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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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9 minutes ago, rechlin said:

I'm not a suburbanite (I've lived inside the loop for the last >20 years), but I want this project to happen.  Why?  IH-45 is one of the most dangerous highways in the country, and there are so many problems with its current implementation that this project addresses.

Most of TxDOT's plans for this project are to increase safety.  People keep naively going on and on about induced demand, but that isn't even relevant here, because in many sections, this project doesn't even add more regular lanes.  It does add bus (+HOV/HOT) lanes, but improved mass transit is something we should be celebrating, not opposing. 

The number of people being forced to move is exaggerated by most opponents of this project as well.  Regardless of whether this happens, many of the units at Clayton Homes have already been torn down (so the residents already had to move) thanks to damage from Harvey, and it seems the rest will get relocated to a less flood-prone development regardless of whether this goes forward.  And at Kelly Village, the housing authority has voluntarily wanted to tear down more than is necessary to make more greenspace for its residents -- again, it seems the housing authority would rather have more residents elsewhere (as has been determined from the failure of low-income tower blocks, it does not make sense to have a large number of low-income residents in one small area, but it's better to spread them around to give them more opportunities).  And at the Lofts at the Ballpark, this move has been expected anyway, and my impression is that the owners are welcoming this buyout.  Many of the businesses cited by articles in opposition to this as being in the way of the project have either already closed or will soon close anyway (such as Fry's Electronics and Kim Son), so the buyouts are likely to be appreciated as well.  And the renters of business properties in the way have known about this project for many years, probably even before they signed their leases for the property, so many have always been prepared for this day.

If this project goes forward, it will mean safer travel, thanks to fewer (and less tight) curves, broader shoulders, and less dangerous merging.  Road capacity will increase as a side effect, allowing more people to get to their destination with the same traffic speeds as today.

It will also mean fewer problems from trucks striking low bridges.  The West Dallas and Houston Street bridges are infamous for being struck regularly, and this project addresses those.

It will also mean fewer problems with flooding, because this project calls for massive retention/detention ponds and pumping systems, to ensure that both property around the project and the roadway itself can avoid flooding as often.  And by having the segment east of downtown below-grade, in Biblical floods (think Allison, Harvey), they could be setup to fill with water to help protect the property around them, because nobody should be traveling on the roads during events like those.

Yes, it sucks for the people who will be forced to move, especially for those few who own homes that they've lived in for decades.  Few people want that.  But the plans call for very generous relocation assistance (even going as far as rent and mortgage subsidies, not just moving expenses), and we can't let a few people stand in the way of progress.  There are some negatives to this project, and of course the massive cost, but it seems the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.

As far as I'm concerned, "high cost" really isn't an issue because it's not like gas tax rates are going to change if the project proceeds.  If we don't want the $9 billion spent locally (tremendous stimulus in and of itself), it'll (happily) go somewhere else.  The only major unfunded items that I am aware of is for the cap parks.

I, too, hope it proceeds, but the link between freeways and DFW's growth is spurious.  The idea that rail will be some panacea to alleviate congestion is also problematic.  

I hope if it does get scaled back the investment gets redirected elsewhere locally.  I agree that Mayor Turner appears to have the most balanced and pragmatic approach.

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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

Do I understand correctly that the city and county's interest in stopping this is because it forces some racial minority people out of their homes, and the federal government's interest in stopping this is because of environmentalist concerns, and the two interests just happen to dovetail? But that on a deeper level, the real motivation is so that local politicians can say "We blew up something that benefits suburbanites more than inner city people" and so that federal politicians can say "We blew up something in Texas"?

 

I feel like this has been gone over previously, but this is a huge understatement of what is actually going on.

as far as the motivation on the national level, I thought that was based on the racial factors. the county brings up environmental issues as only part of the lawsuit against txdot.

so county motivation is racial factors, and environmental. national seems to only be racial factors.

as far as what can be gained on the federal level, I suspect it has less to do with Texas specifically, and more about the fact that a democrat president will have directives that force scrutiny upon federally funded projects when race is a factor.

on the local level, I can certainly say that as a citizen of Houston I appreciate my mayor (and county officials) considering my neighborhood as more important than whoever may be just driving through the city of Houston.

