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High Speed Rail / Texas Triangle


MaxConcrete

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What collapses this argument in an instant is the fact that this isn't a government project or even labeled as one. The only part that is labeled as a government project is the Environmental Impact Study and subsequent studies by the Federal Railroad Administration all of which are required by law for any rail project public or private, but that doesn't mean that the project is a government one. In fact many of these meetings or studies are merely for find recommendations or impact to surrounding environment...that's it. the EPA or FRA doesn't have any authority to take land from people as that isn't their department. If this were a public project then that info would be passed those authorities who would proceed with eminent domain. It's a cute story you got there, but most of what you put there is exactly why they are going private. Lets also not forget that many who are in the TCR company have worked for federal or state politics, or companies which are providing the tech. They know the in's and out's of not only legislation, but tech they are dealing with as well.

 

There you go w/ "facts" and the "truth" (other than the implying the fact that eminent domain can only be used by the government. See Kelo vs. City of New London. Even the state law that's supposed to limit eminent domain does little to actually curb its use. There's truck sized loop holes in that bad boy.)

 

Believe me, the opposition to this rail has nothing to do w/ the truth. It never has. 

 

Fear, stupidity, and myopia are what fuel the opposition here. 

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There you go w/ "facts" and the "truth" (other than the implying the fact that eminent domain can only be used by the government. See Kelo vs. City of New London. Even the state law that's supposed to limit eminent domain does little to actually curb its use. There's truck sized loop holes in that bad boy.)

 

Believe me, the opposition to this rail has nothing to do w/ the truth. It never has. 

 

Fear, stupidity, and myopia are what fuel the opposition here. 

 

I'm very familiar with that, and yes this whole thing has never been about the "truth" or "facts", but this all comes down to how TCR properly educates the public about this. I mean go back to my wsj article where it clearly in the title makes it known that this is entirely private without public funding. Other people can believe whatever they want to believe, but until TCR publicly comes out and says they will be taking public funding then it's nothing, but white-noise.

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Sure they have Exxon and a couple others but they can get in line along with Katy, Cypress, Tomball, Energy Corridor, Cinco Ranch, Pearland, Clear Lake, Kingwood, etc..... They aren't entitled to anything! If they are lazy enough to not even provide their own city services and spread like weeds while leaching off the City of Houston then they don't have any argument even if they have Oil Companies to talk for them. I like the Woodlands I really do and I'm interested in this Springwoods thing, but lets not get this twisted. The Grand Parkway was going to happen and it was Exxon that placed their campus ON the Grand Parkway. It wasn't TXDOT moving the Grand Parkway or going faster to accommodate them. If you or others want to play on that conspiracy or coincidence then go ahead, but they planned their campus accordingly. They are already placed at the end of Hardy which gets them most of the way their. Besides this isn't what this rail is marketed towards. If they want to use it then that's great, but its for people who want to get from Center to Center not from Outskirts to Outskirts etc... This the beginning of the system not the end of it and their will be opportunities in the future, but they need to stop being selfish brats and know that their are others who could use it as well.

 

/end rant

 

The one thing about The Woodlands is that they don't see themselves as a suburb or edge city. They see themselves as the emerging second city of the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA. In their minds, this would be as if a high speed line were being constructed between Minneapolis and Chicago, and didn't go through St. Paul (imperfect an analogy though that may be).

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The one thing about The Woodlands is that they don't see themselves as a suburb or edge city. They see themselves as the emerging second city of the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA. In their minds, this would be as if a high speed line were being constructed between Minneapolis and Chicago, and didn't go through St. Paul (imperfect an analogy though that may be).

 

That's great and I see them as an emerging city too, but they are still technically a suburb of Houston as they are in Houston's ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) and until they have that little sign in front that says "The Woodlands: Incorporated since (insert year here)" Then they can have all the delusions of grandeur they want, but they are still a suburb and they are still thought of by many in Houston as a suburb! St. Paul and Minneapolis are each independent cities. Dallas and Ft. Worth and Arlington, and Irving, and Denton, etc... are all cities. I know that you understand what I'm talking about, but devils advocate is only solidifying my argument. Another thing I should add too is that while top officials in The Woodlands might see The Woodlands as a new city, most of it's population still sees itself as a large suburb tucked away in the forest with the "city center" or "lakefront" or "hugh's landing" is an anomaly. Until it's serious about making it's full transformation into a real city those areas remain the exception rather than the rule. The Woodlands is the textbook definition of an Edge City or Fringe City or Satellite City or whatever nomenclature they wish to use tomorrow it's one in the same.  

