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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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On 7/13/2019 at 6:18 PM, samagon said:

 

outlines pretty well the problems too.

 

It only outlines the problems and ignores the cost and feasibility of the supposed alternatives that are wide ranging and intrusive.  All are valid approaches and ideas that should be discussed politically, but METRO and TxDOT are both fairly famous for avoiding political accountability. People care about bathroom bills way more than who is greasing who's palm for what benefit.

 

Using transit to sporting events as a supposed upside for the reader to imagine ignores the light rail rodeo experience most of us try to avoid, even before you compare it to the absurdity of paying $40 to park for an Astros' game. No one does that apart from the diamond club folks that wouldn't be caught dead on public transit, unless they need it for their campaign photo op.

 

Paying $15 to park and then wait a half hour for a packed rail car sounds fairly competitive to $40 now that I think about it. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Is there any actual chance of the opposition stopping this? Where in the process is such a chance most likely to be? This is reminding me of the opposition to widening the Katy Freeway back in the early 2000's. Some e-mail groups, some visionary op-eds in the Chronicle, some quotes from experts saying that widening freeways never has worked or will work, and... nothing. The widening took place.

 

I do think there was a successful opposition that stopped the widening of the West Loop to 24 lanes in the early 90's, but that was before my time.

 

Edited by H-Town Man

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23 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

Is there any actual chance of the opposition stopping this? Where in the process is such a chance most likely to be? This is reminding me of the opposition to widening the Katy Freeway back in the early 2000's. Some e-mail groups, some visionary op-eds in the Chronicle, some quotes from experts saying that widening freeways never has worked or will work, and... nothing. The widening took place.

 

I do think there was a successful opposition that stopped the widening of the West Loop to 24 lanes in the early 90's, but that was before my time.

 

 

my humble opinion - zero chance. Something has to be done because those integrity of the pierce elevated is terminal. Rebuilding it in its place wont do much good. Too much time and effort in this to abandon it now.

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Zero chance it stops because despite the vocal opposition, there's still a good amount of support for the project that isn't quite that vocal. The city hasn't given any indication they are changing course either.

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

I do think there was a successful opposition that stopped the widening of the West Loop to 24 lanes in the early 90's, but that was before my time.

 

That's only because it impacted Memorial Park, which annoyed the billionaire wife crowd.

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53 minutes ago, ADCS said:

That's only because it impacted Memorial Park, which annoyed the billionaire wife crowd.

 

Do the billionaire wives actually use Memorial Park or do they just have expansive lawns to look out on?

 

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8 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Do the billionaire wives actually use Memorial Park or do they just have expansive lawns to look out on?

 

No, they like being philanthropic.

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17 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Do the billionaire wives actually use Memorial Park or do they just have expansive lawns to look out on?

 

 

Both

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H-GAC committee offers support for I-45 rebuild, but not without concerns

Quote

Ultimately, the technical committee approved the committal of $100 million in locally-controlled federal funds to the center segment of the I-45 project, per a request from TxDOT. The final decision rests with H-GAC’s Transportation Policy Council, which meets July 26.

 

 

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An unsuspected challenger has appeared. Mac is definitely an opportunist, and he’s got the political/money muscle. It’s about to get interesting!

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On 7/20/2019 at 4:15 PM, X.R. said:

 

An unsuspected challenger has appeared. Mac is definitely an opportunist, and he’s got the political/money muscle. It’s about to get interesting!

 

He's been a vocal critic at several TXDOT meetings I've attended.

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On 7/20/2019 at 4:15 PM, X.R. said:

 

An unsuspected challenger has appeared. Mac is definitely an opportunist, and he’s got the political/money muscle. It’s about to get interesting!

 

 

How much of his parking lot would he lose? 

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sorry @Triton, I didn't realize. The biggest entity that I knew of, that could afford some kind of lobying/media ,was Saint Arnolds. Once Mac starts sending out text messages about preventing this from happening to everyone who has ever bought furniture from him...its gonna be fun to watch. 

 

And @Nate99 any amount is too much. He's like the billionaire wives they were talking about, but instead of a lawn he has a massive parking lot. 

