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My first observations are about a couple roads in particular, but it looks like this is a wider topic which hasn't been discussed yet that I could find.

 

Washington Ave is now 8 lanes north of I-10, plus center turn lanes and not counting a 2 lane "feeder road" to the southwest. Does anyone know the reason for this widening project? It looks to be outside the scope of the 290 widening project. I didn't realize that this section of Washington is particularly busy or that it is expected to be busy in the near future. Does anyone have any information on why this project was done? inb4 "corruption"

 

Also, I noticed that the construction on Bellaire between Beltway 8 and just east of Gessner is still ongoing. Now they have finished the south side of the road and are tearing up the north side. Some of the medians have been removed and it looks like they could widen Bellaire from 3 lanes each way to 4 lanes here if they wanted to, if they removed some more median for turn lanes, at least in the westbound direction. The way that traffic seems to behave in this area, I could see the need for that.

 

Most of the widening in the last decade has been occurring north of the North Loop:

  • Homestead
  • Yale
  • Wheatley/Ella
  • Little York
  • Parker
  • Fulton
  • W Gulf Bank
  • Aldine Westfield
  • Aldine Mail Road
  • Ley
  • Fallbrook
  • TC Jester
  • Pinemont
  • Spur 261/Shepherd lanes to/from I-45
  • Others?

 

 

Are there any other realistic projects on the arterials that could be done inside the Beltway?

 

Not everything can be widened to 6 lanes or needs to be. But perhaps improving arterials through widening, grade separation, or synchronization could take a little pressure of the freeways.

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Speaking of widening roads, how much more can we realistically widen the west loop? That area always has traffic when I look at the map on my phone.. I'm not sure even if we added 2 more lanes each direction if if would keep traffic from backing up.. What will we do?

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What I find fascinating about the widening of Washington is the way the northbound lanes line up as you cross the westbound I-10 feeder road going northbound now.

 

There are 4 lanes on the bridge and 4 lanes on the road in front of you, but the lanes are off center and the leftmost lane is left turn only. There is a dashed line on the rightmost lane which seems to indicate that the rightmost lane feeds to the rightmost lane but this dashed line has been blacked out on the concrete but you can tell it was there. Basically each of the 3 through lanes has a choice to go left or right. I'm waiting to see two cars on the outside each go inside one day and squeeze off someone in the middle who would be left without a lane.

 

lanes.jpg

 

Edited by JJxvi
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Not everything can be widened to 6 lanes or needs to be. But perhaps improving arterials through widening, grade separation, or synchronization could take a little pressure of the freeways.

 

There needs to be a program of intersection improvement. That would include two left turn lanes and a right turn lane at major intersections with traffic issues. This is basically standard in cities with decent street planning (eg Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, South Orange County to name 3), but Houston for some reason just can't get it together on moving into the modern age for intersections. Of course this is done in a few places in Houston - mostly TxDOT-owned streets like Westheimer.

 

The benefits are obvious: cut the left turn cycle time in half to move the same number of vehicles, and allow some performance improvement (and a huge convenience improvement) with the right turn lane. There would typically be some minimal right-of-way needed to get this all to fit, and it will be feasible at most intersections.

 

As for grade separations, I don't see it happening on any city streets. I remember hearing talk of some, such as at Westheimer and Voss, since the 1970s and it just is not going to happen. The only grade separations that have moved forward are on TxDOT streets and paid for by TxDOT, like Kukendahl/FM 1960 and FM 1092/South Main.

 

As for Bellaire, it will have four westbound lanes (which means 1 new lane) and three eastbound lanes (maintaining the existing count).

http://www.bellaireconstructionproject.com/

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 That would include two left turn lanes and a right turn lane at major intersections with traffic issues. This is basically standard in cities with decent street planning (eg Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, South Orange County to name 3), but Houston for some reason just can't get it together on moving into the modern age for intersections. 

 

Sounds like you're listing cities that hate pedestrians. Your two extra turn lanes just added 24 feet of crossing distance.

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TXDOT decided they need 8 lanes right into their campus.

 

Don't be too hard on TXDot. They own an unusually wide right of way in front of their Washington Ave campus because of it being at a location of a once planned freeway interchange. This interchange was eliminated early on when the terminus of US290 was routed further to the northwest. This left TXDot with an unused parcel of land that soon would become their regional headquarters.

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^^ interesting fact.. 

Speaking of widening roads, how much more can we realistically widen the west loop? That area always has traffic when I look at the map on my phone.. I'm not sure even if we added 2 more lanes each direction if if would keep traffic from backing up.. What will we do?

 
i heard locals fought 610W expansion in the 90s and made them upgrade the highway with the promise they wouldnt add more lanes. odd..? that area badly needs more lanes, and it seems like they could add another lane or two each way. its need is inevitable, if not already here.. Edited by cloud713
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Sounds like you're listing cities that hate pedestrians. Your two extra turn lanes just added 24 feet of crossing distance.

 

How is 24 feet of extra crossing distance an impediment to pedestrians? If you can't make it across safely in one WALK/DON'T WALK phase, that's what the pedestrian islands in the medians are there for.

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There needs to be a program of intersection improvement. That would include two left turn lanes and a right turn lane at major intersections with traffic issues. This is basically standard in cities with decent street planning (eg Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, South Orange County to name 3), but Houston for some reason just can't get it together on moving into the modern age for intersections. Of course this is done in a few places in Houston - mostly TxDOT-owned streets like Westheimer.

 

 

For most streets in Houston, having two left turn lanes and a right turn lane would result in either demolition of all of the buildings along the street, or no through lanes. Our streets are generally not wide enough to support that many lanes. I would settle for having the yellow light appear for dedicated left turn lanes, once the green is complete. There's no reason for me to sit in a left turn lane when there's no oncoming traffic.

 

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How is 24 feet of extra crossing distance an impediment to pedestrians? If you can't make it across safely in one WALK/DON'T WALK phase, that's what the pedestrian islands in the medians are there for.

 

It's partially an issue of perception. Having to wait at a median halfway into the road is uncomfortable; it turns one crossing into two and you're standing there between traffic moving in both directions.

 

Now, it's a different situation with streets like Heights Blvd where the median is wide and itself an attraction and the drivable street is actually pretty narrow.

 

In general, narrower streets are much more comfortable and practical for pedestrians. Personally, I don't want to see any more inner loop streets widened, and I'd honestly love to see a few (lower Westheimer, lower Washington, Waugh) narrowed.

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