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wilcal

Third Ward bikeway system proposal and implementation

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Last night I went to the 3rd Ward bikeway system meeting. This is for one of the sections that the city is focusing on using the $10 million from Rodney Ellis to build high-comfort bike lanes. 

 

There were probably about 20ish citizens there and about 15 city planners/contracted engineers/etc.

 

First, the map! They didn't have an updated whole map that showed the changes that they've made in the last few months, so I whipped up my own. 

 

Green - existing high-comfort bike infrastructure

Blue - proposed and imminent high-comfort bike infrastructure

Purple - "Community Bikeways" aka sharrows . No separation from vehicles. 

Red - Bike infrastructure being handled by those other than the city or projects that are planned but I don't have specific info on (like Polk. A city project but I have no/they haven't presented updated info).

 

div1aCL.png

 

Timeline: finalizing design work by March. Starting construction in April on all projects. Most blue/purple projects completed by end of the summer. 

 

The new information can be split into changes on four streets.

 

1) Gray would run from Brazos in Midtown to the Columbia Tap Trail. Split into 3 different designs based on road width.

 

Brazos to 288 (converting parking on one side of the street to a bi-directional bike lane)

 

btqcyJ0.jpg

 

288 to Live Oak (converting parking on one side of the street to a bi-directional bike lane)

 

EmZnEaL.jpg

 

Live Oak to Columbia Tap Trail (sharrows)

 

yKJQn18.jpg

 

2) Hutchins: adding bike lanes and reducing lane sizes. No reduction in parking. 

 

w1KcUul.jpg

 

u5W2Z4h.jpg

 

3) Blodgett: Elimination of parking on both sides of the street and converting to protected bike lanes

bMNBF2t.jpg

 

4) Cleburne: Elimination of parking on both sides of the street and converting to protected bike lanes

rLCW6lJ.jpg

 

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Residents were mostly positive about the plans. The one negative comment I heard was about loss of parking for residential on Blodgett. 

 

The city talked about how they did a traffic study and the speeds were way high and that it wasn't safe to put on-street shared here. 1:6 drivers were driving higher than 40 MPH and that number skewed even higher as you went further east. 

 

Two residents said that they were very unhappy with the curb build-outs at Hutchins/Tuam and were happy to have them be removed and bike lanes added in. They said tons of people are braking their cars while driving into them. 

 

I asked and was specifically told that all of the above projects had the budget to be implemented this summer.

 

My concerns are that there really isn't a good east/west option through Midtown (I almost got hit twice on McGowen while riding to this meeting last night). Some option of McGowen may have, but it would be in the future.

 

@Urbannizer I know this isn't a widely used forum, but should we figure out some way to combine some of these threads? Like a Rodney Ellis $10 million megathread? 

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Thanks for post @wilcal  I live on Hutchins and was disappointed I was going to miss this meeting due to work.  Speeding is an issue on Hutchins so hopefully this will slow traffic down to the posted speeds and the bike lane will be icing on the cake.  I noticed at some point last year they put white lines for a kinda bike lane on Hutchins near Emancipation Park .   I've included a pic of the curb build outs when they were new. 

6uyEDAc.jpg

Edited by BeerNut
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3 hours ago, BeerNut said:

Thanks for post @wilcal  I live on Hutchins and was disappointed I was going to miss this meeting due to work.  Speeding is an issue on Hutchins so hopefully this will slow traffic down to the posted speeds and the bike lane will be icing on the cake.  I noticed at some point last year they put white lines for a kinda bike lane on Hutchins near Emancipation Park .   I've included a pic of the curb build outs when they were new. 

 

3

 

Part of the plan that I didn't mention is for median blocks for Hutchins at Alabama and at Elgin actually. 

 

It'll be interesting to see the final configuration and how traffic flows. I think a lot people use Hutchins as an access road for 59. 

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2 hours ago, wilcal said:

This is what happens when the city doesn’t just get the damn thing done. The fact this is still in a design phase is ridiculous. We’re approaching the 1 Year mark for all these bike lanes. 

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22 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

This is what happens when the city doesn’t just get the damn thing done. The fact this is still in a design phase is ridiculous. We’re approaching the 1 Year mark for all these bike lanes. 