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6 hours ago, X.R. said:

sorry @Triton, I didn't realize. The biggest entity that I knew of, that could afford some kind of lobying/media ,was Saint Arnolds. Once Mac starts sending out text messages about preventing this from happening to everyone who has ever bought furniture from him...its gonna be fun to watch. 

 

And @Nate99 any amount is too much. He's like the billionaire wives they were talking about, but instead of a lawn he has a massive parking lot. 

 

Sure, no problem. :) Was just making others aware in case no one knew. First time I saw him, he actually didn't even ask about his property. He said who can guarantee that these cap parks get built. His main concern has been that TXDOT is showing these major parks but no one has committed to actually building them. He actually had an interesting thought that TXDOT should actually be showing these projects without the parks until the funding is actually there.

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14 hours ago, X.R. said:

 

And @Nate99 any amount is too much. He's like the billionaire wives they were talking about, but instead of a lawn he has a massive parking lot. 

 

I don't begrudge him arguing for his interests, but it's not like he's being altruistic here, that parking lot is a commercial asset to his business.  People are quickly adopting the mental shortcut of development = more flooding, mostly due to NIMBY's hijacking an emotional issue.   Let's account for it, be up front about the impact, but there are lots of places in this world that are just as floody as Houston that are more developed.

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Posted (edited)

The media really likes the victim narrative going on here. Another article:
 

https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/transportation/2019/07/23/340388/activists-want-to-delay-funding-vote-on-i-45-expansion/

 

Quote

One of those concerned about the impact on local communities is Oni Blair with the transportation advocacy group LINK Houston. She told News 88.7 she’s concerned that not all voices are being heard.

 

Its important to understand what one means when they actually say "not all voices are being heard". What one really mean when they say this is "you aren't doing what I want." Getting what you "want" and being heard/listened to are not the same things, but these types of people who operate in this fashion typically exhibit this behavior. This project has statistically had the most outreach of any highway project in the history of Houston, and they've been discussing this with people for the past 4-5 years? Just because you are late to the party doesn't mean that you aren't "heard" and just because you aren't getting what you want doesn't mean you aren't "heard". Me listening to you or even understanding you is not predicated on the fact that I have to agree with you (Heard/Listen =\= Agree With). An analogy would be that a group of people get together to order a pizza and each of them agree to a certain way in how the pizza is going to be paid for, when they are going to get, how they are going to get it and why they are going to get it, and it would be as if all the sudden a friend of the group is either invited to hangout or the group is friendly enough to share the pizza, but are then berated by said person for not getting in a say in the who/what/when/where/why and how in regards to the pizza. In this context we would all think this person is a jerk, but in this up-scaled example of this for some reason a few see this as virtuous!?

 

Quote

“We’re under siege in terms of environmental issues, in terms of other people’s ideas of how transportation should flow, and we seem to be at their mercy,” said Stevenson.

 

No...You aren't. While it would behoove the city to implement mass transportation services as it would help to better efficiently move people around, and be a genuine public good (something that I fully support and we need more of), the city isn't also obligated to do so. Its not in their mandate/charter as a city to provide these options/services. Its not a human right to have multiple transportation options. This argument might work in a few select cities that have strict zone on where certain things go, and if it was discovered that the powers at be zone low income housing purposefully next highways which could be adversely affect then I would be more inclined to agree, but we are a city with no zoning. Its the free market here which dictates where people live where and what goes where. So no, you aren't at the cities mercy because the city doesn't determine where you live or work. I was thinking about this yesterday, but there really are people out there that truly believe that the world operates from an entirely top-down perspective instead of bottom-up which is actually the case. Its the only way for their narrative to work because if it were bottom-up then that means that people have agency and can make their own decisions which wouldn't support their argument/narrative. Instead they HAVE to believe the everything is top-down, so they can make it seem as if they have zero agency to make any decisions.

 

Quote

Air Alliance Houston also expressed concern about the I-45 expansion. Spokeswoman Leticia Ablaza said they’re already seeing high rates of asthmaamong children living near freeways. She added that a lot of people who could be affected by the I-45 expansion may not even know about it.

