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The Pierce Elevated/I-59 Redesign Thread

Pierce Skypark or Demolish Pierce Elevated?  

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  1. 1. Pierce Skypark or Demolish Pierce Elevated?

    • Pierce Skypark
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    • Demolish Pierce Elevated
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That seems rather silly.  Why not just extend the tunnel by a few feet and then you can put roadway shoulders. 

 

How come tunneled freeways work in other cities? 

 

Bummer, but sadly I knew there was no way TxDOT would consider the tunnel option anyway. 

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Disappointed, but not surprised at all.  If Boston could accomplish the Big Dig I'm not sure why the engineering challenge of a tunnel is so overwhelming in Houston. 

 

 

 

Vehicles would also face slower speeds in a tunnel, Perez said

 

Slower than what they are now?

 

 

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Even though the tunnel option is taken off the table, so to speak, it looks like there is still an option to turn the Pierce Elevated into a parkway??

 

Edit: I found my answer.

 

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs3/Segment_3_Alt_11_400scale.pdf

 

 

Interesting to see how they would fit and extra 6 lanes on the East End side.

Edited by urban909

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Pathetic. What's the point of having public comments if you just ignore them. This is very similar to the metro gm payments situation last year. At this rate out best hope for change is just for the old ruling generation to just die out.

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Pathetic. What's the point of having public comments if you just ignore them. This is very similar to the metro gm payments situation last year. At this rate out best hope for change is just for the old ruling generation to just die out.

 

That's outstanding.  The point of soliciting comments against several options is to assist in the process of eventually arriving at one option and then executing it.  I'm sure you'll disagree with this, but I'm going to hazard a guess that there were public comments in favor of several different options.  Therefore, somebody's comments are always going to be ignored.

 

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That's outstanding.  The point of soliciting comments against several options is to assist in the process of eventually arriving at one option and then executing it.  I'm sure you'll disagree with this, but I'm going to hazard a guess that there were public comments in favor of several different options.  Therefore, somebody's comments are always going to be ignored.

 

 

The majority of the comments favored the tunnel option.

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The majority of the comments favored the tunnel option.

 

I haven't seen any tally of the comments, so I can't comment on the truth of that, but it's still irrelevant because those comments don't consider cost and general feasibility of the project.  Comments are one factor in a decision nothing more.

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I haven't seen any tally of the comments, so I can't comment on the truth of that, but it's still irrelevant because those comments don't consider cost and general feasibility of the project.  Comments are one factor in a decision nothing more.

 

History shows what happens when the will of the people is denied. Also, I go to these meetings, I see what happens. It's insulting to see our comments thrown to the side. Why even have public comment sessions in the first place then?

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The majority of the comments favored the tunnel option.

 

Then the majority probably didn't understand the major risks involved with a tunnel option.  I didn't until I actually read about it.  People making comments say what they want, but people studying the issue actually know what's feasible and what isn't feasible.

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Then the majority probably didn't understand the major risks involved with a tunnel option.  I didn't until I actually read about it.  People making comments say what they want, but people studying the issue actually know what's feasible and what isn't feasible.

 

What are the major risks?

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TXDot shouldn't ever publish ideas that are not feasible.  That would be a waste of time and money.  The tunnel is doable -$$$$$$$- and will probably $ome day be con$tructed - if anything it allows a further zone that could flood in the event of catastrophic flooding (much like 59/69 and I-10 are designed flood ways).

 

That said, the Pierce Elevated proposal looks to be nixed in the one option they present.  It would appear that the intent is to lower I-45 to grade with the streets and I assume maybe run some over head or under the freeways?  If that's the case - my god!  That would be horrible!  I'd rather have the elevated than a freeway at grade.  Now if the do like 59/69 and sink it 20' below the feeder roads then that would be ok.

Edited by arche_757

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I called the mayor's office.

 

We need the weight of the city of Houston b/c obviously TxDOT could care less of what we the people think.

 

This is pathetic. From the chron article:

‘TxDOT spokesman Danny Perez said the tunnel was taken off the list of reasonable alternatives because of engineering challenges.

“There would be no available space for roadway shoulders within a tunnel,” Perez said. “This creates a safety hazard in the event of an accident and greatly reduces access for emergency vehicles.”

