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Could an over or underpass for Westheimer at railroad crossing?


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I think again, that if they were redo 610 west loop, the rail would go IN the median, as there's no spurs down that section. That way, there's no need for an overpass/underpass. I wonder if BRT could work on right of way...

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@IronTiger

 

While your logic is sound and has been done in other cities. I would also look at those cities and data will tell you that commuter rail which is attached onto highways like that under performs because they are out of the way from people who will use them most.

 

You need to look at this from an out of the box point of view. Commuter rail is suppose to bring people straight to the heart of the city or straight to main districts of a city not to circle it like a highway and be as far away from people who would be able to access it. Not to mention putting it next to highways is making a statement saying "yeah we are doing rail, but it still subservient to cars!" When implementing any kind of rail program you have to make it it's own distinguish entity. One thing which is going to convince people to take public transit is for the city to make a statement that they are dead serious about it!

 

In fact there have been numerous studies on this including our own lightrail system! Currently our Redline lightrail is the best performing lightrail in the nation because it is integrated with the fabric of the urban environment and doesn't just go from park and ride to park and ride (which you still need a car to get too....so whats the point of rail at that point -.- ).

 

There is no easy way out of this. It has to be tackled head on. Rail has to be woven into the fabric of the city not elevated or embedded in a highway.

 

BRT can not be a replacement for commuter rail. Like everything else it is but a cog in the whole machine. An efficient well performing public transportation system has LAYERS!

 

Its like this:

 

High speed rail: services interstate travel or super fast (premium) intercity travel

 

Intercity rail: services travel between cities. It is a tad slower than high speed rail and makes more stops inbetween.

 

Regional rail: services (in our case) All of Harris county and surrounding counties and facilities travel in our region and gets people into the main areas of houston and other places for that matter

 

Lightrail: because of the type of ground we have under us. Subway would be here but we simply can't do it unless we encase the whole dame thing in concrete and have enormous bell piers under it. LightRail should service inter-district or inter-area needs with many stops so it can service as many people as possible. Its local rail and eventually there should be many of these at least lightrail on major streets.

 

BRT: essentially a trojan horse to bringing better transit to areas of town. BRT can be a permanent or temp solution where you are trying to build a reliable public transportation base.

 

Buses: services neighborhoods and is gets people from the inner parts of neighborhoods, districts, or even suburbs and towns, and gets them to the options above.

 

Layers in Transportation is important which is why we fail at it so hard! We try to find the easy quick solution and this isnt the case. You have to create an ecosystem that draws people to the service 

Edited by Luminare
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Rail in the middle of the freeway wouldn't be for passenger--the rail services freight and that's what it would continue to do. No spurs, no stations. I think that "easy quick solution" is "adding LRT down major roads" which is a bad idea in many aspects as it slows down light rail, screws up traffic patterns, and throttles major thoroughfares. The reason why it's done this way is primarily because the ROW is cheap (not ridership numbers--that's just an estimated number to bring in funding). As for "comprehensive transit system" that's been discussed many many times and has been decided that at best, a traditional system that would funnel into downtown wouldn't work because Houston is spread out. However, this not the space to discuss it.

 

The original topic was if an underpass or overpass for Westheimer could be done, and NO, the way the OP is describing it will NOT work for this purpose:

 

A lot of reasons. I've driven under that Villa Maria underpass many, many times. For one, there was generous right of way for a detour on the road and rail part, with the detour Villa Maria on the golf course. Explain how that could be done on Westheimer without major ROW demolition.

 

Secondly, the railroad there parallels a recently closed-in drainage ditch, something that could make an underpass problematic at best.

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Agree with many of your points. All completely valid. Definitely not an overnight thing. With the densification of the city its something that should be revisited.

 

----back on topic----

 

Yes underpasses wouldn't work because of the situation I stated previously not to mention the grade separation the road the slope needed to achieve this would be very disruptive to street level.

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  • 6 years later...

All these years later, I wonder if opinions have changed on this topic with all of the development that has happened in the area. I was just in the area admiring all of the new developments then I looked over and see a a train stretching across Westheimer. That really ruined the vibe, I don’t care what anyone says, the train needs to go. The 4th largest city in America deserves better then to have a small town train crossing that goes through one of its premier streets in one of its premier areas. 
 

Just my opinion. Don’t hate me for speaking the truth. Come on Houston! Fix this!

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4 hours ago, citykid09 said:

All these years later, I wonder if opinions have changed on this topic with all of the development that has happened in the area. I was just in the area admiring all of the new developments then I looked over and see a a train stretching across Westheimer. That really ruined the vibe, I don’t care what anyone says, the train needs to go. The 4th largest city in America deserves better then to have a small town train crossing that goes through one of its premier streets in one of its premier areas. 
 

Just my opinion. Don’t hate me for speaking the truth. Come on Houston! Fix this!

The only way that's going to get fixed is if they rip up that section of track.

Truth be told, I like seeing trains in an urban environment.

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15 hours ago, august948 said:

The only way that's going to get fixed is if they rip up that section of track.

Truth be told, I like seeing trains in an urban environment.

I like trains in urban environments as well, just not country a** Union Pacific trains. I like subway trains. Lol

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12 minutes ago, citykid09 said:

I like trains in urban environments as well, just not country a** Union Pacific trains. I like subway trains. Lol

Freight trains are much more interesting to watch.  Not sure what's particularly country about a freight train, though.

 

After all....

 

Seal_of_Houston,_Texas.svg

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26 minutes ago, citykid09 said:

I like trains in urban environments as well, just not country a** Union Pacific trains. I like subway trains. Lol

Country a** Union Pacific trains help move and make this city. I guess we ought to keep freight trucks off of pretty Westheimer too? 

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yeah, for the amount of freight that moves through Houston and surrounding, ports, not much option than to have serious railroad crossings.

the area is a quiet zone, and trains usually book pretty fast.

it's not like the east end where you are just as likely to see a train parked on a crossing for 4 hours as you are to see a clear crossing.

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8 hours ago, samagon said:

yeah, for the amount of freight that moves through Houston and surrounding, ports, not much option than to have serious railroad crossings.

the area is a quiet zone, and trains usually book pretty fast.

it's not like the east end where you are just as likely to see a train parked on a crossing for 4 hours as you are to see a clear crossing.

It's also the opposite of a quiet zone, as you can usually hear around 2:45 am

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