 

Again. If this is the case, and if the statistics show this and its publicly available information, then again we have to assume that people living next to highways are doing so freely knowing the affects living next to a highway might entail. I personally believe that nobody should be living next to freeways or that we at least have some kind of buffer zone between, so people aren't prone to illnesses such as this. Their argument here is basically pointless. Its analogous to what we have done with smoking. We continue to blindly believe that if we talk about just how terrible, unhealthy, and gross they are that people will stop smoking, but that hasn't been the case. People will do what they want regardless of warnings you give them.

 

Quote

“The Hispanic community, a lot of them have not been notified,” said Ablaza. “They predominately speak Spanish and we’re trying to get the materials out in Spanish, we’re trying to get everyone included.”

 

This is also just not true. This narrative only works if Hispanics are minorities in every single community in America, and that isn't the case. Along much of this corridor Hispanics are actually the majority and operate more of the businesses along the highway, and live near the highway. If they are the majority that live and work near the highway, and if TXDOT has done everything in their authority (and beyond) to reach out to these communities then it would be safe to say that the hispanic "community" is actually pretty well informed to the extent possible given the circumstances.

 

Finally, I'm pretty sure these protest, kicking and screaming are much ado about nothing. Like I said in the X-Houston thread the NIMBYS might actually have had something to say way back when, but didn't take the opportunity to take a seat at the table when it mattered, and are now essentially asking for the current table to be burned and replaced. The NIMBYS do talk about things that people would be willing to support and concerns be addressed (which I'm will to support and help address), but they refuse to operate as adults and would rather act like children. The NIMBYS are asking for the city to go against their own interests (growing the economy and growing the tax base) and while the environmental aspect is one that should be considered and while it might not fix traffic problems, the fact is that highway rebuilds and construction not only make a city money and drive the economy both throughout the city and locally, but is something that city citizens are willing to support (and overwhelmingly). Placed with the option of growing the economy/upgrading aging infrastructure with do nothing/and maybe help the environment....which one do you think will be chosen? Not exactly a hard decision, and I don't think it will be a hard decision for H-GAC.

EDIT: Here is a link for the meeting itself and what will be discussed:

http://www.h-gac.com/transportation-policy-council/meeting-agendas/2019-july.aspx

 

Whats interesting is this decision is for approving funding for Segment 2. I did a lot of research to plot this project on the map and I learned that Segment 3 (the downtown segment...and the segment which most of us actually want to happen) has been already funded and will happen (the portion that is I69 and 288 is scheduled to begin sometime next year). All this backlash has been for Segments 1 and 2, and though I don't like the fact that we have to expand this highway, and that the ROW they are asking to take is a bit ridiculous, the fact of the matter is that without a legit alternative or plan we would be fools for not carrying this forward, and because these people are being so childish in their protest they are in a sense making me defend TXDOT and COH when normally I would be against highway expansion.

Edited by Luminare
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Posted (edited)
On 7/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, Luminare said:

Whats interesting is this decision is for approving funding for Segment 2. I did a lot of research to plot this project on the map and I learned that Segment 3 (the downtown segment...and the segment which most of us actually want to happen) has been already funded and will happen (the portion that is I69 and 288 is scheduled to begin sometime next year).

I thought contract letting for the 69 trenching would start next year, with construction to follow in 2021 (he says, hoping construction might actually start next year).

 

edit: this is where I got my thoughts on contract letting:

 

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/cmd/lettingschedule/2020/planned-district.pdf

 

 

Edited by houstontexasjack

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On 7/16/2019 at 4:57 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

Do the billionaire wives actually use Memorial Park or do they just have expansive lawns to look out on?

 

 

The Bayou Club is on the western edge of the park and makes the River Oaks Country Club look inclusive and diverse. 

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5 hours ago, SmellyHoustonian said:

 

The Bayou Club is on the western edge of the park and makes the River Oaks Country Club look inclusive and diverse. 