Vehicles also would face slower speeds in a tunnel, Perez said, defeating part of the purpose of the widening and its ability to handle the growing traffic demand planners predict.’

 

Like others said b/f, why was TxDOT proposing alternatives that aren't feasible? Why have public comment periods if they aren't going to listen?

I've got two major issues w/ the TxDOT hack's statement:

A.) All tunnels aren't the same size so the argument that there is not shoulder room for emergency vehicles is just a BS lie.

B.) What are they comparing the speed of the tunnels to? An at grade freeway of the same size? Ok, well I10 goes pretty darn slow. An elevated freeway? Well 59 has more lanes than 45 downtown and it goes pretty slow.

 

Mr Perez, don't insult my intelligence w/ your half baked, lazy excuses. TxDOT wants to just keep doing what it always does. Buy up more ROW and add more lanes. 

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^Don't expect them to give you any insightful moments either.

 

What I'm confused about - from your post DNAguy - is that there really aren't any shoulders on the Pierce Elevated now.  So there again, that idea from TxDot gets tossed out the window.

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^Don't expect them to give you any insightful moments either.

 

What I'm confused about - from your post DNAguy - is that there really aren't any shoulders on the Pierce Elevated now.  So there again, that idea from TxDot gets tossed out the window.

 

 

Exactly. There isn't really a difference btwn an elevated freeway, a trenched freeway, or a tunnel without shoulders. 

 

I was waiting for Mr Perez to follow his argument w/ the repeated refrain "it rains too much in Houston to have a tunnel' that I always hear when I talk about tunneling 45 in downtown. The ineptitude is staggering.

 

And I actually just spoke w/ a mayoral representative. We'll see if it makes any difference. At least I tried.

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From what I've read, conversion of the 45-10-59 loop into a roundabout is also off the table, as are the other tunnel proposals that were in the mix.  What remains are 

 - widening the existing Pierce Elevated and 59

 - make Pierce Elevated southbound only and route northbound on 59/10

 - demolishing it and routing all traffic on 59/10

 

 

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From what I've read, conversion of the 45-10-59 loop into a roundabout is also off the table, as are the other tunnel proposals that were in the mix. What remains are

- widening the existing Pierce Elevated and 59

- make Pierce Elevated southbound only and route northbound on 59/10

- demolishing it and routing all traffic on 59/10

The third option has pierce turning into something similar to allen parkway / memorial, correct?

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TxDOT wants to do it cheap, so they can make more money 20 years later by performing another patch job. 

 

A tunnel option is as viable as any other option, many cities throughout the world tunnel their freeways.  Sure it's expensive, but sometimes you gotta do it right, not cheap. 

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TxDOT wants to do it cheap, so they can make more money 20 years later by performing another patch job. 

 

A tunnel option is as viable as any other option, many cities throughout the world tunnel their freeways.  Sure it's expensive, but sometimes you gotta do it right, not cheap. 

 

I agree TxDOT wants to do this on the cheap. Making money off another patch job though? I really don't think so.

 

IF you mean that it's about maximizing and securing a revenue stream for maintenance or other projects, then you may be right. Why is there so much emphasis on HOT or multi use lanes? Because TxDOT wants a steady stream of $. If you under engineer the 'free lanes' (which is what they're doing here) you assure that ppl will use the tolled option. Then, TxDOT can get more $ to leverage more projects. Without toll roads TxDOT can't function now. 

Our years of bad tax policy is coming to roost by having TxDOT produce this drivel. 

 

It may also me even less sinister and more about overall incompetence. Does TxDOT have anyone that can accurately vet the tunnel options? What expertise do they even have here? The contractors that they use for a majority of their projects probably are less than qualified too. 

 

I imagine this is/was the thinking here:

Tunnel? UHhHHHhhhhh. Do you mean elevated concrete freeway with more lanes? No? I think you mean elevated freeway. You keep pronouncing elevated freeway incorrectly when you say tunnel.

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I agree TxDOT wants to do this on the cheap. Making money off another patch job though? I really don't think so.

IF you mean that it's about maximizing and securing a revenue stream for maintenance or other projects, then you may be right. Why is there so much emphasis on HOT or multi use lanes? Because TxDOT wants a steady stream of $. If you under engineer the 'free lanes' (which is what they're doing here) you assure that ppl will use the tolled option. Then, TxDOT can get more $ to leverage more projects. Without toll roads TxDOT can't function now.

