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High Speed Rail / Texas Triangle

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my problem is that if starts relying on regular track ROW for getting to downtown, it isn't going to happen. The rails are simply too crowned.

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Washington Ave people better be prepared for this, if it goes in downtown, everyone benefits.

This. Please don't let the Washington Ave residents become the next Afton Oaks-esque rail opposition. Like I said, there were already two rail lines going along the Washington corridor.. It's not like they are putting a rail line in place where there wasn't one before. If they didn't like hearing trains/having negatively effected property values they should of never moved next to an active rail corridor...

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my problem is that if starts relying on regular track ROW for getting to downtown, it isn't going to happen. The rails are simply too crowned.

They mentioned something about elevating it along that corridor, so it would be a purpose built HSR line on its own set of tracks.

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my problem is that if starts relying on regular track ROW for getting to downtown, it isn't going to happen. The rails are simply too crowned.

The article mentioned it would be elevated. Imagine those views approaching the Downtown station. 

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This. Please don't let the Washington Ave residents become the next Afton Oaks-esque rail opposition. Like I said, there were already two rail lines going along the Washington corridor.. It's not like they are putting a rail line in place where there wasn't one before. If they didn't like hearing trains/having negatively effected property values they should of never moved next to an active rail corridor...

 

There is also plenty of room for more rail along that corridor!

 

His sights on Galveston is especially telling because in order to set that up it absolutely needs to go through town. Mean if not now at some point it will go into and through downtown. This also what I said earlier. A private company focuses on future markets and that helps fuel where the line will go.

 

You know who we need as an investor in this. Someone of the caliber like Elon Musk.

 

I do agree on the Chron.com comments lol. Those were a complete joke.

Edited by Luminare
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They already live next to an existing rail line. There's an argument, but not really a great argument to be had.

 

What I would do if I were TCR is get all the facts out there to beat the naysayers to the punch. We're going to install noise and vibration dampeners. We're going to use a geometry that directs noise and wind skyward. We're going to plant flowering ivy along the entire elevated stretch. We're going to install noise walls under the elevated structure to reduce the noise of the existing rail line--and plant ivy along those new walls, except at areas the community deems appropriate for murals--we're going to commission art work for the community there. Make the new elevated rail line over the existing rail line to be a visual improvement to the community.  

 

Even go one better. Build a sample section or two near Heights Boulevard or TC Jester to show the community what the final build out will look like. It's one thing to tell people or show them in pictures. Go one step further and show them every single day. They'll be begging to get the new ivy and flowers and public art.

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There is also plenty of room for more rail along that corridor!

I do agree on the Chron.com comments lol. Those were a complete joke.

Why can't they trench the line like the Super neighborhood 22s proposal for commuter rail along that corridor. Wouldnt that be much quieter and less unsightly than elevated tracks? I'm fine with either one.. Montrose made a good point about how awesome those views would be from the elevated.

And yeah. Lmao, those people commenting on the chron are idiots.

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Great news. I'm glad to see that downtown is still an option. In my opinion, this line has to get downtown to be successful. Otherwise, there wouldn't really be much of an advantage to flying. I think downtown would attract more people from Dallas than a Northwest Mall location would.

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Why can't they trench the line like the Super neighborhood 22s proposal for commuter rail along that corridor. Wouldnt that be much quieter and less unsightly than elevated tracks? I'm fine with either one.. Montrose made a good point about how awesome those views would be from the elevated.

And yeah. Lmao, those people commenting on the chron are idiots.

 

Surely there's not enough room to trench four rail lines along the corridor without taking property, perhaps in sections, but not along the full corridor. TCR needs their dedicated two, and there's no way the existing two lines are going away. Elevating the two new lines are the way to go to avoid having to use eminent domain.

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Perhaps there's a reason why it's an either - or, but it seems like using the BNSF routing until it crosses the utility ROW in Grimes County could also be an option.

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The rail lines that go along the Washington corridor are a "no noise" segment correct? As in, trains can't use their horns or anything loud. I would assume the same would be said for the HSR, which I'm also assuming makes significantly less noise than a regular freight train.

