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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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For quick reference (and just to inject some actual numbers in here):

 

The Planning dept. tweeted out the change in number of households and people per household from 2000 to 2017 inside the loop. 

 

Doing some quick math, that puts the population inside the loop in 2017 at 524,960. Not including West University, Bellaire, or Southside. Inner Loop Houston is (roughly) 97 square miles, so that makes for a population density of 5,412/sq. mile. 

 

 

For comparison (pulled from Wikipedia for the sake of not spending forever on this post);

 

Pittsburgh (2018): 58.34 sq. miles; 301,048 people; 5,160 people/ sq. mile

Baltimore (2018): 92 sq. miles; 602,495 people; 6,549 people/ sq. mile

Portland (2018): 133 sq. miles; 583,776 people; 4,389 people/sq. mile

Twin Cities (2018): ~110 sq. miles; 733,098 people; ; 6,665 people per sq. mile

 

These are pretty rough numbers (some include water and some don't for one thing) but I think they're illuminating. 

 

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2 hours ago, crock said:

 

have you been to Baltimore? their rail/lightrail set up is very similar to Houstons.  Both Baltimore and Houston were built out with streetcar suburbs.  In what way is Houston "nothing like" Baltimore? 

Also, who cares about Katy? If people want to keep making unsustainable and slightly racist "But our school district" decisions, why should the urban core keep having to make the sacrifices? 

It's cute you're talking about "getting out of our subdivision would be difficult" out as if the reason the Afton Oaks people didn't kill the richmond line was pure and blatant racism.  
 

 

The last time I was in Baltimore was 1976. I have no real desire or need to go there. People have to live somewhere, and all of you folks keep thinking it's not in Katy. Where would you have them live? Are you going to take large quantities of Inner Loop land by eminent domain and build social housing high rises? That's what I mean, no one proposes any alternatives in any sort of practical detail. Do you have actual evidence that Afton Oaks residents were motivated by racism? Or is it some sort of meme you dreamed up?

 

Very few of the people who live in Katy would be willing to buy a house where I live in the Greater Heights, because they aren't willing to pay $400k for a 2BR 1 bath house when they have a couple of kids and need more room. It's not all about the school district, it's more about lifestyle, separate rooms for all of the kids, a yard where kids can play, at a price that's affordable. My parents bought in Katy in the early 80's because they wanted a new house, and it was not a bad commute to where my Dad worked off of San Felipe. That's a very common desire today as well.

 

1 hour ago, Texasota said:

What exactly do you mean by "destroying the ability of people to get around the areas near where they live"? That's certainly what freeways do, and heavy rail absolutely can as well unless it's effectively mitigated, but how does light rail do that? Or BRT? or subways (of any kind)? Or elevated rail running along existing freeway corridors?

  

 

You're making a lot of broad statements without really defining what you mean. You say ""Urban" Houston is nothing like Baltimore, Portland, etc", but I just described exactly how they are similar - size and population density. Population density is a pretty commonly referenced measure when it comes to transit efficacy - what exactly makes inner loop Houston different? Particularly since I referenced very different cities in three very different regions of the country?

Baltimore, Portland, etc are different geographically. The fact that Inner Loop Houston has the same density, population, and other characteristics is irrelevant because Houston is surrounded by miles of empty, flat land, and those other places aren't. They are hemmed in by waterways, mountains, and other natural features.

 

Most of the proposals for transit over the past few years have been for light rail running on existing streets. Which makes sense, because there's no place else for it to run. All of those rail lines would make travel more difficult if the rail doesn't go to your destination. The current light rail lines show that in painful detail. We can get from the greater Heights to where my in laws live without too much interference from the North extension to the Red Line, but getting back home requires a 20 block detour from the old route because the rail blocks all of the turns we used to take. And the times I've seen trains go by over there, they are empty.

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Having a rail line on the other side of the Southwest Freeway from the middle of Greenway Plaza west (a design accommodation that was made ages ago) won't affect access to Afton Oaks in any realistic way, shape, or form. 

 

Judging by how full the park and ride buses are here, as is the commuter rail elsewhere, it's likely that if a rail alternative were there people in Katy, The Woodlands, etc., etc. would use it.

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I find the idea that the Red Line gets in the way of travel to be, if nothing else, totally at odds with my own experience. I don't know which specific routes you take to which specific neighborhoods, but I've never had to go 20 blocks out of my way because of the light rail. Maybe 2. If there is a 20 block stretch somewhere up on the north side with a 20 block detour, then that's just a bad design - it's not inherent to light rail running in the street.

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I'm also not sure how geography is relevant, but the Twin Cities, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh are not "hemmed in." The Twin Cities in particular have no topological features obstructing outward growth. Now, they are surrounded by other cities unlikely to take kindly to being annexed, but that's not the same thing.

 

But regardless - where would people go? Inside the Loop! Outside the Loop! The city is simultaneously densifying and growing outward; it's just a matter of incentivizing development further in over greenfield development.

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23 hours ago, ADCS said:

 

It's perfectly valid to attack his credibility as someone using this issue to grind a particular political axe, rather than someone closely tied to and invested in the community and the people who the project will impact.

 

alright, well, I agree 100% with his views, I am closely tied to and invested in the community (indeed, I am a member of the community). so are you going to attack my credibility? In reality, you are just going to divert again, because you can't argue against the claims he's making they're all true. 

 

19 hours ago, Ross said:

Possibly for cities that have similar attributes. Not for Houston. Houston is very different from the so called great cities Speck mentioned. Speck provides no idea on how to make his "dreams" happen. He says Houston needs better transit, but doesn't say what he means by better. He doesn't mention that Houston has multiple downtown equivalents, that make transit harder to implement. There's nothing on how disruptive construction of any sort of rail would be, with similar land taking as the freeway expansion if it's done right. Nothing on where, and how, new residents would live. 

 

every city is different. the needs of the humans living in every city is the same. we all need transportation, and the more options that a person has the higher their quality of life will be.