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Are segments 1 and 2 necessarily linked to segment 3? Based on Mayor Turner's letter to Commissioner Ryan (which was based on community feedback) and many comments here, in general, people seem to be okay with and even supportive of just segment 3. After seeing the schematics for segments 1 and 2, I think it bulldozes way too much of the community. My personal opinion is that segment 3 moves forward and smaller improvements are made to segments 1 and 2. Hopefully TxDOT and Harris County can settle the lawsuit by moving forward with segment 3 but redesigning and significantly reducing the number of lanes required for segments 1 and 2.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

as far as what can be gained on the federal level, I suspect it has less to do with Texas specifically, and more about the fact that a democrat president will have directives that force scrutiny upon federally funded projects when race is a factor.

It's certainly a "showcase project" for a new administration to make a national example.  Which means bad timing or good timing, depending on one's view.  The cynic in me (given how quickly the project was put on hold) says I highly doubt DoT has a view of what they want the project to be, either.

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2 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

As far as I'm concerned, "high cost" really isn't an issue because it's not like gas tax rates are going to change if the project proceeds. 

While it's true that gas tax rates will probably stay the same, the actual amounts collected vary depending on the current market price. I've never understood why fuel isn't taxed by the gallon instead of as a percentage of fuel cost..
We may be approaching a tipping point where ICE's don't power the majority of vehicles. The reliability, low operating costs, and increasing affordability of electric vehicles is attracting an increasing number of consumers. How do we tax gas that isn't being sold? 
The logical answer would be to initiate a usage tax for roads based on miles driven. This way the electric car owners would not be given (if you'll excuse the expression) a free ride. But not many politicians would undertake the task of convincing the public that another tax is needed.
 

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9 minutes ago, dbigtex56 said:

While it's true that gas tax rates will probably stay the same, the actual amounts collected vary depending on the current market price. I've never understood why fuel isn't taxed by the gallon instead of as a percentage of fuel cost..
We may be approaching a tipping point where ICE's don't power the majority of vehicles. The reliability, low operating costs, and increasing affordability of electric vehicles is attracting an increasing number of consumers. How do we tax gas that isn't being sold? 
The logical answer would be to initiate a usage tax for roads based on miles driven. This way the electric car owners would not be given (if you'll excuse the expression) a free ride. But not many politicians would undertake the task of convincing the public that another tax is needed.
 

Gasoline taxes (both state and federal) ARE on a per gallon basis, not percentage of sale.

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6 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

Gasoline taxes (both state and federal) ARE on a per gallon basis, not percentage of sale.

Thanks for the correction. I should have verified before posting. 
Some states do have variable-rate gas taxes, but Texas is not among them. 
 

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I hate to be “that guy” since I’m sure it’s been discussed to death in previous posts, but if the main stated concern of the County and City really is people being dislocated, how many people are we really talking about? For whatever reason the number that sticks out in my head was around 500 housing UNITS, the majority of which were in a single multifamily complex.

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to displace the fewest residents and businesses, they need to route I-45 around the East Loop. Make the current I-45 inside the loop a spur that links to downtown and to 59.

 

the main difficulty with this is that the Ship Channel Bridge is approaching 50 years of age...

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4 minutes ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

to displace the fewest residents and businesses, they need to route I-45 around the East Loop. Make the current I-45 inside the loop a spur that links to downtown and to 59.

 

the main difficulty with this is that the Ship Channel Bridge is approaching 50 years of age...

Or … just … widen … the … East … Loop?

In your scenario what difference does it make if it’s signed 45 or not?!

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1 hour ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

to displace the fewest residents and businesses, they need to route I-45 around the East Loop. Make the current I-45 inside the loop a spur that links to downtown and to 59.

 

the main difficulty with this is that the Ship Channel Bridge is approaching 50 years of age...

The only thing that would do would be to put more pressure on the East Loop so it becomes as bad as the West loop. Also, as you said, the Ship Channel Bridge is old, and ships have run into it before. Its probably due for replacement, which will take years and be a traffic nightmare, just like what's going on with the Beltway 8 bridge. And if you think an expansion of the East Loop would be less controversial, think again. Many of the people complaining about this project will complain about that as well because they oppose any freeway development, no matter how needed or necessary.

 

3 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

(given how quickly the project was put on hold)

I mean they had no choice but to put it on hold, with the federal government breathing down their neck.

