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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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I'd rather they tear down the Pierce Elevated, sell the land to developers, then use that cash to help cap the freeways on the other side of Downtown, but that's just me.

A few new changes. Here's a new bridge added:  

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On 9/26/2020 at 11:52 AM, Texasota said:

Multiple caps y'all. The cap I was referring to would have been essentially an expanded version of what is proposed here - a pedestrian/cycling connection from Andrews to about half a block north. Scale and detailing will be important here, but it's still a restoring a connection that the freeway had previously destroyed.

 

Pretty sure there has never been a cap seriously proposed in this area. It appears someone may have gotten carried away with the green coloring in a couple of the Management District's Program Diagrams, but the accompanying renderings and text do not indicate any plans for a cap on the west side.¬† That level of benefit and enhancement is reserved for the preferred east side.¬† ūüėČ

 

http://www.downtowndistrict.org/static/media/uploads/attachments/180131_nhhip_vision_&_opportunities_final_design_report_swa_72_dpi.pdf

 

 

 

Edited by Houston19514
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The rendering is on page 30 of this very thread.

See page 44 of the City's West Side presentation: http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/nhhip/west/presentation-west.pdf

 

It was pretty small and clearly a push compared to the east side cap, but I think this shows the benefit of pushing. A pedestrian/cycling connection where there is none now is a big improvement, even without the little plaza.

Edited by Texasota
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  • 1 month later...

https://abc13.com/7856225/

 

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Marcus Martinez, of architecture firm Page Southerland Page, envisions turning the old freeway into the Pierce Skypark, a multi-level, mixed-use development. His plans include space for food trucks, bike lanes, greenery, even a hot air balloon - calling it an urban trellis that would seamlessly tie into other yet-to-be-developed buildings and help unify surrounding neighborhoods. It would be a destination with opportunities for social gatherings and public art, similar to offerings at Discovery Green, which was also designed by Page.

 

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On 11/15/2020 at 12:33 AM, Big E said:

 

I'd rather they tear down the Pierce Elevated, sell the land to developers, then use that cash to help cap the freeways on the other side of Downtown, but that's just me.


same - I don’t want a reminder of an old freeway with a dead space underneath it

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On 11/16/2020 at 9:24 PM, HouTXRanger said:

Yeah. Tear the thing down and be done with it. Use lots of the space for parks and service buildings (affordable housing?) but sell the rest if they want. Let the city fill back in.

 

right, the whole point of getting rid of the pierce elevated is that it is a kind of block between midtown and downtown.

 

whether there are cars or trees on it, it is going to have the same effect.

 

if we're going to displace as much of the east and north around downtown to re-route 45, get rid of every remnant of the pierce elevated structure. just get rid of it.

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3 hours ago, samagon said:

 

right, the whole point of getting rid of the pierce elevated is that it is a kind of block between midtown and downtown.

 

whether there are cars or trees on it, it is going to have the same effect.

 

if we're going to displace as much of the east and north around downtown to re-route 45, get rid of every remnant of the pierce elevated structure. just get rid of it.

Agreed. Selling the land is the only way TxDOT is going to offset some of the cost of the structure, too. This isn't a High Line situation where the linear park combines with a significant improvement in pedestrian infrastructure.

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On 11/16/2020 at 7:13 PM, Avossos said:


same - I don’t want a reminder of an old freeway with a dead space underneath it

It wouldn’t be dead at all. If anything it would create an even cooler area for food trucks, park space and green space in general, along with the opportunity to build great walkable areas for shade etc. I mean it gets hot af here

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On 11/19/2020 at 2:44 PM, j_cuevas713 said:

It wouldn’t be dead at all. If anything it would create an even cooler area for food trucks, park space and green space in general, along with the opportunity to build great walkable areas for shade etc. I mean it gets hot af here

I mean, they can park food trucks and such under the freeway as it is now, and not do anything to the freeway. They could do all kinds of things with the space under the freeway, but it still wouldn't be the best usage of that footprint. 

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Under the freeway will be a lot more pleasant place without cars driving above at speed. I have mixed feelings about converting the Pierce Elevated, but I would find the argument for removing it completely a lot more convincing if there werent plenty of vacant lots nearby. I'll take the shade over another surface lot any day.

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12 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Under the freeway will be a lot more pleasant place without cars driving above at speed. I have mixed feelings about converting the Pierce Elevated, but I would find the argument for removing it completely a lot more convincing if there werent plenty of vacant lots nearby. I'll take the shade over another surface lot any day.