 

15 hours ago, Ross said:

The updated Katy carries a huge amount of traffic compared to the old road. I've seen all sorts of claims about induced demand, but no evidence that the new residents in the Katy area wouldn't be there regardless of the freeway. After all, where else are you going to put several hundred thousand new residents if not in the vast open areas on the West side of Houston.Without the Katy Freeway update, congestion would be even worse. I also haven't seen a shred of evidence that all of those new residents would be willing to take the train to their destinations. The general comment I get when I ask about trains is that "they are for other people, and to make my drive easier".

 

"Urban" Houston is nothing like Baltimore, Portland, etc. Where would you run rail in "urban Houston" without also destroying the ability of people to get around the areas near where they live?

 

I am not totally opposed to more transit, including rail, but I've seen nothing that gives a warm fuzzy feeling that it would actually work here. I know there are lots of folks who have no problem with transit making it hard on the people who live between them and their destination, but that has to be considered. In other words, the folks who live in Afton Oaks have to be considered when you want to build rail along Richmond, since it would make getting in and out of their subdivision very difficult.

 

Ross, you are hiding from reality if you are unable to see that in every instance of Houston freeway expansion that whatever community is at the fringe of the city at that point get a huge population increase only AFTER the freeway is created, or made larger.

 

Katy has always been expanding and increasing their neighborhoods, but since the freeway was made wider, it has been positively exploding. Go up on 290 today and you'll see earth being moved farther out than you'd expect, huge subdivisions being built and land being infilled. coincidence that 290 just recently finished? In your mind, I'm sure.

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12 hours ago, Ross said:

 

 

The last time I was in Baltimore was 1976. I have no real desire or need to go there. People have to live somewhere, and all of you folks keep thinking it's not in Katy. Where would you have them live?

 

you say this as if Baltimore is supposed to care about Columbia's transit, or that Portland is supposed to care about Salem.   That is the problem with Houston, suburban people think they should have a say in the city itself, thats not true of other places. 

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And that's actually a big problem in Baltimore - the light rail was designed to serve people commuting in from Towson, not people living in the city. It actually bypasses closer in neighborhoods. Our light rail lines are actually substantially better in that respect.

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17 hours ago, crock said:

 

Also, who cares about Katy? If people want to keep making unsustainable and slightly racist "But our school district" decisions, why should the urban core keep having to make the sacrifices? 

 

 

Excellent job displaying your complete ignorance. Bravo, bravo.

 

Might want to visit Katy and see how diverse it is, bubs. Nahhhh, easier for you just to sling BS.

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Speck's "analysis" is sloppy, at best.  For example, the 55% increase in congestion that he cites as having occurred on the Katy Freeway was not from before widening to after widening. That claim is flatly false.  The cited increase was between 2011 and 2014 (on a particular segment at a particular time of day).  That hardly proves or even suggests that the widening was a boondoggle. It only shows what happens when a metro area adds more than 100,000 people every year.  (The most amazing thing is, he provided the link to the data and either did not understand it or intentionally misrepresented it.)

 

Another example, Houston has been doing some congestion pricing for years (I think before Dallas ever thought of doing it), first on the Katy Freeway, then on all of the HOV lanes, and a good portion of this project is for the purpose of providing lanes for mass transit/car pools/congestion pricing.

 

Also, he tells us the freeway will promptly be as congested as before (or more), but in the next breath tells us it will be more dangerous, in spite of design improvements, because cars will be going so much faster.  Which is it, Jeff?  It can't be both.

Edited by Houston19514
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I actually agree that Speck's analysis is a bit... rushed, if nothing else, but I think your last point misses his. 

 

Congestion can absolutely get worse while crashed also become more dangerous - just at different times of day. A road designed to hold hundreds of thousands of cars will naturally become a speedway whenever it's not packed, and even with the worst congestion in the country there will still be times of day when the road is clear. Like 3am, for example, when it will be half full of drunk drivers.

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Now that @Houston19514 mentioned congestion pricing, I am sorta sad that so much of 288 is going to involve a toll. If we're being honest, the 288 expansion was needed (it was a parking lot going from the Land of Pears to...anywhere in the city using 288). It is truly congestion traffic, as opposed to shitty freeway design. Its kind of shitty to those people since house prices aren't really crazy in new Pearland (can still get a house for 200k or so, but only with a decent downpayment) so I dunno if paying 3 dollars every day (going and coming) is going to make those people very happy. Plus you got sunnyside and orem and stella link over there, and those lower income peeps use 288 too. Living in the land of pears/sunnyside and workin in Med Center/downtown is going to be a good more expensive.

 

I say all that just to mention that we're about to have a massive highway improvement project finish up by end of the year (and dont forget the beltway 8 expansion in that area too). There is a loooot of land just south of 610 and north of the belt in that area, so we can see if all that finally gets infilled or not with this massive expansion down south. Potentially a perfect test case.

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5 hours ago, gmac said:

 

Excellent job displaying your complete ignorance. Bravo, bravo.

 

Might want to visit Katy and see how diverse it is, bubs. Nahhhh, easier for you just to sling BS.

 

saying Katy is diverse is fine and all, but you're the one displaying your complete ignorance if you think white flight is "BS" or somehow not racist. 

Edited by crock

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2 hours ago, Texasota said:

I actually agree that Speck's analysis is a bit... rushed, if nothing else, but I think your last point misses his. 

 

Congestion can absolutely get worse while crashed also become more dangerous - just at different times of day. A road designed to hold hundreds of thousands of cars will naturally become a speedway whenever it's not packed, and even with the worst congestion in the country there will still be times of day when the road is clear. Like 3am, for example, when it will be half full of drunk drivers.

 

But that is true today as well.  There are times of the day now when the road is clear.  No, he is specifically claiming that adding capacity to the freeway will make it more dangerous because drivers will be going faster on average all the time.  (and note that he just bases it on the statistic that, at some point, higher speeds lead to higher death rates; he doesn't even attempt to show that such speeds will be routinely achieved after this project and not before, nor does he show us any information that traffic flowing at higher speeds in a case such as this inherently causes more crashes.  He's the "expert" on this matter.  Does he not have the crash numbers pre- and post-Katy freeway expansion?  My guess is, he does, but they don't prove his point.