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1 hour ago, mattyt36 said:

Or … just … widen … the … East … Loop?

In your scenario what difference does it make if it’s signed 45 or not?!

Thru traffic would go around downtown. That's enough of a difference to make a difference, even if it's only 20% of the traffic.

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4 minutes ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

Thru traffic would go around downtown. That's enough of a difference to make a difference, even if it's only 20% of the traffic.

And they can’t do that now because … ?

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13 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

I hate to be “that guy” since I’m sure it’s been discussed to death in previous posts, but if the main stated concern of the County and City really is people being dislocated, how many people are we really talking about? For whatever reason the number that sticks out in my head was around 500 housing UNITS, the majority of which were in a single multifamily complex.

it's not just the people being dislocated, it's the communities being disrupted, it's the added pollution near schools, there's a lot of other factors.

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13 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

Or … just … widen … the … East … Loop?

In your scenario what difference does it make if it’s signed 45 or not?!

I am so onboard with this.

as far as widening the bridge, I thought they are supposed to do work on it soon anyway? and it's not that hard to put signage on the east loop that says i45, and then remark i45 through town as 'business i45'.

this solves so many problems it's not funny, and it's disgusting that txdot isn't doing this.

major freeway intersections won't be right on top of each other: check

they already own more than enough ROW through the corridor: check

any ROW they need to acquire comes from sprawling campuses with huge parking lots: check

the main point of issue with ROW becomes 610 between Hardy and the current i45.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

I am so onboard with this.

as far as widening the bridge, I thought they are supposed to do work on it soon anyway? and it's not that hard to put signage on the east loop that says i45, and then remark i45 through town as 'business i45'.

this solves so many problems it's not funny, and it's disgusting that txdot isn't doing this.

major freeway intersections won't be right on top of each other: check

they already own more than enough ROW through the corridor: check

any ROW they need to acquire comes from sprawling campuses with huge parking lots: check

the main point of issue with ROW becomes 610 between Hardy and the current i45.

Added pollution around East Loop schools and disrupted East Loop communities are OK then?

Not to mention you still have the same problem with segments 1 and 2.

And does it really "solve so many problems it's not funny"?  If the name of the game is to reduce congestion, how much of demand during peak congestion periods is really thru, outside-of-the-loop demand, people going, say, from The Woodlands to Clear Lake?  These people already have 2 choices for bypasses.

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33 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

Added pollution around East Loop schools and disrupted East Loop communities are OK then?

Not to mention you still have the same problem with segments 1 and 2.

And does it really "solve so many problems it's not funny"?  If the name of the game is to reduce congestion, how much of demand during peak congestion periods is really thru, outside-of-the-loop demand, people going, say, from The Woodlands to Clear Lake?  These people already have 2 choices for bypasses.

I think you'll find that TXDOT owns a lot of ROW on the east loop, so there would be less taking from communities, and there is a lot of industrial with huge parking lots that front the 610 loop on the east/northeast side of town. ED from them is a lot easier than taking from economically disadvantaged racial minority communities.

you're right regarding schools, there are some along the 610 east/northeast loop. so at best that's a push.

correction on the segments, segment 2 and 3 are inside the loop, so if this alternative were taken, only segment 1 would be still a problem, until you get up to Little York/Shepherd there's a lot of community that would be impacted. once you get past Little York, there's a lot of businesses with sprawling parking lots on the frontage. perhaps a design can be created that follows more of the suggestions made by Houston that keeps the freeway within the current ROW?

sure there'd be impact to communities, but it would be less than the current design, and it would still allow for an updated freeway that allows for safer travel, and more throughput.

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3 minutes ago, samagon said:

sure there'd be impact to communities, but it would be less than the current design

You keep saying that, but is it true?  Would be nice to see some actual numbers.  What about the potential positive externalities of the improved flood control?  How should those be weighed?

Even more importantly, would it even solve the stated problem?  Seriously, what percentage of peak-hour demand do you think this would address?  And how many of these people aren't they using this option they technically already have?