About 300 members, almost impossible to join, etc. The purchase price for their land was less than $50k, according to their 2017 tax return(non-profit social club, so returns are public record)

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Posted (edited)

Theres now a nice interactive map for the whole project on the COH Planning and Development website.

 

COH P&D:

 

http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/nhhip/index.html

Map Link:

http://mycity.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=15e9cd4512944ddb9b8f6b23fa9a68c6

EDIT: You can even leave a comment.

Edited by Luminare

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On 7/23/2019 at 4:35 PM, Nate99 said:

 

 

How much of his parking lot would he lose? 

 

Between Tidwell and Parker all of the ROW aquisition is on the opposite side, so none.

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Just now, JJxvi said:

 

Between Tidwell and Parker all of the ROW aquisition is on the opposite side, so none.

 

Interesting. Maybe he's wary of the decade of construction disruption. 

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7 hours ago, Nate99 said:

 

Interesting. Maybe he's wary of the decade of construction disruption. 

You'd think that he's got enough clout where if that were the concern, he'd just get that section done as quick as possible, as soon as possible, rather than opposing the project altogether.

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if the rebuild 290 project is any indication, clout won't make anything move faster.

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Went to the meeting tonight,,,anyone know where I can find all the new documents from the planning and development department? Didn't see it on the north Houston project page but I could be overlooking it. It included a huge amount of potential changes based on feedback.

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8 hours ago, Triton said:

Went to the meeting tonight,,,anyone know where I can find all the new documents from the planning and development department? Didn't see it on the north Houston project page but I could be overlooking it. It included a huge amount of potential changes based on feedback.

 

Theres another meeting scheduled for the 17th. They probably won't release anything until after that.

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8 hours ago, Triton said:

Went to the meeting tonight,,,anyone know where I can find all the new documents from the planning and development department? Didn't see it on the north Houston project page but I could be overlooking it. It included a huge amount of potential changes based on feedback.

 

Any teasers for us?

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24 minutes ago, Texasota said:

 

Any teasers for us?

 

i was at the meeting last night too and I saw no maps with potential changes.  It was just maps of what exists and maps of the most current txdot plans...... like the downtown partnership plans weren't in the building in any way shape or form.   

 

it was maybe 120 people?  It was the consulting firm, CoH, Metro, UH's design ppl, and some tdot ppl quietly listening.... they gave us a run down of where we are in the timeline and how f'd we are, and then had large tables (in english and spanish) for 4 issues (Connections, Traffic, Environment/Flooding, Property).  People were asked to sit in groups for 20 minutes and the consulting firm/UH/CoH people would lead discussions while a second person wrote all the notes down.  Some discussions were better than others, but there were just so many competing voices and issues for 20 minutes to be enough time...   a lot of 2ndward/eastside people were there and it was specifically not about their section, which got awkward real quick when they tried to ask about their part.    

There was absolutely no "heres our ideas!"-type of thing from the city or consulting firm.   

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, TheSirDingle said:

Anybody know when the pierce section might start, or when the downtown sections are going to kick off in general?

 

they still have to get funding approved.

 

we should all hope that the process takes a long time to get started, and moves quickly once started. I say it should take a long time to get started because from what I've seen a lot of stakeholders are only just finding out about this project, and their voice needs to be heard. I'm not talking about just people who live near this, but people that use the freeways daily to travel around town. we are all impacted.

 

for a project that will cost this much, and have as large of an impact on our city, both to those that live/work near the impacted freeways, and those that live far away, but use those freeways all need to have a chance to react with helpful comments.

 

at any rate, if the plans go through as is, the Pierce section, as in removal of the Pierce Elevated, will be the last thing done for the downtown realignment. so probably 10 years from now? maybe longer?

Edited by samagon
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3 hours ago, crock said:

 

i was at the meeting last night too and I saw no maps with potential changes.  It was just maps of what exists and maps of the most current txdot plans...... like the downtown partnership plans weren't in the building in any way shape or form.   

 

I think that's a better description. Nothing changed on the maps but there was a lot of discussion about potential changes that they are considering/reviewing based on feedback, particularly at the "Traffic table". Big one being the N Main intersection and the lack of ramps on the north side of the bridge. Sounded like Cottage may be disappearing. 

