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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?

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Posted (edited)
On 6/4/2019 at 2:05 PM, cspwal said:

Why not put a cap park between Elgin and McGowen, or at least design for the capability?  

7iOVFha.png

 

Why not start the potential green space/cap at Almeda for 59?  They could even cap the whole thing, with a building deck for most of it that they could sell property on. (Here I'm thinking like I-95 in NYC between the George Washington Bridge and the Harlem river)

x3Ve9gO.png

 

Finally, why go to the trouble of connecting only one side of Blodget to Main street?

Leqp2ly.png

 

 

I’d like to express my agreement regarding your idea on a McGowen/Elgin cap park. Given the width of the freeway there, that should be technically feasible based on what I’ve heard.

 

As to the question regarding the potential for a cap from Almeda to Fannin, my understanding is that the freeway is too narrow to allow for installation of the appropriate ventilators for a cap of this length to be installed as would be required for a cap of this length. The freeway by the George R. Brown is much wider, apparently allowing for the appropriate ventilation system. This issue came up at a presentation to the Museum Park Neighborhood Association, and this was the answer we were given. There was previously a plan to extend Cleburne over the freeway and have another partial cap by Almeda, but I guess that’s gone by the wayside in this latest schematic.

 

To the next query, Blodgett’s already a bit of a road to nowhere. It becomes a one-way street west of San Jacinto and cuts off at Garrott St on the other side of Main—and Garrott St just leads back to the feeder along the eastern side of the Spur. There’s not much extra connectivity that’s lost by not extending Blodgett to Main.

 

Edit: As originally posted, the first paragraph was not completed and trailed off. The edit completed the last sentence of that paragraph.

Edited by houstontexasjack
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11 hours ago, houstontexasjack said:

 

There’s not much extra connectivity that’s lost by not extending Blodgett to Main. 
 

 

Actually that is used by all the buses that stop at the Wheeler Transit Center (5, 25 Westbound, 65, 152, 153) to get back onto Main to continue their routes.  Without Blodgett they would have to drive all the way down to Arbor Place, adding additional lights and delays to all those routes (though 5 and 65 would be less affected).  Most of those are heavily used routes; Metro would not be happy about that.

 

With Blodgett being removed here, I wonder what Metro will do.  From the renderings it seems the Wheeler Transit Center will be reconfigured, so maybe they will have the bus depot curve to the west to exit onto Main instead of Fannin?  But that would be an awfully tight hairpin turn for the buses, consider the cap park doesn't extend all the way to Main.  I really wonder if TxDOT thought this through.

 

Here's the current bus routes (25 is red, 152/153 is green, 65 is blue):

 

pR4cqEG.jpg

 

And here's what they would have to do if Blodgett is removed:

 

dDRFjbm.jpg

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1 hour ago, rechlin said:

 

Actually that is used by all the buses that stop at the Wheeler Transit Center (5, 25 Westbound, 65, 152, 153) to get back onto Main to continue their routes.  Without Blodgett they would have to drive all the way down to Arbor Place, adding additional lights and delays to all those routes (though 5 and 65 would be less affected).  Most of those are heavily used routes; Metro would not be happy about that.

 

With Blodgett being removed here, I wonder what Metro will do.  From the renderings it seems the Wheeler Transit Center will be reconfigured, so maybe they will have the bus depot curve to the west to exit onto Main instead of Fannin?  But that would be an awfully tight hairpin turn for the buses, consider the cap park doesn't extend all the way to Main.  I really wonder if TxDOT thought this through.

 

Here's the current bus routes (25 is red, 152/153 is green, 65 is blue):

 

pR4cqEG.jpg

 

And here's what they would have to do if Blodgett is removed:

 

dDRFjbm.jpg

Ah. Good to know. As I recall, the Rice representative mentioned to the MPNA about elevating a portion of the transit center. Not sure if that was related.

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Posted (edited)

I suspect there the transit center will be substantially redesigned and rebuilt in conjunction with the freeway project.  If losing the Blodgett connection is a problem for Metro, they can surely plan for direct access to Main Street from the rebuilt transit center. It seems like that would be pretty easy to do.

Edited by Houston19514
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Posted (edited)

New article in the Houston Chronicle that I haven't seen posted yet:

 

Massive I-45 rebuild has big opposition to overcome, from air quality to flooding to low-income housing displacements
It is a $7 billion plan aimed at easing traffic by adding managed lanes and redesigning I-45, but worries of further displacement, flooding and air quality linger as the project moves ahead.

 

EDIT:

 

Try this link instead:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Massive-I-45-project-will-remake-Houston-freeway-13999092.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=HC_TexasTake&utm_term=news&utm_content=briefing

Edited by The Ozone Files
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2 hours ago, The Ozone Files said:

New article in the Houston Chronicle that I haven't seen posted yet:

 

Massive I-45 rebuild has big opposition to overcome, from air quality to flooding to low-income housing displacements
It is a $7 billion plan aimed at easing traffic by adding managed lanes and redesigning I-45, but worries of further displacement, flooding and air quality linger as the project moves ahead.

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Massive-I-45-project-will-remake-Houston-freeway-13999092.php

 

I don't have access to the article. Who do they define as the "big opposition"? Perhaps the people whose housing will be displaced?

 

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6 minutes ago, HoustonMidtown said:

 

Both articles are by the same author, Dug Begley. Safe to say he's not a fan of the project.

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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, CaptainJilliams said:

 

Both articles are by the same author, Dug Begley. Safe to say he's not a fan of the project.

 

I can see a bit of the article....

 

A massive remake of Interstate 45 from downtown Houston north to the Sam Houston Tollway that already is among the largest road projects in the region’s history also is one of the nation’s biggest highway boondoggles, according to an updated list released Tuesday.

The North Houston Highway Improvement Project — the umbrella term for the entire $7 billion plan to remake Interstate 45 — is listed in the latest installment of unnecessary projects compiled by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Frontier Group. Nine projects across the country made the 2019 list, the fifth annual report from the two groups that have argued for greater transit investment.

Edited by HoustonMidtown
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21 hours ago, HoustonMidtown said:

 

I can see a bit of the article....

 

A massive remake of Interstate 45 from downtown Houston north to the Sam Houston Tollway that already is among the largest road projects in the region’s history also is one of the nation’s biggest highway boondoggles, according to an updated list released Tuesday.

