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Frontage roads, like 'em, hate 'em?


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I'm not willing to get into another pointless trains/highways discussion or another pointless Pierce Elevated discussion, so how about something different: frontage roads, the type of highway design commonly found in Texas? A brief primer is at Wikipedia.

Frontage roads are considered to be a type of highway lanes and allow businesses and others to interface with the highway. Otherwise, you're left with a wide thing that actually no serves true "city" purpose (and is why freeways have a bad rep). Continuous freeway lanes (not just providing exit/entrance purposes) of course take up more space, but it also serves as detour lanes when highway closures are necessary.

I tend to not like them when exiting/entering (depending on where the ramp is and what the traffic is like), nor do they seem particularly well as local routes (Cypress Towne Center businesses are a great example of this), but they do give local road function (always good) and they make highway scenery more interesting.

What do you think?

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Thank god. A fresh topic in "Traffic & Highways". Thank you, Tiger. I can appreciate how frontage roads make the highways more functional by providing alternate routes, so to speak, to the main roadways during construction and accidents. This makes them very functional. But, by cramming them with big boxes and dealerships, sure makes them ugly, and somewhat less functional from a traffic movement standpoint. This isn't strictly a Texas approach but it does seem to be Texas' only approach. Personally...I don't like them. But this is from a aesthetic perspective. This is the image of Houston, that most visitor are welcomed by, and sent away with...which is too bad.

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 but they do give local road function (always good) 

 

Local function combined with high speeds is not good. High speed roads with local access are the most dangerous type due to the variation in speed among vehicles. And of course frontage roads are absolutely terrible for anyone not traveling by car.

 

The folks at Strong Towns call these facilities "stroads" because they try to combine the functions of streets and roads and do both poorly. I find their stuff quite compelling. The good times we're enjoying in Texas have postponed the infrastructure liability reckoning for now, but may not forever.

 

http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2013/3/4/the-stroad.html#.U4DDCPldUrU

 

http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/tag/stroads#.U4DDKfldUrU

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Awww I love bashing the Pierce lol.

 

Ok this frontage road topic is actually a very passionate topic of mine, so I'm just going to say that I detest Frontage Roads for now and place more proper lengthy response later :P

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I'm not willing to get into another pointless trains/highways discussion or another pointless Pierce Elevated discussion, so how about something different: frontage roads, the type of highway design commonly found in Texas? A brief primer is at Wikipedia.

Frontage roads are considered to be a type of highway lanes and allow businesses and others to interface with the highway. Otherwise, you're left with a wide thing that actually no serves true "city" purpose (and is why freeways have a bad rep). Continuous freeway lanes (not just providing exit/entrance purposes) of course take up more space, but it also serves as detour lanes when highway closures are necessary.

I tend to not like them when exiting/entering (depending on where the ramp is and what the traffic is like), nor do they seem particularly well as local routes (Cypress Towne Center businesses are a great example of this), but they do give local road function (always good) and they make highway scenery more interesting.

What do you think?

 

They help w/ the flow of traffic and make navigating easier by usually allowing more frequent exits / easier u-turns. However, I feel as if that they actually induce sprawl / make the city uglier.

 

So I guess I'm 50/50 on them.

 

Ok, I raise your question w/ another question:

"What do you call the roads that run parallel to a highway that allow you to enter and exit the highway?"

A) Frontage Rd

B.) Feeder Rd (The Feeder)

C) Access Rd

Edited by DNAguy
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When it really gets weird is when there are super wide feeder roads combined with closely spaced exits - I'm looking at you, Culberson Katy Freeway.  Trying to make a right onto Bunker Hill from the exit of that name requires all the aggressive driving skills for which Houstonians are famous.  

 

I certainly don't miss feeders when I'm traveling some place that doesn't have them.

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I agree with the sentiment that it tends to attract car dealerships, strip malls, and industrial buildings (NW Freeway and formerly Katy Freeway), but at least it's something. Nothing I hate more than passing through a city and seeing nothing. This is to the cities that hide what they have with trees, or walls, or in the case of some cities, not actually commercial developments but old houses that predated the freeway (I see this in Louisiana a lot).

I also agree Katy Freeway has too close exits for the number of lanes.

But it while it isn't too great a "local street": too many driveways will really muck it up for everyone, they're antagonistic for pedestrians and bicyclists (generally--sidewalks may help alleviate the issue). But it's better for roads to end there than just having them abruptly dead-end/curve into another street.