 

His adoption of the "Katy Freeway is the largest freeway in the world" lie and the "Katy Freeway Expansion Only Made Things Worse" lie destroys his credibility.

 

Add to that, the fact that he seems to have little knowledge about this project or about Houston in general.  As I mentioned earlier, a huge portion of the capacity expansion provided by this project is for mass transit/HOV/congestion pricing.  He seems to be completely unaware of this fact.  Also, this project will completely remove a stretch of freeway and also place large segments of freeway below grade to dramatically reduce the amount of disconnection. He seems unaware of that as well.(We hear the glories of Rochester New York because they removed a small, little-used spur, but no acknowledgment of the amount of re-connection this project provides.)

 

There's more.  He says that Independence Heights was "completely omitted from the Historical Resources Survey".  That seems to be an overstatement.  .http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs10/190315A_Draft_HRSR_Update_Watermark.pdf

 

 

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I'm perfectly happy to shoot that particular messenger.  Still, when the West Loop was rebuilt they kept the same capacity and it didn't kill us. 

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1 hour ago, crock said:

 

saying Katy is diverse is fine and all, but you're the one displaying your complete ignorance if you think white flight is "BS" or somehow not racist. 

 

You're wrong, just admit it and move on. You claim that it is still happening due to racism. It's not. Most people with families buy where they can afford a nice home, and that is certainly not inside the loop or downtown.

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35 minutes ago, mollusk said:

I'm perfectly happy to shoot that particular messenger.  Still, when the West Loop was rebuilt they kept the same capacity and it didn't kill us. 

 

That's not exactly true. While they didn't add lanes, they did add capacity, through better design.  Also note that we are even now inserting additional capacity into the West Loop by adding the lanes for Metro Rapid BRT.

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21 hours ago, X.R. said:

Now that @Houston19514 mentioned congestion pricing, I am sorta sad that so much of 288 is going to involve a toll. If we're being honest, the 288 expansion was needed (it was a parking lot going from the Land of Pears to...anywhere in the city using 288). It is truly congestion traffic, as opposed to shitty freeway design. Its kind of shitty to those people since house prices aren't really crazy in new Pearland (can still get a house for 200k or so, but only with a decent downpayment) so I dunno if paying 3 dollars every day (going and coming) is going to make those people very happy. Plus you got sunnyside and orem and stella link over there, and those lower income peeps use 288 too. Living in the land of pears/sunnyside and workin in Med Center/downtown is going to be a good more expensive.

 

I say all that just to mention that we're about to have a massive highway improvement project finish up by end of the year (and dont forget the beltway 8 expansion in that area too). There is a loooot of land just south of 610 and north of the belt in that area, so we can see if all that finally gets infilled or not with this massive expansion down south. Potentially a perfect test case.

 

variable tolls on specific lanes of traffic is not what I'd call congestion pricing, but it's a start.

 

when the lanes are moving really fast I'd call them the "f*** you I'm better than you lanes" and when they are moving as slow as the main lanes, I'd call them the "idiot tax lanes". the only problem is that you never know when it's going to be which of the two, so maybe we can call them "gambling is legal in Texas lanes".

 

and please, if you must, it is the "and of pearls" not "land of pears".

 

isn't a lot of the land between 610 and bw8 not really suitable for human consumption?

Edited by samagon
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More lies from Mr Speck:

 

He tells us that "Houston has more freeway miles per capita than every large city except Kansas City and St. Louis". I'm sure he's referring to the Federal Highway Administration statistics, which indeed had Houston at No. 3, back in 2007!

 

Using current numbers (would it be too much to ask the self-appointed expert to use current numbers?), among urbanized areas with more than 1 Million population, Houston's freeway lane miles per capita ranks Number 4 . . . IN TEXAS (there are only 4 such urbanized areas in Texas).  Houston ranks Number 19 among the 41 US urbanized areas with more than 1 Million population.  https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2007/hm72.cfm

 

Edited by Houston19514
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20 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

More lies from Mr Speck:

 

He tells us that "Houston has more freeway miles per capita than every large city except Kansas City and St. Louis". I'm sure he's referring to the Federal Highway Administration statistics, which indeed had Houston at No. 3, back in 2007!

 

Using current numbers (would it be too much to ask the self-appointed expert to use current numbers?), among urbanized areas with more than 1 Million population, Houston's freeway lane miles per capita ranks Number 4 . . . IN TEXAS (there are only 4 such urbanized areas in Texas).  Houston ranks Number 19 among the 41 US urbanized areas with more than 1 Million population.  https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2007/hm72.cfm

 

 

you do realize what you linked is dated October of 2008?

 

the only per capita they have on that spreadsheet is roadway (not freeway) miles per capita.

 

finally, the data that he probably used is from this site:

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2012/04/20/cities-with-the-most-highway-miles-a-whos-who-of-decay/

 

spoiler alert, we are number 3, behind KC and StL.

 

which was published in 2012, after the data you referenced was released. so, maybe you linked the wrong thing?

 

I admit I didn't look much farther than the first page of google for data that backs up your claim, but you're gonna have to provide a better source than the wrong link.

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On 9/11/2019 at 8:12 AM, samagon said:

 

you do realize what you linked is dated October of 2008?

 

the only per capita they have on that spreadsheet is roadway (not freeway) miles per capita.

 

finally, the data that he probably used is from this site:

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2012/04/20/cities-with-the-most-highway-miles-a-whos-who-of-decay/

 

spoiler alert, we are number 3, behind KC and StL.

 

which was published in 2012, after the data you referenced was released. so, maybe you linked the wrong thing?

 

I admit I didn't look much farther than the first page of google for data that backs up your claim, but you're gonna have to provide a better source than the wrong link.