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Texas Central Railway said it was informing the Federal Railroad Administration that it prefers a route along electrical utility corridors. The route would use land along the BNSF right of way near Loop 610 and U.S. 290, then follow Union Pacific tracks along Washington into downtown Houston.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/High-speed-rail-route-would-affect-Houston-6085167.php

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So the Montgomery County conversation has become completely moot.

Now the discussion will stay focused on the innerloop. The nimbyism will be strong with this one. I almost feel like creating a website in support for this high speed rail, something I have never gotten involved in before. It's absolutely apparent that this state needs this, to propel us out of the 20th century.

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Now the discussion will stay focused on the innerloop. The nimbyism will be strong with this one. I almost feel like creating a website in support for this high speed rail, something I have never gotten involved in before. It's absolutely apparent that this state needs this, to propel us out of the 20th century.

 

Absolutely! Especially if they were already mentioning the Washington Corridor I think it's very evident that they are going to put it downtown. This is the best route as they won't have really any real NIMBY opposition until they are right near Washington St. You should definitely do the site too! That would be awesome.

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The way I'm reading the article is that they are planning on building elevated track along 1-10 once they get inside the loop, so they would be avoiding Washington Ave and all other neighborhoods. I'm on my phone right now, though, so someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

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The way I'm reading the article is that they are planning on building elevated track along 1-10 once they get inside the loop, so they would be avoiding Washington Ave and all other neighborhoods. I'm on my phone right now, though, so someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

 

You may not be wrong, but where on earth are they going to get the room to create that elevated track??? Not to mention you will still have to fight the Heights and north of Washington as well.

 

I can't read the article because of the stupid paywall.

 

EDIT: Possible non-paywall link

 

http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/High-speed-rail-route-would-affect-Houston-6085167.php

 

Also it looks like the Utility Corridor is officially going to be the route chosen!

 

EDIT2: Seriously.....opposition.....already rail where you live......makes no sense!!!!! UGH

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The way I'm reading the article is that they are planning on building elevated track along 1-10 once they get inside the loop, so they would be avoiding Washington Ave and all other neighborhoods. I'm on my phone right now, though, so someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

No. They're looking into it as an option to appease Parker who is appeasing the nimbys.

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You may not be wrong, but where on earth are they going to get the room to create that elevated track??? 

 

On top of the trenched I-10. You could cantilever the tracks or post them on pylons centered in the middle of the highway. Not sure the best way of getting them downtown. It would be really hard to hit the Post Office site going that way without some residential takings.

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On top of the trenched I-10. You could cantilever the tracks or post them on pylons centered in the middle of the highway. Not sure the best way of getting them downtown. It would be really hard to hit the Post Office site going that way without some residential takings.

 

I completely agree with you. I still think the path through the NIMBY's is the best way logistically, but here are some ways to get there from both extremes and a possible middle path.

 

uXRQieZ.jpg

 

 

Red is the one extreme. Logistically it would be next to impossible with so many highways converging and the possible completely realignment of these highways in the next 20 years as we have seen recently from TXDOT who are actually exploring that option. It's also just bonehead retard, but it could work......if you were really crazy!

 

The Orange is another extreme. This would mean taking out some housing along White Oak Bayou, but it's the straightest of the three options and the only major demo would be some of those new big box stores. Aesthetically the Heights loses a bit in the end as you now have a huge elevated track going across the Heights and Yale.....but I mean I-10 already does that so....yeah. I actually prefer this option.

 

Yellow is a possible middle path. The one I have laid out would not take out any residential only some aging infrastructure, and aging industry.

