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j_cuevas713

Lower Westheimer Reconstruction

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46 minutes ago, JLWM8609 said:

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

That looks right. https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/maps/images/map0435.jpg

 

I knew that there was a spur that went to the Sears warehouse on Montrose, and finally disconnected in the early 2000s (late enough that Memorial Heights Drive and Washington was built with a crossing in mind), but not that it went through to Westheimer and beyond. Grant Street was built over the right of way where it curved southeast but it looks like by the mid-1940s the right of way had been built over completely.

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20 hours ago, BeerNut said:

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

It has to pass first. I know I'm voting YES.

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On 4/10/2019 at 6:28 PM, BeerNut said:

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

 

I hate to be spiteful, but I really hope it doesn't get redone unless this is the case. especially through afton oaks. if RIchmond becomes a pile of rubble and mud it's too good for those people. and yeah, in certain cases, I might just cut off my nose.

Edited by samagon
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On 4/10/2019 at 6:28 PM, BeerNut said:

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

I have heard METRO’s presentation 4 times now at various meetings- 

Some presenters are better than others, but of course there are knee jerk answers to probing Questions that puzzle me and make me wonder if all bright and shiny proposals will be implemented as presented.

Richmond is destined for the dedicated Bus lane.——Metrorail on that street only a memory.

a direct metro rail route from Downtown to Hobby probably a sure bet— to IAH.....maybe not so much

The auto/unmanned Buses TSU engineers helped design, probably are no more than “iffy” at best—- real IFFY

but the idea of fewer bus stops  plus dedicated  curb cut out Bus stops along lower Westheimer, to help with traffic flow really excites me. If you’ve ever been next to a Bus ( inside lane)on lower Westheimer when the bus begins to crowd you into oncoming traffic—-you too would be excited.

sadly when the in-laws come from NYC there is a fair amount of redundant sarcasm at the state of our mass transit—— It would be nice to be able to show them them tangible improvements 

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Yeah BRT on Richmond is disappointing but I understand them being cautious because of the extremely high price tag of LRT.  I did make the argument with The Ion being built and putting I69 below grade that there might be a missed opportunity for an signature Wheeler station with LRT.

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3 hours ago, BeerNut said:

Yeah BRT on Richmond is disappointing but I understand them being cautious because of the extremely high price tag of LRT.  I did make the argument with The Ion being built and putting I69 below grade that there might be a missed opportunity for an signature Wheeler station with LRT.

I think we're seriously underestimating the quality of transit BRT brings to the table. Most of that is due to the fact there is very little BRT in the US. 

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3 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I think we're seriously underestimating the quality of transit BRT brings to the table. Most of that is due to the fact there is very little BRT in the US. 

You're probably right as SA is the only place I've seen it.

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Note:

 

City applied for federal funds for lower Westheimer reconstruction, and the final list came out and funding for the project was not granted. 

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5 hours ago, wilcal said:

Note:

 

City applied for federal funds for lower Westheimer reconstruction, and the final list came out and funding for the project was not granted. 

Wow that one hurts

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Perhaps the City applied for Federal funds for project from Shepherd to Montrose but As far as COH spokespeople were concerned  the project from Montrose to Bagby was fully funded and ready for a start date.

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5 hours ago, trymahjong said:

Perhaps the City applied for Federal funds for project from Shepherd to Montrose but As far as COH spokespeople were concerned  the project from Montrose to Bagby was fully funded and ready for a start date.

 

Here's the PDF: http://www.h-gac.com/2018-call-for-projects/documents/2018-call-for-project-tpc-rankings.pdf

 

"Project limits: 'S. Main to Shepherd'"

 

Description: "RECONSTRUCT AS 3 LANES WITH EXPANDED SIDEWALK WIDTH, INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENTS WITH DEDICATED TURN LANES, NEW TRAFFIC SIGNALS . ACCESS MANAGEMENT INCLUDING NEW BUS STOP AND ON-STREET PARKING"

 

Requested funding was $45.7 million dollars, and it was requested for the 2026 fiscal.

 

I'll bet that they have the partial funding, but if they were gonna get it from the feds, then use your own money elsewhere.

 

The project was ranked 74/188 and only the top 34 were funded with separate special funding.

 

It's pretty opaque, but they were ranked by a cost/benefit ratio (I'm sure a road diet fit into that formula REALLY well) and a "planning score" which I could not find any info at all on.

 

It's actually surprising that even 34 were funded as I believe they only had funding for between 10 and 12 of these smaller projects.  There was an "extra" $175 mil available because the county had requested hempstead highway to be reconstructed from 610 to Little York, but the city of Houston told them they weren't on board, so they nixxed those plans. 