 


Sorry.  I linked to the outdated data Speck used.  Here (I hope) is the link to the recent data.  (No, it does not show per capita data.  But it does show population and freeway lane miles.  With that data, one can easily calculate the lane miles/capita.)  https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2017/hm72.cfm

 

1. Kansas City 1.44 miles/1,000 people

2. St. Louis       1.2

3. Cleveland       .868

4. Jacksonville   .819

5. San Antonio   .817

6. DFW                .794

**

10. Austin           .776

**

19. Houston              .689

Edited by Houston19514
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22 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 


Sorry.  I linked to the outdated data Speck used.  Here (I hope) is the link to the recent data.  (No, it does not show per capita data.  But it does show population and freeway lane miles.  With that data, one can easily calculate the lane miles/capita.)  https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2017/hm72.cfm

 

1. Kansas City 1.44 miles/1,000 people

2. St. Louis       1.2

3. Cleveland       .868

4. Jacksonville   .819

5. San Antonio   .817

6. DFW                .794

**

10. Austin           .776

**

19. Houston              .689

 

Not putting this on you. This is interesting data, but this data can't be observed in a vacuum either. Look at all these cities. They are all centrally located cities either in the geographical center in the US or geographical centers between other bigger cities. Kansas City, St. Louis, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston are centrally located at the geographical center line of the US and are on major interstates that cross the entire span of the country. Cleveland is centrally located between Chicago and the East Coast cities. Jacksonville is centrally located between Atlanta and Miami and is the starting point for I-10. So not only do these cities have to contend with their own citizens needs, but they are also nodes in larger systems and links to other cities which people travel between. Yeah the numbers look big in a vacuum, but the world doesn't operate that way. In context the amount of freeway lanes makes sense, now could this be mitigated by having better transportation between cities and within cities...of course, but context does matter and its why these cities are at the top statistically on this list.

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6 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Not putting this on you. This is interesting data, but this data can't be observed in a vacuum either. Look at all these cities. They are all centrally located cities either in the geographical center in the US or geographical centers between other bigger cities. Kansas City, St. Louis, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston are centrally located at the geographical center line of the US and are on major interstates that cross the entire span of the country. Cleveland is centrally located between Chicago and the East Coast cities. Jacksonville is centrally located between Atlanta and Miami and is the starting point for I-10. So not only do these cities have to contend with their own citizens needs, but they are also nodes in larger systems and links to other cities which people travel between. Yeah the numbers look big in a vacuum, but the world doesn't operate that way. In context the amount of freeway lanes makes sense, now could this be mitigated by having better transportation between cities and within cities...of course, but context does matter and its why these cities are at the top statistically on this list.

Well, I think what's being said is that because we aren't number 4 on the list, we need to build more freeways, so we can be number 4 on the list. 

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8 hours ago, samagon said:

Well, I think what's being said is that because we aren't number 4 on the list, we need to build more freeways, so we can be number 4 on the list. 

 

No, what's being said is that Jeff Speck's analysis is sloppy, at best. How does someone who can't even bother to get his foundational facts correct get such a reputation as an expert?

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

 

No, what's being said is that Jeff Speck's analysis is sloppy, at best. How does someone who can't even bother to get his foundational facts correct get such a reputation as an expert?

 

So because Houston is number 14 instead of 3, everything else he says it's invalid, and let's build that freeway and climb that ladder?

 

Or are you just attacking his character where you can because his points are actually valid and you can't argue against them?

 

I'm still waiting on someone to show his points to be invalid without attacking his character, or a random stat. 

 

Sure, he might be a sleezeball with an agenda (still trying to figure out what that agenda is, other than a better place to live). 

Edited by samagon

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16 hours ago, samagon said:

 

So because Houston is number 14 instead of 3, everything else he says it's invalid, and let's build that freeway and climb that ladder?

 

Or are you just attacking his character where you can because his points are actually valid and you can't argue against them?

 

I'm still waiting on someone to show his points to be invalid without attacking his character, or a random stat. 

 

Sure, he might be a sleezeball with an agenda (still trying to figure out what that agenda is, other than a better place to live). 

 

The agenda is he doesn't like freeways, period. His analysis will never get around or past that agenda.

 

I agree we need more and better public transportation, but that doesn't mean this particular project shouldn't be done. The lack of particularity and nuance is the most glaring weakness in his position.

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On 9/14/2019 at 7:21 AM, samagon said:

 

So because Houston is number 14 instead of 3, everything else he says it's invalid, and let's build that freeway and climb that ladder?

 

Or are you just attacking his character where you can because his points are actually valid and you can't argue against them?

 

I'm still waiting on someone to show his points to be invalid without attacking his character, or a random stat. 

 

Sure, he might be a sleezeball with an agenda (still trying to figure out what that agenda is, other than a better place to live). 

 

We're currently number 19, not 14.  Doing this project is unlikely to cause us to climb the ladder, at least by any significant amount.  With our population growth, we would have to add more than 400 lane miles every five years just to maintain our current stat of .689 lane miles per 1,000 population.

 

I don't believe I have attacked his character.  Only his competence.  If he can't get the foundational facts right, his conclusions are worthless.  Garbage In, Garbage Out.   Upthread you told us that all the claims he's making are true.  I and others have demonstrated multiple claims he made that are false and points he made that are invalid. If you are still waiting for someone to show his points to be invalid, you should re-read the thread.

Edited by Houston19514

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On 9/14/2019 at 9:54 PM, ToryGattis said:

 

thank you, I can't say I agree with the points, but they are a response, rather than just showing one point to be invalid and ignoring everything else.

 

On 9/14/2019 at 11:43 PM, ADCS said:

 

The agenda is he doesn't like freeways, period. His analysis will never get around or past that agenda.

 

I agree we need more and better public transportation, but that doesn't mean this particular project shouldn't be done. The lack of particularity and nuance is the most glaring weakness in his position.

 

I don't see a problem with his agenda of not liking freeways.

 

I do agree that a better fleshed out argument that had more accurate data would be good. I also believe that when he makes an argument that it would probably be good to lay out that you don't just not build, you have to still invest in transportation, just of a different sort, aka, public transportation. maybe he assumes everyone knows that this is the only logical thing? 

 

I also very much agree that just because the TXDOT plan is what is there, doesn't mean it is in the interests of Houstonians, nor does it mean it can't be improved.