The only concern is constructing the elevated portion above those lines which would require a lot of time and many wrong between those two significant lines.

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Great news. I'm glad to see that downtown is still an option. In my opinion, this line has to get downtown to be successful. Otherwise, there wouldn't really be much of an advantage to flying. I think downtown would attract more people from Dallas than a Northwest Mall location would.

 

Best case scenario they would develop both stations, or really all three. Run the Dallas--Houston route from Dallas to whichever of the three proves most popular among riders and just run a local commuter route between the three Houston stations.

 

Many advantages with this scenario. Commuter rail for the 290 corridor. Three real estate opportunities for developers instead of just one. Reaching Uptown and Downtown with ease means more potential riders. By stopping at the farthest out station first, TCR could claim reduced time of service between Dallas and Houston.

 

Let's be real here, the cost of an additional station pales in comparison to the potential profit to be had were no station to be built on that property in the first place. I could envision a developer approaching TCR and saying, look, here's all this land I own, you can use this part of it for zero cost to build a station, and I'll even chip in for you a part of the profits for the surrounding development.

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Why can't they trench the line like the Super neighborhood 22s proposal for commuter rail along that corridor. Wouldnt that be much quieter and less unsightly than elevated tracks? I'm fine with either one.. Montrose made a good point about how awesome those views would be from the elevated.

And yeah. Lmao, those people commenting on the chron are idiots.

Trenching would disrupt the UP and BNSF operations on their trackage there more than elevation would. They would likely not agree to this.

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The rail lines that go along the Washington corridor are a "no noise" segment correct? As in, trains can't use their horns or anything loud. I would assume the same would be said for the HSR, which I'm also assuming makes significantly less noise than a regular freight train.

The only concern is constructing the elevated portion above those lines which would require a lot of time and many wrong between those two significant lines.

 

HSR will essentially be "no noise" anyway.  Railroad noise that is eliminated by the "no noise" segments is only the whistles being blown at crossings.  HSR will have no crossings, so there will be no whistle-blowing, regardless of the neighborhood.

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If you have questions about the noise of these things you should go to YouTube and search Shinkansen. There's some great ones on there of the trains passing through stations.

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Best case scenario they would develop both stations, or really all three. Run the Dallas--Houston route from Dallas to whichever of the three proves most popular among riders and just run a local commuter route between the three Houston stations.

 

Many advantages with this scenario. Commuter rail for the 290 corridor. Three real estate opportunities for developers instead of just one. Reaching Uptown and Downtown with ease means more potential riders. By stopping at the farthest out station first, TCR could claim reduced time of service between Dallas and Houston.

 

Let's be real here, the cost of an additional station pales in comparison to the potential profit to be had were no station to be built on that property in the first place. I could envision a developer approaching TCR and saying, look, here's all this land I own, you can use this part of it for zero cost to build a station, and I'll even chip in for you a part of the profits for the surrounding development.

 

The company doesn't care about commuter rail; that's outside the scope of its goals. It would actually serve to make operating its line more difficult, since you'd have to triple or quadruple track the mileage shared with any commuter route, and you'd have to reduce speeds (from ~150 mph to 90 mph) to keep from disrupting passengers on the commuter platforms.

 

There is also history to consider; commuter rail has rarely been profitable, even 100 years ago. Given the population distribution disadvantages that Houston has compared to other US cities, I can't see why a company would want to take on a project that would almost certainly bleed cash from the start.

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Surely there's not enough room to trench four rail lines along the corridor without taking property, perhaps in sections, but not along the full corridor. TCR needs their dedicated two, and there's no way the existing two lines are going away. Elevating the two new lines are the way to go to avoid having to use eminent domain.

 

 

Trenching would disrupt the UP and BNSF operations on their trackage there more than elevation would. They would likely not agree to this.

 

Both of these statements are incorrect.

 

With a trench and cap or partial cap, you can get your desired 4 tracks in the trench while having either light rail or roads as an overhang / cap on top.