Our years of bad tax policy is coming to roost by having TxDOT produce this drivel.

It may also me even less sinister and more about overall incompetence. Does TxDOT have anyone that can accurately vet the tunnel options? What expertise do they even have here? The contractors that they use for a majority of their projects probably are less than qualified too.

I imagine this is/was the thinking here:

Tunnel? UHhHHHhhhhh. Do you mean elevated concrete freeway with more lanes? No? I think you mean elevated freeway. You keep pronouncing elevated freeway incorrectly when you say tunnel.

No mention of a rail either, just more lanes. I had a feeling they would start stacking when room to widen ran out.

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No mention of a rail either, just more lanes. I had a feeling they would start stacking when room to widen ran out.

 

OK, but that's never been an alternative and this topic isn't about rail, so let's no hijack it.

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TxDOT wants to do it cheap, so they can make more money 20 years later by performing another patch job. 

 

A tunnel option is as viable as any other option, many cities throughout the world tunnel their freeways.  Sure it's expensive, but sometimes you gotta do it right, not cheap. 

 

In addition to the Pierce Elevated, I think some of the other tunnel alternatives thrown out there were a tunnel parallel with Jefferson, and one that basically followed the route of the downtown split down to 59.  

 

Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that.

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In addition to the Pierce Elevated, I think some of the other tunnel alternatives thrown out there were a tunnel parallel with Jefferson, and one that basically followed the route of the downtown split down to 59.  

 

Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that.

 

Nope, you're right:

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs/Universe_of_Alts_Seg_3.pdf

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs/Universe_of_Alternatives_Seg_2&3_aerial_1.pdf

 

Here's the main site TxDOT set up for the whole project

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/

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I've been thinking...  The best solution is to just not do anything with the existing Pierce.  Leave it be.  Saves money, and the Dot can build new lanes on 59/69 and I-10 that can act as Hot Lanes or something else to mitigate the nightmare that will be replacing Pierce with anything.

 

Traffic is going to ALWAYS be bad in a city with 6 million people.  Houston's downtown loops will ALWAYS have a lot of cars on them.  There is never going to be a 100% solution to end that congestion.  Placing 8 lane single route freeways around town will not change that.  People will still cause bottlenecks and worse trying to merge from the far left lane to the far right lane to make it onto 59/69 etc.

 

Sometimes the best solution is to simply let sleeping 800lbs gorillas stay sleeping.

 

A freeway is not always in need of upgrades.  Working on the surface streets around would have been a solution a long time ago, but that's probably out of the question now?

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In addition to the Pierce Elevated, I think some of the other tunnel alternatives thrown out there were a tunnel parallel with Jefferson, and one that basically followed the route of the downtown split down to 59.  

 

Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that.

 

That's correct.  Perhaps the tunnel option is still on the table with the 59 segment?  It's doubtful obviously. 

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There seems to be a belief among some here we live in a direct democracy and not a representative republic. In our system, the executive branch is responsible for various agencies which carry out the will of the people, as interpreted by the executive, in line with certain laws. These laws lay out the boundaries of authority for each agency, the process for implementing a project, and the aspects which much be considered for each project. TxDOT, which will receive federal money for any large they do, must evaluate impacts including:

-cost (since it is taxpayer money being used)

-performance (like Level Of Service for road projects)

-safety

-environment

-accessibility

-public comments

-etc.

 

The first three factors are paramount, as they should be, and that is why a majority of public comments favoring one project alternative holds little weight. More often, certain project alternatives are removed (as opposed to chosen as the preferred alternative) as a result of public comments. One example is the recent TxDOT plan to only take ROW at major intersections for widening I-45 between I-10 and I-610. However, it isn't and shouldn't be the main factor in picking the final alternative.

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I've been thinking...  The best solution is to just not do anything with the existing Pierce.  Leave it be.  Saves money, and the Dot can build new lanes on 59/69 and I-10 that can act as Hot Lanes or something else to mitigate the nightmare that will be replacing Pierce with anything.

 

The perfect is the enemy of the good. Just because a congestion problem won't disappear doesn't mean there shouldn't be projects to improve mobility - this goes for any mode of transportation, not just roads.

