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illusionescape

Spur 5 extension (future SH 35/Alvin Freeway)

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Posted (edited)

Looks like there are plans in the works for a 3-mile extension of Spur 5 from its existing terminus just south of UH campus. Extension would take it past I-610 down to Bellfort. Project includes 4 direct connectors between I-610 & Spur 5. Work wouldn’t start until 2025. Route won’t be redesignated as SH 35 until future extensions take it past the Beltway.

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Long-sought-Alvin-Freeway-could-start-with-Spur-5-13656687.php

Edited by illusionescape

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, illusionescape said:

Looks like there are plans in the works for a 3-mile extension of Spur 5 from its existing terminus just south of UH campus. Extension would take it past I-610 down to Bellfort. Project includes 4 direct connectors between I-610 & Spur 5. Work wouldn’t start until 2025. Route won’t be redesignated as SH 35 until future extensions take it past the Beltway.

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Long-sought-Alvin-Freeway-could-start-with-Spur-5-13656687.php

 

Quote

Raquelle Lewis, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation in Houston. “It will provide enhanced local connectivity by providing a new crossing over Brays Bayou and the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads.”

 

this is such a confusing statement. locally, there's already as much connectivity as is needed. 4 roads within .5 miles, one of which has a fixed guideway mass transit, and a dedicated hike/bike bridge. that is a lot of local connectivity, adding a freeway overpass isn't going to help locals move over the bayou.

 

I'm for this project, but let's not call it a boon for local transit. freeways are never that.

 

edit: forgot about the hike/bike bridge.

Edited by samagon

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Wait, then why are you for this project? What possible benefit does it have? How is building out a freeway through campus a good thing?

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It's not really through campus.  ERP is already separated, though linked with the hike/bike trail.  The rest of the campus is all north of this.  I'd say the benefit for UH is an additional connection to 610.

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And? That's worth reinforcing the eastern boundary of main campus? This just seems like a huge waste of money for pretty questionable gain.

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This freeway seems wasteful and pointless. The rest of the country is moving away from constructing new freeways, yet Houston is still crapping them out in every direction. That money would be better spent towards regional mass transit.

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Or literally anything else. Reclaim that land for UH. Convert it to stormwater detention. Or some sort of residential use. Or just plant a bunch of trees. Some kind of art. Giant climbing wall. Anything at all would be better. 

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39 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Anything at all would be better. 

 

What about one giant surface lot designed by Randall Davis?

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1 hour ago, Texasota said:

And? That's worth reinforcing the eastern boundary of main campus? This just seems like a huge waste of money for pretty questionable gain.

 

Absolutely.  Remember, a large proportion of UH students commute.  Any new fast connection would help.  I suspect UH already owns land north, south and west of campus.  There's plenty of room for expansion.

6 minutes ago, cspwal said:

 

What about one giant surface lot designed by Randall Davis?

 

Or they could expand the railyard.  I'm sure BNSF could use some extra room.  More trains, right?

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44 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Or literally anything else. Reclaim that land for UH. Convert it to stormwater detention. Or some sort of residential use. Or just plant a bunch of trees. Some kind of art. Giant climbing wall. Anything at all would be better. 

 

While I agree that the spur restricts integration of any future eastern expansion UH might want to build out, there is also the issue of the many train tracks blocking any kind of integration as well. 

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4 minutes ago, august948 said:

 

Absolutely.  Remember, a large proportion of UH students commute.  Any new fast connection would help.  I suspect UH already owns land north, south and west of campus.  There's plenty of room for expansion.

 

Or they could expand the railyard.  I'm sure BNSF could use some extra room.  More trains, right?

 

Except that UH is actively working to expand on-campus housing. I'm not saying that UH actively needs this land; I'm just saying a freeway is the worst possible use for it. 

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1 minute ago, Texasota said:

 

Except that UH is actively working to expand on-campus housing. I'm not saying that UH actively needs this land; I'm just saying a freeway is the worst possible use for it. 

 

85% of UH students commute.  http://www.uh.edu/dos/commuter/  It's a no-brainer to expand freeway access. 

 

I know they are expanding on-campus housing, but they will never be able to accommodate that many students on-campus.  Nor should they try.  UH is in the middle of one of the largest cities in the US.  There are plenty of off-campus options.

 

As for a freeway being the worst possible use for it, not even close.  Like I said above (tongue-in-cheek) BNSF could expand it's rail yard. Or we could build a oil/gas pipeline through it.  How about a city dump?  Or return it to it's original (or near original) use as a stockyard.  Ever smell a stockyard?

 

 

 

 

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Yes, there are plenty of off-campus housing options - many of which are easily accessible via light rail. 

 

This is a poor use of land, and catering to students commuting by car is bad policy.

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1 minute ago, Texasota said:

Yes, there are plenty of off-campus housing options - many of which are easily accessible via light rail. 