 

The trenching would be down in stages and can be done w/ minimum effect to train operations.

 

The idea that the elevated section would be anything other than what the METRO is going to build for the LR in the 2nd ward is laughable. It will be done the cheapest way possible and look like the HOV section that goes from I10 to downtown. An elevated track here will be an eyesore for the community, further divide SN22, and suppress home values along the tracks even further.

 

Even if we were to trench, would the company bear the brunt of a trench and cap? No. It's too cost prohibitive. Literally might cost as much to trench this section as the whole other 200+ miles. TXDot, UP/BNSF, TCR, METRO, and the city will have to go in on this together..... which almost assuredly means that this will never happen. 

 

So b/c we want to do the elevated section on the cheap..... NIMBY's will rightfully fight the project...... So then the TCR will back away from this alignment.... and we get a station at Northwest mall.

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Please explain how trenching could be done without reducing the BNSF/UP line to single tracking for weeks, if not months.

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Yeahhhh that's a good point. Almost impossible on a segment as critical as that and the RR lobbies would just laugh at the suggestion.

Elevated tracks are almost the only way, however idk how that would really reduce home values. We don't have anything to compare it to unless someone wants to look at property values in Japan...

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I don't see any real reason to have the HSR run all the way to Downtown. NW Mall is a good terminus. much like London doesn't have any rail stations in the middle. You can get from NW Mall to DT nearly as fast by other means as you could by taking the train, which would likely be restricted in speed. Terminating at NW Mall saves a bunch of money, and reduces the need to placate everyone within 10 blocks of the rail line.

Edited by Ross

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Ummm. Maybe you should reevaluate what you said about London, etc... While most EuroStars do mostly go to St. Pancreas they also go to other stations such as Waterloo which is RIGHT ON THE THAMES! Even St. Pancreas gets you deep in the thick of things. That's the real sticking point with any rail project is that it takes you into the thick of everything or the densest of places that otherwise would be difficult to get too or be time consuming by any other means. Sure NW mall site might become fully developed later on, but seriously if you look there now its a wasteland. Not exactly an attractive stop. Not exactly one that's connected to a lot of different systems which Downtown is starting to develop.

 

Once again you perfectly illustrate that for literally no reason you are limiting the scope of the project when it's still in it's infancy. I could go on and on about cities in Europe too, but that's not the point of this thread nor should it go down that road. Another thing I simply don't get is all this talk  about this fictitious budget we keep trying to calculate in our collective minds. The only people that need to worry about costs on this project is TCR. Not any of us.

 

Am I insane for wanting to continue to inject optimism into a thread were everyone seems to want the bare minimum? Isn't the Texas persona to think big, act big, and build big. Isn't it a Houston thing (or once was) that we push the limits of what can be done.....oh yeah I remember that latest advertising run claiming Houston is a city without limits. Maybe I interpreted that as meaning more than just endless sprawl....

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Please explain how trenching could be done without reducing the BNSF/UP line to single tracking for weeks, if not months.

 

If highways can do it, then by golly I'm sure we can figure out how to do it w/ tracks.

 

I'm not saying it would be as cheap as reducing their capacity, but it can be done.

 

Some thoughts off the top of my head:

 

1 idea: Construct a temporary 3rd track if necessary / room in ROW. Maybe needed, maybe not.

 

More likely: Dig partial trench on one side. Dig dig under street / ROW while supporting it. Support under freight lines. Install tracks on trenched portion. 

Open trenched tracks for freight.

Start trenching other side for what will be HSR.

 

I know it sounds simple, but its amazing what can be done w/ a staged plan. Now there may be UP/BNSF outages every once in a while but they don't use those tracks 24/7. 

Edited by DNAguy

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Ummm. Maybe you should reevaluate what you said about London, etc... While most EuroStars do mostly go to St. Pancreas they also go to other stations such as Waterloo which is RIGHT ON THE THAMES! Even St. Pancreas gets you deep in the thick of things. That's the real sticking point with any rail project is that it takes you into the thick of everything or the densest of places that otherwise would be difficult to get too or be time consuming by any other means. Sure NW mall site might become fully developed later on, but seriously if you look there now its a wasteland. Not exactly an attractive stop. Not exactly one that's connected to a lot of different systems which Downtown is starting to develop.