 

Lets not also forget that at this point the train is going to be going pretty slow (for a train of course). I would say no more than 40-45mph at a continously decelerating trend meaning that the final length of track doesn't have to be very straight. It doesn't need to be very straight for departing trains either.

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http://swamplot.com/possible-station-locations-for-houston-to-dallas-high-speed-rail-jersey-village-mangum-manor-downtown/2015-02-17/

 

So everyone I think swamplot is a little bit behind on their information! Think we should help speed them up on things?

 

For one thing we now know that they will not be using the Red route at all once they get closer to near the 30 Station. That knocks out 249 and Sam Houston Tollway option and Hardy Yards. We also know that if they are making serious efforts to look at ways to get to Downtown then they are going to put this in Downtown. The city wants it in Downtown as well.

 

Hell This map is even old as well! I think we have had this map in the thread for while now.... Thoughts anyone?

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Just take them over the bridges. If the rail line is 40 ft over the road bed, that gives 20 ft over the cross bridges.

 

The 40' number was bandied about by the same GOOF people whose hair was on fire about something on the other side of the loop supposedly "going through" their neighborhood - which would have applied only to the less preferred line that was also going to go through western Montgomery County.

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The 40' number was bandied about by the same GOOF people whose hair was on fire about something on the other side of the loop supposedly "going through" their neighborhood - which would have applied only to the less preferred line that was also going to go through western Montgomery County.

 

That's simply a suggestion. You could have the tracks suspended 16-17 ft above grade and be just fine with both the freeway and the cross streets that are at grade.

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Metro board member Christof Spieler gave a presentation at a meeting of Rice ASCE today. He said that the post office site is TCR's "preferred Downtown station site" and that Mayor Parker is pushing for an I-10 alignment to avoid neighborhood disruption.

 

He also talked about a lot of other stuff: the DLI, new Downtown bike lane, bus network reimagining, improvements to the convention district and so on. He's basically played a major role in every exciting development that gets talked about on this forum.

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Not sure how they would do an alignment down I-10 and especially get it to the post office site. My best guess is that they would place the rail on the north side of the interstate between the main lanes and the feeder road. And perhaps swing it around 45 from the east to the west for the site? That will be an interesting engineering feat...and trying to keep it all in a budget.

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Not sure how they would do an alignment down I-10 and especially get it to the post office site. My best guess is that they would place the rail on the north side of the interstate between the main lanes and the feeder road. And perhaps swing it around 45 from the east to the west for the site? That will be an interesting engineering feat...and trying to keep it all in a budget.

 

Just look at some of my earlier postings from yesterday. It is very possible to do. I think there will be a compromise where it takes I-10 to a point but then moves over to the Washington Corridor after bypassing those NIMBY neighborhoods

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No, I definitely saw them. At first that's what I was actually thinking too but then they would have to deal with multiple private entities to buy up that land instead of simply dealing with TXDOT and the city.

 

Why do you think they are going down the 290 route? It's easier to work with private companies than it is to work with residents. With residents you are of course dealing with people who are living in that location while with private companies they shift and move around much easier. Maybe for some of these companies it's a chance to get enough money to move to a different location or create a new facility which a lot of times is more important than keeping what's existing. If there is a chance of getting more money than that's a huge win. Not to mention many of the companies and properties that it's hitting aren't necessarily concerned with anything aesthetic. Many of the businesses that line Hempstead hwy, along I-10, and the further portion of the Washington Corridor are mostly warehouses or distribution centers.

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The two places to jump south from the Katy would be either between Heights and Sawyer/Taylor, or in the 45 corridor.  East of Sawyer/Taylor is what remains of the Sixth Ward and a gazillion new townhouses; west of Heights gets into NIMBY-ville.

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Why do you think they are going down the 290 route? It's easier to work with private companies than it is to work with residents. With residents you are of course dealing with people who are living in that location while with private companies they shift and move around much easier. Maybe for some of these companies it's a chance to get enough money to move to a different location or create a new facility which a lot of times is more important than keeping what's existing. If there is a chance of getting more money than that's a huge win. Not to mention many of the companies and properties that it's hitting aren't necessarily concerned with anything aesthetic. Many of the businesses that line Hempstead hwy, along I-10, and the further portion of the Washington Corridor are mostly warehouses or distribution centers.