 

Honestly, the "slowness" is from them being overly cautious in regards to community outreach. People are much more likely to be upset when they aren't heard. They've done stuff from pop up bike lanes, to community meetings, to parking studies, etc and they all take time. 

 

They did tell me that they expect all of these projects to be completed by the end of the summer. It's been a slowly but surely thing so far 😕

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22 hours ago, BeerNut said:

This was in my mailbox.

 

 

Really wish I knew what they were deciding for their design for Hutchins. It's either all or none for street parking. Have to guess that it'll end up as sharrows and no bike lanes :(

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

Really wish I knew what they were deciding for their design for Hutchins. It's either all or none for street parking. Have to guess that it'll end up as sharrows and no bike lanes :(

 

Its weird, I can't find it as an explicit project on the bike plan website, its just lumped together with the third ward bike plans. The hopeful thing is that on houston bike plan its still marked as a blue-retro fit lane same as polk, which has to be a good thing:

 

http://houstonbikeplan.org/implementation/infrastructure/third-ward/

 

And as late as March of 2019, Bike Houston is reporting its a buffered bike lane:

https://bikehouston.org/2019/03/04/28-miles-complete-will-we-meet-the-build-50-challenge/

 

Its a wide street, you'd think they could through some buffer in there and figure out how to preserve parking. Thanks @BeerNut  for finding out they are moving forward with this, any indication what it'll be? 

Edited by X.R.

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I'm not sure what plan they will go with but several months back they put white markings on Hutchins between Elgin and Tuam near Emancipation Park.  

It kinda resembles the "Proposed" picture below but looks incomplete.  I'll be sure to post a picture when I get a chance.

u5W2Z4h.jpg

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Why is the buffer between the bikes and the parked cars?  Is their primary concern dooring?

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Wouldn't "high comfort" (and safety) be better served by having the bike lane between the sidewalk and the street parking, separated by curbing (or at least armadillos) like in downtown Austin? 

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3 hours ago, mollusk said:

Wouldn't "high comfort" (and safety) be better served by having the bike lane between the sidewalk and the street parking, separated by curbing (or at least armadillos) like in downtown Austin? 

Aren't the armadillos there to provide protected parking for police cars? Every time I go past the 4 Seasons Downtown, it seems like there's a police car parked in the bike lane.

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2 hours ago, Ross said:

Aren't the armadillos there to provide protected parking for police cars? Every time I go past the 4 Seasons Downtown, it seems like there's a police car parked in the bike lane.

 

There is a long standing theory that the reason Houston drivers are aggressive, fast, rude, and tend to run into things is because they're just driving the way the cops do. :ph34r:

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I’ve seen way more cops starting to just park on the sidewalk downtown.  Can’t get a stroller past them so you just have to go out into the street.

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On 8/13/2019 at 8:16 PM, Ross said:

Aren't the armadillos there to provide protected parking for police cars? Every time I go past the 4 Seasons Downtown, it seems like there's a police car parked in the bike lane.

 

Armadillos are there so that emergency vehicles can cross them as necessary. In most municipalities, it's just for streets that aren't wide enough for fire trucks to make a turn on them. That of course doesn't apply to the downtown Houston track on Lamar. 

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Posted (edited)

Per the update on August 26th, 2019, we got a solid timeline and update:

Project Updates

Pavement markings and striping are in progress on Gray Street. Full signal installation expected to be complete by Spring 2020.

 

Seems this will completed before Austin, but a bit later than the initial update indicated. I'm sure its cause they need to get the new lights for the stoplights as @wilcal mentioned. I also get the feeling Polk may be effecting these buildout timeline, in-so-much that I'm sure they are trying to slot Polk's timelines in somewhere and now they have which resulted in the more realistic timeframes. The only thing I can find about Polk is this: https://bikehouston.org/2019/03/04/28-miles-complete-will-we-meet-the-build-50-challenge/ 

Edited by X.R.
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39 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

 

When you don't have something, and are stuck in 80s style infrastructure, and get thrown into the future, it can be jarring at first 😂.

 

They just need to throw the signage up on there to educate people. That cyclist sounded pretty happy though, and then was like "nah, cars don't know what to do." haha

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I don't understand the confusion

 

It's a separated lane with pictures of bikes painted on it - pretty sure that translates well to "bike lane"

White diagonal striped buffers are everywhere - just look at a merge, where the triangle has white diagonal stripes in it, until it comes to a point where there's a double white line and then a dashed line.  The diagonal stripes = don't drive here.  I think the confusion is from it being new, and people not paying attention.  The city could finish it and put in the armadillos, but it's pretty clearly marked

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The problem isn't confusion. It's the fact that people have been getting away with the way they drive for forever and now they have to think. 