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And because I was curious to see what other projects the city itself applied for, they only received funding for 1 of the 11 (2 additional were withdrawn, including major Waugh reconstruction).

 

The 1 that was funded is Antoine expansion from 4 to 6 lane from 290 to W. Mount Houston with bicycle path, turn lanes, blah blah blah for $80 mil in 2025. Rank: 31

 

Rejected:

 

Rank 39: Widen Aldine Westfield from BW8 to Little York from 2 to 4 lanes.

Rank 68: Uptown/Memorial Park connector path and bridge. Construct 10,000 feet of pathway.

Rank 74: Lower Westheimer Corridor

Rank 83: Fiber Optic Cable integration bnetween Transtar and Houston Emergency Center

Rank 96: Reconstruct broadway from 45 to SH 3 with widened sidewalks, buffered bike lane, left turn lanes, etc

Rank 100: West Fuqua city limit to Chimney Rock. Turn lines, intersection, relocated bus stops, etc.

Rank 108: Construct 10' path from Richmond to San Felipe (extension of previously funded path?)

Rank 113: Construct bike route from Northwest Transit Center to Memorial Park/Heights

Rank 123: Reconstruct Gelhorn Dr from 610 to 10. Sidewalks, bike lane, crosswalks, etc.

Rank 144: Reconstruct Memorial @ Gessner

Withdrawn: Diary Ashford from I-10 to Westheimer reconstruction

Withdrawn: Reconstruction of Waugh/heights/Yale 

 

 

 

 

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Yes all true

the COH walk@ble committe recommended that Bagby to Montrose  get started a bit early while the equipment and manpower were finishing up Main Street to Bagby plus it was already fully funded—- nope

all the equipment and manpower taken away, lower Westheimer first postponed, the attached to non funded Shepherd toMontrose. Blvd.

at Cohens last CIP program COH stated it was STILL a priority.............that doesn’t really ring true now.

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On 4/10/2019 at 3:45 PM, bobruss said:

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

they've recently done patch work on the road and curb cut outs on Richmond between Montrose and Spur.   Seem like a waste if they plan to put in BRT.  There is sign in front of Post Oak apartments detailing the project but I was driving a missed the details

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On 5/6/2019 at 12:38 PM, BeerNut said:

they've recently done patch work on the road and curb cut outs on Richmond between Montrose and Spur.   Seem like a waste if they plan to put in BRT.  There is sign in front of Post Oak apartments detailing the project but I was driving a missed the details

They've continued to tear more of Richmond up, Westbound between Yoakum and Dunlavy and eastbound between Shepard and Kirby

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On 4/10/2019 at 7:33 PM, IronTiger said:

That looks right. https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/maps/images/map0435.jpg

 

I knew that there was a spur that went to the Sears warehouse on Montrose, and finally disconnected in the early 2000s (late enough that Memorial Heights Drive and Washington was built with a crossing in mind), but not that it went through to Westheimer and beyond. Grant Street was built over the right of way where it curved southeast but it looks like by the mid-1940s the right of way had been built over completely.

Of course this railroad line had long been removed through the neighborhood by then, it's just that the city didn't care to remove the tracks in the pavement at this location where it crossed Westheimer. Sure they paved over it, and built curbs, sidewalks and such, but they left the rails embedded in the street for decades, causing it to be a bone rattler like so many other poorly maintained crossings back then.

This was also true for the line that went down Greenbriar to Rice University (which curiously does not show up on the attached map). That long abandoned line had rails in the cross street intersections way up in into the 1980's.

Edited by plumber2

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3 hours ago, plumber2 said:

Of course this railroad line had long been removed through the neighborhood by then, it's just that the city didn't care to remove the tracks in the pavement at this location where it crossed Westheimer. Sure they paved over it, and built curbs, sidewalks and such, but they left the rails embedded in the street for decades, causing it to be a bone rattler like so many other poorly maintained crossings back then.

This was also true for the line that went down Greenbriar to Rice University (which curiously does not show up on the attached map). That long abandoned line had rails in the cross street intersections way up in into the 1980's.

There's probably still lots of remnants though, even over houses. A long-abandoned (from the 1960s) right of way near my parents house has had a road built over it for the last 15 years (and it was properly engineered to the point where it never needed to be resurfaced completely), but when expanding it, they dug up old ties and even a few spikes. Who knows how much has resurfaced when the original houses near the right of way were torn out for new buildings? They might have even had rails!