 

This is a poor use of land, and catering to students commuting by car is bad policy.

 

Why is catering to the 85% of students who commute by car bad policy?  Or besides UH the commuter in and out of downtown who might benefit from an extra way to get there besides 45 and 288?

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7 hours ago, august948 said:

 

Why is catering to the 85% of students who commute by car bad policy?  Or besides UH the commuter in and out of downtown who might benefit from an extra way to get there besides 45 and 288?

I think expressways or freeways with a limited number of lanes helps, and provides options for moving around town not just for students at UH but anyone driving through.  If TxDOT builds the rest of this(?) it should be kept away from future capacity expansion for at least 10-12 years.

 

2-lane (ea. way) freeways or divided highways work fine as an alternative to the bigger interstates and toll-roads, that is until TxDOT starts expansion.

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let's be honest, if they built a freeway with 2 lanes each way it would be expanded within 10 years to have 2 HOT lanes each way, and at least 3 main lanes each way.

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I would love for this to be built, would make reaching this part of town way easier (I live close by). Back part of OST is underdeveloped because the light rail and bayou make reaching it a little harder then other areas near by. 

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Posted (edited)

Beyond the segments described as in the works, where do they think it will go from there?

 

I can try to imagine a narrow right-of-way alignment straddling the railroad tracks similar to the Hardy Toll Road, but past the Beltway it would run into the old part of Pearland and there would be significant eminent domain required.

Edited by zaphod

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1 hour ago, zaphod said:

Beyond the segments described as in the works, where do they think it will go from there?

 

I can try to imagine a narrow right-of-way alignment straddling the railroad tracks similar to the Hardy Toll Road, but past the Beltway it would run into the old part of Pearland and there would be significant eminent domain required.

I found this article about the freeway. Looks like they were asking that question 50 years and never answered it. https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Expansion-of-Alvin-freeway-may-yet-be-completed-1982804.php 

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On 4/18/2019 at 9:34 AM, intencity77 said:

The rest of the country is moving away from constructing new freeways, yet Houston is still crapping them out in every direction.

 

Freeway-building starting slowing down around 1970 (at least, big ones) due to new environmental concerns and land value issues. It's not a recent issue.

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13 hours ago, IronTiger said:

 

Freeway-building starting slowing down around 1970 (at least, big ones) due to new environmental concerns and land value issues. It's not a recent issue.

 

That may be for the US interstate system of freeways as a whole but we have still built alot of freeways and tollways since that “slow down”. Hardy Toll, Westpark Toll, Fort Bend Toll, Grand Parkway, Beltway 8, Pasadena Frwy, Crosby Frwy, not to mention the crazy widening and lengthening of all the existing freeways over the decades. Now we have the coming destructive I-45 rerouting around downtown, billions still being poured towards building the Grand Parkway in extremely sparse areas of the metro and now this wasteful thing to tiny Alvin. I think it’s all overkill at this point. 

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4 minutes ago, intencity77 said:

 

That maybe for the US interstate system of freeways as a whole but we have still built alot of freeways and tollways since that “slow down”. Hardy Toll, Westpark Toll, Fort Bend Toll, Grand Parkway, Beltway 8, Pasadena Frwy, Crosby Frwy, not to mention the crazy widening and lengthening of all the existing freeways over the decades. Now we t the destructive I-45 rerouting around downtown, billions still going towards building the Grand Parkway in extremely sparse areas of population and now this wasteful thing to Alvin. I think it’s all overkill at this point. 

What I mean is that no one's building big cut-through-city-blocks freeways anymore or entirely whole new routes, but across the nation there are still freeway projects underway, usually involving upgrading existing roads (like divided U.S. highways), loop roads and bypasses around large cities or small ones, and a few other projects, happening across most states, even today. California wants to build a "desert highway" to connect some of the isolated communities in the L.A. area (despite significant resistance, because California), Louisiana wants to upgrade I-49 to New Orleans and has recently opened a new segment of I-49 in Shreveport, a little over a decade ago, Tampa opened a short-but-wide connector freeway (think the new interchange between 290 and I-10), and a bunch of other projects I'm probably forgetting.

 

Spur 5 isn't even cutting through a lot of territory as land has been cleared as far as Dixie Road south of 610. As a whole, I wouldn't consider new freeways radiating outwards to be "overkill" as long as the area is still growing, which it is.

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The Grand Parkway Segment B is routed along the Alvin bypass.  Presumably the Alvin Freeway, if it were ever to be built, would just merge and dead-end into Grand Parkway immediately north of the town.  If these roads are built that will become a high-growth section of the metro area. 

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6 hours ago, intencity77 said:

 

That may be for the US interstate system of freeways as a whole but we have still built alot of freeways and tollways since that “slow down”. Hardy Toll, Westpark Toll, Fort Bend Toll, Grand Parkway, Beltway 8, Pasadena Frwy, Crosby Frwy, not to mention the crazy widening and lengthening of all the existing freeways over the decades. Now we have the coming destructive I-45 rerouting around downtown, billions still being poured towards building the Grand Parkway in extremely sparse areas of the metro and now this wasteful thing to tiny Alvin. I think it’s all overkill at this point. 