I'm also a fan of the "frontage roads first" philosophy by not necessarily pouring the money into the main lanes as it stands right now (until traffic demands it) while keeping a nice "giant median". For the most part, 288 doesn't have frontage roads from Brays Bayou to Beltway 8 and has an even wider median, which is comfortable yet a bit offputting at the same time. [i believe that in the Houston area they are called feeder roads but I don't technically live in Houston so it's okay :P]

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Greatest thing since sliced bread. I hate going to cities that only have on and off ramps to local streets - it's often impossible to figure out where to get on the freeways, and if you get off at the wrong exit, you may or may not be able to get to your destination. Frontage roads also make building on ramps that are long enough a lot simpler.

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Greatest thing since sliced bread. I hate going to cities that only have on and off ramps to local streets - it's often impossible to figure out where to get on the freeways, and if you get off at the wrong exit, you may or may not be able to get to your destination. Frontage roads also make building on ramps that are long enough a lot simpler.

Very true. Frontage roads (paired with those turnaround lanes) add a "safety net" if you get off too late or too early.

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When it really gets weird is when there are super wide feeder roads combined with closely spaced exits - I'm looking at you, Culberson Katy Freeway.  Trying to make a right onto Bunker Hill from the exit of that name requires all the aggressive driving skills for which Houstonians are famous.  

 

Even more challenging: exiting at Bunker Hill and trying to make a right into the entrance that runs in front of Best Buy (well before the stoplight at Bunker Hill). It can be done, but it requires perfect timing, a workable break in traffic on the feeder road, and reasonably hard braking. 

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I'll take feeder roads over not, any day. My wife has family in San Antonio, living inside of the 410 Loop, just off I-10. No feeder roads along 10, and having to exit completely off of one freeway to get on another, is quite the posterior pain as well. You'd think now that were in the 21st, San Antonio would have been introduced to something called the connector ramp.

You might not like the overall look of the feeder or its immediate surroundings, but they sure make navigating around the freeway system much easier.

610 has a couple of Bunker Hill type exits as well. Ella immediately comes to mind, with the quick dash across 3 feeder lanes to make a right onto NB Ella w/o getting stuck cutting through the neighborhood because you couldn't get over in time to make the turn.

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More about my views on the "clutter" on highways: highway "clutter" has been around long since before the freeway (they aren't at least directly on the road anymore), so it's not unique, and I'd wager that non-frontage road freeways have lots of commercial clutter as well.

Sure, it's understandable how one can grumble about the endless parade of strip malls, gas stations, and car dealerships, but it does two undeniable good things:

1) Shows that the city is in good economic health assuming all those strip malls, gas stations, and car dealerships are mostly occupied.

2) Shows that the city has nothing to hide.

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Fist off, can we no longer edit post? I noticed that one of the pictures I posted above went away.

 

 

 

 

I guess I wouldn't mind feeder or frontage roads, but I like them without development and surrounded by a forest of trees, that is just my opinion.

i-285_ga_sj_03.jpg

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Fist off, can we no longer edit post? I noticed that one of the pictures I posted above went away.

I guess I wouldn't mind feeder or frontage roads, but I like them without development and surrounded by a forest of trees, that is just my opinion.

i-285_ga_sj_03.jpg

Guessing that the site you're referring to doesn't allow hotlinking. And editing posts is allowed but it's always been a tight window (~1 hour)

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I like feeder roads. For one thing, when there's an accident on the mainlanes and they're closed, the feeder roads can provide an alternate route that's still direct and doesn't involve snaking through residential areas. Feeder roads have also allowed for divided highways to be upgraded into freeways without eliminating at grade access to adjoining land. You can complain about clutter, but if you were in Atlanta driving down I-75, you'd probably see clutter and businesses if most of the freeways there weren't lined with pine trees and kudzu. Hmm, maybe that's the solution to the visual blight caused by feeders. Just plant a boatload of trees in the ROW between the mainlanes and feeder.

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Feeders are easier to navigate, the commercial strip along them provides an air pollution buffer zone from residential areas, and it makes it much easier to widen the freeway in the future.  It's when freeways go through residential areas with those walls that pushback happens against widening (it essentially becomes politically impossible), and you're exposing all those houses to air pollution (wall or no).  And it's certainly no more attractive to drive down a freeway with giant concrete walls on each side (see California).  I'd rather be able to see the dynamic vibrancy of what's going on in the commercial strip - new restaurants and stores or even signs with promotions for those stores.  It makes the "discovery" process for places so much easier.