 

Whether his methods are good or not, the very positive thing about what is happening is that more people are finding out about this and are getting a chance to speak on it. rather than the expansion just happening. 

 

If the only thing that comes from this is that TXDOT agrees to make changes to the plan that will:

 - increase local street surface mobility at least to what it is currently 

 - increase local access to at least what it is currently

 - reduce the amount of land that is taken for this project

 

I will say that Speck was successful.

Edited by samagon

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24 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

Speck tells us that the plan adds "as many as 13 new lanes in some places".  Can anyone identify where the plan adds 13 lanes?

 

The current plan has 22 lanes being built underground between GRB and Eado.  This shows 8 lanes existing and 5 more if you count the feeder.  So 8 to 22 is 14? If you want to be generous, then i guess this is showing 13 lanes being subsumed by 22, so "only" 9?
 

22-lanes-underground.png

Edited by crock

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5 minutes ago, crock said:

 

The current plan has 22 lanes being built underground between GRB and Eado.  I think, counting the feeder lanes, i59 has 10 currently there?  So theres 12.  

22-lanes-underground.png

 

But that is not "adding" twelve lanes to our current infrastructure.  Those replace how many lanes that are currently routed on the west side of downtown?  (I suspect this is exactly the area Speck is referring to when he says we are "adding" as many as 13 lanes in places;  another disingenuous statement, to put it lightly.)

Edited by Houston19514

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15 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

But that is not "adding" twelve lanes to our current infrastructure.  Those replace how many lanes that are currently routed on the west side of downtown?  (I suspect this is exactly the area Speck is referring to when he says we are "adding" as many as 13 lanes in places;  another disingenuous statement, to put it lightly.)

 

it's adding.  Highway construction is not some cutesy libertarian math equation.  They don't get to drop the pierce elevated into the hole and reuse it.   

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4 minutes ago, crock said:

 

it's adding.  Highway construction is not some cutesy libertarian math equation.  They don't get to drop the pierce elevated into the hole and reuse it.   

 

  Libertarian math equation???   LOL  

 

You are quite right they don't get to reuse the Pierce Elevated.  That is rather the point.  Today we have a total, what, 16, 18 lanes? At the end of the project we'll have 22, by your count.  So, we're adding 4 or 6 lanes, not 12 or 13.

Edited by Houston19514

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Without parsing lane counts (actual point being there are still more lanes, regardless of whose math you use), I'm more concerned by more than doubling the right of way to make room for those added and/or rerouted lanes.

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5 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

But that is not "adding" twelve lanes to our current infrastructure.  Those replace how many lanes that are currently routed on the west side of downtown?

 

bottom line is, there is only one area that gains by having lanes removed, all other areas have to pay in a big way by having lanes added, and fabric of the neighborhoods taken, and connectivity reduced.

 

if someone were to look at the geographical section of freeway being removed, and overlay that on where people of certain demographics live they could go so far as to say the downtown section of the freeway realignment is racially biased.

dAN71OZ.jpg

 

freeway is being removed along the areas of the map near downtown that is green, and being added to the areas of the map that are blue and red. 

 

I am in no way suggesting that anyone in this thread is racist, and I am in no way suggesting that the people at TXDOT have intentionally biased this racially.

 

what I am saying is that the downtown segment is bad in a really bad way.

Edited by samagon
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9 hours ago, samagon said:

I don't see a problem with his agenda of not liking freeways.

 

Really? You don't see how it's too broad of a statement?

 

Look, I'm in favor of rail development, even where it's not (yet) appropriate, because the underlying infrastructure is what drives the overlying development. However, once the development is there, it has to be accounted for. 45 must be rebuilt, because if it is not, people will unnecessarily die from what is already a very dangerous route. This plan, while not perfect, does significantly reduce the impact on the surface around downtown. That's the part I'm invested in, because it's the next step in Houston becoming the kind of city I would like it to be.

 

That's not to say that there aren't big issues regarding the rest of the route. But those need to be considered separately, and the argument should not be to kill the project altogether.

 

9 hours ago, samagon said:

I also believe that when he makes an argument that it would probably be good to lay out that you don't just not build, you have to still invest in transportation, just of a different sort, aka, public transportation. maybe he assumes everyone knows that this is the only logical thing? 

 

Also, this is wrong. If they don't spend the money on 45, the money simply won't get spent in Houston. They're about to start work on sinking 35 in Central Austin. Don't you think they'd love to have a nicer version of the plans, including a fully-covered tunnel, something they could possibly get with the money from the 45 plan? And TxDOT money will not get to METRO, no matter how much of a "good idea" it is. There are too many in the Lege who are ideologically opposed to metropolitan transit services getting more state cash than they already do.

 

And you know as well as I do that race has nothing to do with how/where the Pierce is being handled. It's all money and development potential there. The racial argument makes you sound disingenuous.

Edited by ADCS
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I have a suspicion that if the project were reversed (with I-45/I-69 being built below grade with a likely cap park on the West and South sides, and the North and

East side rights-of-way partially replaced with connecting ramps) we'd be hearing complaints that THAT plan favors the west and south sides.

 

I don't accept the talking point that this plan reduces connectivity everywhere except the west and north sides of downtown.  The neighborhoods along this entire route were disconnected when the freeway was first built.  There are very few places where this plan exacerbates that disconnection and a LOT of places where it will reduce the disconnection.

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14 hours ago, ADCS said:

 

Really? You don't see how it's too broad of a statement?

 

Look, I'm in favor of rail development, even where it's not (yet) appropriate, because the underlying infrastructure is what drives the overlying development. However, once the development is there, it has to be accounted for. 45 must be rebuilt, because if it is not, people will unnecessarily die from what is already a very dangerous route. This plan, while not perfect, does significantly reduce the impact on the surface around downtown. That's the part I'm invested in, because it's the next step in Houston becoming the kind of city I would like it to be.

 

That's not to say that there aren't big issues regarding the rest of the route. But those need to be considered separately, and the argument should not be to kill the project altogether.

 

it's weird, because I see less wrong with the rest of the route, and more wrong with what they are doing around downtown.