The North Houston Highway Improvement Project — the umbrella term for the entire $7 billion plan to remake Interstate 45 — is listed in the latest installment of unnecessary projects compiled by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Frontier Group. Nine projects across the country made the 2019 list, the fifth annual report from the two groups that have argued for greater transit investment.

 

Another case of a "journalist" actually being an "activist". They don't even label the article an opinion piece. Its clearly from one perspective and should be labeled as such. If it were labeled as an opinion piece and the writer simply admitted where they stand on this project then I would at least respect what they are saying more.

There are plenty of people (including myself) that support this. The activist also does something which is common which is "framing" and using loaded terms and words to immediately put something into a bad light before it is even explained. The data is skewed as well since this person is only referring to ONE study, which is from a source that isn't an authority on anything, Frontier Group and US PIRG Education Fund. They are basically a thinktank which is skewed to one side of the conversation, yet the story sets them up to be a moderate, non-biased arbiter of transportation funding. As well as bringing in Jeff Speck back into the conversation, again not an authority on anything. When they do throw in TXDOT its not in a way to see what the other side says, but is merely used as a setup to counter what they view should be done instead.

Another problem I have with this "writer", Jeff Speck, and Frontier Groups study, is that they whine and complain about these projects, and yet don't present clear alternatives. They always speak in vague terms, and general concepts. We all know that building more lanes won't solve traffic problems, but what is alternative that these people propose that is serious in anyway?

Like other writers similar to this one. They don't really care about the project or people involved. This is just another supposed "victim vs oppressor" narrative which they can exploit for clicks.

Its a shame too because their opposition isn't wrong, and the alternative ideas that they claim to support I support as well, but they always go about this in the most senseless way possible, and never properly present alternatives, or proof of concepts that authorities can see to make different decisions.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/19/2019 at 6:17 PM, Luminare said:

 

Another problem I have with this "writer", Jeff Speck, and Frontier Groups study, is that they whine and complain about these projects, and yet don't present clear alternatives.

 

Why should he (or any group that provides opposition) need to present any alternatives?

 

There are lots of possible alternatives, none that TXDOT are pursuing, but the point of their speaking out is not to provide alternatives, it is to allow people who think this project is a waste of money a chance to agree with someone who has the ability to speak to a larger audience.

 

There once was a time when 225 was supposed to come inside the loop and connect to 59, the opposition provided no other alternative other than do nothing. and it has worked for over 30 years. there is a community called the east end that has thrived because of that decision to do nothing.

 

imagine if your signature had two different words...

 

Quote

When you are looking for a solution to what you have been told is a transportation problem--remember, the solution may not be a freeway

 

Edited by samagon
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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, samagon said:

 

Why should he (or any group that provides opposition) need to present any alternatives?

 

 

...well, considering the city's continued growth, the deterioration of current infrastructure, and current traffic problems that will only be exacerbated by an influx of people/business, the current set-up will be inadequate for future generations. Considering how car-centric of a city Houston is, we can't simply assume people are going to start relying more on public transportation or that the highway in its current state can get the job done better than a reroute or major overhaul.

 

Now this isn't to say I agree with every part of TxDot's vision for i-45, far from it, especially the hefty price tag that comes with it. But this continued catastrophizing mentality when it comes to new construction projects is starting to get old. Alternatives are a necessity given the current highway system won't last forever. Regardless of how anyone feels about the situation, something will eventually need to be done. All this talk is procrastination, it's not beneficial or constructive discussion. Speck and other groups need to provide alternatives to fix the very real problems we deal with everyday on our highways, instead of spouting off hyperbolic nonsense. It's even more frustrating when Speck, a non-native to Houston who will likely never live here, comes in with a mentality of "you're wrong, let me show you how you are wrong" and offers little to no solutions. 

   

11 hours ago, samagon said:

 

There are lots of possible alternatives, none that TXDOT are pursuing...

 

 

I would love to hear these alternatives, I've heard very few from the camp protesting the project. At least with an alternative we can iron out the kinks in TxDot's plan and potentially lower the price tag associated with the project.

 

11 hours ago, samagon said:

There once was a time when 225 was supposed to come inside the loop and connect to 59, the opposition provided no other alternative other than do nothing. and it has worked for over 30 years. there is a community called the east end that has thrived because of that decision to do nothing.

 

I'm not quite following the logic that suggests "doing nothing" leads to "thriving". I think there are several levels of factors at play when it comes to determining how different areas grow. It would be far to simplistic to suggest that it was only blocking the 225 project that allowed the East End to experience so much success. Furthermore, you are attempting to apply a single case from 30 years ago to the current situation today, suggesting it would produce the same results.

 

Correlation does not imply causation.

Edited by CaptainJilliams
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On 4/1/2019 at 12:37 PM, Angostura said:

 

 

We're not without options if we want to reduce the demand for highway VMT. Off the top of my head, here are some things we could do, with zero (net) tax dollars:

  • Eliminate parking minimums citywide
  • Per-sf tax on land used for surface parking anywhere inside 610, expanding eventually to anywhere inside BW8.
  • Dynamic pricing of on-street parking
  • Congestion charge for every vehicle that enters or crosses IH-610.

 

By spending a little bit of tax dollars (especially as compared to the cost of the I-45 project):

  • Migrate surface street ROW from vehicle traffic to last-mile alternatives (bikes, e-bikes, scooters)
  • Improved park-and-ride services from suburban locations to job centers other than downtown
  • Local high-frequency jitney services in job centers other than downtown

 

The concern about infrastructure affordability is a good one. The best indicator of affordability of infrastructure is assessed property tax value per square mile. If we're really concerned about infrastructure maintenance and replacement costs, the last thing we should be doing is spending billions of dollars on a highway project that encourages low-density suburban development that can't pay for itself over time. We should be encouraging growth closer to job centers. Every time we knock down a bungalow in Cottage Grove and replace it with 6 townhouses, we take 5-10 cars off the freeway, and increase the assessed value of that street frontage by 4X or more. Ditto every time we replace a warehouse with a midrise.

 

If we keep it up, we can eventually get to a density where grade-separated transit starts to work for a significant fraction of the population without a lot of last-mile help. Midtown and parts of EaDo are already there.

