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j_cuevas713

Lower Westheimer Reconstruction

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http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Changing-streets-11177181.php

 

Great article on the rebuild of Lower Westheimer. What I don't understand is West Alabama was expected to start reconstruction in late 2016, already fully funded, and nothing has happened yet. And with these new designs for Lower Westheimer, my concern is when are any of these actually going to begin? Both are fully funded and so I don't understand the delay or lack of urgency from the city or local TIRZ districts. From the article, "For too long, the city has lagged behind private developers in building cityscapes at the scale of a person." With all the new development happening around us, the thing that's keeping many of these new developments from flowing together is better infrastructure. Does anyone have any additional info on this?

Edited by j_cuevas713
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The Montrose TIRZ hasn't started yet- but Lower Westheimer goes into design phase in Dec 2017 after review of public online comments

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2 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Changing-streets-11177181.php

 

Great article on the rebuild of Lower Westheimer. What I don't understand is West Alabama was expected to start reconstruction in late 2016, already fully funded, and nothing has happened yet. And with these new designs for Lower Westheimer, my concern is when are any of these actually going to begin? Both are fully funded and so I don't understand the delay or lack of urgency from the city or local TIRZ districts. From the article, "For too long, the city has lagged behind private developers in building cityscapes at the scale of a person." With all the new development happening around us, the thing that's keeping many of these new developments from flowing together is better infrastructure. Does anyone have any additional info on this?

 

I think only the portion of Alabama between Weslayan and Buffalo Speedway was ever expected to start construction in 2016.  May I ask your source for the claim that both the West Alabama and Lower Westheimer projects are fully funded?

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I think only the portion of Alabama between Weslayan and Buffalo Speedway was ever expected to start construction in 2016.  May I ask your source for the claim that both the West Alabama and Lower Westheimer projects are fully funded?

Rebuild Houston website 

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37 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

 

Rebuild Houston website 

 

Could you be more specific?  Maybe a link?  I can't find anything on the Rebuild Houston website that suggests that either project is fully funded.

 

I do find that the first portion of Lower Westheimer (Montrose to Main) is supposed to start construction in 2020. The construction schedule for the Shepherd to Montrose portion is TBD.  Planning is ongoing for both segments, with design of the first segment expected to begin this year.

 

There appear to be appropriations targeted to the West Alabama project (from Spur 527 to Shepherd) for Fiscal Year 2021.

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21 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I think only the portion of Alabama between Weslayan and Buffalo Speedway was ever expected to start construction in 2016.  May I ask your source for the claim that both the West Alabama and Lower Westheimer projects are fully funded?

When COH presented the first results of lower Westheimer traffic study to Neartown it was stated that improvements would be funded by CIP that has the money designated for that. This could be why the study was limited in focus to strip of Westheimer from Main to Montrose, knowing that the Midtown Management District along with Midtown TIRZ had previously improved Elgin from Main to Bagby with better sidewalk, planters etc so little needed to be done to that section could be why it is labeled "lower Westheimer" instead of "Elgin Westheimer" these CIP projects really take a long long time so the CIP funds could have been designated years ago for this project. 

As a side note in the 12 years I've lived in Avondale, I've observed their Civic associate put forward CIP projects each year-- -- sending representatives to all associated COH meetings--- but none were ever granted. The lower Westheimer project is within Avondale, long time residents tell me, no City improvement was ever done within their memory.

 

 

about funding for Alabama improvements.... I have no information.

Edited by trymahjong
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With it being nearly 11 months later, how much closer are we to actual construction on Westheimer in this area?

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32 minutes ago, Triton said:

With it being nearly 11 months later, how much closer are we to actual construction on Westheimer in this area?

For that matter, when will the construction on Elgin between Main and Bagby be completed? 
Seems like the only thing worse than the COH not starting a project is the COH starting a project. 

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21 minutes ago, dbigtex56 said:

For that matter, when will the construction on Elgin between Main and Bagby be completed? 
Seems like the only thing worse than the COH not starting a project is the COH starting a project. 

As someone who doesn't live in the area, it hasn't felt that long for the Elgin construction... maybe 5 months so far? I do admit, the traffic has come to a crawl in the area though. I try to avoid that now two laned area at all costs.

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11 minutes ago, Triton said:

As someone who doesn't live in the area, it hasn't felt that long for the Elgin construction... maybe 5 months so far? I do admit, the traffic has come to a crawl in the area though. I try to avoid that now two laned area at all costs.

I honestly don't know how long it's been, but would have guessed far longer than five months. Years, maybe?
For those who endure riding the 82 Westheimer from downtown/midtown, it seems like it's been an eternity. 
Granted, the logistics of replacing infrastructure directly adjacent to the new buildings being constructed on those blocks must be daunting. I hope the renovations on Westheimer can progress at a more rapid pace.