 

Once again you perfectly illustrate that for literally no reason you are limiting the scope of the project when it's still in it's infancy. I could go on and on about cities in Europe too, but that's not the point of this thread nor should it go down that road. Another thing I simply don't get is all this talk  about this fictitious budget we keep trying to calculate in our collective minds. The only people that need to worry about costs on this project is TCR. Not any of us.

 

Am I insane for wanting to continue to inject optimism into a thread were everyone seems to want the bare minimum? Isn't the Texas persona to think big, act big, and build big. Isn't it a Houston thing (or once was) that we push the limits of what can be done.....oh yeah I remember that latest advertising run claiming Houston is a city without limits. Maybe I interpreted that as meaning more than just endless sprawl....

 

People can 'want' until the cows come home.

 

This is private money, though. 'Want' has nothing to do with this. The only thing that matters here is '$'.

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*sigh* I'm sorry but don't businesses make money off of what people want? Or is this some alternate reality. You act like customers have no influence over what companies do at all which is flat out wrong. Sure, yeah, it's a private company and they will do what they want, but understand that it's a balance also between customer and company.

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I know it sounds simple, but its amazing what can be done w/ a staged plan. Now there may be UP/BNSF outages every once in a while but they don't use those tracks 24/7.

Umm yeah they do...those are some of the most important lines in Houston. With all this urbanization occurring in the loop, why do you think they still exist,

Dealing with railroads is no where near as simple as you think...nobody is going to waste the money to build a temporary track and neither are the RR company's going to even consider the idea of halting service on these two vital arteries.

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If highways can do it, then by golly I'm sure we can figure out how to do it w/ tracks.

 

I'm not saying it would be as cheap as reducing their capacity, but it can be done.

 

Some thoughts off the top of my head:

 

1 idea: Construct a temporary 3rd track if necessary / room in ROW. Maybe needed, maybe not.

 

More likely: Dig partial trench on one side. Dig dig under street / ROW while supporting it. Support under freight lines. Install tracks on trenched portion. 

Open trenched tracks for freight.

Start trenching other side for what will be HSR.

 

I know it sounds simple, but its amazing what can be done w/ a staged plan. Now there may be UP/BNSF outages every once in a while but they don't use those tracks 24/7. 

 

Highways are public or owned by toll road authorities. The users are separate from the infrastructure, which is decidedly not the case in the American model of freight railroads.

 

Please take a look at a map of the right-of-way, particularly in satellite mode, and see why this would be extraordinarily difficult, especially since it is private companies that are involved.

 

You would also be involving the City of Houston in this, given that there would be several major street disruptions that would be involved with this, each of which would be a 2-3 year, multimillion dollar project.

 

None of these serve to improve the product; they serve only to appease people who truly do not want change in their neighborhood - an extremely small fraction of the people who will benefit from the project.

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*sigh* I'm sorry but don't businesses make money off of what people want? Or is this some alternate reality. You act like customers have no influence over what companies do at all which is flat out wrong. Sure, yeah, it's a private company and they will do what they want, but understand that it's a balance also between customer and company.

 

You're telling me that ppl will pay more $ for a train ticket if it means they built noise canceling walls vs. a ticket that cost less that's on an ugly elevated rail line?

 

The customer is the person riding the train (mostly business ppl), not the individuals that live in the neighborhood by the tracks. Yes, I know there might be some spill over, but lets not pretend that a pretty train really matters here.

 

 

Edited by DNAguy

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Highways are public or owned by toll road authorities. The users are separate from the infrastructure, which is decidedly not the case in the American model of freight railroads.

 

Please take a look at a map of the right-of-way, particularly in satellite mode, and see why this would be extraordinarily difficult, especially since it is private companies that are involved.

 

You would also be involving the City of Houston in this, given that there would be several major street disruptions that would be involved with this, each of which would be a 2-3 year, multimillion dollar project.