 

 

 

Why would you tax surface parking at a higher rate? It's probably illegal to do that, and why would you force land owners to build structures no one wants to occupy? If there were demand for buildings on those parking lots, they would be built.

 

If there's a congestion charge for coming inside 610, you should be prepared for massive protests, especially if there's no exemption for those of us who live inside the Loop.

 

Bikes, e-Bikes and scooters? Sure my 83 year old mother would be just thrilled to have those as the only option to go to Jones Hall

 

The people who commute in from the suburbs will never move into midrises in the center city. I am also not going to give up my 1/4 acre Inner Loop lot to provide more density.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, CaptainJilliams said:

 

 Considering how car-centric of a city Houston is, we can't simply assume people are going to start relying more on public transportation or that the highway in its current state can get the job done better than a reroute or major overhaul.

 

Houston is car centric out of no other options being available. what was it you said ... correlation not being causation? 

 

if txdot didn't hate public transit, that would be a great solution.

 

A simpler, and dare I say cheaper, alternative to the proposed downtown mess would be to expand the pierce elevated to 4 lanes in each direction, and remove the dallas dip to make flow smoother.

 

someone said txdot doesn't want to build roads on top of other roads. but that would help flow a lot. 

 

expanding 610 around the east and north and making that a bypass for people going from gulf freeway to 59 north or 45. 

 

anyway, you wanted alternatives, those are some good ones that are far less impactful to the community

Edited by samagon
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Posted (edited)
On 6/22/2019 at 8:33 AM, samagon said:

 

Why should he (or any group that provides opposition) need to present any alternatives?

 

There are lots of possible alternatives, none that TXDOT are pursuing, but the point of their speaking out is not to provide alternatives, it is to allow people who think this project is a waste of money a chance to agree with someone who has the ability to speak to a larger audience.

 

There once was a time when 225 was supposed to come inside the loop and connect to 59, the opposition provided no other alternative other than do nothing. and it has worked for over 30 years. there is a community called the east end that has thrived because of that decision to do nothing.

 

imagine if your signature had two different words...

 

 

 

Which argument do you think is going to hold significantly more sway in determining what gets built:

 

Option A)

While this option is, more or less, a typical solution to the problem, it is a tried and true method that has been implemented multiple times, and is in effect a safe beat financially to solving an immediate problem in the short to medium term. Yet at the same time is one that does look to implement some unique ideas that people have wanted, and still want cities to implement. All new unique ideas have either been built in reality, or going too, and have been proposed in numerous literature on how cities can propose unwrapping highways around city cores, and restitching areas together while bring new amenities to finish the job. Its a proposal that isn't seeking to radically redo everything or be revolutionary, but understands that we have to work what we have and try to improve it as much as we possibly can. Below is what the project has done thus far:

 

- supported by TXDOT, City of Houston, various stakeholders, various houston organizations, and probably many citizens (definitely those that commute)

- while it doesn't propose mass transit, it should also be reminded that this isn't the goal of the project and TXDOT wasn't asked to do this. However, the highway being presented is one that can be used by anyone who legally can drive a car and financially can afford one, and focuses on people universally (this includes everyone in this city no matter your race, gender, creed, ethnicity, or religion)

- real life fully realized working schematic drawings that is staffed with people who are being paid to produce them, and figure out how this is going to work

- have the entire TXDOT departments data, analysis, studies, and history to pull from to help shape their vision for what is proposed

- have conducted public meetings at multiple times and multiple locations to gauge public opinion and comments (this is what they have to do legally, but the fact that they are doing this means they are doing due-diligence to make sure they comply with the law and public that will be effected) 

- has conducted environmental reviews and studies of the entire project in question (this is what they have to do legally, but the fact that they are doing this means they are doing due-diligence to make sure they comply with the law and public that will be effected) 

- have multiple presentations including video that shows simulations of how traffic will move in each section

- have presentations with multiple visualizations of the proposed project realized that people can actually formulate a proper opinion to either agree or oppose too. These presentations include multiple schematic visualizations, and multiple design development visualizations from people hired to tackle this problem / solution in a serious way to make sure all stakeholders are satisfied/understand what is going on, and citizens in question are satisfied/understand what is going on.

- the actual project in question is funded, and while the amenities portions don't have funding yet (various parks schemes), this doesn't mean that they can't be funded or won't get funding. The plus is that because we have design documentation visuals that at least have been thought through to a reasonable degree it means that they can at least be preliminary priced, so the city, any stakeholders involved can begin going about seeking future stakeholders who might want to get involved building this in the future or put money for the initial construction to build it right away.

- all info is publicly available

 

(these are just a few things one can mention immediately, and isn't an exhaustive list. For instance I'm sure they also have proper civil drawings, and have also done a proper storm and drainage study to determine size of detention, etc...)

 

Option B )

No expansion of highway in question. No demo or repurpose of Pierce Elevated. There is no scheme to look at or drawings to gauge what the impact will be to stakeholders involved or the community. It isn't funded because there is nothing to price because there isn't a proposal to price from. Ideas that have been presented are either in a few presentations, merely in word form, or in a persons head. "Ideas" and "Vision" seem utopian in scope and in breath. Words that have been spoken, ask for TXDOT to instead focus on creating mass transit (not within their scope for this project), and instead of focusing on something that is universal to all, are instead asked to be hyper focused on a very small minority of people. Words that have been spoken, proposed more radical ideas that can't properly be gauged because we don't have anything to properly analysis or see. Below is what the project has done thus far:

 

- supported by Jeff Speck, an author and supposed urban planner who has written a few books, one opposition group with a few members, a few activists, a few bloggers, a few journalists

- those who support this "idea" seem very focused on a select group(s) of people often times based on race, gender, creed, ethnicity, and religion. While their idea can be something that is universally for all, it doesn't exist yet so no one can universally use it, and instead of trying to get everyone on board with the potential the idea has instead focus on particular minorities, or just the dispossessed.

- No drawings

- No one staff or hired to realize said "ideas" or "visions"

- Presentations by one author

- All "ideas" or "visions" have only be presented in word form or through very generalized images

- All "ideas" or "visions" are very general with no details or anything specific

- Option isn't funded and can't be because there is nothing to showcase how much the alternative could cost

- Presentations are publicly available. The authors books you have to buy. All other "ideas" and "visions" are either in peoples heads or in their dreams. These "ideas" and "visions" that are in peoples heads or dreams aren't publicly accessible or available to buy.

