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High Speed Rail / Texas Triangle


MaxConcrete

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http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/8/21/north-texas-inches-closer-to-getting-high-speed-rail-lines/

 

One small step closer to a Fort Worth to Houston HSR line.

 

"Texas Central has proposed station locations that would facilitate further connectivity, ultimately allowing for Fort Worth/Arlington to Houston high speed rail travel if both projects move through funding and construction."

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http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/8/21/north-texas-inches-closer-to-getting-high-speed-rail-lines/

 

One small step closer to a Fort Worth to Houston HSR line.

 

"Texas Central has proposed station locations that would facilitate further connectivity, ultimately allowing for Fort Worth/Arlington to Houston high speed rail travel if both projects move through funding and construction."

 

Wouldn't it be more economical to build a link from Ft. Worth to Dallas, and then on to Houston? Or are they scrapping the proposed station locations south of DT Dallas?

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You can't hijack a train and run it into a building which means that you can't make it a weapon. The remote advanced control / monitoring required to operate a HSR system (like a mini-mission control) would also be able to disable the train remotely. So to answer your question: YES. There are many reasons to believe that I'm not going to have to go through the same hurdles as a plain.

 

It's kind of a misleading article. They come to a conclusion that seems to be the opposite of the title. 

 

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2015/08/24/trains-could-soon-see-airport-level-security/

Edited by jgriff
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Field trip to Germany? Japan? France? Anywhere with High Speed Rail anyone? All aboard. No security checkpoints like in airports. Its that simple lol

 

Yes, but the article is suggesting that might change due to incidents like the one that happened recently in France. 

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Well, an article stated it may be I-10 but if that corridor map is what was approved, than the high speed train would be running down the train line then and not I-10. Personally, I think it would look cool to see a high speed train going down I-10 on my way to work.

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Yes, but the article is suggesting that might change due to incidents like the one that happened recently in France. 

 

Nothing changed after the terrorist attack on a train in Spain and that was years ago. The only thing that might change is rail that crosses international boundaries might get some more screening, but there won't be security checkpoints like airports. That pretty much kills what makes trains such a great option. Look I've even been to stations in D.C. and New York where you have trains that cross state lines and it functions the same way as countries above. You might see more hidden security or more police patrols, but like I said you aren't going to see long lines with security checkpoints.

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Well, an article stated it may be I-10 but if that corridor map is what was approved, than the high speed train would be running down the train line then and not I-10. Personally, I think it would look cool to see a high speed train going down I-10 on my way to work.

Going down the train parallel to Washington wouldn't work; too many NIMBY'S that would delicate flower and whine

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I wonder how they'd design the structure over I-10 if they go that way. It would likely require quite a bit of engineering, so perhaps we'd end up getting a "signature" structure out of it.

 

Could be a real opportunity.

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It would probably follow the median in which case I'd assume it would just be the usual column design. I wonder if TXDOT will require them to use the same aesthetic for that sector as they do on the new highway construction.

 

That's just it - there is no median. It's nothing but a concrete divider. There isn't really space for pylons anywhere except for the sloping embankments on either side of the freeway.

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Going down the train parallel to Washington wouldn't work; too many NIMBY'S that would delicate flower and whine

 

I'd fall into those NIMBY's and would be all for it if it were in lieu of the freight line or if it were reasonable to put it below grade.  Since UPRR has no intention of giving up their ROW the HSR would need to go over the freight lines where trains are often stacked two cars high.  The structure would essentially look like putting the I-10 over passes through the middle of the Washington ave neighborhood.  

 

FWIW I am all for more rail transit in Houston. In a perfect world the freight line would relocate outside the city and then the HSR and commuter trains would share that right of way. 

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That's just it - there is no median. It's nothing but a concrete divider. There isn't really space for pylons anywhere except for the sloping embankments on either side of the freeway.

It wouldn't be difficult to push the lames over a few feet. I mean, that segment of I-10 (inside 610) is due for a rebuild eventually. You can see where they're going to extend the managed lanes past 610 because there are temporary concrete barriers on the East bound section that blocks off almost two lanes of road.

They can push the lames over temporarily; there's quite a bit of room on the banked slopes for an eventual expansion of the freeway.

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I'd fall into those NIMBY's and would be all for it if it were in lieu of the freight line or if it were reasonable to put it below grade. Since UPRR has no intention of giving up their ROW the HSR would need to go over the freight lines where trains are often stacked two cars high. The structure would essentially look like putting the I-10 over passes through the middle of the Washington ave neighborhood.