 

When the freeway is removed, it will raise land values and encourage more development in the surrounding area. Might get some more residential. Plus, one could build a park on some of the vacant land without having to worry about maintaining the existing freeway structure (or maintain it as an eyesore).

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57 minutes ago, Big E said:

 

When the freeway is removed, it will raise land values and encourage more development in the surrounding area. Might get some more residential. Plus, one could build a park on some of the vacant land without having to worry about maintaining the existing freeway structure (or maintain it as an eyesore).

More development? Does that include the long awaited expansion of the bus station? Bwahahaha.

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On 11/18/2020 at 12:37 PM, ADCS said:

Agreed. Selling the land is the only way TxDOT is going to offset some of the cost of the structure, too. This isn't a High Line situation where the linear park combines with a significant improvement in pedestrian infrastructure.


I like the High Line conversion idea for Pierce Elevated. Could be an area for jogging trails, outdoor movies or amphitheater. Under the overpass could be used to stage a covered Farmers Market for the growing residential population of Southern Downtown and Midtown. And the overpass doesn’t take up the full block between Pierce and Gray. That leaves the Gray portion as developable with direct connections to the overpass as an amenity. 
 

But I understand TXDOT’s funding mechanism for the overall project by demolishing the overpass and selling the land. 
 

Maybe we find a compromise. Leave the Pierce Elevated standing and redevelop this portion from the Jefferson/Pierce/Bagby split to Main St. Let Main St be a gateway terminus for Pierce Elevated Park. Demolish the Pierce Elevated south of Main St and sell the land. 

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My take is that removal of the Pierce Elevated would do far more good, by creating a more seamless transition between Midtown and Downtown, than a High Line-like conversion would. Granted, I was living in Midtown back in the very early 2000s, when the space under I-45 was still a homeless tent city, but even though I lived right at Bagby and Gray, and could (and did) walk into Downtown at times, the overpass created a very strong visual and psychological barrier between Midtown and Downtown. Even though the land underneath is now gated parking, I'd still feel spooky walking under the Pierce at night in anything more than a large group of people. Getting rid of the overpass would do a lot to make the Midtown/Downtown area more walkable.

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Switching topics, why can’t we have a signature bridge over Buffalo Bayou built as part of this project? It would look beautiful backed by the Downtown Houston skyline and could be a marketable asset for decades to come. Many have clearly thought about it in the past (see renders I’ve collected over time) so why aren’t we doing it?

 

Boston has the Zakim

Dallas has their spans over the Trinity

Miami is building a Techno Tarantula 

Why can’t we have anything nice in this town? 

 

 

Edited by tigereye
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3 hours ago, tigereye said:


I like the High Line conversion idea for Pierce Elevated. Could be an area for jogging trails, outdoor movies or amphitheater. Under the overpass could be used to stage a covered Farmers Market for the growing residential population of Southern Downtown and Midtown. And the overpass doesn’t take up the full block between Pierce and Gray. That leaves the Gray portion as developable with direct connections to the overpass as an amenity. 
 

But I understand TXDOT’s funding mechanism for the overall project by demolishing the overpass and selling the land. 
 

Maybe we find a compromise. Leave the Pierce Elevated standing and redevelop this portion from the Jefferson/Pierce/Bagby split to Main St. Let Main St be a gateway terminus for Pierce Elevated Park. Demolish the Pierce Elevated south of Main St and sell the land. 

 

There's no compromise to be found in leaving the structure standing. It's either there, or it's gone.

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  • 2 months later...

Officials hoped agreement would bring them together on I-45 rebuild. It may push them further apart.

 

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No one is pulling the plug on the freeway rebuild or its design, but transportation officials said the lack of consensus between the Texas Department of Transportation, Harris County, Houston and the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council has the region’s largest-ever freeway rebuild at a crossroads. It is a hurdle a proposed memorandum of understanding was intended to clear, but the various agencies could not even agree on the agreement.

 

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TxDOT gives itself go-ahead on $7.5B rebuild of I-45, and critics pounce

 

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Texas highway officials Thursday gave themselves the green light to rebuild Interstate 45 in Houston, a crucial step in the process, despite lingering concerns from critics that the proposed $7.5 billion widening project is out of step with the region's future needs.

 

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After reading the Record of Decision published yesterday, one thing I am worried about is that they seem to have abandoned the plan to relocate the railroad tracks, necessary for the North Canal project, because it discusses adding grade-separated crossings for the tracks at Providence and Rothwell Street, but those would be completely unnecessary if the tracks are relocated.  Also they mention a shoofly for the overpass over IH-45, but I would think that wouldn't be necessary if they built the new bridge with the new alignment necessary for the relocated rail in lieu of a shoofly.  If I am reading this right, that is very disappointing.