 

More in my blog post here: Sprawl and the benefits of frontage roads

 http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2005/08/sprawl-and-benefits-of-frontage-roads.html 

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Mr. Gattis has a point, the frontage roads make commercial development more appealing, which adds "clutter", but when widening a freeway, there's less resistance than if you do residential.

The biggest demolition controversies along Interstate 10 were the Villages houses, not the other things (the shopping center in Spring Valley Village was another, but that was because it was SVV's main source of tax money), which included the Igloo plant, strip malls, a few hotels, fast foods, gas stations, and other commercial stuff.

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Mr. Gattis has a point, the frontage roads make commercial development more appealing, which adds "clutter", but when widening a freeway, there's less resistance than if you do residential.

The biggest demolition controversies along Interstate 10 were the Villages houses, not the other things (the shopping center in Spring Valley Village was another, but that was because it was SVV's main source of tax money), which included the Igloo plant, strip malls, a few hotels, fast foods, gas stations, and other commercial stuff.

 

Yep, and we've also had big fights over the 59 trench (residential area) and now that bottleneck on 45N in the Heights.  On the other hand, there's been almost no resistance to the 290 project, which is completely lined with commercial.

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Love them. I have traveled across half of our glorious country. I get so very lost when I exit a freeway, tollway or highway and find myself in some random neighborhood and have no understanding of how to get back to my roadway. Southern Cali. Is notorious for this. I LOVE TX, especially Houston for having "feeders". I think HTown is the easiest city to manage. Most exits are only a mile or so apart, have access roads with ample exit and entrance distance and throughways that let the driver turn around in less than five minutes after missing intended exit. ( unless you're in rush hour traffic). Also, being shaped like a wagon wheel helps the ease of navigating our fair city, but I digress. :)

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I like feeder roads. For one thing, when there's an accident on the mainlanes and they're closed, the feeder roads can provide an alternate route that's still direct and doesn't involve snaking through residential areas. Feeder roads have also allowed for divided highways to be upgraded into freeways without eliminating at grade access to adjoining land. You can complain about clutter, but if you were in Atlanta driving down I-75, you'd probably see clutter and businesses if most of the freeways there weren't lined with pine trees and kudzu. Hmm, maybe that's the solution to the visual blight caused by feeders. Just plant a boatload of trees in the ROW between the mainlanes and feeder.

 

I know that Kudzu is considered an Invasive species, but I think it looks really good in the Atlanta area. It gives it an enchanted look. Does Houston have any Kudzu? I think I looked on a map before and it said that Harris county had some. It seems like the Galleria area has some near the Memorial Park area and across the freeway.

 

And the soultion with the trees between the freeways and the feeder is basically what I said, but I say plant trees along the feeder and have no businesses along the freeway only have businesses on streets that Inytersect the freeways.

 

A sample of Kudzu

kudzu-online-pic.jpg

Edited by citykid09
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I'm a transplant that loves and appreciates feeders. I grew up on the Westbank of New Orleans where we had a completely elevated US90 (Westbank Expressway) with a grade level "frontage road". I currently live in the Katy area and hate exits such as Fry @ Grand Pkwy where you have to turn onto the cross street to enter the parking lot. It seems the same to me whether the shopping centers face the main highway or the cross street -- they are still there. So I feel that if you have the land, why not have feeders to allow merging with local traffic and easier access to the shopping centers.

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I know that Kudzu is considered an Invasive species, but I think it looks really good in the Atlanta area. It gives it an enchanted look.

 

Granted I never visit the Deep Web, but this is the single most disturbing thing I've ever read on the internet.

Just to be clear, you do realize that everything under that shroud of kudzu is dead, not under an enchantment?

 

Regarding frontage roads: I guess they are a useful substitute for a well-functioning street grid beyond the freeway, so that's a point in their favor, when such a grid is not in place nor is ever likely to be.

 

But turning the freeway into a local road seems sort of like a conflicting purpose, and not entirely efficient.

I know, I know - messy, chaotic, dangerous: these are only and always good now.

 

As to the business about "I love to discover new taquerias and nail salons and mattress stores and pain clinics as I'm flying past on the freeway at seventy miles an hour": while this strikes me as more impressionistic than strictly rigorous, I wouldn't dream of disputing with people about what delights them. But since it was put on aesthetic grounds, I'll come out as saying I find "exciting discovery" freeway clutter very unpleasing, despite the fact that it's my primordial medium.