 

14 hours ago, ADCS said:

 

Also, this is wrong. If they don't spend the money on 45, the money simply won't get spent in Houston. They're about to start work on sinking 35 in Central Austin. Don't you think they'd love to have a nicer version of the plans, including a fully-covered tunnel, something they could possibly get with the money from the 45 plan? And TxDOT money will not get to METRO, no matter how much of a "good idea" it is. There are too many in the Lege who are ideologically opposed to metropolitan transit services getting more state cash than they already do.

 

I understand that part, accepting the status quo shouldn't be a thing though.

 

It really just underpins how horrible the whole process is.

 

14 hours ago, ADCS said:

And you know as well as I do that race has nothing to do with how/where the Pierce is being handled. It's all money and development potential there. The racial argument makes you sound disingenuous.

 

I know it wasn't racially motivated, I even said as much, no one planned this to be more taxing on one race vs another, but it absolutely is.

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50 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

I don't accept the talking point that this plan reduces connectivity everywhere except the west and north sides of downtown.  The neighborhoods along this entire route were disconnected when the freeway was first built.  There are very few places where this plan exacerbates that disconnection and a LOT of places where it will reduce the disconnection.

 

whether you try to soften the words by calling it an exacerbation of an existing disconnection, or a reduction in connectivity, it is a reduction in local connectivity.

 

specific to downtown...

 

on the east, you have Commerce, Franklin, Texas, Polk and Leeland these are major thoroughfares, or major collectors of the east end as designated by Houston https://www.houstontx.gov/planning/transportation/MTFPMap/MTFP_map_2018.pdf. Yes, there are other roads that cross 59. With the new freeway, you won't be able to access Bell from Leeland, and Polk is gone. direct connectivity will be reduced to 70% of current. sure, users will be able to turn onto the feeder at Polk and dodge exiting freeway traffic to get in the uturn lane, or maybe they continue straight to Capitol street. Or maybe I turn on Dowling or Hutchins to access Lamar. that's just trying to get into town. Point is, now people are going to be forced by txdot onto other smaller side streets that Houston hasn't maintained as a major thoroughfare, or a major collector. when you consider the growth of the east end over the past decade, and the growth potential, it makes this situation even worse.

 

on the north end you can't really reduce connectivity any farther, there's 2 roads, you have Main and Elysian major thoroughfares. that is kept, but the psychological barrier that is created by the tall ramps and freeway, that's enough of a wall. have you seen some of the mockups of what the view is going to be from the north side looking south? it is atrocious, and absolutely a big keep out sign.

 

meanwhile, on the west side there's talk of spending hefty dollars on a delicately beautiful bridge over Buffalo bayou, and let's not ignore that connectivity between Houston Ave and Allen Parkway is being added. 

 

so yeah, I can confidently say that while it is highly likely that no one planned on being racially biased, it's there.

 

at the end of the day, I am not saying that the whole project needs to be scrapped, I'd love for all of this money to instead be spent on rail, or some other form of alternative transit, but that's not realistic. I am saying that the plan needs to be sent back to the design table to come up with creative ways to at the very least, keep or improve local connectivity along the entire corridor. 

Edited by samagon

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5 hours ago, samagon said:

 

whether you try to soften the words by calling it an exacerbation of an existing disconnection, or a reduction in connectivity, it is a reduction in local connectivity.

 

specific to downtown...

 

on the east, you have Commerce, Franklin, Texas, Polk and Leeland these are major thoroughfares, or major collectors of the east end as designated by Houston https://www.houstontx.gov/planning/transportation/MTFPMap/MTFP_map_2018.pdf. Yes, there are other roads that cross 59. With the new freeway, you won't be able to access Bell from Leeland, and Polk is gone. direct connectivity will be reduced to 70% of current. sure, users will be able to turn onto the feeder at Polk and dodge exiting freeway traffic to get in the uturn lane, or maybe they continue straight to Capitol street. Or maybe I turn on Dowling or Hutchins to access Lamar. that's just trying to get into town. Point is, now people are going to be forced by txdot onto other smaller side streets that Houston hasn't maintained as a major thoroughfare, or a major collector. when you consider the growth of the east end over the past decade, and the growth potential, it makes this situation even worse.

 

 

Current I-69 crossings:             NHHIP Plan I-69/I-45 crossings:

St Joseph                                             St Joseph

Jefferson                                             Jefferson

Pease                                                   Pease

Leeland                                                Leeland

Polk                                                      Lamar

Rusk                                                     McKinney

Capitol                                                 Walker

Texas                                                   Rusk

Preston                                                Capitol

Congress                                             Texas

Franklin                                                Preston

Commerce                                          Congress

Ruiz                                                      Franklin

Runnels                                               Commerce

                                                             Runnels

                                                            

So, under the plan, we will have one MORE crossing than we currently have. Nobody should have any difficulty getting to the east side from downtown or vice versa (if they do, they probably should not be driving).  But what I have in mind is more the community/pedestrian connectivity. That will be improved immeasurably on the east side (even if the deck park does NOT happen), by the movement of the freeways below grade.

 

By the way, Pease, Jefferson and St Joseph are also in major throrughfares or major collector streets, so even if we accept your limiting the consideration to major thoroughfares and major collector streets, your 70%, however you came up with it, is seriously understated. Among the 8 streets that are in that category, 7 will remain as full through-streets; the eighth will take a short detour.

Edited by Houston19514
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6 hours ago, samagon said:

specific to downtown...

 

on the north end you can't really reduce connectivity any farther, there's 2 roads, you have Main and Elysian major thoroughfares. that is kept, but the psychological barrier that is created by the tall ramps and freeway, that's enough of a wall. have you seen some of the mockups of what the view is going to be from the north side looking south? it is atrocious, and absolutely a big keep out sign.