 

The thing that actually made me upset was the lack of knowledge of some of their own maps. They were freaking out residents at the Traffic table when the leader of that table said the Quitman and Crockett bridges were disappearing... which is not the case... only the HOV connection at Quitman is going away. Really made me upset no one corrected him either and we weren't allowed to say anything until called on and it was already past my turn.

 

One thing to note, there were also quite a few people opposed to the proposed bridge by COH between Burnett St. and Edwards St. Lot of people on the west side of I-45 were concerned about an inundation of vehicular traffic into their neighborhood. So it will be interesting if that bridge is removed from COH's plan now. Sucks, cause I thought it was great to actually see a new potential connection coming across I-45.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/14/2019 at 1:13 PM, Triton said:

I think that's a better description. Nothing changed on the maps but there was a lot of discussion about potential changes that they are considering/reviewing based on feedback, particularly at the "Traffic table". Big one being the N Main intersection and the lack of ramps on the north side of the bridge. Sounded like Cottage may be disappearing. 

 

The thing that actually made me upset was the lack of knowledge of some of their own maps. They were freaking out residents at the Traffic table when the leader of that table said the Quitman and Crockett bridges were disappearing... which is not the case... only the HOV connection at Quitman is going away. Really made me upset no one corrected him either and we weren't allowed to say anything until called on and it was already past my turn.

 

One thing to note, there were also quite a few people opposed to the proposed bridge by COH between Burnett St. and Edwards St. Lot of people on the west side of I-45 were concerned about an inundation of vehicular traffic into their neighborhood. So it will be interesting if that bridge is removed from COH's plan now. Sucks, cause I thought it was great to actually see a new potential connection coming across I-45.

 

 

this is my greatest fear, this is such a large project with so many moving parts and people. I am sure there is an overall project manager on this, and we all have to hope that this guy not only is looking at all the moving parts of the freeway puzzle, but the things like the KBR project, and 401 Franklin, and things that will have an impact, not only during the build, but right after they finish.

 

for instance (specifically related to KBR) , I don't understand at all the choice to remove the Jensen exit. that is the best exit from the north and west to access this new development, and they are removing it? the new best access to the site is going to be farther back west on i-10, which is hundreds of feet from the merge of 45 into 10 east, so someone coming from the north can't access the exit unless they cut over 4 lanes of traffic? that's a horrible idea.

 

and then there's the exit from 288/59 NB that is right in front of the u-turn they put in for local traffic because they killed Polk. how does someone access that u-turn when there's traffic coming off the freeway? what good is that u-turn in that position?

 

anyway, I'm rambling a bit, but the point is, there is probably one guy that has the whole project scope; he certainly isn't going to community meetings. how much does he know about Houston? how involved does he get in the minutia?

 

TXDOT is obviously interested in only one thing, and that is regional mobility, you can see that in how they are making a mess of local traffic, like Jensen and Polk (and Leeland is another, they killed WB traffic from Leeland to Bell?). since the HGAC basically just approved it, it seems that they don't care about local mobility either, or maybe they just don't care about local mobility in those areas?

 

these meetings are crucial and it's a tragedy that someone with full scope of the project isn't available. I really hope they drag out this process for a long time so that they get as much feedback as possible, and then also use that feedback to make the project better.

Edited by samagon

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Posted (edited)

The city didn't approve it (as far as I know); HGAC did. HGAC is a regional entity, as implied by the name Houston-Galveston Area Council.

 

Ugh to adding a ramp north of Main. That intersection design (except for the weird ramp off of Houston, but that's already sort of there and plenty strange) was one of my favorite parts of the current proposal. 

Edited by Texasota
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On 8/14/2019 at 2:47 PM, Texasota said:

The city didn't approve it (as far as I know); HGAC did. HGAC is a regional entity, as implied by the name Houston-Galveston Area Council.

 

Ugh to adding a ramp north of Main. That intersection design (except for the weird ramp off of Houston, but that's already sort of there and plenty strange) was one of my favorite parts of the current proposal. 

 

you're right, I edited for clarity!

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