 

Commerce has not ceased in places where feeder roads are not built, but I suppose their absence discourages ugly commerce (or, sorry, to speak more precisely: what until recently no one - even its liveliest proponents - would have bothered to defend as other than ugly*) and I guess the prevailing libertarianism-masquerading-as-populism requires us to pretend that if commerce is not (what was formerly conceded to be) ugly, it is somehow less than genuine.

 

Puzzling that it should be hipsters who are usually mocked for their supposed quest for "authenticity."

 

*I sometimes forget that we've crossed a cultural divide in my lifetime, and It's getting harder to find the language for my opinions.

Edited by luciaphile
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I don't mind them, but we have too much of them in Houston. Maybe have sections of feeders where some businesses can congregate to, but then merge that feeder back with the freeway and plant some trees/greenery. Plus, the speed limit on most is 45 or 50, so people are actually driving 50-60. Some friends from Dallas came to visit once and they said it was like having two freeways.

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"What do you call the roads that run parallel to a highway that allow you to enter and exit the highway?"

A) Frontage Rd

B.) Feeder Rd (The Feeder)

C) Access Rd

 

This is an interesting question. Apparently the term "feeder road" is almost exclusively a Houston term. Here is a map based on the above question (with a few more response choices like service road and gateway, the latter which I've never heard), showing where the term feeder road is used. Unfortunately I couldn't find the one that has different colors for all the choices and where they are common, but this just shows where feeder is used vs. not used...

 

post-7193-0-49297700-1401471410.png

 

As to the original question, I love feeder roads. It makes access to businesses and side streets much easier, and as people mentioned, can be a life-saver in high traffic situations. Two local examples that I like to use are 290 westbound, where the feeder can be significantly faster than the main lanes during rush hour, even with the lights, and the Gulf Freeway northbound, where several exits in the Clear Lake area have bypasses on the feeder road so you don't even have to stop at the light, going under the overpasses for Bay Area Blvd and El Dorado instead.

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This is an interesting question. Apparently the term "feeder road" is almost exclusively a Houston term. Here is a map based on the above question (with a few more response choices like service road and gateway, the latter which I've never heard), showing where the term feeder road is used. Unfortunately I couldn't find the one that has different colors for all the choices and where they are common, but this just shows where feeder is used vs. not used...

 

attachicon.gif5617c92da99eb8f8ea100e2abf2a724f.png

 

As to the original question, I love feeder roads. It makes access to businesses and side streets much easier, and as people mentioned, can be a life-saver in high traffic situations. Two local examples that I like to use are 290 westbound, where the feeder can be significantly faster than the main lanes during rush hour, even with the lights, and the Gulf Freeway northbound, where several exits in the Clear Lake area have bypasses on the feeder road so you don't even have to stop at the light, going under the overpasses for Bay Area Blvd and El Dorado instead.

 

Enjoy those feeder bypasses on the Gulf Freeway while you can. I used to do that when I commuted home from my old job in League City. Once the expansion project is done in a few years, I-45 will go over those roads instead of them going over I-45.

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I've lived most of my life with feeder roads, riding, or driving on roads without them is mostly alien to me.

 

That being said, I've lived in cities without, and visited many others without, the single advantage I see to not having a feeder road is the potential of the freeway drive to look nicer. 9 times out of 10 though, driving on a freeway without feeders is just as ugly a drive as driving on a freeway with them.

 

In fact, with a large enough median between freeway and feeder and some greenery planted in that space, it is just as nice to drive. 

 

Look at the examples of freeways in Houston without feeders to see this in motion, while yeah, 59 between shepherd and the spur is one of the nicest looking sections of freeway, it's the exception rather than the rule, you've got 59 inside the spur up through downtown. ugly. pierce elevated, ugly. most of the westpark tollway, ugly. sections of i10, ugly. 

 

thinking of other cities without feeders that I've frequented, LA, all their freeways are ugly and there's not a feeder road to be had. Chicago, no thanks. I haven't been to NY, but I don't suspect it's teeming with beautiful freeways.

 

I have to start thinking about the smaller towns I've visited to start seeing some freeways that aren't ugly, and even still it's few and far between. so what's the advantage of no feeder again?

Edited by samagon
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I've lived most of my life with feeder roads, riding, or driving on roads without them is mostly alien to me.

 

That being said, I've lived in cities without, and visited many others without, the single advantage I see to not having a feeder road is the potential of the freeway drive to look nicer. 9 times out of 10 though, driving on a freeway without feeders is just as ugly a drive as driving on a freeway with them.

 

In fact, with a large enough median between freeway and feeder and some greenery planted in that space, it is just as nice to drive. 