We're back, then, to the whole crux of this being that the East Loop is re-signed with a 45 shield.  Might as well do it today.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, samagon said:

I feel like this has been gone over previously, but this is a huge understatement of what is actually going on.

as far as the motivation on the national level, I thought that was based on the racial factors. the county brings up environmental issues as only part of the lawsuit against txdot.

so county motivation is racial factors, and environmental. national seems to only be racial factors.

as far as what can be gained on the federal level, I suspect it has less to do with Texas specifically, and more about the fact that a democrat president will have directives that force scrutiny upon federally funded projects when race is a factor.

on the local level, I can certainly say that as a citizen of Houston I appreciate my mayor (and county officials) considering my neighborhood as more important than whoever may be just driving through the city of Houston.

Pretty sure the EPA is involved on the national level. And we would be very naive to think that the fact that this is in Texas does not matter. We are the most visible red state the way California is the most visible blue state and people up in D.C. do not think "Well, Houston is actually blue." Trump and the Republicans did a lot of little things to punish California when they had power and there are some scores to settle. To your average White House apparatchik, scaling back a highway and punishing Texas is a win-win that shows who is in charge now and where the power lies.

 

16 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

to displace the fewest residents and businesses, they need to route I-45 around the East Loop. Make the current I-45 inside the loop a spur that links to downtown and to 59.

 

the main difficulty with this is that the Ship Channel Bridge is approaching 50 years of age...

Austin had this idea with building 130 to relieve congestion on I-35. They thought all the trucks and through-traffic would opt for this super fast tollway. But everybody just kept going through on I-35 and traffic didn't get any better. Most people have a very basic, instinctual understanding that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and it is hard to get them out of that.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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40 minutes ago, samagon said:

I think you'll find that TXDOT owns a lot of ROW on the east loop, so there would be less taking from communities, and there is a lot of industrial with huge parking lots that front the 610 loop on the east/northeast side of town. ED from them is a lot easier than taking from economically disadvantaged racial minority communities.

you're right regarding schools, there are some along the 610 east/northeast loop. so at best that's a push.

correction on the segments, segment 2 and 3 are inside the loop, so if this alternative were taken, only segment 1 would be still a problem, until you get up to Little York/Shepherd there's a lot of community that would be impacted. once you get past Little York, there's a lot of businesses with sprawling parking lots on the frontage. perhaps a design can be created that follows more of the suggestions made by Houston that keeps the freeway within the current ROW?

sure there'd be impact to communities, but it would be less than the current design, and it would still allow for an updated freeway that allows for safer travel, and more throughput.

Spend 5 minutes with Google maps and you'll see that widening the East and North Loops plus I-45 north of the North Loop would easily impact as many households as, and probably quite a few more than, the current plan.

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19 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

Pretty sure the EPA is involved on the national level. And we would be very naive to think that the fact that this is in Texas does not matter. We are the most visible red state the way California is the most visible blue state and people up in D.C. do not think "Well, Houston is actually blue." Trump and the Republicans did a lot of little things to punish California when they had power and there are some scores to settle. To your average White House apparatchik, scaling back a highway and punishing Texas is a win-win that shows who is in charge now and where the power lies.

That's a bit too cynical of a take for me for a variety of reasons, chief among them being I don't think Democrats are in the habit of employing the same retributive tactics.  I wouldn't be surprised if County or City officials backchanneled and asked for more time, in fact all signs point to them likely doing so.  The USDOT announcement came the same day as the County (a solid Democratic constituency) announced it was suing TxDOT.  And even if they didn't, pausing a project of such magnitude for a new administration to review what had been done to date could still have been done in good faith.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

Spend 5 minutes with Google maps and you'll see that widening the East and North Loops plus I-45 north of the North Loop would easily impact as many households as, and probably quite a few more than, the current plan.

the complete distance of segment 2 and 3 is over 6 miles. there is acquisition of land at every mile of these two segments from various different communities.

if you follow 610 from i45 to i45, first and foremost the amount of ROW the loop sits on is very clear to be wide already. so the amount of land that would need to be taken would be minimal.

where there would need to be taking, there are pockets of residential on one side of the freeway, but mostly it is industrial that could be taken without needing to intrude upon the residential component. on 610 between 59 and i45, that is where you get into a 2 mile stretch where it is residential on both sides of the freeway, and very little ROW extends beyond the freeway itself.

so yeah, you're right, this would impact homes, and I agree to that, but to state that it would be more than the current plan is quite disingenuous.

at the end of the day though, this is a bit of a sideshow, the likelyhood of the entire plan being scrapped as is and creating a whole nother plan that follows a different route entirely is never going to happen.

the current plan, in some form or another, or even if it is pieces of it, will move forward.

