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trymahjong

Spur 527 to be sunk?

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I'm a little confused about all this highway construction..... at Neartown part of spur 527 construction was discussed.

The Spur will be replaced with below ground level access to configure with below ground level 59? The bridge over Montrose will be jacked up to accommodate this? Is the spur so old it needs this improvement.

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I think its current design is just incompatible with the larger plan.  The whole scheme has so many variables that it boggles the mind. I would presume that they might do something that relieves the congestion caused by smashing six lanes down into three over a mile long stretch, but they didn't seem to care about that last time around, so I'm not holding my breath.

 

Honestly, the reconfiguration of the spur back whenever they did that was one of those moments that convinced me to give up hope that traffic was ever going to be addressed, much less solved. Getting people moved around is only one of many priorities in any transit project.

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The design doesn't show any changes to 527?

 

Furthermore, the design shows the NB lanes of the spur going over the 59 SB lanes, which is how it is currently configured?

Edited by samagon

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1 hour ago, trymahjong said:

I'm a little confused about all this highway construction..... at Neartown part of spur 527 construction was discussed.

The Spur will be replaced with below ground level access to configure with below ground level 59? The bridge over Montrose will be jacked up to accommodate this? Is the spur so old it needs this improvement.

 

The inbound Spur lanes and the HOV lane will begin below ground level, but will rise to ground level and slightly above in order to pass over the outbound 69/59 lanes and then connect to the existing Spur. It appears that the Montrose Bridge will have to be rebuilt to accommodate more lanes of traffic beneath it, but I don't think there will be any need to jack it up; at that point, all of the lanes are completely below grade.

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1 hour ago, Nate99 said:

I think its current design is just incompatible with the larger plan.  The whole scheme has so many variables that it boggles the mind. I would presume that they might do something that relieves the congestion caused by smashing six lanes down into three over a mile long stretch, but they didn't seem to care about that last time around, so I'm not holding my breath.

 

Where do they smash six lanes down into three?

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2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Where do they smash six lanes down into three?

 59 NB, the current configuration.

 

Six lanes of traffic that go under the bridge at Dunlavy.

 

Three lanes of traffic that continue NB on 59 after the 527 split.

 

This is the place that there is perpetually stop and go traffic (or at least, creep at 10mph traffic) from Shepherd to just after the 527 spur. It's because there's traffic smooshed in from the right side having two lanes merge into one, and then farther up the freeway people think they're smart by getting in the two 527 spur exit lanes, then jumping back over in the last few meters to the left most of the three lanes that continue on 59 NB. Guaranteeing that traffic in the main lanes, and the exit lanes are slow. After this speeds on 59 NB pick up to a brisk 45-50 mph.

 

So yeah, six lanes to three.

 

On the new configuration they appear to learn their lesson by having six lanes at the 527 split, one dedicated lane goes to 527, one lane can choose to go 527 or 59, and five lanes dedicated to going on 59 NB. 

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2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

It appears that the Montrose Bridge will have to be rebuilt to accommodate more lanes of traffic beneath it, but I don't think there will be any need to jack it up; at that point, all of the lanes are completely below grade.

It was one of the MMD guys that told about jacking up bridge.....

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53 minutes ago, samagon said:

 59 NB, the current configuration.

 

Six lanes of traffic that go under the bridge at Dunlavy.

 

Three lanes of traffic that continue NB on 59 after the 527 split.

 

This is the place that there is perpetually stop and go traffic (or at least, creep at 10mph traffic) from Shepherd to just after the 527 spur. It's because there's traffic smooshed in from the right side having two lanes merge into one, and then farther up the freeway people think they're smart by getting in the two 527 spur exit lanes, then jumping back over in the last few meters to the left most of the three lanes that continue on 59 NB. Guaranteeing that traffic in the main lanes, and the exit lanes are slow. After this speeds on 59 NB pick up to a brisk 45-50 mph.

 

So yeah, six lanes to three.

 

On the new configuration they appear to learn their lesson by having six lanes at the 527 split, one dedicated lane goes to 527, one lane can choose to go 527 or 59, and five lanes dedicated to going on 59 NB. 