I am not talking about 290. I'm talking about the I-10 corridor. I don't see it likely them going through warehouse areas to get to the station. The Walmart bypass looks like a no go to me, especially since there are still a good number of residents who would hate that idea as well. It looks like they either go down the entire train line or they go down along I-10.
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There are a couple of things that make an I-10 route into the Post Office site doable:

 

1. The train will likely be elevated on pylons. That means land takings will be minimized - it'll mostly be easements and air rights that are at play here. Companies will gladly allow those easements, since that means long-term payments for the right of use.

 

2. The train will likely be going no more than 30 mph at this point. This means tight radii are very possible on the trackage.

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The Walmart bypass looks like a no go to me

 

(***sigh...***) a boy can dream, can't he?

 

oh well... that wasn't a serious idea anyway.  I was just fondly reminiscing about all the torches and pitchforks that came out when that Sprawlmart was a-building.

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(***sigh...***) a boy can dream, can't he?

 

oh well... that wasn't a serious idea anyway.  I was just fondly reminiscing about all the torches and pitchforks that came out when that Sprawlmart was a-building.

No, trust me... I thought it was an absolutely great idea. Cutting over White Oak past Walmart seemed like a great idea to me and so did the warehouse area between Kroger and Target. But I think Texas Central will want to deal with as few entities and property owners as possible. I don't know, could be wrong. May be more cost effective to deal with them than build all along I-10. Can't wait to see what they plan... I keep googling over Google Earth trying to figure out how they would do the I-10 corridor... I'm pretty convinced they wouldn't build this in the center and would likely build columns between the main lanes and the feeder on the north side since there is plenty of space and there are rarely any areas that are fully concrete. Plus, they would have a great view of Stude Park and the White Oak bend coming into downtown on the northside of I-10. The only big trouble I see is trying to come into the Post Office site from I-10. They may have to do a swing around the I-10 and I-45 connecting section.... Not too sure though. Plus, we had seen advanced schematics of the new I-45 design... how would that affect the train line?

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http://www.texastribune.org/2015/02/25/lawmaker-files-bill-could-stop-proposed-bullet-tra/

Remember two things people:

HB1889

Will Metcalf

Here's the facebook post:

Today, I filed House Bill 1889. This bill will require county approval for the use of eminent domain for electric railways. Numerous county officials have come out in opposition to the Texas Central Railway and their use of eminent domain. This bill would help give more local control and would let individual counties decide what is best for them. Although this may not be the ultimate solution, I believe it is a good first step. I am currently working on filing more legislation regarding this issue.

If you would like to learn more about HB 1889 please visit www.legis.state.tx.us

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Having eminent domain as a recourse though helps with negotiating leverage.  Probably speeds the negotiations up a bit and is the difference between having to pay 100-200% of the fair market value and having to pay 400+% of the FMV.

 

It actually doesn't. Eminent Domain is a take it or leave it kind of deal. Further more even though they could go through Eminent Domain and then low ball the number the owner of said land will then take them to court to fight the price. So not only would TCR then have to pay legal fees to fight in court, but then fork over the money for the price of the land which the judge will most likely side with the owner.

 

If TCR needs any land from the land owner then it will be through the free market which would not only be a benefit for the landowner, but will save both sides thousands of dollars in legal fees. TCR will most likely work in land swaps to help those who might get cut off from their land.

 

For these reasons they won't have to use Eminent Domain.

 

Finally most of the places where they will be "buying land" they will really just be buy the easements or the essentially the right to use said owners land to travel across.

 

TCR from what I'm seeing will avoid eminent domain if possible since it will not only slow down the process, but it puts them and land owners at odds, and not only would the landowner be worse off then in the free market, but would have to spend extra in legal fees to duke it out in court. I'm telling right now the Eminent Domain thing should be a mute point in this discussion as it will not happen in a high percentage of cases.

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Said another way - having the ability to resort to eminent domain would give TCR more leverage in the free market negotiation against a truly intransigent landowner.  Nobody wants to go through eminent domain, but having it as a backup option/threat helps

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