 

 

 

Traffic is going to ALWAYS be bad in a city with 6 million people.  Houston's downtown loops will ALWAYS have a lot of cars on them.  There is never going to be a 100% solution to end that congestion.  Placing 8 lane single route freeways around town will not change that.  People will still cause bottlenecks and worse trying to merge from the far left lane to the far right lane to make it onto 59/69 etc.

 

That's one reason I had hoped they wouldn't make 45 and 59 one-way. That, and one accident snarls even a wide freeway more than it does 2 smaller freeways.

 

 

A freeway is not always in need of upgrades.  Working on the surface streets around would have been a solution a long time ago, but that's probably out of the question now?

 

I personally use the surface streets more than the freeways (miles and days per year) and would love to see them upgraded, but as I understand it, the vast majority of streets are COH's responsibility and not TxDOT's. Separate budgets.

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There seems to be a belief among some here we live in a direct democracy and not a representative republic. In our system, the executive branch is responsible for various agencies which carry out the will of the people, as interpreted by the executive, in line with certain laws. These laws lay out the boundaries of authority for each agency, the process for implementing a project, and the aspects which much be considered for each project. TxDOT, which will receive federal money for any large they do, must evaluate impacts including:

-cost (since it is taxpayer money being used)

-performance (like Level Of Service for road projects)

-safety

-environment

-accessibility

-public comments

-etc.

 

The first three factors are paramount, as they should be, and that is why a majority of public comments favoring one project alternative holds little weight. More often, certain project alternatives are removed (as opposed to chosen as the preferred alternative) as a result of public comments. One example is the recent TxDOT plan to only take ROW at major intersections for widening I-45 between I-10 and I-610. However, it isn't and shouldn't be the main factor in picking the final alternative.

 

Good thing Jane Jacobs didn't listen to you, otherwise we would have two freeways plowing through lower Manhattan. People have power if they are organized enough. The east end blocked 225 from going to downtown.

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Good thing Jane Jacobs didn't listen to you, otherwise we would have two freeways plowing through lower Manhattan. People have power if they are organized enough. The east end blocked 225 from going to downtown.

 

It would be better if you could pause before your pre-packaged rants and read the posts, specifically:

 

"...More often, certain project alternatives are removed (as opposed to chosen as the preferred alternative) as a result of public comments. One example is the recent TxDOT plan to only take ROW at major intersections for widening I-45 between I-10 and I-610. ..."

 

What if 51% of Houstonians voted "Yes" on a referendum to put every freeway in a tunnel, while preserving the same number of lanes, but didn't provide for any funding mechanism for the project like an increase in taxes. Should that be implemented? Is it even possible?

 

Or on the rail side, what if voters approved the construction of 20 different subway lines in Houston to be built within the next 5 years? Is that feasible or possible? Wouldn't it also have effects on the community?

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It would be better if you could pause before your pre-packaged rants and read the posts, specifically:

 

"...More often, certain project alternatives are removed (as opposed to chosen as the preferred alternative) as a result of public comments. One example is the recent TxDOT plan to only take ROW at major intersections for widening I-45 between I-10 and I-610. ..."

 

What if 51% of Houstonians voted "Yes" on a referendum to put every freeway in a tunnel, while preserving the same number of lanes, but didn't provide for any funding mechanism for the project like an increase in taxes. Should that be implemented? Is it even possible?

 

Or on the rail side, what if voters approved the construction of 20 different subway lines in Houston to be built within the next 5 years? Is that feasible or possible? Wouldn't it also have effects on the community?

 

So what do you say when the majority of the comments favor an option and it's still removed, like the tunnel option here? Does the people's voice not matter then, because TXDOT is living in an alternate, antiquated reality? Sorry that's unacceptable to me.

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So what do you say when the majority of the comments favor an option and it's still removed, like the tunnel option here? Does the people's voice not matter then, because TXDOT is living in an alternate, antiquated reality? Sorry that's unacceptable to me.

 

Did I not make that clear earlier? For the reasons I listed earlier, public comment is not the sole factor in selecting a project alternative, nor should it be.

 

If you want to change this, stage a coup, install your own Congress, Supremes, make yourself the Prez, and rewrite the Constitution.

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^I actually wasn't clear on what you were trying to say either.