 

Oh, yes.  (I don't really think it's completely fair to say it reduces traffic from six lanes to three; there are in fact 5 lanes continuing on; it's just that two of them are on the Spur.) Nevertheless, I'm very familiar with that constant backup. It's an excellent example of a lot of needed capacity being added by this project.   In fairness, it should be recognized that the smooshing exists at this point not because anyone had a master freeway plan that called for this smooshing; it's because the six-lane section to the west has been upgraded and expanded, and we've had to wait for the portions to the east to be expanded to match.  These sort of mismatches are pretty unavoidable unless someone finds a magical pot of money to allow us to rebuild an entire freeway all the way through town in one project (and imagine the screaming about the traffic nightmares such a massive project would produce).

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43 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Oh, yes.  (I don't really think it's completely fair to say it reduces traffic from six lanes to three; there are in fact 5 lanes continuing on; it's just that two of them are on the Spur.) Nevertheless, I'm very familiar with that constant backup. It's an excellent example of a lot of needed capacity being added by this project.   In fairness, it should be recognized that the smooshing exists at this point not because anyone had a master freeway plan that called for this smooshing; it's because the six-lane section to the west has been upgraded and expanded, and we've had to wait for the portions to the east to be expanded to match.  These sort of mismatches are pretty unavoidable unless someone finds a magical pot of money to allow us to rebuild an entire freeway all the way through town in one project (and imagine the screaming about the traffic nightmares such a massive project would produce).

 

I guess my frustration with the last rebuild of the trench area there was all the effort and time it took, and then when they were done, there was no additional capacity at all, it may have fixed other structural issues (HOV access was the main driver IIRC), but you had no extra capacity when it was sorely needed before. As you point out, there were downstream constraints that prevented that, but it still felt like a whole lot of expensive nothing.

 

Apart from morning rush, the traffic on the two exits heading to DT could be handled with a regular non-dedicated lane exit, but I guess it is needed for that.  The through traffic has been horrendous as long as I can remember, I remember hoping that the project would alleviate an obvious problem, it did not.

 

Worth noting though that frequently, that traffic will not get above 20-30 mph until after I-10 going northbound.  I will be interested to see what shakes out after this is done, if I live that long. I'm only 40, so there's hope.

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There's a lot of congestion but it is MADE MUCH WORSE there because people BREAK THE LAW every damn second by crossing over double white lines and switching between 1-3 lanes in 20 feet because they wanted to speed on the outer Spur lanes rather than merging properly. You also have a ton of people venturing onto the onramp from Shepherd that they KNOW ends in a few hundred feet. Thus, law-abiding drivers have to slam on their breaks to avoid cars coming at them from either side.

 

 

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The proper thing to do would be to eliminate that left side exit for Spur 527 and make it a right side exit with a flyover over NB and SB 59 to eliminate all that weaving. I brought that up at the meeting at HCC, but they claimed they couldn't do that without taking property. Sounds like BS, but I don't think the representative was an engineer.

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A cheaper solution is to put up barricades on those lanes where the double white lines currently exist. I wish they'd also do it on the West Loop North exit off of 59/69. I've seen asshats literally use the break down lane and force their way through. I constantly pray that someone will play chicken with one of those morons and force them to go head-on into the concrete. Sadly, the timing has never been right for me to do it.

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On 5/27/2017 at 0:55 PM, JLWM8609 said:

The proper thing to do would be to eliminate that left side exit for Spur 527 and make it a right side exit with a flyover over NB and SB 59 to eliminate all that weaving. I brought that up at the meeting at HCC, but they claimed they couldn't do that without taking property. Sounds like BS, but I don't think the representative was an engineer.

 

Bullocks to that. looking at google maps right now,  outside of a brand new construction there's a whole lot of parking lot, and grass fields of property they'd be taking. Whoever answered that was not prepared to adequately answer that question so they said the one thing people hate anyway, which is eminent domain. If eminent domain was a concern they'd not be taking 19 full blocks of property (many of which are more than grass fields like this land) and an entire low income housing project from the east side of town.

 

anyway, left exit is fine, the same problems would exist with people weaving over at the last second regardless of which side the exit is located. Personally, I've always believed they should have done like they are doing on the east side of town now with the 59 exit from the gulf freeway. Move the exit about a mile or so upstream. They can still do that, actually.

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Looking at Google Maps right now, it appears that they'd have to take 19 buildings, including a new residential high-rise, in order to build a right-exit flyover with proper geometrics. That would be extremely expensive and disruptive.