 

Look at the examples of freeways in Houston without feeders to see this in motion, while yeah, 59 between shepherd and the spur is one of the nicest looking sections of freeway, it's the exception rather than the rule, you've got 59 inside the spur up through downtown. ugly. pierce elevated, ugly. most of the westpark tollway, ugly. sections of i10, ugly. 

 

thinking of other cities without feeders that I've frequented, LA, all their freeways are ugly and there's not a feeder road to be had. Chicago, no thanks. I haven't been to NY, but I don't suspect it's teeming with beautiful freeways.

 

I have to start thinking about the smaller towns I've visited to start seeing some freeways that aren't ugly, and even still it's few and far between. so what's the advantage of no feeder again?

 

The concern about feeder roads in many cases is driven by traffic, not aesthetics.  The freeway system was originally intended to accommodate longer-distance trips.  Placing commercial strips alongside freeways draws more local traffic to freeways, increasing congestion, instead of funneling local shopping traffic through local streets.  The traffic problem is worse in situations where there are frequent on/off ramps, since local drivers often tend to bounce on and off the freeway lanes.  Having lived in feeder-less cities, I would say there is some merit to the argument, although this is not to say that a lack of feeders alone guarantees better traffic flow on freeway lanes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't know if it's been studied, but I'm willing to bet a freeway with feeders probably has more of a heat island effect than one without.  Likewise, and germane to Houston's flat geography, all that concrete is a direct take away from permeable earth, with all of its storm water having to be drained off to somewhere (unless it's forming an ad hoc detention pond, as sometimes happens).

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The only realistic way to not have local traffic use a freeway is to not have on/off ramps. As it goes, I know the interstate freeway system was intended to accommodate long distance travel, but local freeways are just that, local freeways and were designed for local traffic, 288, 290, 225, 59, 45 (as it was a local freeway prior to being an interstate), etc. Maybe I am mis-remembering, but from the Houston Freeways book it did mention that Houston was a catalyst of hijacking the interstate system as it went through towns to make it a local freeway with lots of entries/exits, and introduced the loop to augment as a sort of bypass. It's a quaint idea in Houston today, as the loop is in the middle of town pretty much, so there's not much bypassing able to go on.

 

I can't think of a city of a size with Houston where traffic isn't a problem, feeders or no. Pretty much every freeway in every town with/without feeders have just as many on/off ramps as those in Houston, so the lane changing is just as much a problem.

 

I think though that the scissor on/off ramps to the feeders is a great solution, and coupled with one exit per 2-3 streets is the best solution. You can't do that on a freeway without a feeder without making lots of people very angry. You can have a street crossing a freeway without an exit, but imagine if you're trying to get somewhere that is on a street that crosses a freeway without an exit and no feeder. Feeders and more exits may increase overall traffic, but I think that average drive time is reduced with feeders. Feeders really increase the convenience and utility of a freeway.

 

I think also that freeways without feeders may actually create more of a divide between one side of a freeway to another, at least for people driving.

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Disagree with you on LA. They have some of the best looking freeways. So nice that you will exit to get some gas, and then get right back on because the area you got off at is the hood.

To a degree I have doubts about the world's largest freeway system being that nice.  A handful like the Hollywood Freeway or the Foothill Freeway (I-210) has greenery around it.  The rest are wall to wall and the only saving grace to them aestheticallly are the mountains in the distance.

 

In the case of California, San Francisco and the Bay Area have better looking freeways than LA does.  They don't have as many noise barriers as LA does plus they have more of an oleander look due to the regionality, as well as having nine major bridges cut across water.  Many of em cut through undeveloped elevations (golden brown hills) and yet are still in the same region between urbanized areas.

 

One example is I-580.  It is designated as a scenic route, and it maintains it as it cuts through Oakland from the MacArthur Maze before commuters hit the Bay Bridge to Hayward.

 

http://www.aaroads.com/california/i-580ec_ca.html - eastbound

http://www.aaroads.com/california/i-580wc_ca.html - westbound

 

Another advantage is that it's the only major interstate not to allow big trucks on it mainly through the Oakland city limits, although the disadvantage is them detouring along I-880 (Nimitz Freeway) instead.

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Enjoy those feeder bypasses on the Gulf Freeway while you can. I used to do that when I commuted home from my old job in League City. Once the expansion project is done in a few years, I-45 will go over those roads instead of them going over I-45.