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On 6/26/2019 at 9:16 AM, C List said:

They've continued to tear more of Richmond up, Westbound between Yoakum and Dunlavy and eastbound between Shepard and Kirby

Could this be Upper Kirby District rebuilding their sections of the road? I remember hearing a lot of reconstruction was about to happen throughout the district.

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On 7/3/2019 at 1:24 PM, j_cuevas713 said:

Could this be Upper Kirby District rebuilding their sections of the road? I remember hearing a lot of reconstruction was about to happen throughout the district.

 

Not from what I've seen. They've been ripping up Richmond all the way from the spur to Kirby. My guess is this had some fed money involved. It is a major transit corridor. One of those things where if you don't use it you lose it. Can't exactly tell that money to be held or divert it to a future BRT/LRT line. Its silly, but its one of those weird glitches in the system that happens every so often.

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3 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Not from what I've seen. They've been ripping up Richmond all the way from the spur to Kirby. My guess is this had some fed money involved. It is a major transit corridor. One of those things where if you don't use it you lose it. Can't exactly tell that money to be held or divert it to a future BRT/LRT line. Its silly, but its one of those weird glitches in the system that happens every so often.

Wish we had a lot more transparency on where road projects were going to occur, who was funding it, and what the project itself entailed. Feel like Rebuild Houston is a great source but their interactive map has been down forever.

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4 hours ago, Triton said:

Wish we had a lot more transparency on where road projects were going to occur, who was funding it, and what the project itself entailed. Feel like Rebuild Houston is a great source but their interactive map has been down forever.

 

It's basically in this map now...https://cohegis.houstontx.gov/cohgisweb/houstonmapviewer/

The Public Works layer has several road layers in the "active eng. and const. proj" folder: contracted overlay, inter-local, roadway, sidewalk, etc.

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Found a wealth of infrastructure information that H-GAC provides. Will be looking over it later. This was from their 2018-call-for-applications that they published. While it is from 2018, we have to remember that it normally a project doesn't take to long (between 1-2 years) after applications for work have been submitted to get a project going. 

 

Overall list:

 

http://www.h-gac.com/2018-call-for-projects/submitted-applications.aspx


Lower Westheimer:

http://www.h-gac.com/2018-call-for-projects/submitted-application.aspx?id=141

 

highlights from the information provided:

 

From "Project Information"

 

Quote

1. Project Title

Lower Westheimer

2. Project County

Harris County

3. Facility/Street Name

Westheimer

4. Project limits (from, to) or location (Address)

S. Main to Shepherd

5. Describe the primary problems to be addressed by the project (Project Need).

Lower Westheimer roadway has failing pavement with incomplete sidewalks, damaged curbs, and does not meet current design standards. Intersections are operating at a poor level of service, with high crash rates, and lack of necessary turn lanes. Pedestrian realm is missing segments of sidewalks and existing sidewalks are narrow and damaged, limited or no ADA compliant cross-ramps. The corridor is Metro's highest traveled route with frequent stops. Lanes are currently too narrow and buses block adjacent lanes. These issues were identified in the HGAC Midtown Livable Centers Study. Problem – Pavement Condition: The existing pavement is composed of asphalt pavement with concrete curb and gutter. The asphalt pavement is generally in fair to poor condition with numerous areas with cracking. The pavement condition index scores range between 63.34 and 80.69. Problem – Mobility Challenges: Narrow lane widths, inadequate traffic signals, poor pavement condition, and insufficient numbers of lanes significantly impact mobility along Westheimer Road. Problem – Safety: The segment of Westheimer Road between Dunlavy and Bagby has a high crash rate. This can be attributed directly to the narrow lanes and the lack of exclusive left-turn lanes. Majority of the crash experience within the study area are at the major intersections. The intersections of Westheimer at Dunlavy and Montrose with 43 and 61 crashes respectively, have relatively high intersection related crashes. The lack of defined turn lanes at the major intersections create several lane change maneuvers and most of the segment has very narrow lanes that create situation for higher side-swipe and lane change crashes. The four-lane undivided cross section with buses stopping in the right-most lane create several lane change maneuvers that increase potential conflict points in the roadway segment. Problem – Poor Pedestrian Realm Conditions: Sidewalks are generally in a poor condition with significant damages in some areas. In multiple locations, the pedestrian ramps are in poor condition and do not meet ADA requirements for safe utilization nor comply with City of Houston standards. The primary feedback from the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) and the public at the three public meetings was that the top priority for the Lower Westheimer corridor was improving pedestrian experience by increasing the pedestrian realm.