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1 minute ago, mattyt36 said:

That's a bit too cynical of a take for me for a variety of reasons, chief among them being I don't think Democrats are in the habit of employing the same retributive tactics.  I wouldn't be surprised if County or City officials backchanneled and asked for more time, in fact all signs point to them likely doing so.  The USDOT announcement came the same day as the County (a solid Democratic constituency) announced it was suing TxDOT.  And even if they didn't, pausing a project of such magnitude for a new administration to review what had been done to date could still have been done in good faith.

Retributive tactics are part of politics. Democrats are going to be a bit more subtle about it and not go blaring it on a tweet, but I don't think that the rules of politics as practiced all over the world are suspended for one party that is noble and virtuous.

 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

Retributive tactics are part of politics. Democrats are going to be a bit more subtle about it and not go blaring it on a tweet, but I don't think that the rules of politics as practiced all over the world are suspended for one party that is noble and virtuous.

 

Um, OK.  But that doesn't change the fact that your assertion is not grounded in anything, er, factual--just your view of the world.  If the project is being opposed by LOCAL officials of the same party, isn't coordination among them a more likely explanation than some hot take of "Democrats are going to stick it to Texas because Trump stuck it to California?"

6 minutes ago, samagon said:

the complete distance of segment 2 and 3 is over 6 miles. there is acquisition of land at every mile of these two segments from various different communities.

if you follow 610 from i45 to i45, first and foremost the amount of ROW the loop sits on is very clear to be wide already. so the amount of land that would need to be taken would be minimal.

where there would need to be taking, there are pockets of residential on one side of the freeway, but mostly it is industrial that could be taken without needing to intrude upon the residential component. on 610 between 59 and i45, that is where you get into a 2 mile stretch where it is residential on both sides of the freeway, and very little ROW extends beyond the freeway itself.

so yeah, you're right, this would impact homes, and I agree to that, but to state that it would be more than the current plan is quite disingenuous.

And the question remains . . . 

Even if it is true that a smaller amount of people would have to move, WOULD THIS ACTUALLY SOLVE THE PROBLEM?

Not sure why this fundamental question keeps on being ignored.

Edited by mattyt36
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1 minute ago, mattyt36 said:

Um, OK.  But that doesn't change the fact that your assertion is not grounded in anything, er, factual--just your view of the world.

Not grounded in anything factual? I've watched it play out in politics my entire life. This is how politics is done. Look at the petty squabbles over disaster relief funds, with reminders of when the other party was parsimonious for disaster relief. A year ago when it was proposed that the Covid relief bill include purchasing oil for the strategic petroleum reserve in order to shore up the price of oil and save hundreds of thousands of jobs in the oil industry, the Democrats nixed it in negotiations and Chuck Schumer bragged that he "killed a bailout of the oil industry." And Houston is pretty closely associated with the oil industry, as is Texas, which is all that Houston really is to someone in the Northeast or West Coast - just a part of Texas.

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2 minutes ago, samagon said:

the complete distance of segment 2 and 3 is over 6 miles. there is acquisition of land at every mile of these two segments from various different communities.

if you follow 610 from i45 to i45, first and foremost the amount of ROW the loop sits on is very clear to be wide already. so the amount of land that would need to be taken would be minimal.

where there would need to be taking, there are pockets of residential on one side of the freeway, but mostly it is industrial that could be taken without needing to intrude upon the residential component. on 610 between 59 and i45, that is where you get into a 2 mile stretch where it is residential on both sides of the freeway, and very little ROW extends beyond the freeway itself.

so yeah, you're right, this would impact homes, and I agree to that, but to state that it would be more than the current plan is quite disingenuous.

 

 

4 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

 

And the question remains . . . 

Even if it is true that a smaller amount of people would have to move, WOULD THIS ACTUALLY SOLVE THE PROBLEM?

Not sure why this fundamental question keeps on being ignored.

Quite right.  And it clearly would NOT solve the problems with the current highways in Segment 3.  Even if we were  to re-route the through-traffic on 610 (and even assuming that makes a significant impact), I-45 through downtown needs work.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

Um, OK.  But that doesn't change the fact that your assertion is not grounded in anything, er, factual--just your view of the world.