 

And there comes a time where "progress," as measured by moving dirt, and pouring concrete (or even just restriping a freeways lanes), doesn't actually equal progress.  What happens when I-45 is backed up by a major wreck and all southbound (or northbound) lanes are stopped?  What then?  Will we re-route to I-69?  Nope.  Because those lanes ONLY run in the opposite direction.  And you really don't want to send 8,000 cars through "Lower Washington" or by BBVA Stadium on a game night - adding to already poor traffic conditions.

 

I think we're looking at a zero sum game for any proposal of redoing I-45.  The only difference between what is still on the table, and the tunnel option -is the tunnel option provided aesthetic and urban planning improvements to re-connect a portion of the city long controlled by the shadow of an elevated freeway.  By moving that underground we gain open/public space at the expense of an ugly roadway being moved to out of sight.  That's the plus.

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Did I not make that clear earlier? For the reasons I listed earlier, public comment is not the sole factor in selecting a project alternative, nor should it be.

 

If you want to change this, stage a coup, install your own Congress, Supremes, make yourself the Prez, and rewrite the Constitution.

 

So we should all shut up and give in? Good thing east end activists and Jane Jacobs didn't have that point of view.

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^I actually wasn't clear on what you were trying to say either.

 

And there comes a time where "progress," as measured by moving dirt, and pouring concrete (or even just restriping a freeways lanes), doesn't actually equal progress.  What happens when I-45 is backed up by a major wreck and all southbound (or northbound) lanes are stopped?  What then?  Will we re-route to I-69?  Nope.  Because those lanes ONLY run in the opposite direction.  And you really don't want to send 8,000 cars through "Lower Washington" or by BBVA Stadium on a game night - adding to already poor traffic conditions.

 

I think we're looking at a zero sum game for any proposal of redoing I-45.  The only difference between what is still on the table, and the tunnel option -is the tunnel option provided aesthetic and urban planning improvements to re-connect a portion of the city long controlled by the shadow of an elevated freeway.  By moving that underground we gain open/public space at the expense of an ugly roadway being moved to out of sight.  That's the plus.

 

From my previous post: "The first three factors are paramount [cost, performance, safety], as they should be, and that is why a majority of public comments favoring one project alternative holds little weight."

 

I'm not sure who you're replying to about the all SB I-45 and all NB 59. I never stated that I was in favor of that. In fact, I stated that I wasn't in favor of it. Hope it was someone else.

 

Regarding your belief about "zero sum game", I think it's very defeatist to think that NO benefit can come from adding one lane each way (to take just one of the alternative for the sake of example).

 

We have to be realistic: there will still be slow traffic at rush hour every workday, though a shorter daily congestion period would be great. What I hope it solves is the traffic jams essentially every Saturday at 10am or 1pm or 3 pm on SB I-45. Or the 10:30pm traffic I experienced last week going from 288 NB to I-45. Lanes going to both the NB and SB I-45 were stopped, and without any accident anywhere nearby.

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What I hope it solves is the traffic jams essentially every Saturday at 10am or 1pm or 3 pm on SB I-45. Or the 10:30pm traffic I experienced last week going from 288 NB to I-45. Lanes going to both the NB and SB I-45 were stopped, and without any accident anywhere nearby.

 

I will admit, this is getting worse. However, if they want to shove highway expansion down our throats, why not just throw, say a rail line as well a la BART? Why does it have to be roads and nothing else? That's the issue.

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From my previous post: "The first three factors are paramount [cost, performance, safety], as they should be, and that is why a majority of public comments favoring one project alternative holds little weight."

 

I'm not sure who you're replying to about the all SB I-45 and all NB 59. I never stated that I was in favor of that. In fact, I stated that I wasn't in favor of it. Hope it was someone else.

 

Got it.  Now I'm clear on your post.

 

And no, I was responding "in general" to the thread and not any one in particular.

 

I think there is value to be had in transit works - be it road/train/pedestrian improvements et cetera.  But I don't see some of the proposals doing very much -if anything- for the Pierce Elevated traffic problems withouth creating new problems during the construction.  And the single direction freeways are probably an option that will be the worst for that area (in hindsight on previous posts).

 

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I will admit, this is getting worse. However, if they want to shove highway expansion down our throats, why not just throw, say a rail line as well a la BART? Why does it have to be roads and nothing else? That's the issue.

