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Anyone notice heavy traffic in the morning this week? I drive south on the north freeway and it's slow the entire time.

Where is all this coming from? People who lost their house now living in apartmants, rescue workers??

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Freeway traffic has been messed up since the first week after Ike. I figure it's caused by the traffic lights backing cars up onto the freeway. Just one or two flashing reds can slow the whole system down. I've seen in-bound traffic backed up on 59 out in Sugar Land most mornings.

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For street traffic, it has eased up now that more and more lights are being repaired - last week I was headed west on Braeswood and the traffic was backed up east of Main St. because of the signal out at Stella Link (half of this probably caused by people entering an intersection with working signals and getting stuck in it when the light changed). It took about 30-40 minutes to go two miles.

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I have to wonder how much of this congestion is attributable to the fact that TranStar's system is still only partially functional. We're essentially suffering a decrease in systemwide throughput because people can't find out where traffic is the lightest and take that route instead of a more congested route.

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740 just said from the woodlands to the north loop is an hour and twenty minutes. I think that's usually a 45min-1hour morning drive, right?

This morning was the worst yet. And, yes, it really was 1 hour 20 minutes. It's been bad since after Ike, but it seems to be getting worse, backing up further and starting earlier. It was slow today from 1488 to downtown, and full on stop and go from Spring Cypress to downtown. On a normal day at 6:30 am, the stop and go begins at West Road...11 miles closer in.

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I noticed it on the Katy this morning coming back from Sealy. Even with the new lanes open going inbound, traffic is pretty bad from Fry Road east to about Campbell. I also notice plenty of backups on the feeder roads and the on/off ramps.

Not only are some lights still off, apparently, but even among the ones that are "on", the timing is all screwed up. Also, the Katy's HOV lanes are closed to everything but buses for now, so that might be part of it, too.

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The Southwest Freeway has been brutal. Main-lane traffic now consistently backs up to Williams Trace in Sugar Land.

However, the worst part is the HOV. Today, the HOV completely stopped as soon as it went behind the barrier (right before the Beltway). I don't know if it's the sun in peoples eyes right after Westpark, or if it's just massive increase in HOV riders, but the HOV does not save ANY time anymore. It is stop-an-go the entire way. So frustrating.

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The Southwest Freeway has been brutal. Main-lane traffic now consistently backs up to Williams Trace in Sugar Land.

Yeah, I keep seeing that. I feel your pain.

As a data point, traffic in the opposite direction has been just fine. :P

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You commuters need to move in closer.

This storm just underscores how fragile a path you all have to your distant jobs.

As you long-distance drivers know far better than me, there are myriad "mini-Ikes" for the commuter: Rain/flood, minor power outages, wrecks,

pre-holiday traffic, 5000 new neighbors farther out (e.g., Hwy 290), hazardous spills, police chases, deteriorating concrete/giant potholes, "looks like a lost load of ____" (you name it) and even motorcades....

Ike/post-Ike is an opportunity for exurbans to reevaluate and join us as the rejuvenation of H-town continues.

I wouldn't care, but you traffic sitters are ruining our air just like the refineries...I'm just hoping you folks are less stubborn than, say, Lyondell Petroleum!

I live well inside the loop and traffic signal problems are so minor as to be an afterthought. It's cost me less than half an hour cumulatively since

Ike. I typically have a half-dozen or more easy alternate routes, even if there is a (rare) significant problem....unlike many commuters.

Because of the stupid, developer-driven growth unique to Houston over the last 50 years, there are gaping "holes" relatively close to town that are

now being exploited (e.g., just south of 610 and many other areas). This mindless, unguided growth has a wonderful unintended benefit rarely

available in other large cities. That benefit is INFILL OPPORTUNITIES where smaller projects literally "fill in" the holes left by the Mischer crowd,

the Kickerillo operation, and the good old anti-transit, pro-concrete Bob Laniers who prefer mega $, mega-sized projects in the sticks. Cheap land, economies of scale = Rich(er) developers. Congrats to them and their rice-field conversions, where people wait with near-breathless anticipation for a freaking Target or the standard 6-8 national restaurant chain locations, while getting angry about the lack of MORE new road construction (and guess what - don't hold your breath, cause the road boom is mostly over).