And the question remains . . . 

Even if it is true that a smaller amount of people would have to move, WOULD THIS ACTUALLY SOLVE THE PROBLEM?

Not sure why this fundamental question keeps on being ignored.

I assumed this was a rhetorical question. 

there are enough studies to show that when you increase freeway capacity to relieve congestion it is a very short time before cheap land even farther out of town is purchased to develop into even farther suburbs that then end up choking the same roads with a similar level of congestion as was there previously.

so no, neither a redesign that goes on 610, nor the current design that stays (mostly) within the current alignment will solve the problem of congestion.

whether it makes it a safer highway or not, well that's something we won't know until it's in practice, right? I can say that I feel if major interchanges (i10 and 59) were not right on top of each other (as they are now) it would be a far safer situation to go around 610. so it would solve one of the problems that was mentioned above, in that it would be a safer alternate.

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10 minutes ago, samagon said:

I assumed this was a rhetorical question. 

there are enough studies to show that when you increase freeway capacity to relieve congestion it is a very short time before cheap land even farther out of town is purchased to develop into even farther suburbs that then end up choking the same roads with a similar level of congestion as was there previously.

so no, neither a redesign that goes on 610, nor the current design that stays (mostly) within the current alignment will solve the problem of congestion.

whether it makes it a safer highway or not, well that's something we won't know until it's in practice, right? I can say that I feel if major interchanges (i10 and 59) were not right on top of each other (as they are now) it would be a far safer situation to go around 610. so it would solve one of the problems that was mentioned above, in that it would be a safer alternate.

So why are we talking about doing anything to 610 then?  What are the "so many problems it's not funny" then that you said this project would solve?

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Just now, mattyt36 said:

So why are we talking about doing anything to 610 then?  What are the "so many problems it's not funny" then that you said this project would solve?

I outlined them above.

the overall project of i45 will not be a long term solution to the problems it says it will absolve, regardless of the corridor.

moving this project from the current alignment, to align with 610 does indeed solve a lot of problems, safety, less impact on lower income racial minority communities, etc.

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15 minutes ago, samagon said:

there are enough studies to show that when you increase freeway capacity to relieve congestion it is a very short time before cheap land even farther out of town is purchased to develop into even farther suburbs that then end up choking the same roads with a similar level of congestion as was there previously.

Those of you who remember the old Katy Freeway before its expansion, would you say that the new Katy Freeway is not any better than the old Katy Freeway? It's been about 15 years since the expansion was completed, so this process has had time to take place.

And even if traffic is now just as bad as it was before the expansion (which I don't think it is), the fact also remains that you have supported massive growth of the west side of Houston, and far more cars are being moved with the same amount of traffic. So you would have to take a very strong anti-growth position to say that there is no long term advantage to expanding a freeway.

 

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, samagon said:

the complete distance of segment 2 and 3 is over 6 miles. there is acquisition of land at every mile of these two segments from various different communities.

if you follow 610 from i45 to i45, first and foremost the amount of ROW the loop sits on is very clear to be wide already. so the amount of land that would need to be taken would be minimal.

where there would need to be taking, there are pockets of residential on one side of the freeway, but mostly it is industrial that could be taken without needing to intrude upon the residential component. on 610 between 59 and i45, that is where you get into a 2 mile stretch where it is residential on both sides of the freeway, and very little ROW extends beyond the freeway itself.

so yeah, you're right, this would impact homes, and I agree to that, but to state that it would be more than the current plan is quite disingenuous.

Not disingenuous at all.  The 610 route covers 14+ miles.  You're not looking at the route very carefully if you really believe it would affect fewer homes (not to mention businesses) than the 6 mile route. 

Edited by Houston19514
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6 minutes ago, samagon said:

I outlined them above.

the overall project of i45 will not be a long term solution to the problems it says it will absolve, regardless of the corridor.

moving this project from the current alignment, to align with 610 does indeed solve a lot of problems, safety, less impact on lower income racial minority communities, etc.

Because you said so?

I'm not convinced.

But at least I'm clear on the rationale.

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3 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

Those of you who remember the old Katy Freeway before its expansion, would you say that the new Katy Freeway is not any better than the old Katy Freeway? It's been about 15 years since the expansion was completed, so this process has had time to take place.