 

 

Now which one sounds more plausible?

 

Burden of proof always befalls those making accusations, or criticisms. Substantial claims require substantial evidence. Its very very easy to criticize something, and substantially more difficult to put words into a visual and then onto paper. Ideas also look a lot more different in your head than on paper which is why we don't see images to complement their ideas because they can't or don't want to invest in the resources necessary to do so.

 

I for one would love to be a part in realizing more radical solutions to problems or be part of a team that assists, but they haven't done anything like that or reached out to those who might want to help. No studies, no data, no visuals, or even a story to help communicate their ideas and visions. They fail to even meet the bare minimum or even try to communicate what they want to see and so they will get zero sympathy from me and many. In my industry (and I would go as far to say in all of real life), if you have an idea...show it, don't tell it. Talk is cheap and pictures are worth way more than 1000 words.

Edited by Luminare
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This article repeats the "boondoggle" theme, but provides a bit of insight into the political motivations for highway expansion at the local level:

 

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/06/highway-expansion-pirg-traffic-congestion-induced-demand/592309/

 

[T]here’s a structural dimension, too: Federal funding formulas favor states with bigger populations, more lanes, and more driving. Conversely, states that reduce driving by ramping up transportation alternatives or by bunching together jobs and housing tend to lose out on cash. “It’s no mystery why states spend too much of their money building new lane-miles, new roads, and new bridges at the expense of repair and everything else,” Steven Davis, a director of communications at Transportation For America, a think tank devoted to local transportation policy, recently wrote in a recent blog post. “The financial payout for states is based on increasing driving as much as possible.”

 

In thinking a bit about alternatives within the political constraints for funding, one item that I have not seen proposed or studied would be the feasibility of trenching I-45 around the existing Pierce Elevated and having a cap at the southern end of Downtown. As it stands, the elevated freeway has a bit of ROW adjacent to it devoted to lighting.  If the freeway were pushed underground, it might allow for a widening to 4 lanes at either side as per @samagon's suggestion while also providing a space for an urban park ring at the southern end of Downtown.  Such a plan would also not preclude trenching I-69 to allow for a park on the east side within the existing ROW.  The disruptions during construction would be a pain, but they'd be a pain under the current plan anyways.  

 

 

 

 

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I don't understand people's focus on retaining the PE when most substantive opposition relates to other parts of the project, specifically north of Downtown where freeway design is much more conventional.

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3 hours ago, ADCS said:

I don't understand people's focus on retaining the PE when most substantive opposition relates to other parts of the project, specifically north of Downtown where freeway design is much more conventional.

I agree that segments 1 and 2 (those outside of the Downtown Loop) are the most problematic. The cap parks proposed for them lack the institutional allies those in Segment 3 will have (Rice and the GRB). 

 

I’m personally fine with Segment 3 as is, but was trying to propose a solution that would address the concerns of keeping things within the existing ROW.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, houstontexasjack said:

I agree that segments 1 and 2 (those outside of the Downtown Loop) are the most problematic. The cap parks proposed for them lack the institutional allies those in Segment 3 will have (Rice and the GRB). 

 

I’m personally fine with Segment 3 as is, but was trying to propose a solution that would address the concerns of keeping things within the existing ROW.

 

Pragmatically, in this context at this particular time, it has to be done. Not to mention if Metro is thinking about doing this BRT to IAH then its going to need some extra room. This part of 45 is the busiest highway in Houston. Its jam packed everyday. I want to know why every time an expansion comes around we get people feeling sorry for those that are in the expansion path. ED exists and this highway has been expanded multiple times already. They knowingly build next to a highway that tends to beef up every 20 years. They knowingly do this at their own expense, and of their own free will. Same for developers that put houses next to a highway too.

 

I really wish they would make that distinction between segment 3 and 2&1. Segment 3 has something appealing to offer where segment 2&1 doesn't.

Edited by Luminare
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On 6/22/2019 at 10:38 PM, Ross said:

Why would you tax surface parking at a higher rate? It's probably illegal to do that, and why would you force land owners to build structures no one wants to occupy? If there were demand for buildings on those parking lots, they would be built.

 

If there's a congestion charge for coming inside 610, you should be prepared for massive protests, especially if there's no exemption for those of us who live inside the Loop.

 

Bikes, e-Bikes and scooters? Sure my 83 year old mother would be just thrilled to have those as the only option to go to Jones Hall

 

The people who commute in from the suburbs will never move into midrises in the center city. I am also not going to give up my 1/4 acre Inner Loop lot to provide more density.

 

Here's the argument for taxing surface parking: structured parking only makes economic sense when the opportunity cost of the land used for surface parking is higher than construction cost of providing structured parking. Round numbers, let's say this happens at around $5M/acre (might be a little less). However, if you artificially limit density by REQUIRING a bunch of parking when land values are BELOW this number, then you create conditions where it's very difficult for land values to appreciate to a level where structured parking makes more economic sense than surface parking. By taxing surface parking, you increase its cost relative to denser alternatives. Eventually, the land value appreciates and the need for the tax to discourage surface parking dissipates.

 

With respect to the other points, no one's saying suburbans have to move and granny has to ride an e-scooter to reduce VMT. First, there's evidence VMT per capita is already falling, and total VMT is about flat over the last 12 years despite a large increase in population. Most of these VMT reductions are a result of increased density (having a grocery store a mile away instead of 3 miles, for example). Second, measures like congestion charges are nudges designed to shift incentives away from single-occupancy vehicles and towards other means of travel. Want a 50% discount on congestion charge (and a 2X increase in fuel efficiency)? Put a second person in the car!

 

And you don't have to give up your 1/4 acre for density, but as land prices go up, some of your neighbors might decide it's a good idea.

 

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8 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

Here's the argument for taxing surface parking: structured parking only makes economic sense when the opportunity cost of the land used for surface parking is higher than construction cost of providing structured parking. Round numbers, let's say this happens at around $5M/acre (might be a little less). However, if you artificially limit density by REQUIRING a bunch of parking when land values are BELOW this number, then you create conditions where it's very difficult for land values to appreciate to a level where structured parking makes more economic sense than surface parking. By taxing surface parking, you increase its cost relative to denser alternatives. Eventually, the land value appreciates and the need for the tax to discourage surface parking dissipates.