If you live way out and that's near your job - not talking to you. If you take transit - not talking to you. You are not the problem. If you are pulling your hair out because you work in town and are sitting at blinking/broken light (maybe the 5th in a row) and still have 20-40 miles of driving/waiting ahead of you, yes, I'm referring to you. Move in ! You are contributing to the increase in asthma rates among little kids. You are burning precious fossil fuels, to the delight of Iran, Russia and Venezuela. You are standing in the way to any shot at energy independence. You may be damaging your heart (breathing hours of exhaust and stress/anger). You are spending less time with your family. You are wearing out your car (@ 5 - 20 mph

with constant braking). You are at higher risk of deadly accidents. You are further from the best medical care; do you really want to rely on Life Flight

for a medical problem that happens to occur 6-9 am or 4-7 pm and is beyond the scope of the "regional" med center that you or an ambulance could

easily access?

I'm sorry for the lack of sympathy, but the sprawl has been detrimental to EVERYONE'S quality of life in our region including those of us who didn't participate. I'm hopeful that Ike's painful aftermath will be a catalyst for change because of the avoidable ADDITIONAL hardships for those who thought 200 mi./wk urban commuting (just 20 mi. to work) was a smart decision. It's not for the common good, that's for sure.

There are other, smarter options. Join us! You will have hours a week to pat yourself on the back for a smart decision (hard to do behing the wheel...)

I hope the lights are restored soon.

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I'm sorry for the lack of sympathy...

If you were, you wouldn't have posted this.

... but the sprawl has been detrimental to EVERYONE'S quality of life in our region including those of us who didn't participate.

Please read Robert Bruegman's "Sprawl: A Compact History" before making such claims. Thank you.

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I never considered the problem of non-working traffic lights until I talked to some Houstonians in Warrenton/Round Top the other day. Are those intersections being treated as 4-way stops? Or is someone directing traffic though them?

I always thought manual traffic control would be a good use for otherwise useless METRO Bus Cops. Any time there is a wreck or stalled car on the freeway, I think they should send a Bus Cop out to control traffic around the incident.

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I never considered the problem of non-working traffic lights until I talked to some Houstonians in Warrenton/Round Top the other day. Are those intersections being treated as 4-way stops?
most of them are however seems like many end up being a free for all with the aggressive drivers going first.
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Please read Robert Bruegman's "Sprawl: A Compact History" before making such claims. Thank you.

Since all 30,000 daily visitors to HAIF can't possibly check out that book at the same time, perhaps you'd be kind enough to outline its relevance to and implications for the discussion at hand.

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You commuters need to move in closer.

I don't think it's as easy as that. The cost of property inside the loop is much higher than the suburban areas, so that would make it difficult for many people to transition here. This is especially true for those with families and expectations of a backyard, etc.

Also, I agree with you in theory, but even living inside the loop would be very challenging without a vehicle. Most inner-loop development is quasi-suburban. And the traffic inside the loop is already bad enough!

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I don't think it's as easy as that. The cost of property inside the loop is much higher than the suburban areas, so that would make it difficult for many people to transition here. This is especially true for those with families and expectations of a backyard, etc.

Also, I agree with you in theory, but even living inside the loop would be very challenging without a vehicle. Most inner-loop development is quasi-suburban. And the traffic inside the loop is already bad enough!

This response is a good example of why this is such a complicated issue. A couple of points come up --

First, the notion of property costing more the closer one is to the urban core. This is often true. However, it is also often true that the poorest people live closest to the urban core, and this is also a common stereotype.

Second, the idea that if everyone moved closer or inside the Loop that getting around would be problematic. This brings up the fact that if everyone moved closer, the density might increase to the point where cars wouldn't be necessary for a substantial portion of the population.

I think all this might be evidence that Houston is developing into a "ring city" which was discussed at length in another HAIF thread. The result is an inner core of well-off people, surrounded by a ring of poverty, then another ring of middle class developments, then the rural poor, and then the rural affluent.

It'll be interesting to see what Houston is like in ten years to see if this turns out to be true.

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Nah. He should just read it.

Then you don't make much of an argument. That's like him saying, "You should read Silverman's 'The Decline and Fall of the Suburban Myth.'" It does nothing to advance the discussion. If you're not advancing the discussion, what's the point of even posting?