And even if traffic is now just as bad as it was before the expansion (which I don't think it is), the fact also remains that you have supported massive growth of the west side of Houston, and far more cars are being moved with the same amount of traffic. So you would have to take a very strong anti-growth position to say that there is no long term advantage to expanding a freeway.

 

This is just one of the reasons I don't take the county's lawsuit very seriously.  They repeat the silly lie that the Katy freeway expansion accomplished nothing.

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1 minute ago, mattyt36 said:

Because you said so?

I'm not convinced.

But at least I'm clear on the rationale.

well, unless anyone here designs and studies freeways for a living, we're all just opining based on our observations.

it just seems to me (especially from a safety aspect) that if you have 3 major freeway interchanges within 1 mile of each other (as the downtown interchange is now) you create extra bottleneck, you have extra safety concerns, and more that could be averted by having the alignment moved to 610.

so yeah, that's the rationale. 

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22 minutes ago, samagon said:

well, unless anyone here designs and studies freeways for a living, we're all just opining based on our observations.

it just seems to me (especially from a safety aspect) that if you have 3 major freeway interchanges within 1 mile of each other (as the downtown interchange is now) you create extra bottleneck, you have extra safety concerns, and more that could be averted by having the alignment moved to 610.

so yeah, that's the rationale. 

But, with your plan those intersections will still be there, unimproved.  By all accounts, even if the traffic is (temporarily) reduced by re-routing some of it on 610,  in short order traffic will increase to where it is today (either by "induced demand" or continued growth of the area economy/population). 

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, samagon said:

well, unless anyone here designs and studies freeways for a living, we're all just opining based on our observations.

it just seems to me (especially from a safety aspect) that if you have 3 major freeway interchanges within 1 mile of each other (as the downtown interchange is now) you create extra bottleneck, you have extra safety concerns, and more that could be averted by having the alignment moved to 610.

so yeah, that's the rationale. 

That may very well be, but I think the inconsistent logic and seeming dogged determination not to confront such inconsistencies when questions are posed can be used to judge the proposed "solution" amongst armchair "experts":

-People can do what you're saying now (and they can do it in at least one other place, i.e., Beltway 8, if not 2, with the Grand Parkway)

-Your stated premise is that these projects never solve congestion in the long run (which I can accept, with the obvious caveat that additional demand can be accommodated) . . . so, if that's the case, why do anything?

-You've supplied no data indicating fewer people would be displaced in a hypothetical East Loop expansion, other posters have stated why they think that might be incorrect (and, from looking at Google Maps, I can see what they're saying) . . . actually I still don't know how many would be relocated in the proposed alignment, but I don't think it's the number people are making it out to be

-Therefore I guess from your perspective the "so many problems" that this is solving seem to really be just "safety" (unless you value East Loop neighborhoods less than those along I-45)

-And, in light of your stated concerns about "safety," how would you value the positive externalities from the proposed concept, e.g., flood control?

I think at the end of the day it just reveals the fact that you don't like the project as proposed . . . and the rhetoric is being shaped around this "feeling."  Why not just leave it at that?

 

Edited by mattyt36
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Someone should do a Monty Python-esque sketch about when the pioneers decided they were going to expand Montgomery Road back when it was a one-lane dirt wagon trail and some guy shows up with a sheaf of papers babbling on about how all the studies show that expanding any road just creates induced demand and leads to the same traffic congestion in the future, just look at what happened when they expanded the San Felipe Road to where two wagons could ride abreast, and now on market days you have a double row of wagons stretching all the way back to the Westheimer farm. All that expanding Montgomery Road is going to do is bring these same problems to North Houston and ruin neighborhoods and disadvantage minority groups such as the natives living up around Green's Point. Just stop building new roads. Because all it does is bring congestion.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

That may very well be, but I think the inconsistent logic and seeming dogged determination not to confront such inconsistencies when questions are posed can be used to judge the proposed "solution" amongst armchair "experts":

-People can do what you're saying now (and they can do it in at least one other place, i.e., Beltway 8, if not 2, with the Grand Parkway)

-Your stated premise is that these projects never solve congestion in the long run (which I can accept, with the obvious caveat that additional demand can be accommodated) . . . so, if that's the case, why do anything?