I don't understand why Texas has a tendency to convert underpasses to overpasses.  It doesn't make no sense.  They could have just built a new bridge on top of the interstate with wider lanes and or a wider clearance between support columns to accomodate a wider freeway like they did the Post Oak bridge over the Katy.  I think it screws up traffic by funneling it all in a narrow space to take out a bridge, not to mention forcing cars on the feeders to sit through new traffic signals once the interchange is taken out.

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I don't understand why Texas has a tendency to convert underpasses to overpasses.  It doesn't make no sense.  They could have just built a new bridge on top of the interstate with wider lanes and or a wider clearance between support columns to accomodate a wider freeway like they did the Post Oak bridge over the Katy.  I think it screws up traffic by funneling it all in a narrow space to take out a bridge, not to mention forcing cars on the feeders to sit through new traffic signals once the interchange is taken out.

 

I've enjoyed that aspect of the freeways and feeders around Clear Lake too, but I understand why they're changing: it uses less land (don't need the cloverleafs), and it enables easy U-turns from the feeders, which is important for accessing retail on both sides of the freeway.

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So then, they're configuring it to be every other freeway in the Houston freeway system, frontage roads, two stoplights, turnarounds on the frontages? Boo.

I mean, Barker Cypress at 290, for instance, always had the wide "cloverleaf" turn-outs so you didn't need to stop if you were on the frontage road, but the reconfiguration now allows you, if you were going to turn south on Barker Cypress lets you make a cloverleaf directly onto (or directly off) Barker Cypress without dealing with the frontage roads, which are already lined with commercial link. When they widened the freeway in Conroe, for areas where the frontage road stretched out wide enough for its stoplights, they actually ended up keeping the frontage road "bypass" (north 336 and Interstate 45), though where ROW wasn't there, they didn't have it.

Additionally, with the exception of ONE place in Conroe, I can't find a highway reconstruction project in Houston where they forced the frontage roads or the cross-street to stop where they hadn't before.

The alternative to frontage roads in a lot of cases is an unwieldily set-up where the exits and entrances directly connect to the road going over or under the highway and have ANOTHER stop with a two-way road that paralleled the freeway that didn't cross it. This was one of the problems of the old Katy Freeway pre-reconstruction, there was the westbound frontage road, then across the railroad was ANOTHER intersection where Old Katy Road went. Even without the railroad, the additional pseudo-frontage road must have been frustrating.

Edited by IronTiger
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If frontage roads promote commercial growth, I think that would be a plus for the city rather than a minus. As commercial taxes tend to have a higher pay-out than residential (unless I'm completely wrong about that), encouraging commercial use along freeways will drive a good tax base even higher, instead of the inverse, where residential use could see land value DROP because of freeway proximity.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having moved here from Los Angeles I am a big fan of them.  Especially if there's an accident at least you have an option to take rather than being stuck there on the freeway,

 

Some of the retail signage makes it look some frontage roads look a mess though, that I absolutely agree with.

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I've spent the last few weeks all over the west coast and Vancouver and have to say not having feeders is nice. No ugly retail all over the place.

 

Ugly retail isn't necessarily the fault of the feeders though. I think it's entirely possible for Houston to have attractive freeways and feeder roads with retail. It all comes down to the municipal government's approach to regulating things like signage and architectural design, and planting some trees in the green space.

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Ugly retail isn't necessarily the fault of the feeders though. I think it's entirely possible for Houston to have attractive freeways and feeder roads with retail. It all comes down to the municipal government's approach to regulating things like signage and architectural design, and planting some trees in the green space.

True.

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Ugly retail isn't necessarily the fault of the feeders though. I think it's entirely possible for Houston to have attractive freeways and feeder roads with retail. It all comes down to the municipal government's approach to regulating things like signage and architectural design, and planting some trees in the green space.

 

Aye - for example, the feeders in The Woodlands are as sterile looking carefully organized as any of the rest of it.

 

IMHO, it's as much a matter of zoning (or lack thereof) as anything else.  The Katy feeders are lined with apartments and commercial pretty much from downtown all the way out, save for where Memorial Park and the Polo Grounds border it on the south (just inside the loop), and chunks here and there in the villages (though they've zoned some of it commercial, too).  The feederless stretch of the Southwest Freeway from Shepherd to the downtown spur might have developed differently but for having already had single family homes and the occasional duplex or fourplex taken out for the right of way, out of similar neighborhoods on either side - the three blocks fronting the south side of Richmond down to the freeway are just about the right size for car dealerships and big boxes (like I-80 through Emeryville).

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