6. Describe the proposed improvement/activity (Description).

Improvements are consistent with those recommended in the HGAC Midtown Livable Centers Study. Improvements include the reconstruction of Westheimer Road to support use of multiple modes of transportation and improve safety along the corridor for all users. Since expanding ROW is not feasible or desirable, 3 lanes are proposed in order to expand the sidewalk width. Intersection improvements include dedicated turn lanes, far side bus stops, and new traffic signals. Improvements also include limiting on-street parking, and access management solutions. The project includes construction of 8-foot minimum pedestrian realm along both sides of the roadway. As the primary feedback from the public was improvement of the pedestrian experience, the recommended concept balances pedestrian realm improvements while maintaining acceptable vehicular and transit operations throughout the corridor.

7. Describe the primary outcomes to be achieved by the project (Project Purpose)

Outcome - Improved Transit and passenger vehicle travel times Transit signal priority at minor intersections is shown to benefit bus and passenger vehicle travel times on Westheimer as it typically adds green time to the highest volume traffic movements. The implementation would improve bus travel times by about 4% for each direction on Westheimer. Outcome - Improved Pavement Condition The project includes the reconstruction of the existing pavement to bring it to current City of Houston standards and to meet traffic needs, provision of adequate lane widths and configurations. Outcome - Improved Level of Service Year 2011 average daily traffic volume on Westheimer Road from South Shepherd Drive to Dunlavy Street is 20,900 and from Dunlavy Street to Montrose Boulevard is 13,057. The nature of Lower Westheimer and Elgin (densely developed area with close proximity between signalized intersections) dictates that the capacity of the corridor is controlled by the signalized intersections more than the segments in between major intersections. Intersection levels of service (LOS) analyses The results of the LOS analysis for Year 2035 traffic conditions in a “no build” determine signalized intersections operating at LOS F/D. By implementing the recommended intersection improvements, LOS projections for Year 2035 improve to C/D. Outcome - Improved pedestrian realm and safety A complete sidewalk network that includes continuous, well maintained, ADA-compliant sidewalks, curb ramps and safe crosswalks is a focal point of the project and was emphasized in public comments. All pedestrian realm facilities will be brought up to ADA accessibility standards including intersections.

 

From "Project Development/Readiness
 

Quote

1. Please select the level of engineering completed.

Schematic

2. What is the completed or anticipated level of environmental documentation required for the proposed project?

Categorical Exclusion (CE)

A. What was/is the anticipated completion date of the environmental clearance?

12/20/2019

 

From "Benefit/Cost Analysis"
 

Quote

6. Please provide a brief narrative describing the methodology, input data and results. (Optional)

Lower Westheimer is being submitted as a Complete Street project. The proposed project examined the corridor with public/stakeholder input and aligns with the Future Vision as outlined in the Inner West Loop Study as a 'high frequency transit' corridor and a 'urban avenue'. The project benefit factors included medians, safety lighting at intersections, pedestrian crosswalks, continuous and upgraded sidewalks, turn lanes, and defined driveways.

 

From "Planning Factors - Improves Mulimodal LOS"

 

Quote

1. Does the proposed project improve highway/freight LOS?

No

2. Does the proposed project improve transit LOS?

Yes

3. Does the proposed project improve bike/pedestrian LOS?

Yes

4. Please provide a brief narrative explaining how proposed project improves multimodal LOS (Auto, Bike/Ped, and Transit).

The proposed project layout has been coordinated with Metro to include bus stop consolidation, far side stops at intersections, and was modeled by Metro to show a 4% increase in bus travel time (see Metro memo in pre-eng report pg 235 of pdf). Pedestrian and bike mobility will be improved with wider sidewalks, safer pedestrian crossing at intersections and designated bicycle crossings at Woodhead, Commonwealth, and Yoakum.

 

Attached Map (which I think we have already seen before):

 

http://www.h-gac.com/transportation-improvement-program/call-for-projects-uploads/1031201894142AM.pdf

Edited by Luminare
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I personally think some of the sidewalks in this area could be improved. I drove through here to get to HWY 6 during Thanksgiving and while the sidewalks are good, some areas aesthetically need some work. Especially for an area that houses some of the biggest names in shopping in the city. 

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Basically they just started, and have a deadline for the engineering team of 2023.  So it probably won't start until 2024, and then take over a year to do, so it won't be done until 2026

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"Spring 2023"

 

From what I understand, that's as far back as they could push it and still keep it on as being planned. 

 

It's really going to be up to Abbie Kamin to push for this project and I don't know how strongly she feels about this. 

 

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That's, a real shame. This should be under construction already and Montrose Blvd. should be on the design and engineering planning boards now.

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