 

The alternative of adding one lane each way to I-45 in downtown seems the least costly way to get people past downtown than any of the others presented. It boggles my mind that the vast majority of traffic on the Pierce Elevated is not originating from downtown, but apparently there are tons of people going from Pasadena to the Memorial Villages or League City to the Heights or Galveston to Greenspoint, or wherever the heck they go. Regardless, these are just the facts - that most people aren't going to the same place.

 

Rail needs its own funding source at the state level. I don't know how that's going to happen, but I don't see another way. TxDOT is already underfunded because of the low gas tax, and I think very few people will agree to increase the gas tax or transfer some of this money to transit.

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^I actually wasn't clear on what you were trying to say either.

 

And there comes a time where "progress," as measured by moving dirt, and pouring concrete (or even just restriping a freeways lanes), doesn't actually equal progress.  What happens when I-45 is backed up by a major wreck and all southbound (or northbound) lanes are stopped?  What then?  Will we re-route to I-69?  Nope.  Because those lanes ONLY run in the opposite direction.  And you really don't want to send 8,000 cars through "Lower Washington" or by BBVA Stadium on a game night - adding to already poor traffic conditions.

 

I think we're looking at a zero sum game for any proposal of redoing I-45.  The only difference between what is still on the table, and the tunnel option -is the tunnel option provided aesthetic and urban planning improvements to re-connect a portion of the city long controlled by the shadow of an elevated freeway.  By moving that underground we gain open/public space at the expense of an ugly roadway being moved to out of sight.  That's the plus.

 

I completely agree. However, you might get a synergistic (if only for a short while) effect on mobility by the re-configuring of the exchanges btwn 45 and I10 & also I45 and 59. So many of the people are going to stay on 45 and don't need to exit. Forcing half of the lanes for a road to exit causes lane switching and slower speeds. It looked great in the 60's or 80's (whenever they made the P elevated), but its not how the traffic actually flows.

 

I think that most of the congestion in the downtown loop is due more to the exchanges btwn freeways than the # of lanes. That's why I thought the round about idea was never a serious proposal. The problem w/ that option is that you've boxed everyone who's not in the outermost lane in. This would make the outermost two lanes (of the 4 or five that would exist) the most desirable. Ppl would jockey for position and we'd have even more traffic.

 

Has TxDOT done studies on where people using these roads are going? What % of those on the Pierce take it to 288? 59? Continue down 45? I think these questions need to have clear answers b/f any project is completed. Is there a true need to have on/off ramps at Allen Parkway? The 'Dallas street dip' of 45 w/ the on ramp from Houston st / frontage road on the east side + the on ramp from allen parkway to the west is a clear bottle neck. The fact that all three happen within 100 ft was just bad engineering. Eliminated non-needed on/off ramps would be boon for this stretch regardless of total # of lanes. Any 'tunnel related' speed reduction would be compensated by the limited access.

 

If we're after true mobility, having less freeway access downtown is not counterproductive. The downtown street grid is underutilized while the freeways are over utilized in this area. 

Removing off duty cops from letting one car out of a parking garage at the expense of the timed lights and 100 cars waiting would also help utilize our downtown grid.

Yes, some would see marginal increases in commute time. But as a region, we'd see a larger benefit in overall speed and mobility for these downtown freeways.

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The alternative of adding one lane each way to I-45 in downtown seems the least costly way to get people past downtown than any of the others presented. It boggles my mind that the vast majority of traffic on the Pierce Elevated is not originating from downtown, but apparently there are tons of people going from Pasadena to the Memorial Villages or League City to the Heights or Galveston to Greenspoint, or wherever the heck they go. Regardless, these are just the facts - that most people aren't going to the same place.

Rail needs its own funding source at the state level. I don't know how that's going to happen, but I don't see another way. TxDOT is already underfunded because of the low gas tax, and I think very few people will agree to increase the gas tax or transfer some of this money to transit.

TXDOT is talking about making a rail from San Antonio to Monterrey but who knows how serious that is

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TXDOT is talking about making a rail from San Antonio to Monterrey but who knows how serious that is

 

I would LOVE to see the ridership numbers on this. Do they expect more riders than a Dallas-Houston line (since fewer Mexicans have cars), or would it be abysmally low because of border delays, terrorism fears, smaller cities, etc.?