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I think all this might be evidence that Houston is developing into a "ring city" which was discussed at length in another HAIF thread. The result is an inner core of well-off people, surrounded by a ring of poverty, then another ring of middle class developments, then the rural poor, and then the rural affluent.

Houston used to be a classic ring city, but the gap is filling in quickly.

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Then you don't make much of an argument. That's like him saying, "You should read Silverman's 'The Decline and Fall of the Suburban Myth.'" It does nothing to advance the discussion. If you're not advancing the discussion, what's the point of even posting?

Why are you telling me how to do this?

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Houston used to be a classic ring city, but the gap is filling in quickly.

More like the ring is expanding outwards, with the donut hole being filled in.

I agree that even the inner loop is quasi-suburban in nature. It feels more suburban than, of all places, Los Angeles. Not that I mind, just that people shouldn't refer to the inner loop like it's Chicago.

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Memebag:

You've got nothing, just like the editor implies.

I've read (skimmed, to be honest) the book you "hang your hat on". I change none of my claims.

Your retort is/was useless (as pointed out) given the nature of this forum.

Maybe some of your meds are combining in a way that turns you, um, peculiar ?

Your attack on my comment "I'm sorry to be unsympathetic" underscores my speculation about med problems: "If you were, then you wouldn't have posted this". Huh? What? Let me break it down for you-slowly. I am not sympathetic. That's what I said. I am sorry (really) that I am not. The point you missed - wildly - is that I am urging people to move in closer to lessen pollution, help avoid the energy gun to head, and lead a life not dominated by planning commutes, among other things. Sorry that sailed over your pointed head.

Actually the thesis within relates to INFILL and the unintended benefit of creating so much!

I've read a dozen or more books about suburban sprawl and/or urban renewal. Even the authors are equivocal about their tentative conclusions. It is a bit sad that you are hanging your hat on one book. I guess that beats reading widely and developing an informed opinion. My informed opinion is that Houston is almost unique in its growth pattern sans formal zoning, few geographical limits and rapid growth.

That's why your buddy's book is close to useless in this discussion...and why your tart little (very little) sniping invites disdain.

Next time refute, challenge, opine - whatever you can manage...and try not to get in over your head.

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Memebag:

You've got nothing, just like the editor implies.

I've read (skimmed, to be honest) the book you "hang your hat on". I change none of my claims.

Your retort is/was useless (as pointed out) given the nature of this forum.

Maybe some of your meds are combining in a way that turns you, um, peculiar ?

Your attack on my comment "I'm sorry to be unsympathetic" underscores my speculation about med problems: "If you were, then you wouldn't have posted this". Huh? What? Let me break it down for you-slowly. I am not sympathetic. That's what I said. I am sorry (really) that I am not. The point you missed - wildly - is that I am urging people to move in closer to lessen pollution, help avoid the energy gun to head, and lead a life not dominated by planning commutes, among other things. Sorry that sailed over your pointed head.

Actually the thesis within relates to INFILL and the unintended benefit of creating so much!

I've read a dozen or more books about suburban sprawl and/or urban renewal. Even the authors are equivocal about their tentative conclusions. It is a bit sad that you are hanging your hat on one book. I guess that beats reading widely and developing an informed opinion. My informed opinion is that Houston is almost unique in its growth pattern sans formal zoning, few geographical limits and rapid growth.

That's why your buddy's book is close to useless in this discussion...and why your tart little (very little) sniping invites disdain.

Next time refute, challenge, opine - whatever you can manage...and try not to get in over your head.

Personal attacks on other members doesn't belong on HAIF.

Let's keep it civil please.

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Some of the traffic would be people coming in from out of town to help. Our church is home to a group of people called Hilltop Rescue. They come and live in the church building, and go help wherever they are needed. I have seen several large groups on the news that are helping as well. We also have roofers, insurance adjusters, etc. in town now -FEMA, SBA agents, etc. I am sure that this isn't helping things.

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Did they give any reason? Is it dislocated coastal dwellers?

I heard it from a guy on sports radio. I emailed him and he said he heard it on the traffic report on Channel 11 yesterday. But he didn't give a reason.

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