

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If they planned that far ahead for the grand parkway, I wonder if they have other plans outside it for the future?

There are.

I've seen documents and maps from Waller and Fort Bend counties that depict the "Prairie Parkway, a new freeway which would connect from Highway 6, north of Prairie View, over 290, and then south across Waller County, across I-10, across the Brazos River, skirting the west side of Rosenberg along Spur 10, and then taking an eastward jog toward where the Fort Bend Parkway would be extended across the Brazos River and past Segment C of the Grand Parkway.

EDIT: Oh, and the route was most recently revised and re-approved last month.

http://www.thewallertimes.com/pdf/04april/thewallertimes_04_25_12.pdf

Edited by TheNiche
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Why would they build a highway when there is no one there?

It is simply false to say there is no one there. Take a look at Google maps, people.

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It is simply false to say there is no one there. Take a look at Google maps, people.

Okay, here's a screenshot of Google Maps. You wanna know what I see? I see private property, being stolen by the county/state. I see farmland. I see green grass, fresh air, and peacefulness. I see no neighborhoods. I see no "people", except for the ones that are being bent over, and shown where the wild goose goes...

Capture99.png

Edited by Blade Runner

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The working assumption seems to be that additional population can best and only be accomodated in sprawling surburban tract develpments. If that is the case then we certainly do need more freeways built through vacant prairie.

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Houston will stop growing outward when we run out of land, which is never. As long as people can buy a cheap house on a large piece of land with decent schools, sprawl continues.

Also, with the price of oil hovering around $100, Houston will be the place to be for a long time. People come to Houston for a chance to get ahead. Our cost of living is ridiculously cheap compared to other parts of the country.

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Okay, here's a screenshot of Google Maps. You wanna know what I see? I see private property, being stolen by the county/state. I see farmland. I see green grass, fresh air, and peacefulness. I see no neighborhoods. I see no "people", except for the ones that are being bent over, and shown where the wild goose goes...

Capture99.png

I guess one sees what one wants to see.. And no more. What is Fisher Estates? What is Katy Prairie Estates? What is Hidden Forest Estates? What is Griffin Estates? What is North Katy Terrace?

Further, take a look to the eastern side of the screen shot, where it shows areas almost completely developed. The area that will be served by the Grand Parkway is clearly in demand for development and the development has in fact already started.

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Here is a link to Waller County's new map of the proposed Prairie Parkway. Can' find Ft. Bend County's version yet - but would like to see the aligment as I live about a mile from where Spur 10 is being extended south of Highway 59. They are acquiring/clearing the land for the Spur 10 extension already - but as far as i know the immediate use is a Rosenberg bypass for Higway 36 - especially when there is a hurricane-a-coming. I had the hardest time going anywhere due to the Runaway Scrape from Brazoria County for Ike.

http://ww2.co.waller.tx.us/RoadandBridge/WallerCounty_MajorThoroughfares_2012.pdf

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I guess one sees what one wants to see.. And no more. What is Fisher Estates? What is Katy Prairie Estates? What is Hidden Forest Estates? What is Griffin Estates? What is North Katy Terrace?

Further, take a look to the eastern side of the screen shot, where it shows areas almost completely developed. The area that will be served by the Grand Parkway is clearly in demand for development and the development has in fact already started.

Obviously you have never been out in that area - it's immaculate and untouched. Like it was before Columbus came and ruined everything. Like it was even before the Native Americans who did no evil that came across the Alaskan land bridge to spread their joy upon the glorious land. Nothing but buffalo and whooping cranes as far as the eye can see. In fact I may have even seen a wooly mammoth or two while driving around out there!

Except - umm - there are no roads since it is a pristine wilderness- so i was offroading in a totally non-destructive environmentally-friendly way.

Yeah, that's it.

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LTAWACS is right. It won't stop. It'll only slow down when as it leap-frogs over Austin's sprawl into the hill country.

So will they try to close all their ancillary roads and keep Houston drivers confined to the main throroughfares like Bellaire does?

I'm personally looking forward to the day when I can move to Schulenberg and take either Metro to DT Houston or VIA to the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

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Do they need more than 2 lane roads? Yep.

Do they need a freeway now? Nope.

Will they need a freeway in 20 years? Probably.

I'm all for building it now, cause it will cost less to build now than in 20 years when it will be needed.

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The working assumption seems to be that additional population can best and only be accomodated in sprawling surburban tract develpments. If that is the case then we certainly do need more freeways built through vacant prairie.

The working assumption is that people will continue to choose to live in single family homes with significant lots, as they have been doing for 50+ years. The further working assumption (really more like a working fact) is that with a population growing by 130-150,000 per year, there is not enough land within highway 6/1960 to accommodate that growth over the next 20-50 years.

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But people say one thing when asked a survey and do another when their money is on the line....

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To throw something into the mix:

http://www.houstonto...kable-urbanism/

More specifically (in this survey), about the shift in where people want to live, etc., which is found in the last paragraph.

Still 47% prefer single family homes with a big yard... And as Pleak mentioned, the survey respondents don't take into account the price difference. A lot of people prefer the "idea" of urban living in a smaller or attached home walkable to many things. But when they come to the Heights, etc.... they get sticker shock and driving everywhere looks pretty good.

But even if we assume that means only 47% will actually live in single family/big yard/drive everywhere situations, that means 60-115,000 NEW residents every year wanting such housing. Even assuming 4 residents per household (which I think is a bit high), that would be 15-29,000 ADDITIONAL single family/large lot residences every year.

Edited by Houston19514

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I find it interesting how, here in Houston, we pour billions of taxpayer dollars into building highways and no one bats an eye. However, when we try to build a ~$1 billion rail system, people cry "waste of taxpayer money, etc." The mentality is so different here than in most large cities.

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The working assumption is that people will continue to choose to live in single family homes with significant lots, as they have been doing for 50+ years. The further working assumption (really more like a working fact) is that with a population growing by 130-150,000 per year, there is not enough land within highway 6/1960 to accommodate that growth over the next 20-50 years.

I don't get it.

Are you suggesting that every person moving to Houston over the next 20-50 years is going to want to move to points west/northwest of town?

That's a very narrow view of Houston, and not giving people who would move here enough credit. If you want to be absolutely and completely shocked, take a look at northeast Houston, over around lake Houston.

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