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has work been progressing?

 

I drive down that section of Elgin so infrequently, it always seems like it's the same area that is broken up.

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3 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

For that matter, when will the construction on Elgin between Main and Bagby be completed? 
Seems like the only thing worse than the COH not starting a project is the COH starting a project. 

 

I live in Westmoreland, and I'm basically surrounded by construction with Elgin and W Alabama being torn up and now Tuam@Bagby being torn up. None of it looks close to being done. I'm assuming it's all sewer work.

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1 hour ago, roadrunner said:

Does anyone know if this project contemplates burying the power lines?

Nope. Neither the City, nor Centerpoint, are willing to spend the money it takes to do that, especially given the minimal overall benefit. 

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Given how well the River Oaks portion of Westheimer turned out, it would be nice to string together a stretch all the way from Midtown to the Galleria without power line clutter.

 

Does anyone have insight on when this project would start?  Is it approved and funded?

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Once Westheimer is finished, the ability to walk from one end of the city to the other will be awesome! Now if they can do the same for Richmond Ave that would be great! Wasn't their word of making Richmond BRT?

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1 hour ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Once Westheimer is finished, the ability to walk from one end of the city to the other will be awesome!

Gosh, I could've sworn there was this entire city east of downtown (beyond where Westheimer ends), a bit worse for the wear looking, but it seemed to stretch almost the way out to Baytown. I guess it must have been my imagination.

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Just now, IronTiger said:

Gosh, I could've sworn there was this entire city east of downtown (beyond where Westheimer ends), a bit worse for the wear looking, but it seemed to stretch almost the way out to Baytown. I guess it must have been my imagination.

Must have been. 

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The westbound lanes of Elgin between Travis and Bagby are finally open. However, some of the eastbound traffic has been routed onto one of them. 
The bottleneck isn't quite as bad, but it's still there.

 

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On 6/29/2018 at 11:17 AM, dbigtex56 said:

The bottleneck isn't quite as bad, but it's still there.

 

(***gnaws on steering wheel in frustration***)

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I had heard at Cohen’s townhall that lower Westheimer from Bagby to Montrose is paid for.!!

But from Montrose to Shepherd is still seeking funding.

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Update

I heard David Robinson speak at last nights Neartown/Montrose monthly meeting. Many of his remarks were Buget centered and the hardship police- firemen pay parity was putting on COHbuget. 

When asked about lower Westheimer renovation funding......he seemed to say that the renovations from Main to Montrose and from Montrose to Shepherd were two projects where one was funded one was not. Now those are looked at as one project that is partially funded.

Edited by trymahjong
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The City of Houston submitted the Lower Westheimer S. Main to Shepherd portion to the Houston Galveston Area Council to try to obtain federal funding. It was the only road diet project submitted that I saw.

 

They released draft rankings (PDF warning) in January and it was ranked 20th out of 63. Unfortunately, HGAC only has funding for the top 10 projects.

 

The cost estimate was $33,432,000 and HGAC calculated the benefits to be $96 million. They requested funding for the 2023 year.

 

It did not fare particularly well in the "Planning Factors Score" which I'm not sure how exactly that is calculated. 

 

I believe they are letting everyone revise their application once, so we'll see a new rankings in the next month - 3 months I believe. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, wilcal said:

The City of Houston submitted the Lower Westheimer S. Main to Shepherd portion to the Houston Galveston Area Council to try to obtain federal funding. It was the only road diet project submitted that I saw.

 

They released draft rankings (PDF warning) in January and it was ranked 20th out of 63. Unfortunately, HGAC only has funding for the top 10 projects.

 

The cost estimate was $33,432,000 and HGAC calculated the benefits to be $96 million. They requested funding for the 2023 year.

 

It did not fare particularly well in the "Planning Factors Score" which I'm not sure how exactly that is calculated. 

 

I believe they are letting everyone revise their application once, so we'll see a new rankings in the next month - 3 months I believe. 

 

 

Well this sucks! 2023!? WTH!?

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6 hours ago, wilcal said:

The City of Houston submitted the Lower Westheimer S. Main to Shepherd portion to the Houston Galveston Area Council to try to obtain federal funding. It was the only road diet project submitted that I saw.

 

They released draft rankings (PDF warning) in January and it was ranked 20th out of 63. Unfortunately, HGAC only has funding for the top 10 projects.

 

The cost estimate was $33,432,000 and HGAC calculated the benefits to be $96 million. They requested funding for the 2023 year.

 

It did not fare particularly well in the "Planning Factors Score" which I'm not sure how exactly that is calculated. 

 

I believe they are letting everyone revise their application once, so we'll see a new rankings in the next month - 3 months I believe. 