 

None of these serve to improve the product; they serve only to appease people who truly do not want change in their neighborhood - an extremely small fraction of the people who will benefit from the project.

 

Your first point is extremely valid and something I don't think I considered fully.

 

However, TxDOT has been in negotiations with UP about relocating tracks in central texas and I don't think its outside the possibility that we could seem some sort of agreement on this alignment as well. I stress "possibility".

 

I agree with everything you said.

 

I'm just saying its not impossible and would actually be the better option (my opinion) for the surrounding community if they do bring the train into downtown to trench the thing

 

I can't think of any example where an elevated train, road, or highway ever made the surrounding community 'nicer'.

 

I still think the NW mall is where the station will be located for the reasons mentioned.

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I can't think of any example where an elevated train, road, or highway ever made the surrounding community 'nicer'.

 

 

The design of the elevated 183 thru North Austin is quite pleasing to the eye. It always reminded me of a modern take on a Roman aqueduct.

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6 new project scoping meetings scheduled for early December. Scoping period extended to January 9th, 2015.

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The design of the elevated 183 thru North Austin is quite pleasing to the eye. It always reminded me of a modern take on a Roman aqueduct.

 

You know what, you're right!

 

I could never place what that section of 183 reminded me of and now it clicked!

 

I wouldn't say it made the area nicer.... then again I don't know what it looked like b/f they elevated the road.

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6 new project scoping meetings scheduled for early December. Scoping period extended to January 9th, 2015.

 

December 1, 2014

Jewett Civic Center

111 North Robinson

Jewett, TX

 

December 1, 2014

Waxahachie Civic Center

2000 Civic Center Lane

Waxahachie, TX

 

December 2, 2014

Truman Kimbro Convention Center

111 West Trinity

Madisonville, TX

 

December 2, 2014

Waller High School Auditorium

20950 Fields Store Rd

Waller, TX

 

December 3, 2014

Lone Star College

Beckendorf Conference Center

30555 Tomball Parkway

Tomball, TX

 

December 4, 2014

Grimes County Expo Center

5220 F.M. 3455

Navasota, TX

 

Wow, they're going to take a beating at most of these. Right thing to do though.

Edited by ADCS

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You know what, you're right!

 

I could never place what that section of 183 reminded me of and now it clicked!

 

I wouldn't say it made the area nicer.... then again I don't know what it looked like b/f they elevated the road.

 

It was moo.  In this case, not in the autocorrect sense, but literally.  Granted, a long time ago.

 

RL001628.1L.jpg

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found this today.

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/article/Woodlands-leaders-push-for-high-speed-rail-5898268.php

 

The chances of it going down the I-45 corridor are fading very quickly. If they really want to be considered then they should stop being so whiny and incorporate. The Woodlands is growing at an enormous rate, but they aren't as important as they think sometimes.

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I-45 really does not make much sense, especially when you consider how much rolling landscape there is in Madison and Walker Counties.

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I-45 really does not make much sense, especially when you consider how much rolling landscape there is in Madison and Walker Counties.

 

An I-45/BNSF hybrid would be reasonable for ridership potential and reduced expense. Run the line up the Hardy (as the BNSF option starts out before cutting west just past 610) and put a North Houston station at the Grand Parkway and 45 just south of the new ExxonMobil complex/Springwoods Village development before swinging west toward the line north of Tomball. It's not in The Woodlands or even Montgomery county, but what their desire seems to be from the article is a commuter component--a short drive toward the city to catch the commuter rail would be ideal. There's really not a valid ridership potential argument against a North Houston station along 45, as anyone driving to Dallas would have to pass by such a station anyway.

 

On that note I realize TCR isn't interested in commuter rail, but they aren't interested in connecting to Ft. Worth either--TxDOT is taking the lead on that potential extension. Maybe TCR will only build their line to North Houston and let TxDOT fund an extension to Downtown and Galveston themselves.

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The best argument for running the line straight up 45 the entire length is the daily reminder to anyone that drives that they could have been there already if they would have taken the train. It's the same feeling one gets when stuck on the freeway parking lot about 6pm while the HOV lane is moving along at 70 mph.