 

With respect to the other points, no one's saying suburbans have to move and granny has to ride an e-scooter to reduce VMT. First, there's evidence VMT per capita is already falling, and total VMT is about flat over the last 12 years despite a large increase in population. Most of these VMT reductions are a result of increased density (having a grocery store a mile away instead of 3 miles, for example). Second, measures like congestion charges are nudges designed to shift incentives away from single-occupancy vehicles and towards other means of travel. Want a 50% discount on congestion charge (and a 2X increase in fuel efficiency)? Put a second person in the car!

 

And you don't have to give up your 1/4 acre for density, but as land prices go up, some of your neighbors might decide it's a good idea.

 

The data Crossley provided purports to be for Harris County. What happens if commuters from adjacent counties are included?

 

Your argument on parking doesn't make sense. Take the three surface parking lots adjacent to 800 Bell. They are each about an acre. They are each tax appraised at about $9.4 million. Taxes on each are about $240k. those lots have been vacant for 40 years, as far as I can tell. They are owned by the same corporate group. The parking revenues probably don't exceed the tax cost by a significant amount, but let the owners hold the property until it is economic to build on the blocks. Artificially raising the the carrying cost of vacant downtown property won't create renters out of thin air.

 

My neighbors aren't going to rescind the deed restrictions anytime soon.

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10 hours ago, Ross said:

The data Crossley provided purports to be for Harris County. What happens if commuters from adjacent counties are included?

 

 

If the numbers are based on traffic counts, then it includes all the cars on the road.

 

 

10 hours ago, Ross said:

Your argument on parking doesn't make sense. Take the three surface parking lots adjacent to 800 Bell. They are each about an acre. They are each tax appraised at about $9.4 million. Taxes on each are about $240k. those lots have been vacant for 40 years, as far as I can tell. They are owned by the same corporate group. The parking revenues probably don't exceed the tax cost by a significant amount, but let the owners hold the property until it is economic to build on the blocks. Artificially raising the the carrying cost of vacant downtown property won't create renters out of thin air.

 

Some possible explanations for the continued existence of large surface parking lots in the CBD include:

 

(a) land speculation (parking revenue exceeds carrying costs, so the owner waits until the windfall from selling increases)

 

(b) corporate inertia (parking revenue exceeds carrying costs, so the owner focuses on other priorities)

 

(c) surface parking is the highest and best use of the land

 

Of these, (c) is almost certainly not true (since the current opportunity cost per space is about 2-3X the cost of structured parking), which leaves us with (a) and (b). So, while raising the carrying costs won't create demand for built space, the current highest-and-best use of those blocks is probably somewhere between 10 single-family houses and 70-story office building. By making surface parking a cash-negative situation for the corporate owner, they would have an incentive to do something more productive with the land.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/23/2019 at 1:54 PM, Luminare said:

 

Burden of proof always befalls those making accusations, or criticisms. Substantial claims require substantial evidence. Its very very easy to criticize something, and substantially more difficult to put words into a visual and then onto paper. Ideas also look a lot more different in your head than on paper which is why we don't see images to complement their ideas because they can't or don't want to invest in the resources necessary to do so.

 

I for one would love to be a part in realizing more radical solutions to problems or be part of a team that assists, but they haven't done anything like that or reached out to those who might want to help. No studies, no data, no visuals, or even a story to help communicate their ideas and visions. They fail to even meet the bare minimum or even try to communicate what they want to see and so they will get zero sympathy from me and many. In my industry (and I would go as far to say in all of real life), if you have an idea...show it, don't tell it. Talk is cheap and pictures are worth way more than 1000 words.

 

A fair bit of the opposition is based upon the growing evidence that making wider freeways doesn't solve the problem, it just makes the existing problem bigger. That evidence can be found in what the opposition has already been released, as well as sprinkled throughout this thread. Additional evidence of proof is being collected, there are air quality studies ongoing, among other things. These things do take time, and money.

 

TXDOT hates public transit, and as such would never offer a plan that includes any options other than the horrendously inefficient single occupant vehicle transit option. At the moment the opposition is spending time/money on environmental impacts of the proposed solution, they need more donations if they hope to provide an alternate solution.

 

anyway, TXDOT has a more than 5 year head start on this, so of course their solution looks better.

 

and if you really want to be a part in realizing a more radical solution, contact the team leading the opposition and help.

Edited by samagon

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, samagon said:

TXDOT hates public transit, and as such would never offer a plan that includes any options other than the horrendously inefficient single occupant vehicle transit option. At the moment the opposition is spending time/money on environmental impacts of the proposed solution, they need more donations if they hope to provide an alternate solutio.

 

1

 

The only new freeway lanes in Segment 1 and 2/3 of the new freeway lanes in Segment 2 are MAX lanes (Metro buses and High Occupancy Vehicles).  Those seem like options other than the single occupant vehicle transit option.

Edited by Houston19514
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1 minute ago, Houston19514 said:

 

The only new freeway lanes in Segment 1 and 2/3 of the new freeway lanes in Segment 2 are MAX lanes (Metro buses and High Occupancy Vehicles).  Those seem like options other than the single occupant vehicle transit option.

 

and they've really done wonders for I-10 traffic.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

and they've really done wonders for I-10 traffic.

 

Cute they way you sidestep around your earlier false statement.

 

But, yeah, they've been a great benefit for west-side commuters. They do the same thing for traffic that rail transit would do... provide alternatives.

Edited by Houston19514
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In my experience an immediate result of the Katy expansion outside the Loop was that it transformed the Katy inside the Loop from a freeway that flowed very well (other than the downtown exit at morning rush) to one that is generally packed and which can slow to a near stop at just about any time of day.  Meanwhile, after a couple years getting from downtown or my house in the Heights out to Mom's beyond BW8 ended up taking about the same amount of time, with the added benefit of death merges onto the crazy wide feeder roads (particularly if you want to turn right).  

 

And Spring Branch now floods.

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Just now, Houston19514 said:

 

Yeah, they've been a great benefit for west-side commuters. They do the same thing for traffic that rail transit would do... provide alternatives.

 

how do you figure that? the commute times for i-10 dropped for a while after the freeway opened, but have stabilized at similar levels as they were prior to the expansion.