 

 

 

What sucks is that nearly all the funding is being diverted to the suburbs. With the exception of the Shepard/Durham complete streets, most of the money is being put to projects beyond 610. Oh yeah, and I guess a few bikeways and bus stop improvements. Yaaaaaa??????

 

EDIT: I get it. There is a significant population in this city that lives in the suburbs, and these areas need to be served as well, but the trend is people moving into the inner city. Plus the roads in town are in way worse shape than anything beyond 610.

Edited by Luminare

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1 minute ago, Luminare said:

 

What sucks is that nearly all the funding is being diverted to the suburbs. With the exception of the Shepard/Durham complete streets, most of the money is being put to projects beyond 610. Oh yeah, and I guess a few bikeways and bus stop improvements. Yaaaaaa??????

That's def a bright spot but man all of that money going to the burbs is ridiculous. 

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Just now, j_cuevas713 said:

That's def a bright spot but man all of that money going to the burbs is ridiculous. 

 

Yeah remember that highway that we expanded to 12 lanes...lets throw more money at that. I mean really?

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So the number 1 major funding is for BRT/HOV on I10 downtown to 610? Does this mean this will be funded without funds from the bond referendum? 

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5 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

So the number 1 major funding is for BRT/HOV on I10 downtown to 610? Does this mean this will be funded without funds from the bond referendum? 

That’s a great question. BRT from DT to 610 would be awesome! 

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Will those roads even still be driveable by 2023?? Those outer lanes between Montrose and Bagby are getting so bad, Evel Knievel wouldn't even dare it...

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16 hours ago, Luminare said:

EDIT: I get it. There is a significant population in this city that lives in the suburbs, and these areas need to be served as well, but the trend is people moving into the inner city. Plus the roads in town are in way worse shape than anything beyond 610.

 

 

Houston-Galveston Area Council serves a 13 county area in SE TX. Inside 610 really doesn't have that much population compared to the rest of it. Isn't the pop like 200k? It's pretty low. 

 

H-GAC.png

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15 hours ago, BeerNut said:

So the number 1 major funding is for BRT/HOV on I10 downtown to 610? Does this mean this will be funded without funds from the bond referendum? 

 

Basically, yes. BUT, I don't think it's actually a part of the scheduled bond referendum projects because they were counting on this.

 

H-GAC said that they will have funds to fun only 1 of the 3 "major" projects. 

 

Also, from what I heard, this two-way HOV/BRT will be elevated. They are selling it as a flood-proof connection from dowtown Houston center of government to the Transtar/County Operations center thing at I-10/610. 

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6 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

Houston-Galveston Area Council serves a 13 county area in SE TX. Inside 610 really doesn't have that much population compared to the rest of it. Isn't the pop like 200k? It's pretty low. 

 

H-GAC.png

 

More like 500,000, but your point stands.  It is only around 7% of the population of the entire area and not adding anywhere near the numbers as the areas outside the Loop (despite what it may seem like to those of us who live inside the Loop and focus on urban growth and development.)

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22 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

Houston-Galveston Area Council serves a 13 county area in SE TX. Inside 610 really doesn't have that much population compared to the rest of it. Isn't the pop like 200k? It's pretty low. 

 

H-GAC.png

 What percentage of employment and tax base is encompassed inside the Loop?

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9 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

 What percentage of employment and tax base is encompassed inside the Loop?

 

I'm not sure. Inside 610 is 97ish square miles and the H-GAC represents 12,444 sq miles (.779%). You can see in the linked PDF that half of the score that they calculate comes from a cost to benefit ratio, and that benefit is calculated based on usage. It's clearly not aimed purely at relieving traffic as the lower Westheimer scored pretty well while being classified a road diet. 

 

Basically, what I'm getting at is that they are attempting to normalize for usefulness without factoring in what part of the area it is in. 

 

Also, I did find a population number for inside 610. In 2010 census it was 443,949. The highest was the 1960 census at 493,377. I bet we eclipse that in 2020. 

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30 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

 What percentage of employment and tax base is encompassed inside the Loop?

 

I'm not sure, but we can get a pretty good idea of the current status and the expected growth trajectories from these maps.

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11 hours ago, Triton said:

Will those roads even still be driveable by 2023?? Those outer lanes between Montrose and Bagby are getting so bad, Evel Knievel wouldn't even dare it...


These are the same lanes that the 82 Wesheimer buses are forced to negotiate. The ride between Bagby and Montrose is deafening and bone-rattling. Every bolt and rivet in those poor buses shriek in protest at this abuse. I can't help but wonder what effect this has on the useful life of a bus.
Often, what we don't pay for in one way forces us to pay in another.

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7 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:


The ride between Bagby and Montrose is deafening and bone-rattling. Every bolt and rivet in those poor buses shriek in protest at this abuse. I can't help but wonder what effect this has on the useful life of a bus.