 

As you say, you can't reduce connectivity on the north end much more than it has already been reduced.  There is currently really no connectivity there, especially from the community/pedestrian standpoint, which is my focus (and supposedly the focus of Mr. Speck).  I honestly don't think the structures being elevated higher than is currently the case is terribly important. Once you have elevated freeway structures, I doubt that elevating it another 50 feet really exacerbates the disconnection.  Further, I believe the project will also hasten the connection of Fulton/San Jacinto, so it will in fact improve connectivity. (And the shifting of the freeway to the north also provides huge community/pedestrian benefits to the UH-D campus.)

 

Where is the reduction in local connectivity?

Edited by Houston19514

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6 hours ago, samagon said:

specific to downtown...

 

 

meanwhile, on the west side there's talk of spending hefty dollars on a delicately beautiful bridge over Buffalo bayou, and let's not ignore that connectivity between Houston Ave and Allen Parkway is being added. 

 

so yeah, I can confidently say that while it is highly likely that no one planned on being racially biased, it's there.

 

at the end of the day, I am not saying that the whole project needs to be scrapped, I'd love for all of this money to instead be spent on rail, or some other form of alternative transit, but that's not realistic. I am saying that the plan needs to be sent back to the design table to come up with creative ways to at the very least, keep or improve local connectivity along the entire corridor. 

 

Meanwhile, on the east side, there's talk (and far more of it) of spending hefty dollars on a deck park over the below-grade freeway. (The deck park is on Houston First Corporation's agenda. I have not seen anything on their agenda about a bridge over Buffalo Bayou.)

 

Again, I ask, where does the project fail to keep local connectivity? I am not as familiar with Segment 1, so maybe up there.  But in neither Segment 2 nor Segment 3 is there a reasonable argument to be made that the project fails to keep (and indeed improve) local connectivity.

Edited by Houston19514
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5 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Meanwhile, on the east side, there's talk (and far more of it) of spending hefty dollars on a deck park over the below-grade freeway.

 

...But then they can't complain about neighborhoods being separated.

 

Its almost as if both sides of downtown are being treated in unique ways, but both will benefit in the end. In fact I think the east will immeasurably benefit from this reroute with a giant park that will only increase investment on that side of town

 

...oh right but then they will complain about gentrification.

 

Then we will incorporate aspects of the ethnicity and cultures that live on the east side so it celebrates them.

 

...oh yeah I forgot, then they will complain about cultural appropriation.

 

 

 

Its almost like these are people you will never be able to appease and will just whine about anything because they are completely irrational.

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17 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Current I-69 crossings:             NHHIP Plan I-69/I-45 crossings:

St Joseph                                             St Joseph

Jefferson                                             Jefferson

Pease                                                   Pease

Leeland                                                Leeland

Polk                                                      Lamar

Rusk                                                     McKinney

Capitol                                                 Walker

Texas                                                   Rusk

Preston                                                Capitol

Congress                                             Texas

Franklin                                                Preston

Commerce                                          Congress

Ruiz                                                      Franklin

Runnels                                               Commerce

                                                             Runnels

                                                            

So, under the plan, we will have one MORE crossing than we currently have. Nobody should have any difficulty getting to the east side from downtown or vice versa (if they do, they probably should not be driving).  But what I have in mind is more the community/pedestrian connectivity. That will be improved immeasurably on the east side (even if the deck park does NOT happen), by the movement of the freeways below grade.

 

By the way, Pease, Jefferson and St Joseph are also in major throrughfares or major collector streets, so even if we accept your limiting the consideration to major thoroughfares and major collector streets, your 70%, however you came up with it, is seriously understated. Among the 8 streets that are in that category, 7 will remain as full through-streets; the eighth will take a short detour.

 

you really have to.

 

what do businesses use when going to a bank and getting a business loan for a specific location? They are going to use numbers generated from data that starts with what the city deems as major thoroughfares and collectors. 

what do developers use when deciding where to face the townhomes so they have the best selling features? They are going to base their decision on what the city deems as major thoroughfares and collectors. 

what does the city use when a business, or developers comes to them and wants to put in a driveway access? They city is going to use their own thoroughfares and collectors to decide where a business is allowed to have access.

the city itself, they put in appropriate signaling and signage to manage the traffic that a major thoroughfare has. Lamar (and aside from McKinney every other non-major thoroughfare/collector) has stop signs at every other intersection.

 

imagine if there were some plan to close Westheimer at Bagby because of an extension of spur 527, you're suggesting that people get on Avondale as a suitable alternative because it is a street that crosses Bagby. No, there is not a world (at least not the one I live in) where Avondale is a suitable solution. The same is true on the east end. 

 

so it's not as simple as pointing out there are 15 crossings under the new plan and only 14 under the old.

 

to look at it from a different direction, let's review the 15 streets you mention. of them Lamar, McKinney, Walker, Rusk, Capitol, Preston, Congress and Runnels, they all stop immediately. GRB, BBVA, MMP. Now, find the streets that make it out to the railroad track before stopping. guess what you are left with at the end of the day? That's right, the streets that the city has deemed as their major thoroughfares and collectors. 

 

and no, I do not consider Pease, Jefferson and St Josephs, they are there 100% to collect people onto the freeway, and not to get people farther into the east end. if you consider them as access points for the east end, you are being disingenuous. 

 

so yeah, we can argue your opinions against my opinions of the other areas, and at the end of the day, it's opinion on the effect of beautification projects, or higher bridges, or removal of freeways, or adding cap parks. it's guessing, and a lot of that guessing is assuming someone fronts the money to pay for these projects. and I'm ok with your opinion, it doesn't change my opinion regarding the impact these change will have on their respective areas.

 

the connectivity thing, there is no so much guessing. it's based on data. 

Edited by samagon

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2 hours ago, samagon said:

 

you really have to.

 

what do businesses use when going to a bank and getting a business loan for a specific location? They are going to use numbers generated from data that starts with what the city deems as major thoroughfares and collectors. 

what do developers use when deciding where to face the townhomes so they have the best selling features? They are going to base their decision on what the city deems as major thoroughfares and collectors. 

what does the city use when a business, or developers comes to them and wants to put in a driveway access? They city is going to use their own thoroughfares and collectors to decide where a business is allowed to have access.

the city itself, they put in appropriate signaling and signage to manage the traffic that a major thoroughfare has. Lamar (and aside from McKinney every other non-major thoroughfare/collector) has stop signs at every other intersection.