FWIW I am all for more rail transit in Houston. In a perfect world the freight line would relocate outside the city and then the HSR and commuter trains would share that right of way.

I don't disagree. Getting rid of those tracks would be amazing.
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Well, an article stated it may be I-10 but if that corridor map is what was approved, than the high speed train would be running down the train line then and not I-10. Personally, I think it would look cool to see a high speed train going down I-10 on my way to work.

 

It would be cool, but i guess the train will be no more than 50 mph in urban area though.

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It will be interesting to see what design is proposed for an I-10 alignment. The existing interior shoulders are at a minimal width, and putting the columns for the elevated train structure in the central shoulder space would use up all of the median and leave no interior shoulder, particularly undesirable for a freeway with 5 lanes each way. In some places the freeway pavement could be widened to the sides, like BigFootSocks mentioned on the sloped embankment in the trenched section, but in many places it will be very difficult and costly, like around Studemont and Heights. Then from Taylor Street eastward there already is an elevated structure in the median, and no available space on the sides for more structures - right-of-way acquisition would be needed and there is a park on the north side, limiting options.  

 

Along White Oak Bayou just north of downtown, whatever is planned for the train would need to fit both the existing freeway and the planned future design, which is still being developed. Right-of-way is super-tight in the proposed future plan. They could probably work around columns of the elevated train structure, but fewer constraints would be better.

 

TxDOT probably has a long-term goal of adding HOT lanes inside Loop 610 to connect the existing HOT lanes outside Loop 610 to the planned HOT lanes in the proposed downtown freeway rebuild. That would be one or two lanes in each direction. The elevated train could make HOT lanes difficult or impossible in the tight areas without significant right-of-way acquisition, which may not be feasible.

 

Generally speaking, the depressed section from TC Jester to Shepherd is the easiest to work with, but the situation becomes much more difficult the closer the alignment gets to downtown.

 

As for relocating the freight railroad off the Washington rail corridor, that would be nice but I see chances of that as virtually zero. Bryan-College Station tried to relocate the tracks through Texas A&M, but it couldn't be done even though there is plenty of vacant land around the cities. Austin studied relocating the freight trains from the track which goes along MoPac Expressway and through downtown Austin so the track could be converted to transit use, but that that also proved to be impossible. High cost, long distance of the new alignment and lack of willingness of the railroad operators are the usual problems.

 

It seems to me that the inner-loop NIMBYs are missing an opportunity by their opposition. Placing the HSR on the Washington freight corridor at grade level, then putting in continuous noise abatement (ie noise walls) and underpasses at all cross streets will be most beneficial. The freight train noise is abated and all railroad crossings are eliminated.

 

Edited by MaxConcrete
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There is no chance the HSR would fit at grade level and include the freight line. The HSR needs at least 50' on each side (plus the clearance for the freight line). We spoke with the president of the TRC and he noted that they already realized an elevated rail would be required.

As a resident of the affected area there is zero value added with HSR coming through and it only negatively affects the area(Assuming an elevated solution and not in lieu of freight)

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As a resident of the affected area there is zero value added with HSR coming through and it only negatively affects the area(Assuming an elevated solution and not in lieu of freight)

I mean, there's absolutely no way of knowing if it adds nothing just as there's no way of knowing that it takes it away. That's all purely your opinion at this point, with no information or research that says otherwise. I understand the frustration, but at some point, residents of this area along the Washington corridor cannot keep clamoring for a "quiet and peaceful" neighborhood that is so close to downtown, and is only continuing to become more developed and "urbanized" for a lack of a better term.

It's easy to say it won't add value and will negate it, but it's just as easy to say the opposite. How can you back up that claim though?

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Too true. If only there were some large parcel of land...something that has outlived it use...something that currently houses the worst company to ever be placed on this earth by Satan himself. Too bad Lovett already bought it :/

I don't think any cable companies are in downtown.

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I mean, there's absolutely no way of knowing if it adds nothing just as there's no way of knowing that it takes it away. That's all purely your opinion at this point, with no information or research that says otherwise. I understand the frustration, but at some point, residents of this area along the Washington corridor cannot keep clamoring for a "quiet and peaceful" neighborhood that is so close to downtown, and is only continuing to become more developed and "urbanized" for a lack of a better term.