 

I'll agree that once you are on a park and ride bus, the actual transit times certainly stayed low, but the problem now (from a friend that uses P&R) is waiting to get on a bus. so it's still a capacity issue that you can only get out of by changing to a form of transit that allows for a higher density.

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

A fair bit of the opposition is based upon the growing evidence that making wider freeways doesn't solve the problem, it just makes the existing problem bigger. That evidence can be found in what the opposition has already been released, as well as sprinkled throughout this thread. Additional evidence of proof is being collected, there are air quality studies ongoing, among other things. These things do take time, and money.

 

TXDOT hates public transit, and as such would never offer a plan that includes any options other than the horrendously inefficient single occupant vehicle transit option. At the moment the opposition is spending time/money on environmental impacts of the proposed solution, they need more donations if they hope to provide an alternate solution.

 

anyway, TXDOT has a more than 5 year head start on this, so of course their solution looks better.

 

The debate here isn't whether there isn't evidence that making freeways wider is bad or good, or makes the problem worse or better. I think we all here would rather see other options be implemented. I'm sure everyone here would like to see unicorns and rainbows with pixie dust on the side as well.

 

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of scope. TXDOT was never asked to develop a public transit solution here. They were tasked with fixing a highway. Plain and simple. If their task was to develop public transit then they would develop public transit. The opposition, and yourself included, are essentially asking TXDOT to go against what they were tasked to do for this scope. You are asking them to go against there MO, and even to some extent the more radical strains in the opposition even call for zero improvement to highways in general which just isn't realistic, and is overly idealistic and naive. Asking people to go against their interests doesn't work in this situation or in real life.

 

This isn't some conspiracy that you and the opposition make out. If the opposition wants to be successful than the best idea would be to counter with a proposal that is realistic and works within the boundaries of the scope of the project (The Scope: We have an aging highway that needs to be rebuilt. What do we do about that). Not some hypothetical project that was never asked of TXDOT to work on in the first place.

 

I'm not naive to the fact that there are those in Austin that don't really care for rail that much. I don't believe this of malevolence though, and simply a problem with optics. They truly only see one way forward and thats to simply upgrade the highways. We also don't have existing rail infrastructure to improve or add onto, so thats not going to be something that TXDOT will be tasked to assist with. I also don't believe it would be smart to ask TXDOT to develop city mass transit for COH. Both organization don't have a clue how to implement that anyway. There needs to be a guiding vision on both ends first before we can even ask TXDOT to assist in planning this kind of infrastructure.

 

Again the burden of proof lies with the opposition. Not with TXDOT. In this particular situation, what has been provided by TXDOT to solve this particular problem that they were asked to fix is, pragmatically speaking, something that will improve the highway with improvements that people have been wanting done to highways in sections where it can be done (burying sections, and adding amenities).

 

EDIT: Of final note. This would be different if this was TXDOT asking to add another highway through the city. I would definitely be part of the opposition then. We are talking about a highway that already exists, and its the cities responsibility to make sure existing infrastructure is maintained and improved upon.

EDIT2: Asking the city to ignore this fact would be asking the city to abdicate their responsibility to its citizens which I can not support.

Edited by Luminare
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Posted (edited)

Public transportation (as differentiated from highways) was added to the department's responsibility in the 70s, when it merged with the Department of Public Transportation.  So yes, we ought to be able to look to TxDOT for things other than adding more and more motor vehicle lanes.

 

It's just pretty much ignored public transportation options all that time, so we can't, even though we're paying for it.

Edited by mollusk
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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, mollusk said:

Public transportation (as differentiated from highways) was added to the department's responsibility in the 70s, when it merged with the Department of Public Transportation.  So yes, we ought to be able to look to TxDOT for things other than adding more and more motor vehicle lanes.

 

It's just pretty much ignored public transportation options all that time, so we can't, even though we're paying for it.

 

I agree with you. This is something that has to be pushed in the meantime. A long term alternative plan has to be assembled as a master plan for mass transit, submitted to the city, and then the city can actually ask TXDOT to assist in developing it.

 

Right now thats not the answer for this particular project. The "opposition" has had years upon years to develop something that they would like to see throughout the city (mass transit), and year after year nothing has been submitted to the city to try an alternative. Instead, the "opposition" only arises and cares about this issue when a project is underway and that isn't enough. All of this is the wrong time and the wrong place.

 

I don't even think the opposition really even wants to get anything done period. They simply just want to be the "opposition". They want to be a "victim". If they wanted to not be that they could actually produce something or be productive. They aren't even opposed to this because they have some grand scheme that they have in hand. Instead they are only opposed to this out of orthodoxy and because it goes against their worldview. Thats not enough to make change happen. I don't see a difference in this opposition than I would with Christians in their orthodoxy being opposed to Heavy Metal music. Its not because they have an alternative, but because its motivated by orthodoxy or a threat to that orthodoxy. They truly see this project as a kind of "devil". None of this then or now produces a productive conversation, argument or debate where things can actually matter or make a difference.

 

Making a real change requires clear planning and a proper organization that then floats up to the top so something can actually happening. Not praying that an alternative will just magically manifest itself.

 

EDIT: Basically. The opposition, with how they are proceeding is just going to piss a lot of people off who could be persuaded to their cause if they actually had a real plan and real solution to back. One of those people is me. I would love to support a grand alternative to build from, but they only seem concerned with protesting and being activist rather than being planners and builders of what they desire. Thats not enough, and its not going to be enough for many to support.

Edited by Luminare

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I've said this many times before but I-10 has to be the most poorly designed freeway Houston ever built.

 

It added THAT many lanes and it's still a mess. The worst mistake it made was forcing those tollroad commuters, which I am that commuter everyday, to cross every single damn lane from the right to the left just to use the damn tollway. You see how much this backs up traffic all the time at Gessner and Beltway 8 going into the city.... the back up in that area is always due to people like me having to make so many lane switches and honestly cut so many people off just to make the tollroad. They should have somehow elevated the tollway in those areas and had some sort of direct connectors to the tollroads. With all the criticism this I-45 expansion gets, I am so glad they learned from this huge mistake, especially at the future I-45/610 interchange with direct connectors to and from the ramps:

 

 

 

 

45inmyarea.PNG

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9 hours ago, samagon said:

 

how do you figure that? the commute times for i-10 dropped for a while after the freeway opened, but have stabilized at similar levels as they were prior to the expansion.