 

imagine if there were some plan to close Westheimer at Bagby because of an extension of spur 527, you're suggesting that people get on Avondale as a suitable alternative because it is a street that crosses Bagby. No, there is not a world (at least not the one I live in) where Avondale is a suitable solution. The same is true on the east end. 

 

so it's not as simple as pointing out there are 15 crossings under the new plan and only 14 under the old.

 

to look at it from a different direction, let's review the 15 streets you mention. of them Lamar, McKinney, Walker, Rusk, Capitol, Preston, Congress and Runnels, they all stop immediately. GRB, BBVA, MMP. Now, find the streets that make it out to the railroad track before stopping. guess what you are left with at the end of the day? That's right, the streets that the city has deemed as their major thoroughfares and collectors. 

 

and no, I do not consider Pease, Jefferson and St Josephs, they are there 100% to collect people onto the freeway, and not to get people farther into the east end. if you consider them as access points for the east end, you are being disingenuous. 

 

so yeah, we can argue your opinions against my opinions of the other areas, and at the end of the day, it's opinion on the effect of beautification projects, or higher bridges, or removal of freeways, or adding cap parks. it's guessing, and a lot of that guessing is assuming someone fronts the money to pay for these projects. and I'm ok with your opinion, it doesn't change my opinion regarding the impact these change will have on their respective areas.

 

the connectivity thing, there is no so much guessing. it's based on data. 

 

Carefully cherry-picked and misrepresented data.  So now, you've introduced a new criteria. Funny how when you are disproven you change your argument or change your criteria to try to keep your position afloat. Now that it's convenient for your purposes we are only to consider the streets that get people further into the east end.

 

But it doesn't matter how many of the streets you try to define away, the facts still show that we are losing zero connected Major Thoroughfare/Major Collector Streets (with Polk only getting a very minor detour).  And that detour is more than offset by the additional through capacity being added.  In the interest of presenting complete data, a couple other items should be noted.  (1) The designation of all of these streets at Major Thoroughfares/Major Collector Streets terminates at the freeway. That termination has nothing to do with this project. (2) Polk, the one street that has some deleterious effect from the plan, carries relatively little traffic on a daily basis in the section near the freeway.

 

Again, where is the loss of connectivity? The actual data shows there is no loss of connectivity. And again, this only considers motor vehicle connectivity.  I am far more concerned with community/pedestrian connectivity (and supposedly, so is Mr. Speck), which will be hugely improved on the east side.

Edited by Houston19514

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19 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Meanwhile, on the east side, there's talk (and far more of it) of spending hefty dollars on a deck park over the below-grade freeway. (The deck park is on Houston First Corporation's agenda. I have not seen anything on their agenda about a bridge over Buffalo Bayou.)

 

Again, I ask, where does the project fail to keep local connectivity? I am not as familiar with Segment 1, so maybe up there.  But in neither Segment 2 nor Segment 3 is there a reasonable argument to be made that the project fails to keep (and indeed improve) local connectivity.

 

There is a huge argument to be made that the project fails to keep local connectivity between the heights and near northside. 

 

The current plan takes away the North Street bridge, taking away germantown's connection to near northside.  IIRC there is also a big question mark on if Link st and Cottage st are kept connected.  

 

also the deck park is a fantasy.  It would take 100 milion of private money to make any of that work. 

 

Edited by crock

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35 minutes ago, crock said:

 

There is a huge argument to be made that the project fails to keep local connectivity between the heights and near northside. 

 

The current plan takes away the North Street bridge, taking away germantown's connection to near northside.  IIRC there is also a big question mark on if Link st and Cottage st are kept connected.  

 

 

I don't know where you got the idea that Cottage or Link are question marks. They are on the plan and I have neither heard nor seen anything to suggest they are candidates for removal.  You are right, at least as far as the latest plans on their website show, that we lose North Street, so, yes a minor loss of motor vehicle connectivity.  (I say "minor" because that overpass carries very little traffic.)  Because the freeway at this point will be about at ground level, a North Street bridge is apparently  impossible.  Seems like it might be a good place for a pedestrian bridge. (I have submitted a comment to TxDOT to that effect. I encourage you to do the same.)

 

FWIW, the area will still have Quitman, North Main, Cottage, Patton, Cavalcade, Link and the new 610 frontage road connecting the west and east sides of the freeway. That's seven connections in less than 2 1/2 miles. (And currently, there are seven connections in that stretch.)

Edited by Houston19514

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2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Carefully cherry-picked and misrepresented data.  So now, you've introduced a new criteria. Funny how when you are disproven you change your argument or change your criteria to try to keep your position afloat. Now that it's convenient for your purposes we are only to consider the streets that get people further into the east end.

 

But it doesn't matter how many of the streets you try to define away, the facts still show that we are losing zero connected Major Thoroughfare/Major Collector Streets (with Polk only getting a very minor detour).  And that detour is more than offset by the additional through capacity being added.  In the interest of presenting complete data, a couple other items should be noted.  (1) The designation of all of these streets at Major Thoroughfares/Major Collector Streets terminates at the freeway. That termination has nothing to do with this project. (2) Polk, the one street that has some deleterious effect from the plan, carries relatively little traffic on a daily basis in the section near the freeway.

 

Again, where is the loss of connectivity? The actual data shows there is no loss of connectivity. And again, this only considers motor vehicle connectivity.  I am far more concerned with community/pedestrian connectivity (and supposedly, so is Mr. Speck), which will be hugely improved on the east side.

 

oh no, it only reinforces what COH already states, and we should focus where COH focuses, which are on the major thoroughfares and collectors. do you think they just picked those roads for that designation because they had a hat with 14 street names and picked the first 4 they removed from the hat?

 

if spur 527 were to be reconfigured and Westheimer had to be closed, would Avondale be a suitable replacement? I suspect you ignored that because you know the answer is what I already said. no. so why is it when Polk is going to be shut down that suddenly all these other roads are acceptable?

Edited by samagon

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