 

There's also the advantage of no landowners fighting the line. If the line follows 45 all the way to Dallas it won't cut anyone off from their land. It's not the best option from an engineering cost standpoint, or even an operational speed potential, but going for 45 all the way up has no landowners in court fighting against it.

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found this today.

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/article/Woodlands-leaders-push-for-high-speed-rail-5898268.php

 

The chances of it going down the I-45 corridor are fading very quickly. If they really want to be considered then they should stop being so whiny and incorporate. The Woodlands is growing at an enormous rate, but they aren't as important as they think sometimes.

 

This.

 

Why as a Houston area tax payer would I support a rail alignment that would only benefit a select group of suburbanites who have a system of government that is specifically designed to avoid annexation and keep their tax burden artificially lower?

 

Pay your 'fair share' and I might start listening to you.

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DNA, and I suppose you're against paying school taxes if you don't have kids or they are already out of school.

anyway, this thing needs to be meglev with its own path into downtown.

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DNA, and I suppose you're against paying school taxes if you don't have kids or they are already out of school.

anyway, this thing needs to be meglev with its own path into downtown.

 

Maglev would, at the very least, quadruple construction costs. There is no way that a private company would take on that risk, especially in an emerging market.

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DNA, and I suppose you're against paying school taxes if you don't have kids or they are already out of school.

anyway, this thing needs to be meglev with its own path into downtown.

There's a pretty clear difference between supporting the education of our nations future than paying taxes for a private utility, but I think you misunderstand; he says they should pay taxes for the whole city rather than just themselves and then turn around and delicate flower to the city to fix things.

Maglev is still under design and would be impossible as a private venture.

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I agree, but having it run on standard rail, even on its own right of way will be totally pointless once it has to join the regular track near downtown.

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DNA, and I suppose you're against paying school taxes if you don't have kids or they are already out of school.

anyway, this thing needs to be meglev with its own path into downtown.

 

Not at all. 

 

Paying for school taxes benefits us all.. even if you don't have kids going to school. If you don't educate ppl, they end up skill-less, unemployed and on the government dole. So its self defeating to make that argument as you're going to pay for it either way. Education is far cheaper than endless poverty / welfare. Teach a man to fish... no free lunch... etc.

 

I really don't know why you made that leap. But we digress from the fact that the ppl who are asking for a costlier alignment are at the same time avoiding the extra costs of being a city by getting an exclusive sweetheart 'township' arrangement that puts more of a tax burden on Montgomery county / surrounding areas while keeping their tax burden artificially low.

 

It reeks of hypocrisy... and the people who live there are too blind to see it.

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Well all of those (myself included) that saw a possibliity for Houston to really get it right and have a true central station can stop hoping.  Hardy Yards first development is now under construction.

 

http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/5521-hardy-rail-yard-project/page-12

 

The problem with this is that while the Post Office site is still available downtown, this was the only location where you could easily see the ROW to the site, as well as it easily tied into the in town transit systems (Light Rail already has a stop there and Busses could easily be added to the area).  Now any downtown station will not have convienent access to the in town rail system, it will be a several block walk through downtown.

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Ok I welcomed you on another thread.

 

Dude don't be lazy copy/paste the same exact thing on every relevant train thread....might as well not even post at all.

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I always preferred the Post Office/Grand Central Station location to the Hardy Yards location simply because it already is a train station in layout. Hardy Yards was already separated from downtown, and only had the advantage of being close to the existing rail line.

 

Having lived in the Philadelphia area, it was my experience that most business travelers did not use SEPTA when they left the train station; they would either walk or take a cab since they were so close to Center City already. The Post Office/Grand Central Station site is of similar proximity to Downtown Houston as 30th Street Station is to Center City Philadelphia, and I think the same sort of dynamic would be at play here.

Edited by ADCS
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The other advantage with the Post Office site is that it was once the site of a Central Station. I think we all forget that on occasion and that precedent does give it an advantage.

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