 

I'll agree that once you are on a park and ride bus, the actual transit times certainly stayed low, but the problem now (from a friend that uses P&R) is waiting to get on a bus. so it's still a capacity issue that you can only get out of by changing to a form of transit that allows for a higher density.

The commute times may be similar to what they were, but the number of commuters is much larger.

 

The P&R capacity issue can be solved with more buses, which are much cheaper than a train. And, there's an added benefit that the lanes the buses use can be used by other folks at other times. Unlike rail, where nothing else can use the tracks.

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I'm beginning to believe that density and/or sprawl will replace any commute time advantage fairly quickly. Commuting in a big city is a law of large numbers kind of thing, and there is most definitely a cost component to the time spent, so when a new alternative pops up, things equilibriate around the other alternatives and it takes us all an hour to get home. 

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On 6/26/2019 at 11:24 AM, Luminare said:

The "opposition" has had years upon years to develop something that they would like to see throughout the city (mass transit), and year after year nothing has been submitted to the city to try an alternative. Instead, the "opposition" only arises and cares about this issue when a project is underway and that isn't enough. All of this is the wrong time and the wrong place.

 

I'm pulling the age card here.  Back in the early 70s - about when the public transit and highway departments merged - various other new build heavy rail systems were in various stages of development - BART, MARTA, and the Washington Metro come to mind.  Here, we had an effort to form Houston Area Rapid Transit (HART) that almost got voter approval, but didn't quite.  The developer community was united in opposition, since they'd already bought large tracts of rice fields and farm lands along the routes of the then proposed Beltway 8 and Highway 99.

 

METRO ended up coming into being a half a dozen years later.  It put together alternatives.  Its monorail proposal was derided as something out of Disneyland (as if Disney doesn't want to turn a buck while moving a bunch of people around).  That's about the time that MayorBob (previously chair of the highway commission) took over, and strangled that plan in its crib.  Instead, he looted METRO to fund street projects.

 

And let's not forget the bomb throwing by DeLay and Culberson, including hijacking the University Line and building the Katy Freeway over an existing railroad right of way.

 

So the opposition has submitted plans - they've just had some pretty powerful opponents.

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Posted (edited)
Quote

I don't even think the opposition really even wants to get anything done period. They simply just want to be the "opposition". They want to be a "victim". If they wanted to not be that they could actually produce something or be productive. They aren't even opposed to this because they have some grand scheme that they have in hand. Instead they are only opposed to this out of orthodoxy and because it goes against their worldview. Thats not enough to make change happen. I don't see a difference in this opposition than I would with Christians in their orthodoxy being opposed to Heavy Metal music. Its not because they have an alternative, but because its motivated by orthodoxy or a threat to that orthodoxy. They truly see this project as a kind of "devil". None of this then or now produces a productive conversation, argument or debate where things can actually matter or make a difference.

 

The opposition has a bigger picture in mind.

 

Expanding freeways induces sprawl outward in certain directions at the expense of others while leapfrogging areas of the city where there is a lot of vacant or underutilized land. Houston has a lot of room to grow to the northeast. It has big empty areas all over the place, including inside the Beltway.

 

There are other highways that don't get a lot of traffic. There are other highways which could facilitate growth elsewhere, like a toll road to Alvin. Big picture, my friend. The Houston metro is growing. The Houston metro is a big place.

 

Infinitely expanding the already overcrowded highways in the parts of the city that already sprawl out to the limits of what normal people are willing to commute is the highest cost lowest return option there is.

 

 

Edited by zaphod
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1 hour ago, zaphod said:

 

The opposition has a bigger picture in mind.

 

Expanding freeways induces sprawl outward in certain directions at the expense of others while leapfrogging areas of the city where there is a lot of vacant or underutilized land. Houston has a lot of room to grow to the northeast. It has big empty areas all over the place, including inside the Beltway.

 

There are other highways that don't get a lot of traffic. There are other highways which could facilitate growth elsewhere, like a toll road to Alvin. Big picture, my friend. The Houston metro is growing. The Houston metro is a big place.

 

Infinitely expanding the already overcrowded highways in the parts of the city that already sprawl out to the limits of what normal people are willing to commute is the highest cost lowest return option there is.

 

 

 

I don't think you can flatly say that this expansion necessarily induces sprawl outward.  It is at least as likely (and I think more likely) that this project will reduce sprawl. If access to downtown continues to be more and more restricted by congestion, its growth will be choked off. There are already a huge number of people and companies who have zero interest in locating downtown or anywhere inside the loop, because of the congestion (or perceived congestion).

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Houston leaders asked to commit $100M to massive I-45 rebuild

 

Quote

To demonstrate local support for the mega-project, the Texas Department of Transportation is asking the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council, the committee that doles out state and federal money controlled by local officials, to commit $100 million to the central 3-mile portion of the freeway rebuild, from Interstate 10 to Loop 610. State officials would cover the remainder of the $1.22 billion cost, or around 91 percent of the total.

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, BeerNut said:

 

So they would be committing money towards the portion where the proposed highway caps would connect midtown to the museum district as well as where the big cap would connect EaDo to Downtown correct? (If, of course, they agree to commit $100M)

Edited by CaptainJilliams

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14 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I don't think you can flatly say that this expansion necessarily induces sprawl outward.  It is at least as likely (and I think more likely) that this project will reduce sprawl. If access to downtown continues to be more and more restricted by congestion, its growth will be choked off. There are already a huge number of people and companies who have zero interest in locating downtown or anywhere inside the loop, because of the congestion (or perceived congestion).

 

is this a joke?

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16 hours ago, zaphod said:

 

The opposition has a bigger picture in mind.

 

Expanding freeways induces sprawl outward in certain directions at the expense of others while leapfrogging areas of the city where there is a lot of vacant or underutilized land. Houston has a lot of room to grow to the northeast. It has big empty areas all over the place, including inside the Beltway.

 

There are other highways that don't get a lot of traffic. There are other highways which could facilitate growth elsewhere, like a toll road to Alvin. Big picture, my friend. The Houston metro is growing. The Houston metro is a big place.

 

Infinitely expanding the already overcrowded highways in the parts of the city that already sprawl out to the limits of what normal people are willing to commute is the highest cost lowest return option there is.