 

It will never be overkill as long as rush hour traffic exists.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, august948 said:

 

It will never be overkill as long as rush hour traffic exists.

Rush hour traffic will always exist, so that means the biggest, widest, baddest freeway ever built won't be overkill. 🤷‍♂️

Edited by JLWM8609
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Posted (edited)
On 4/18/2019 at 9:34 AM, intencity77 said:

This freeway seems wasteful and pointless. The rest of the country is moving away from constructing new freeways, yet Houston is still crapping them out in every direction. That money would be better spent towards regional mass transit.

 

What metro area that is experiencing growth similar to Houston's is moving away from constructing new freeways?

 

Here's a 2015 headline from Atlanta:  Atlanta awaits biggest interstate expansion in over 30 years

 

Here's a link to DFW's Transportation Plan:  http://nctcoggis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=f0f61b945fe24a43ada903200e7d3463

 

Phoenix is building new freeways.

 

The Orlando region's plans include new freeways.

 

Seattle's regional plan includes some new and a lot of expansion of freeways/tollways.

 

Austin's regional plan includes new freeways.

 

(Including Houston, those are the top seven metropolitan areas in numeric population growth; Houston is at No. 3.  These are the top seven growth metros for 2017-18; If we expand the time period, Houston moves up the ranks... Houston had the largest growth for the period 2010-2018)

Edited by Houston19514
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On 4/18/2019 at 10:14 AM, Texasota said:

Or literally anything else. Reclaim that land for UH. Convert it to stormwater detention. Or some sort of residential use. Or just plant a bunch of trees. Some kind of art. Giant climbing wall. Anything at all would be better. 

Land where the freeway is now was never part of UH, the university effectively ended past Calhoun, save for a few additional buildings and parking lots. As time went on, UH claimed most of the land, but that wasn't until after the freeway was built. What I'm curious of if it will include some sort of revamp for the Griggs/Mykawa railroad crossings.

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6 hours ago, IronTiger said:

Land where the freeway is now was never part of UH, the university effectively ended past Calhoun, save for a few additional buildings and parking lots. As time went on, UH claimed most of the land, but that wasn't until after the freeway was built. What I'm curious of if it will include some sort of revamp for the Griggs/Mykawa railroad crossings.

This schematic shows the railroad crossings remaining as-is under the freeway, but that can always change.

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/get-involved/hou/sh35-i610/040618-schematic2.pdf

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On 4/22/2019 at 7:53 PM, Houston19514 said:

 

What metro area that is experiencing growth similar to Houston's is moving away from constructing new freeways?

 

Here's a 2015 headline from Atlanta:  Atlanta awaits biggest interstate expansion in over 30 years

 

Here's a link to DFW's Transportation Plan:  http://nctcoggis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=f0f61b945fe24a43ada903200e7d3463

 

Phoenix is building new freeways.

 

The Orlando region's plans include new freeways.

 

Seattle's regional plan includes some new and a lot of expansion of freeways/tollways.

 

Austin's regional plan includes new freeways.

 

(Including Houston, those are the top seven metropolitan areas in numeric population growth; Houston is at No. 3.  These are the top seven growth metros for 2017-18; If we expand the time period, Houston moves up the ranks... Houston had the largest growth for the period 2010-2018)

Good points. I would add that Houston MSA has grown by over 1,000,000 in the last 8 years. Either first or second in population growth for the nation. We are currently over 7 million. Freeways and toll roads are the way most of us will cross our enormous metropolitan area.

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12 hours ago, JLWM8609 said:

This schematic shows the railroad crossings remaining as-is under the freeway, but that can always change.

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/get-involved/hou/sh35-i610/040618-schematic2.pdf

Ooh, that's not good. Some remarks that come to mind:

- The light rail yard essentially forces a right-turn-only out to the southbound frontage road rather than do something sensible like connecting it to Mykawa. 

- The highway would reduce visibility for the troubling railroad crossings and make it difficult to revamp the crossing.

- The rerouting of Wayside south of 610 means that the rest of South Wayside's extension down to Beltway 8 will never happen.

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27 minutes ago, IronTiger said:

Ooh, that's not good. Some remarks that come to mind:

- The light rail yard essentially forces a right-turn-only out to the southbound frontage road rather than do something sensible like connecting it to Mykawa. 

- The highway would reduce visibility for the troubling railroad crossings and make it difficult to revamp the crossing.

- The rerouting of Wayside south of 610 means that the rest of South Wayside's extension down to Beltway 8 will never happen.

 

considering the plan is pretty much a freeway down the same corridor, there would be less traffic on that road anyway.

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