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it is quite confusing. they need to just install planters or something in the area that they don't want vehicles (cars, bikes, or otherwise) traveling.

 

the way they have these lanes designed screams 'temporary' to me. you want to make them permanent, put in some traffic islands to create some separation, rather than paint.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

it is quite confusing. they need to just install planters or something in the area that they don't want vehicles (cars, bikes, or otherwise) traveling.

 

the way they have these lanes designed screams 'temporary' to me. you want to make them permanent, put in some traffic islands to create some separation, rather than paint.

 

Well, the are temporary. The armadillos are confirmed coming in, along with the green paint that they've already started.

 

The green paint goes a long way. Plus, I think these type of markings, which are becoming more prevalent, is pretty clear: 

 

https://twitter.com/TyronMcDaniel/status/1171206705306226688?s=20

 

EED2STvXoAE5RtX?format=jpg&name=900x900

 

Edited by X.R.
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3 hours ago, samagon said:

it is quite confusing. they need to just install planters or something in the area that they don't want vehicles (cars, bikes, or otherwise) traveling.

 

the way they have these lanes designed screams 'temporary' to me. you want to make them permanent, put in some traffic islands to create some separation, rather than paint.

 

It is confusing, but it's because they are don't yet. They want to maintain the parking, and there are concrete barriers coming (a la Hardy/Elysian) to show people where to park. Armadillos will help guide people around corners.

 

Concrete dividers on Elysian:

 

 48007975488_d919f10d7e_z.jpg

 

FWIW, they did put out a #*@#-load of barrels to help people out after the negative newscast:

 

 

 

And in reality, they would prefer to do permanent but it's an order of magnitude more expensive. 

Edited by wilcal
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Wait I'm probably missing something here... those barrels are temporary right?

 

Yea, the armadillos/dividers on the new section of Houston Ave did miracles. I had people in the bike lane with me a few times (quite scary) until those were installed.

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On 9/10/2019 at 5:03 PM, Triton said:

Wait I'm probably missing something here... those barrels are temporary right?

 

Yea, the armadillos/dividers on the new section of Houston Ave did miracles. I had people in the bike lane with me a few times (quite scary) until those were installed.

 

Yes, barrels are temp until construction is complete. They're currently placed where parking will be available. The concrete dividers will be in the narrow painted strip. 

 

Bike lanes will be identical to the ones on Elysian that I posted.

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On 9/12/2019 at 7:48 AM, wilcal said:

 

Yes, barrels are temp until construction is complete. They're currently placed where parking will be available. The concrete dividers will be in the narrow painted strip. 

 

Bike lanes will be identical to the ones on Elysian that I posted.

 

Rode through the lane yesterday morning, and concrete separators/armadillos are creeping west on Gray. 

 

They were finishing up the paint work on the eastern edge, so that should be done. Paint work currently ends at the BMW dealer on the west side, so hopefully that will continue now. 

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Rode the entire length from Live Oak to San Jacinto.  I like what they've done so far.  The road near San Jacinto isn't finished.  Looking forward to see what they do on Hutchins.  

d9eG1eu.jpg

8ViSbYX.jpg

uhH8sNT.jpg

fXT0phd.jpg

Looks like they're trying a road diet at Hutchins.

iB8rejt.jpg

uDcH8sW.jpg

 

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3 hours ago, BeerNut said:

I'm confused.  I though bike route on Gray was supposed to go to Brazos but currently as built it only goes to Caroline.  Even the map on bikehouston shows it only going to Caroline.

https://bikehouston.org/2018/08/02/the-build-50-challenge-interactive-map/

 

 

I was told it would be going all of the way to Bagby. 

 

We'll have everything but the bike traffic lights soon enough. 

 

http://houstonbikeplan.org/implementation/infrastructure/gray-street/

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Wait, so Grey could potentially take you from 3rd Ward/Eastern Downtown and drop you at Montrose's doorstep? I did not realize. That would be kind of a game changer, because as much as I love hanging in Montrose its kind of a pain in the ass to get there on bike from Midtown/Downtown. I would appreciate some protected lane somewhere in Montrose, and maybe across Allen Parkway, one can hope.