 

I would think that it could just be a Monterrey to Laredo or Monterrey to McAllen line since so much trade is done on the border.

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...Is there a true need to have on/off ramps at Allen Parkway? The 'Dallas street dip' of 45 w/ the on ramp from Houston st / frontage road on the east side + the on ramp from allen parkway to the west is a clear bottle neck. The fact that all three happen within 100 ft was just bad engineering. Eliminated non-needed on/off ramps would be boon for this stretch regardless of total # of lanes. Any 'tunnel related' speed reduction would be compensated by the limited access.

 

If we're after true mobility, having less freeway access downtown is not counterproductive. The downtown street grid is underutilized while the freeways are over utilized in this area. 

Removing off duty cops from letting one car out of a parking garage at the expense of the timed lights and 100 cars waiting would also help utilize our downtown grid.

Yes, some would see marginal increases in commute time. But as a region, we'd see a larger benefit in overall speed and mobility for these downtown freeways.

 

Off? Yes, but it'd be great if Allen Parkway wasn't a left exit.

On? Yes, but only in the I-45 NB direction. The NB entrance is much better because it's essentially onto a feeder road.

 

The on-ramp to I-45 SB, OTOH, is the most dangerous freeway entrance in the Houston area, more than even the one on Spur 527. I'm not sure how many people go from EB Allen Parkway to the Gulf Freeway, but there can't be too many.

 

The Dallas Street on-ramp could be improved with a longer merge lane at relatively small cost. It does service the west side of downtown where most skyscrapers are, so it's not like it's unused. With the on-ramp from Allen Parkway closed, I'm sure it would be safer.

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I called the mayor's office.

We need the weight of the city of Houston b/c obviously TxDOT could care less of what we the people think.

This is pathetic. From the chron article:

‘TxDOT spokesman Danny Perez said the tunnel was taken off the list of reasonable alternatives because of engineering challenges.

“There would be no available space for roadway shoulders within a tunnel,” Perez said. “This creates a safety hazard in the event of an accident and greatly reduces access for emergency vehicles.”

Vehicles also would face slower speeds in a tunnel, Perez said, defeating part of the purpose of the widening and its ability to handle the growing traffic demand planners predict.’

Like others said b/f, why was TxDOT proposing alternatives that aren't feasible? Why have public comment periods if they aren't going to listen?

I've got two major issues w/ the TxDOT hack's statement:

A.) All tunnels aren't the same size so the argument that there is not shoulder room for emergency vehicles is just a BS lie.

B.) What are they comparing the speed of the tunnels to? An at grade freeway of the same size? Ok, well I10 goes pretty darn slow. An elevated freeway? Well 59 has more lanes than 45 downtown and it goes pretty slow.

Mr Perez, don't insult my intelligence w/ your half baked, lazy excuses. TxDOT wants to just keep doing what it always does. Buy up more ROW and add more lanes.

His arguments seem legit.

You really cant have a functioning tunnel without extra shoulder lanes for emergencies, just look at the Washburn tun................oh wait.

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That's correct.  Perhaps the tunnel option is still on the table with the 59 segment?  It's doubtful obviously. 

im wondering this.. 2 or 3 of the 4 options originally uncovered a few months back had 59 partially tunneled, from north of GRB to past Commerce Street. will this still be part of the plan or are they getting rid of that tunnel aspect too? that would be a shame because its a great location for a freeway deck park or something to link downtown and the east end together. 

i always kind of knew they wouldnt go with the 45 tunnel option. its definitely the most expensive of the bunch and would cause the most headaches. the more ive thought about it, the more i like the idea of routing 45 along 59 and 10 and getting rid of the pierce elevated. practically the same results as tunneling 45 (both would have just a surface street), and gets rid of the bottlenecks from merging onto 45 from 288 by just routing the lanes straight north along 59 instead of having to exit 90" onto 45 and have 4 lanes from 288 merge down to 2 exit lanes.

so i gues if we get rid of the pierce elevated we can kiss that 45 signature bridge that we were supposed to get with the new 45 redo goodbye.. doubtful they will make a signature bridge just for a 6 lane street. maybe they could/would build one over the bayou on the east side of downtown?

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Off? Yes, but it'd be great if Allen Parkway wasn't a left exit.