It's easy to say it won't add value and will negate it, but it's just as easy to say the opposite. How can you back up that claim though?

Under the assumption there is just an added HSR track it will only pass through the area, and not directly service the neighborhoods it will bisect. Now if it allows expansion of local commuter transit then I believe there would be added value.

Id be interested to hear the perspective on how it would be a positive impact on the Wash Ave corridor. Also under the assumption the freight rail stays and it's just an HSR track.

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If you wanna go cheap, yeah.

If they have the money they will go downtown, might as well connect to another employment center.

I recall during a TRC meeting they expected a good bulk of their ridership to have destinations in the Galleria and Energy Corridor. A terminus at NW Mall would provide more flexibility to transfer riders to any of the 3 most likely destinations.

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Going down the train parallel to Washington wouldn't work; too many NIMBY'S that would delicate flower and whine

I know that. I'm just going based on the map. This was a corridor approved by the federal government...

 

If it does run along I-10, I would imagine it would run on the northside of I-10 between the feeder and the main lanes. Then once it gets close to Yale, it appears it would have to go just north of the feeder and take some business with it. Then past Heights Blvd, it can return between the feeder and the main lanes and then go along the bayou near Taylor. Again, that's a complete guess by me.....

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Under the assumption there is just an added HSR track it will only pass through the area, and not directly service the neighborhoods it will bisect. Now if it allows expansion of local commuter transit then I believe there would be added value.

Id be interested to hear the perspective on how it would be a positive impact on the Wash Ave corridor. Also under the assumption the freight rail stays and it's just an HSR track.

That's what I'm saying, how are we supposed to know the changes it brings on property value? Unless we look at other HSR cases...and those are all international.

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I know that. I'm just going based on the map. This was a corridor approved by the federal government...

If it does run along I-10, I would imagine it would run on the northside of I-10 between the feeder and the main lanes. Then once it gets close to Yale, it appears it would have to go just north of the feeder and take some business with it. Then past Heights Blvd, it can return between the feeder and the main lanes and then go along the bayou near Taylor. Again, that's a complete guess by me.....

If we're just looking at the pic provided in that story then I think that's just the HBJ's pic, and I don't think TCR has explicitly stated what they'd do inside the loop.

But basically, yeah, it's literally a guess for anything right now. It seems like we've come so far from an initial announcement of interest, but we still hardly know anything yet.

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That's what I'm saying, how are we supposed to know the changes it brings on property value? Unless we look at other HSR cases...and those are all international.

 

Fair enough, then it is my opinion that it would negatively impact the area.  :)  

 

Relative to the potential I-10 alignment, i know they plan to replace the Yale bridge just south of I-10 in 2016, hopefully that work would take an HSR alignment into consideration if that does end up being a real possibility.

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I also think the northwest mall is probably the best and most practical solution. I know it probably isn't feasible really, but I keep thinking how nice a station would work out if they could somehow extend the green line up washington and connect it to some newly expanded metro terminus involving the hsr line, then shoot another rail line from it elevated on i-10 out to memorial and maybe katy, build a commuter rail up 90 from sugarland to near the astrodome/medical center, perhaps extend the red line up to exxon somehow, and do whatever they're going to do long term with post oak that connects it to the nw mall terminus also. Personally, that site seems more centrally located to other employment centers than downtown is, and with all those connections we'd start to really have a somewhat cohesive transit rail network. Admittedly, I have no clue how the i-10 line and stops would work; it would just be nice.

Edited by curbur
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Fair enough, then it is my opinion that it would negatively impact the area.  :)  

 

Relative to the potential I-10 alignment, i know they plan to replace the Yale bridge just south of I-10 in 2016, hopefully that work would take an HSR alignment into consideration if that does end up being a real possibility.

Yeah my bad, didn't mean to sound accusatory, I dislike those tracks as much as anyone else who has to drive over them, I just don't see the property value issue as being something that can legitimately dissuade TCR or the established rail companies from removing them. Which is unfortunate because they suck and I hate them. 

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Yeah my bad, didn't mean to sound accusatory, I dislike those tracks as much as anyone else who has to drive over them, I just don't see the property value issue as being something that can legitimately dissuade TCR or the established rail companies from removing them. Which is unfortunate because they suck and I hate them. 