 

Also, yeah, don't look at bikehouston, their website is pretty routinely behind, in terms of information, HoustonBikePlan.  

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Just now, X.R. said:

Wait, so Grey could potentially take you from 3rd Ward/Eastern Downtown and drop you at Montrose's doorstep? I did not realize. That would be kind of a game changer, because as much as I love hanging in Montrose its kind of a pain in the ass to get there on bike from Midtown/Downtown. I would appreciate some protected lane somewhere in Montrose, and maybe across Allen Parkway, one can hope.

 

Also, yeah, don't look at bikehouston, their website is pretty routinely behind, in terms of information, HoustonBikePlan.  

 

It's gonna be so good! We still need a north/south on the western edge of Midtown and and East/West in the middle of Midtown, but the combo of Austin/Gray will make it much easier to get around.

 

Blodgett is going to get protected from 59 all of the way to Cullen and Cleburne is gonna get protected from LaBranch to TSU. 

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3 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

It's gonna be so good! We still need a north/south on the western edge of Midtown and and East/West in the middle of Midtown, but the combo of Austin/Gray will make it much easier to get around.

 

Blodgett is going to get protected from 59 all of the way to Cullen and Cleburne is gonna get protected from LaBranch to TSU. 

 

Wow at Blodgett and Cleburne. I made the comment that they are using certain areas as test sites for this type of infrastructure, and I still think thats true to an extent. So much of it is coming out of third ward (and for good reason, alot of people use bikes in third ward). Both streets you mentioned are very wide, and actually pretty empty usually. Currently, they make for pretty pleasant street biking already, so protected lanes would be really over the top, in a good way. 

 

I'm assuming they want people to take Cleburne/Blodgett to the Columbia Tap, and then to the eventually completed Polk to get to East Downtown if they want to go enjoy themselves. At that point, yes you need something on the West side of Midtown to easily transport someone from East DT/Thirdwar to Downtown to Midtown by the bars. If thats the case, you basically have all areas covered except for Montrose, which is fairly, very glaring. I actually had some people give us shit for an early morning ride ( 4 of us staying on the bumpy, crappy portion of Westheimer closest to the curb) around 10 am in Montrose last weekend. A car with two couples honked at us, pulled into the side lane, all of which was fine with us until they then rolled down their window to yell at us at the light to stay on the sidewalk. 

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1 hour ago, X.R. said:

 

Wow at Blodgett and Cleburne. I made the comment that they are using certain areas as test sites for this type of infrastructure, and I still think thats true to an extent. So much of it is coming out of third ward (and for good reason, alot of people use bikes in third ward). Both streets you mentioned are very wide, and actually pretty empty usually. Currently, they make for pretty pleasant street biking already, so protected lanes would be really over the top, in a good way. 

 

I'm assuming they want people to take Cleburne/Blodgett to the Columbia Tap, and then to the eventually completed Polk to get to East Downtown if they want to go enjoy themselves. At that point, yes you need something on the West side of Midtown to easily transport someone from East DT/Thirdwar to Downtown to Midtown by the bars. If thats the case, you basically have all areas covered except for Montrose, which is fairly, very glaring. I actually had some people give us shit for an early morning ride ( 4 of us staying on the bumpy, crappy portion of Westheimer closest to the curb) around 10 am in Montrose last weekend. A car with two couples honked at us, pulled into the side lane, all of which was fine with us until they then rolled down their window to yell at us at the light to stay on the sidewalk. 

 

Unfortunately, Polk is going to have a gap between Columbia Tap an downtown, right near Emancipation due to some longish term construction. 

And yeah, have no idea what the hell they are gonna due about Montrose. The initial projected plan for West Alabama had it being converted back to two lines and adding a bi-directional bikeway a la Gray on it. 

 

You're a brave person for biking on Westheimer. Never worth it. Sidestreets are too convenient in that area, but none are great replacements. Hawthorne a pretty good option in particular. 

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So once these bike lanes are done, who is in charge of maintaining them?  Is it a CoH task, or someone else?  I ask because I use some of the older bike lanes and paths, and they need some work.  Like the Holly Hall bike path from 288 to NRG has a couple of nasty bumps in it, only has pedestrian signals that are shorter than the cars' green lights, and ends up just dumping you at the train station with no bike racks.