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10 hours ago, rechlin said:

After reading the Record of Decision published yesterday, one thing I am worried about is that they seem to have abandoned the plan to relocate the railroad tracks, necessary for the North Canal project, because it discusses adding grade-separated crossings for the tracks at Providence and Rothwell Street, but those would be completely unnecessary if the tracks are relocated.  Also they mention a shoofly for the overpass over IH-45, but I would think that wouldn't be necessary if they built the new bridge with the new alignment necessary for the relocated rail in lieu of a shoofly.  If I am reading this right, that is very disappointing.


i'm not sure your reading is correct.  It makes sense that if they relocate/combine the railroad tracks that there would be a need to make sure the crossings are grade separated at those two streets?   

image.png.5466fccfce381ff496163b3118c5547a.png
 

Edited by crock
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18 minutes ago, crock said:

my rudimentary understanding of this clusterf' of a plan is something like this? 

image.png.b96ac5d6d1933e6a84ab2a0d54549666.png

I thought it was the other way around. They want to keep the railroad at your red X and remove the railroad on your blue line.

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2 hours ago, Triton said:

I thought it was the other way around. They want to keep the railroad at your red X and remove the railroad on your blue line.


The only thing i'm positive on is that all of the tentative plans have Winter Street line being removed and the southern line, that already has a separate grade crossing at Houston Ave,  becoming the single line, how that works west of white oak bayou i'm fuzzy on.  

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@triton

So you were right on the east side, and I was right on the west side... here's the plan as it is in the last Houston Downtown Plan.... so I guess it is true we should be worried/mad that the new i45 plan doesn't imply this'll happen.   ugh. image.png.df6c43307f04c98203adc6cfdfe99ff5.png

 

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57 minutes ago, crock said:

@triton

So you were right on the east side, and I was right on the west side... here's the plan as it is in the last Houston Downtown Plan.... so I guess it is true we should be worried/mad that the new i45 plan doesn't imply this'll happen.   ugh. image.png.df6c43307f04c98203adc6cfdfe99ff5.png

 

Oh cool, where did you find this? Link please? I attended the meeting for this but I don't believe I've seen this one.

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2 hours ago, Triton said:

Oh cool, where did you find this? Link please? I attended the meeting for this but I don't believe I've seen this one.

page 33 of this https://www.downtownhouston.org/media/uploads/attachments/2017-11-02/Plan_Downtown_Report_FINAL_Spreads_sm.pdf 


i know the last few i45 meetings also had a similar(identical?) rail alignment as part of the Houston requests to TxDOT

Edited by crock
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Not sure, but I think it might be a case of TxDot dealing with the situation as it is.  IIRC, the railroad relocation is a separate project, not part of or particularly related to the NHHIP and not funded or planned by TxDot.  Thus, they are making plans based on where the railroads are.  Meanwhile, other entities (City of Houston, Harris County, Harris County Flood Control District, and the railroads, etc) are probably working on the railroad relocation. IF they come to agreement to make the that happen, TxDot will adjust their plans accordingly.

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I wonder if it would be cheaper for TxDOT to just relocate the rail (rebuilding one bridge and acquiring a small amount of land for the reroute) than to do what is currently planned barring no cooperation from other entities (rebuilding one bridge, building a shoofly bridge, and building two grade-separated crossings).  Seems like a no-brainer to me; I'm surprised an agreement hasn't been made yet.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's really happening. reddit u/SophieWoodrow posted this on r/houston. Tenants are being asked to move out of the Lofts at the Ballpark.

01N1K2d.png

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Oh, Yeah. There is no doubt Segment 3 (the part of the project around downtown) is happening. Property acquisitions have been proceeding for more than a year already. They expect enter into the construction contracts later this year (probably September), with actual construction starting probably by year-end.  First construction will start at the very south end of the project (I-69 around Montrose) and proceed north.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Federal Highway Administration Asks Texas To Halt I-45 Expansion, As Harris County Sues TxDOT

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The Federal Highway Administration has asked Texas’ transportation department to halt construction on an Interstate 45 expansion project, citing civil rights concerns.

The news comes the same day Harris County announced it was suing the Texas Department of Transportation over the North Houston Highway Improvement Project.

 

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33 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

Hope this suit doesn’t end up torpedoing funding of this project because I-45 needs help, especially the older sections from Quitman to the North Belt. I literally have a toll tag just to see my family and avoid driving in this mess. 