On? Yes, but only in the I-45 NB direction. The NB entrance is much better because it's essentially onto a feeder road.

The on-ramp to I-45 SB, OTOH, is the most dangerous freeway entrance in the Houston area, more than even the one on Spur 527. I'm not sure how many people go from EB Allen Parkway to the Gulf Freeway, but there can't be too many.

The Dallas Street on-ramp could be improved with a longer merge lane at relatively small cost. It does service the west side of downtown where most skyscrapers are, so it's not like it's unused. With the on-ramp from Allen Parkway closed, I'm sure it would be safer.

That Allen parkway exit to 45 south is extremely dangerous, especially at night.

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im wondering this.. 2 or 3 of the 4 options originally uncovered a few months back had 59 partially tunneled, from north of GRB to past Commerce Street. will this still be part of the plan or are they getting rid of that tunnel aspect too? that would be a shame because its a great location for a freeway deck park or something to link downtown and the east end together. 

i always kind of knew they wouldnt go with the 45 tunnel option. its definitely the most expensive of the bunch and would cause the most headaches. the more ive thought about it, the more i like the idea of routing 45 along 59 and 10 and getting rid of the pierce elevated. practically the same results as tunneling 45 (both would have just a surface street), and gets rid of the bottlenecks from merging onto 45 from 288 by just routing the lanes straight north along 59 instead of having to exit 90" onto 45 and have 4 lanes from 288 merge down to 2 exit lanes.

so i gues if we get rid of the pierce elevated we can kiss that 45 signature bridge that we were supposed to get with the new 45 redo goodbye.. doubtful they will make a signature bridge just for a 6 lane street. maybe they could/would build one over the bayou on the east side of downtown?

 

I would agree.  In the best case rebuilding the Pierce Elevated would require major rethinking of the design to eliminate the mad left-hand Allen Parkway interchange.  Losing a "signature" bridge would be a small price to pay to free up that stretch of the bayou.

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Losing a "signature" bridge would be a small price to pay to free up that stretch of the bayou.

very true.. i cant say Dallas' signature bridge has done much for the city.. it just would of been cool to have a neat bridge in the foreground of the buffalo bayou/downtown photos.

i didnt even think far enough ahead to realize getting rid of pierce elevated would free up that stretch of the bayou. i suppose they would still run the 6 lanes of surface road across the bayou, but thats a lot better than the mess of the overpasses over the bayou now. currently 13 lanes of traffic span the bayou across 5 overpasses. reducing that to 2 3 lane, or 1 6 lane overpass would be a huge improvement for the area.

do you think they would still try to implement a signature bridge over the bayou, just on the east side now since thats where the traffic will probably be diverted? at the possible new 45/59 bridge..

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I'm of the opinion that a "signature" bridge for I-45 would be more hokey than iconic.  I would rather have zero freeway visable when admiring the skyline.  Perhaps if Buffalo Bayou was wider - then certainly, but it isn't large enough to warrant a signature/iconic bridge.

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I'm of the opinion that a "signature" bridge for I-45 would be more hokey than iconic.  I would rather have zero freeway visable when admiring the skyline.  Perhaps if Buffalo Bayou was wider - then certainly, but it isn't large enough to warrant a signature/iconic bridge.

I agree. Not being able to see the freeway from the west side is the only positive about the current layout (from further angles). Putting a "signature" bridge doesn't make any sense, as it would only cross such a short amount of water space (bayou). A more subtle, well designed smaller bridge would do wonders. I don't want some giant white arch like Dallas. If we did have that, it would be an eyesore. 

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I'm sure it's already been discussed, but what if one alternative is to re-do all the highways entirely?

1. Reroute Interstate 10 to north of the Hardy Yard, eliminating the curviness of the original Interstate 10.

2. This older part of Interstate 10 is rebadged as part of Interstate 45/US-59.

3. Tear up Bagby Road and create a new "cut and cover" sunken freeway. This connects to the existing Spur 527 and takes the part of the old Interstate 45 that leads south to the Pierce Elevated.

4. The aging Southwest Freeway stretch between that and 288 is partially dismantled and turned into new exit lanes for 288.

5. Dismantle the Pierce Elevated.

Of course, this is extremely expensive and probably won't solve any of the biggest problems.

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