 

 

Where, exactly, are these big empty areas? Keep in mind that much of the empty areas to the Northeast are flood plains, and some of the other open areas are active oil/gas fields.

 

This project expands 45 from downtown to BW8. I doubt that will encourage sprawl, since the route is through pretty well developed areas.

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3 hours ago, CaptainJilliams said:

 

So they would be committing money towards the portion where the proposed highway caps would connect midtown to the museum district as well as where the big cap would connect EaDo to Downtown correct? (If, of course, they agree to commit $100M)

 

" to commit $100 million to the central 3-mile portion of the freeway rebuild, from Interstate 10 to Loop 610. 

 

I don't think so? I think its just putting the downpayment on the total package. I don't think we'll get a feel for what the average Houstonian wants until the TV ads and stuff starts to make appearances en-masse. Most of my friends are like "what are you talking about" when I asked them about this, and some of those guys are cops (for the city). So theres that. 

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Regional Policy Entity Should Delay Vote on $100 Million for I-45 Expansion

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This funding would signal the region’s support for the project as currently designed, despite significant community concerns that widening the highway poses a serious threat to neighborhood history and heritage, greenspace, flooding, housing, jobs, air quality, and the environment. According to TxDOT’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the project would lead to disproportionate and adverse impacts to low-income and minority communities, displacing 168 single family homes; 1,067 multi-family homes (including 368 low-income units and 60 homeless veterans’ units); and 331 businesses that employ 24,873 people.

 

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Everything has a tradeoff, ultimately the least politically connected are going to have their particular interests overruled.  Low income communities are kind of by definition the "easiest" to replace and so the people there get pushed around. As long as there are no takings without compensation, I think this is really the best we can do.  If you're a renter, your living situation is totally governed by your lease.

 

Supposing opponents are successful and get the project shut down. A plausible scenario would then shift value away from would-have-been more accessible "sprawled" communities to closer in "lower income and minority" communities. Rather than pay with time, people will pay with perceived neighborhood quality and start gentrifying. At the end of the day, people that do not own the property get priced out anyway, absent rent control and the shortages and other distortions they create.  

 

Money doesn't buy happiness, but it certainly gives you more options. 

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Posted (edited)

The big empty areas I am referring to:

 

NE: The area around Generation Park and Lake Houston Pkwy

E: Huffman. How much would it cost vs. other options to expand the Crosby Fwy instead

SW: The Missouri City antenna fields along Fort Bend Tollway

S: Manvel, which is closer to downtown than Katy. Once Pearland builds out it is next in like down 288.

SE: Alvin, if TXDOT built an SH 35 Tollway

 

This is more sprawl, but it's no worse than building pushing the suburban edge to touch Brookshire and Waller next.

 

All of these things are less than 25 miles from Downtown, which is approximately the distance from Katy to the city center.

 

 

Edited by zaphod

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Posted (edited)

I have now updated the maps on segments 1 & 2 of the project and they are going to be used as comment on the project to give them more ideas on how to improve the design on the present planned lane configuration, because past flaws are being repeated unfortunately.

 

Almost everyone isn’t aware of this, but ~85% of our freeways contain flawed lane configuration, including this project.

Because design flaws continue to be introduced into new lane configurations, the traffic slowdowns soon follow. 

 

The only 2 perfectly designed freeways as of right now is:

US 290 westbound from I-610 to Brittmore Rd and

I-45 Gulf northbound from Nasa Rd bypass to Beltway 8. 

Those 2 freeways have completely eliminated traffic backups as a result since their completions, and if the template used is implemented into other Houston area freeways, the traffic problem shall be tamed for good. Several other freeways approach that perfection (Katy freeway) although those are not completely free of flaws.

 

But once again, almost everyone isn’t aware of this.

 

 Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks.

I-610_NHHIP_Segment_2_Interchange_Project_Critique_2019.pdf I-45_NHHIP_Segments_1_&_2_Project_Critique_2019.pdf

I-610_NHHIP_Segment__2_Interchange_Project_Critique_2019pdf.pdf

Edited by RoadMan76
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12 hours ago, zaphod said:

The big empty areas I am referring to:

 

NE: The area around Generation Park and Lake Houston Pkwy

E: Huffman. How much would it cost vs. other options to expand the Crosby Fwy instead

SW: The Missouri City antenna fields along Fort Bend Tollway

S: Manvel, which is closer to downtown than Katy. Once Pearland builds out it is next in like down 288.

SE: Alvin, if TXDOT built an SH 35 Tollway

 

This is more sprawl, but it's no worse than building pushing the suburban edge to touch Brookshire and Waller next.

 

All of these things are less than 25 miles from Downtown, which is approximately the distance from Katy to the city center.

 

 

 

I started to type up a response about how none of these were practical given the current state of surrounding communities (poor, quasi-rural/industrial), but you mentioned Pearland. I grew up in Friendswood in the 80's, and, snobby as it may have been, Pearland was considered ugly, trashy and low-rent.  Alvin was close to the same, but more rural.  Sheldon/Huffman are like that now, likewise Huffman/Crosby/Highlands.  With better access, those areas would grow like crazy if the economy supports it.  They're also unincorporated and can get trucked by developers with more political clout!

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15 hours ago, zaphod said:

The big empty areas I am referring to:

 

NE: The area around Generation Park and Lake Houston Pkwy

E: Huffman. How much would it cost vs. other options to expand the Crosby Fwy instead

SW: The Missouri City antenna fields along Fort Bend Tollway

S: Manvel, which is closer to downtown than Katy. Once Pearland builds out it is next in like down 288.

SE: Alvin, if TXDOT built an SH 35 Tollway

 

This is more sprawl, but it's no worse than building pushing the suburban edge to touch Brookshire and Waller next.

 

All of these things are less than 25 miles from Downtown, which is approximately the distance from Katy to the city center.

 

 

NE: Notice that the other side of the power lines from Generationa Park are the Greens Bayou Wetlands Mitigation Bank, so can't be developed. That probably applies to all of that open space along Greens Bayou

E: Huffman area is between the San Jacinto and Trinity rivers, and subject to flooding

SW:The antenna fields aren't going anywhere, and are on top of a salt dome with an adjacent oil field

The Manvel and Alvin areas are slowly developing, but it will take time. Plus, they are a long way outside the Beltway.

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