 

Also, Yellowstone has a "bike lane" but it is so faded, and the shoulder is so deteriorated, that there's basically no bike lane for a good stretch of it

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1 hour ago, cspwal said:

So once these bike lanes are done, who is in charge of maintaining them?  Is it a CoH task, or someone else?  I ask because I use some of the older bike lanes and paths, and they need some work.  Like the Holly Hall bike path from 288 to NRG has a couple of nasty bumps in it, only has pedestrian signals that are shorter than the cars' green lights, and ends up just dumping you at the train station with no bike racks.

 

Also, Yellowstone has a "bike lane" but it is so faded, and the shoulder is so deteriorated, that there's basically no bike lane for a good stretch of it

 

CoH. Submit a 311 request if there are maintenance issues. 

 

They didn't have any formal plan for regular maintenance before, but I would assume that they are moving that direction now. 

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On 9/22/2019 at 8:50 PM, BeerNut said:

Rode the entire length from Live Oak to San Jacinto.  I like what they've done so far.  The road near San Jacinto isn't finished.  Looking forward to see what they do on Hutchins.  

d9eG1eu.jpg

8ViSbYX.jpg

uhH8sNT.jpg

fXT0phd.jpg

Looks like they're trying a road diet at Hutchins.

iB8rejt.jpg

uDcH8sW.jpg

 

This looks great. That first pic is my only concern. I hope it doesn't just fill with mud over time. 

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2 hours ago, BeerNut said:

And people aren't happy....

 

 

Did someone actually think these improvements were being done for the poorer residents of the Third Ward?

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19 hours ago, BeerNut said:

And people aren't happy....

 

 

I don't disagree with the lack of connection, that is beyond silly.

 

as far as who is paying, everyone in the city is sharing that burden, so the service is more than just a 3rd ward service.

 

anyway, I am overall happy, but very disappointed with the choice of road that doesn't connect to the columbia tap trail.

 

I have similar feedback regarding the choice to put the bike path on 3 different streets from downtown to the museums. caroline would have been a great choice (it carries a great size) rather than austin, and others.

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The plan is for it to have Sharrows on Gray to connect to the Columbia Tap trail; a more valid question is why not put these lanes on McGowen, which would have the room to have a bike way to Columbia tap trail, and already effectively acts as a 2 lane road?  It could be part of the BOOST-ing of the 54 route, which runs down McGowen, adding floating bus stops and everything.

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Probably because the bikeways project didn't want to interfere with plans from Metro.  Or they were "asked" to not affect high frequency buses

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37 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Why not both (.gif)? Gray and McGowen are far enough part for both to be useful.

 

 

21 minutes ago, cspwal said:

Probably because the bikeways project didn't want to interfere with plans from Metro.  Or they were "asked" to not affect high frequency buses

 

I think issues with McGowen is the width of it in Midtown.

 

2 hours ago, samagon said:

 

I don't disagree with the lack of connection, that is beyond silly.

 

as far as who is paying, everyone in the city is sharing that burden, so the service is more than just a 3rd ward service.

 

anyway, I am overall happy, but very disappointed with the choice of road that doesn't connect to the columbia tap trail.

 

I have similar feedback regarding the choice to put the bike path on 3 different streets from downtown to the museums. caroline would have been a great choice (it carries a great size) rather than austin, and others.

 

I mean, we're talking about 2 blocks of sharrows to Columbia Tap. It's not exactly the sahara desert. There aren't any streets in the north side of the third that are wide enough all of the way to CT, with McGowen being too narrow in Midtown. 

 

In regards to what street to run downtown to Museum district, from my very limited understanding of what's happening behind the doors, powerful downtown groups, lets say some people near the intersection of Congress and Caroline, wanted it to be built on Austin. 

 

As far as the doglegs, that came from requests from Museum district stakeholders. Crawford is a great spot to enter the park area and they'll supposedly be adding a four-way stop there which is greatly needed. 

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2 minutes ago, wilcal said:

There aren't any streets in the north side of the third that are wide enough all of the way to CT, with McGowen being too narrow in Midtown. 

 

And the bikeway planning people probably weren't allowed to propose street widening - the ROW is wide enough there but it would require a complete redo of the street

 

 

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