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why would it? If you shift the exit to the right side, that means that the main lanes now get to shift to the left to take over the dead space created by moving the exit. additionally, as the future version of the freeway will be below grade, the HOV lane will still be above grade to get over the SB of 59, so when the HOV is high enough, the freeway can jog even farther left, creating even more room on the right. and the exit for main would be combined with the 527 exit.

 

Even if they had to take out 19 buildings (I don't even see what 19 you're talking about), and that being disruptive. If you're meaning the residents in the area would protest the construction because they don't want the freeway taking land, then yes, I can agree that would be very disruptive to the project proceeding. If you're talking about being disruptive to the community, you can go tell the people living in the 296 units of Clayton Homes that they have to find somewhere else to live for the project to proceed. And considering that 160 of the units are 3 and 4 bedrooms, there's probably a bunch of families with kids that are established in their elementary, middle, or high school that you have to tell as well. So yeah, disruptive? This project is already going to be disruptive, what would 19 more buildings be if it would make traffic flow better?

 

As I said, it's a moot point, the problem isn't the side of the freeway that the exit is on, it's the people cutting over at the last minute, which will happen regardless of what side the exit is on. Whether it's people who aren't paying attention that have never been to Houston before, or A-holes that think their time counts for more than everyone else, it will still happen.

Edited by samagon

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If you can't see how, in the system we currently have, taking and demolishing a 20 floor new privately operated highrise would be more disruptive than taking and demolishing an HHA-owned facility, saving them money on renovations and giving immediate cash-in-hand for new facilities, then there's not much more else for me to say.

 

I'm not implying that the above is fair in any substantive sense. I'm just saying that this is how it works.

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25 minutes ago, htownproud said:

FYI regarding cars that merge at the last moment (spoiler alert, studies show it is significantly more efficient for everyone):  http://auto.howstuffworks.com/traffic-lane-zipper-merge.htm

 

 

 

As is made clear in the first sentence of your linked article, that study is about lanes that end or are closed by accidents or construction.  But the Spur 527 lanes don't end and are not merge lanes; they continue on to Spur 527.  That study is inapplicable to this situation.

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29 minutes ago, htownproud said:

FYI regarding cars that merge at the last moment (spoiler alert, studies show it is significantly more efficient for everyone):  http://auto.howstuffworks.com/traffic-lane-zipper-merge.htm

 

 

It's not so much the zipper merge that's the problem, it's the unsystematic and unpredictable way in which it's done right now, along with the weaving from the Shepherd entrance/HOV exit.

 

I agree that a soft barrier should go up about where the Shepherd ramp merges onto 59, but that Kirby entrance would still cause weaving issues. 

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1 hour ago, ADCS said:

If you can't see how, in the system we currently have, taking and demolishing a 20 floor new privately operated highrise would be more disruptive than taking and demolishing an HHA-owned facility, saving them money on renovations and giving immediate cash-in-hand for new facilities, then there's not much more else for me to say.

 

I'm not implying that the above is fair in any substantive sense. I'm just saying that this is how it works.

 

This building is brand new, it wasn't started until after the construction plans were revealed. Do you think they would have gone ahead with construction if they had seen plans revealed 3 years ago that the land would be taken from them for the freeway? The answer would be no, they wouldn't have built. Since the plans for the freeway have been out though, and since none of them ever included taking the land in that location, well, why not build?

 

Anyway, my only real umbrage is with the fairness of this thread of commentary. It's quite callous to say that removal of 1 new shiny building (or 19 buildings of any age) is more disruptive than making 286 homes worth of people move. In addition to the 286 homes in the HHA facility, you've got a 4 story apartment building that is going to have to be vacated too. Not to mention all the businesses.

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I'm also not talking about people merging at the very end when they are directed to merge. I am talking about people who force their way over hundreds of feet past the point where they were supposed to have merged forcing people who have already merged or allowed others to merge to slam on their breaks. That is why there's traffic on 59 North at the spot for 8+ hours each afternoon and on weekends. 

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That small triangular park at Elgin -the Brazos off rap and spur 527-- The concrete wall says "Westheimer Colony" I've always hoped something would happen to improve and take better care of it- I had been told that the original Westheimer Arts festival that became the Bayou Arts festival....placed it there as a thank you to the community for their success.

Now It is finally being renovated and I suppose after all that money put into it .........the sinking of spur 527 will put it in jeopardy.........

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A relief of sorts I guess

In my own experience none of COH Departments talk to each other so when one dept gets orders to spare park.... the other dept might not get the memo

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