 

All well and good.  I just find it hard to believe that  a structure the size of a freeway overpass would not have a negative impact on home value.  Most new homes are 3 stories tall and an elevated rail line would still tower over those to allow clearance for the underlying freight trains.  I also don't see any certain sign that it would induce further development along the corridor considering the HSR would not even stop along the way. 

 

I have a love/hate relationship with the UPRR right of way, on one hand i think it allows for easy expansion of a usable metrorail route or bike trail and lends something to the urban nature of the area.  On the other hand it creates a collecting place for trash, stops traffic far too often, and of course can be noisy. 

 

The bike path that they created through the heights on a old rail right of way would be pretty nice, but i still think a commuter line would net the best value add to the city and area. Perhaps below grade with street overpasses, pipe dreams....

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I do sort of agree with you, but my argument against (playing devils advocate here) is that the Washington corridor is quickly becoming a very popular bar/club night scene area. More development will only follow, which we can see in the new midrise mf projects going up on the far Western end. This area is becoming more and more urban, and it's hard, IMO, to argue that this area is quieting in anyway in the future. Property values are going to go up regardless of the rail or not; the inner loop is hot in activity right now.

Another important thing to note is that the trains will most definitely not be speeding by in this area; it's close to the homes and would require a slow speed, and it's so close to the downtown terminus there wouldn't be enough room to hit full speed.

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Certainly understand that line of thought. I guess the infrastructure is more of a concern than the actual rail is. If this we're a metro rail line coming through I'd probably be one of the happiest people, but having another train just cruise by on a huge concrete bridge really doesn't do much for the areas below.

I guess we will just keep waiting to see the final alignment.

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Quickly thinking about the area, it seems that they could follow the embankments on I-10 to Heights Blvd, then head south in the wide median provided by Heights, turning east at the freight line and creating a shared use station where the current Amtrak station is. It looks as if that would avoid the bulk of the housing that sits near the freight line, as most of the area between Heights Blvd. and downtown is filled with warehouses along the tracks. I'm not sure how feasible this would be, but it was just a thought.

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There's no place downtown for a station, and no reasonable way to get there if there were a station location.

 

Burnett Plaza would be a decent location, direct connection to METRORail downtown is a plus, and you have some space for redevelopment and building parking facilities and such.  Since downtown is the largest employment center in the urban area, it's a good idea to make it as accessible as possible for intercity infrastructure. 

 

I recall during a TRC meeting they expected a good bulk of their ridership to have destinations in the Galleria and Energy Corridor. A terminus at NW Mall would provide more flexibility to transfer riders to any of the 3 most likely destinations.

 

Ideally you'd have two stops: 1 in/near downtown and 1 in/near uptown.  Works really well, see Boston's setup with Union Station and Back Bay. 

 

The 290 area spot would be a lot better if there was a high capacity transit connection, but that probably won't happen anytime soon. 

 

The line would get more ridership if there were good connections at it's destinations to get people where they want to go easily.  Otherwise, why not just fly?  The advantages of HSR are downtown to downtown service with easy connections to public transit. 

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That would definitely disrupt the rail lines already there...that would definitely be a much bigger headache than dealing with any rural opposition.

Amd then there's the major issue of flooding. There's hardly enough room for drainage, and getting HCFCD approval to drain that much land into White Oak or Buffalo Bayou would be a nightmare

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I do sort of agree with you, but my argument against (playing devils advocate here) is that the Washington corridor is quickly becoming a very popular bar/club night scene area. More development will only follow, which we can see in the new midrise mf projects going up on the far Western end. This area is becoming more and more urban, and it's hard, IMO, to argue that this area is quieting in anyway in the future. Property values are going to go up regardless of the rail or not; the inner loop is hot in activity right now.

Another important thing to note is that the trains will most definitely not be speeding by in this area; it's close to the homes and would require a slow speed, and it's so close to the downtown terminus there wouldn't be enough room to hit full speed.

Maybe 5 years ago. The popular clubs from that era are long shuttered. Washington is more of a restaurant place now. Midtown is where the nightlife is.

Also for all the criticism we've given rural landowners the local nimbys aren't much better. Everyone is looking out for their own self interest instead of the greater good. Hsr is much less disruptive than the current freight rails, has anyone here been to Japan besides me? Elevated rail isn't preferable but if it's the only method of getting downtown then make it happen. I wouldn't really call any part of Houston "desirable" other than in some people's heads it's a way to get away from low income minorities, so whatever.

Edited by Slick Vik
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