What this city really needs is right of way separated commuter trains to all the heavily populated suburbs, replacing the glorified commuter busses that clog our freeways and streets now. Give commuters a choice to use a high speed train that travels unimpeded by vehicular traffic, shaving long and frustrating commute times and they’ll go for it. For a sprawling city of our size, commuter trains should've been a no-brainer solution. Hell, we chose the cheaper option - Metro’s commuter shuttle busses.

But instead, all I hear is the same ole bullshit argument from backwards ass peons ‚Äúwe‚Äôre not NY, we won‚Äôt use trains.‚ÄĚ Fine, stay stuck in the past, not to mention, stuck in traffic.

Edited by tigereye
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^ Exactly, that argument is complete BS. The best example I saw was DC. People lived out in the suburbs, just like Houston, and they would park at very large parking garages out near where they lived. From there, they would hop on the rail and go into downtown or any other the other major city centers around DC. It was fantastic and it's exactly what Houston needs. You get the comfort of working on your laptop or phone while passing the congestion.

My actual fear is that this is just lip service by the city. To make it seem like they care about the needs of the less fortunate. I literally went to TXDOT meetings for 3 years and I didn't see a single thing from any of the superneighborhoods implemented by TXDOT. I feel like they seriously aren't working with the city or any of the planning meetings. It's like TXDOT is saying, "Hey! We are giving you a big park near downtown. Take it and run!" and they expect the city to congratulate them for that.

In the end, we'll have to see where both TXDOT and the city go with this.

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6 hours ago, Triton said:

. It's like TXDOT is saying, "Hey! We are giving you a big park near downtown. Take it and run!" and they expect the city to congratulate them for that.

They're not even paying for the park.  It' more like "Hey you can build a park in this vibrant area we destroyed...if you have the money" 

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As mentioned, the lawsuit is just a show...too many people are making too much money off this project for it not to move forward...it's comical that they would run Rodney Ellis out there given his wife stands to make millions off the HHA projects that are to replace Clayton Homes. TXDOT funds were used to purchase Clayton Homes and she is the broker on the HHA projects. If anyone thinks ol' Rodney cares about anything other than that, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona if you are interested.

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20 minutes ago, Big E said:

Man, this entire project has become the clown show to end all clown shows. This really is Houston's Big Dig.

it'll end up being worse than that, while their project ended up going woefully overbudget, they have something to show for the money invested.

we've got some PDFs and youtube videos.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

it'll end up being worse than that, while their project ended up going woefully overbudget, they have something to show for the money invested.

we've got some PDFs and youtube videos.

A large green space through your downtown area  > wider freeways with the possibility of some cap parks

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6 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

So now that the county is suing TxDOT, how will this affect Metro’s plans for the Inner Katy BRT? 

It's very unlikely this will have any effect on the Inner Katy BRT.

The BRT will be on TxDOT right-of-way, but I don't think TxDOT will want to burn bridges with Metro, CoH and HGAC by causing delays.

Also, it appears that (as of now) only Harris County is a plaintiff in the lawsuit against TxDOT. CoH and Metro are not suing TxDOT. Of course CoH and others (i.e. Link) may be glad to let Harris County do the dirty work.

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17 minutes ago, MaxConcrete said:

It's very unlikely this will have any effect on the Inner Katy BRT.

The BRT will be on TxDOT right-of-way, but I don't think TxDOT will want to burn bridges with Metro, CoH and HGAC by causing delays.

Also, it appears that (as of now) only Harris County is a plaintiff in the lawsuit against TxDOT. CoH and Metro are not suing TxDOT. Of course CoH and others (i.e. Link) may be glad to let Harris County do the dirty work.

Yeah I really think the CoH and Metro just didn’t have the power to stop TxDOT. But now that the county is involved it may stop the project all together which I’m actually happy about. I feel like the negatives don’t outweigh the positives with this project. 

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5 hours ago, burt said:

As mentioned, the lawsuit is just a show...too many people are making too much money off this project for it not to move forward...it's comical that they would run Rodney Ellis out there given his wife stands to make millions off the HHA projects that are to replace Clayton Homes. TXDOT funds were used to purchase Clayton Homes and she is the broker on the HHA projects. If anyone thinks ol' Rodney cares about anything other than that, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona if you are interested.

the county lawsuit is more or less just a show, but the FHA 'asking' them to stop isn't.

9gZORLt.jpg

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

the county lawsuit is more or less just a show, but the FHA 'asking' them to stop isn't.

 

I wouldn't be so sure of that.  Be watching for the press event where Representative Sheila Jackson Lee announces the resolution of her issues with the project by TxDoT agreeing to do things they were already committed to doing (like replacing the public housing units and paying for the residents' relocation).

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