 

Bus manufacturers learned to build stronger buses after the Grumman 870 A-frame crack issue in the early 80s that impacted transit fleets nationwide, including Houston. Potholes in places like NYC were causing the frames to crack and the buses to sag in the middle and eventually stop. I wouldn't be surprised if Westheimer was the cause of some of those frame cracks way back then!

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I remember a poorly maintained abandoned train track crossing on Westheimer about in front of what is present day Katz restaurant. It was horrible, and probably broke many a shock absorber. Why the city didn't just pull up the old tracks embedded in the pavement instead of just continually paving over it,  I'll never know? It's been gone for years now, but I remember it still being there as a young driver as late as 1970. However I'm sure the GMC Dreamliners handled it much better than the Grumman's would have. Those Dreamliners were solid!

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On 1/22/2019 at 5:28 PM, trymahjong said:

I had heard at Cohen’s townhall that lower Westheimer from Bagby to Montrose is paid for.!!

But from Montrose to Shepherd is still seeking funding.

AnotherEllen Cohen meeting this time a CIP held in latter March—

 

its. “For Sure” that lower Westheimer renovation project that was 100% paid for and destined to begin in late 2018-2019 is now labeled

” a partially funded project from Bagby to Shepherd” with a not specific start date.

Fully funded pocket park at 424 Westheimer start date set back. Those street repaired from Main to Bagby where new sidewalks were installed- not an official COH sidewalk improvement project.

afew of the answers from Cohens panel; were confusing.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, trymahjong said:

AnotherEllen Cohen meeting this time a CIP held in latter March—

 

its. “For Sure” that lower Westheimer renovation project that was 100% paid for and destined to begin in late 2018-2019 is now labeled

” a partially funded project from Bagby to Shepherd” with a not specific start date.

Fully funded pocket park at 424 Westheimer start date set back. Those street repaired from Main to Bagby where new sidewalks were installed- not an official COH sidewalk improvement project.

afew of the answers from Cohens panel; were confusing.

I’ll take whatever reconstruction we can get at this point. But no specific start date is annoying. This city will build sidewalks and find funding in the blink of an eye for a big event but hell if it’s the general citizens we have to wait forever. And if the pocket park if funded then start on the damn thing smh why is the date being set back, makes no sense 

Edited by j_cuevas713

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No real reason I should speculate....but I think money matters at COH are probably a headache right now— some of that money might have been borrowed for now an$ paid back later.

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38 minutes ago, trymahjong said:

No real reason I should speculate..

No real reason you shouldn't, either. You've been a reliable source of information about projects in the Montrose area; those of us who haven't attended the various planning meetings and town halls appreciate the summaries you provide.
Saying money matters at COH are probably a headache is putting it mildly. The financial effects of TS Harvey will be felt for years, and the additional strain of complying with Prop B will surely delay and scale back many plans that are on the books.
IMO, the condition of Lower Westheimer has reached the point where renovation is mandatory, not optional. I'm in favor of starting where it's most urgently needed -  the stretch between Elgin and Montrose Blvd. We can't afford not to fix it.

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57 minutes ago, dbigtex56 said:

No real reason you shouldn't, either. You've been a reliable source of information about projects in the Montrose area; those of us who haven't attended the various planning meetings and town halls appreciate the summaries you provide.
Saying money matters at COH are probably a headache is putting it mildly. The financial effects of TS Harvey will be felt for years, and the additional strain of complying with Prop B will surely delay and scale back many plans that are on the books.
IMO, the condition of Lower Westheimer has reached the point where renovation is mandatory, not optional. I'm in favor of starting where it's most urgently needed -  the stretch between Elgin and Montrose Blvd. We can't afford not to fix it.

I couldn't agree more. At least the stretch between Elgin and Montrose would be good for the moment. 

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I would put Richmond from 59 to Shepherd right up there with Westheimer.

Alabama from San Jacinto to 288 is also a bad stretch.

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2 hours ago, bobruss said:

I would put Richmond from 59 to Shepherd right up there with Westheimer.

Alabama from San Jacinto to 288 is also a bad stretch.

Hopefully with the METRO bond vote coming up Richmond will get redone when they put in BRT.

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On 4/6/2019 at 11:47 AM, plumber2 said:

I remember a poorly maintained abandoned train track crossing on Westheimer about in front of what is present day Katz restaurant. It was horrible, and probably broke many a shock absorber. Why the city didn't just pull up the old tracks embedded in the pavement instead of just continually paving over it,  I'll never know? It's been gone for years now, but I remember it still being there as a young driver as late as 1970. However I'm sure the GMC Dreamliners handled it much better than the Grumman's would have. Those Dreamliners were solid!

Probably was the old GH&SA line that had the bridge over Buffalo Bayou where the pedestrian bridge is now.

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