-You've supplied no data indicating fewer people would be displaced in a hypothetical East Loop expansion, other posters have stated why they think that might be incorrect (and, from looking at Google Maps, I can see what they're saying) . . . actually I still don't know how many would be relocated in the proposed alignment, but I don't think it's the number people are making it out to be

-Therefore I guess from your perspective the "so many problems" that this is solving seem to really be just "safety" (unless you value East Loop neighborhoods less than those along I-45)

-And, in light of your stated concerns about "safety," how would you value the positive externalities from the proposed concept, e.g., flood control?

I think at the end of the day it just reveals the fact that you don't like the project as proposed . . . and the rhetoric is being shaped around this "feeling."  Why not just leave it at that?

 

just because I don't like the premise of expanding the freeways doesn't mean it's not going to happen. this town is very far away from being at the place where they want a different way than cars to move around. so the expansion is going to happen, whether I think it's the best move or not.

understanding that txdot is going to spend billions to make it easier for people in Galveston to get to Conroe, I believe there is a better way to do it, and I'm not shy to share it.

one has but to look at the ROW in google earth to see that there is room to expand the number of lanes of 610 east. it's not that hard to see it for yourself. and where the ROW doesn't exist there is light industrial that should be easy to move. with the exception of the area of 610 between 59 and i45 there is typically only residential on one side, and light industrial on the other side, it should be fairly easy (again) to ED where needed from the light industrial side, leaving the residential alone. 

anyway, as said, earlier on this page, none of this matters, TXDOT will redo i45 in the current alignment, hopefully they will be forced to do it within the existing ROW (as per the Houston and Harris recommendations), and allow for other methods of transit, and promoting local connectivity.

as for my personal opinion on this project, I've made it no secret through this entire thread that, no I don't like it, I believe that it is very much displacing poor and under represented racial minorities. I didn't think I was using rhetoric to not only say this, but offer alternatives (that are nothing more than wishing), but if you feel that my writing is persuasive, thanks, I didn't think I was particularly persuasive, I'm just outlining my thoughts and opinion, as we all seem to be doing in this thread.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

understanding that txdot is going to spend billions to make it easier for people in Galveston to get to Conroe, I believe there is a better way to do it, and I'm not shy to share it.

Is this even true, though?  Where are you getting this from?  I doubt those flows account for even 10% of peak hour demand, but I'll be the first to tell you I have zero data to back it up.

1 hour ago, samagon said:

as for my personal opinion on this project, I've made it no secret through this entire thread that, no I don't like it, I believe that it is very much displacing poor and under represented racial minorities

But somehow you've convinced yourself that the East Loop alternative doesn't do the same thing.

I appreciate that most people just have a gut reaction one way or the other.  Honestly, I do, too, likely for the same (or opposite) reason.  I live in Fourth Ward.  Obviously a big improvement for me.  Other peoples' NIMBYs are my YIMBY.

I've got a couple of other reasons to support my "feelings," a couple being:

1) The sheer magnitude of a $9 billion investment and all that comes along with it.

2) Potential flooding improvements.

3) Enhanced transit options with a 2-way transitway.

4) Everything I've read about the displacement is overblown (certainly not overblown as to the people actually being affected, but we're not talking about many people).

5) I-45 from the North Loop to the Beltway really is a mess.

6) There certainly is a well-known urbanist bias against freeways based on what they did when they were originally put in.  I guess the current push is for restoring these now-broken connections, which I certainly understand.  But that's not an alternative for I-45.  This is affecting people who are essentially already on the freeway and have been for 40 years.

7) I think any comparisons of this project to I-10 are disingenuous.  There really was a clear transit corridor there.  I-10 probably could've reduced a couple of main lanes and frontage road lanes in its alignment and capacity would certainly not have gone down proportionately . . . it's so big the size itself seems to cause congestion with the lane changes from the HOV lanes and the lane changes required when exiting on to the frontage road.  BUT the fact that it accommodates increased volume cannot be denied, i.e., you can't say it didn't accomplish anything.

8) Downtown benefits from the hub-and-spoke freeway system, and if you choke it, I'm afraid that risks the opposite of the increased densification that people want.  (But, again, I will acknowledge that plenty of people disagree or judge such an outcome as desirable.)

As for what it will do to the East End and the Near Northside, hey, I probably wouldn't be supporting it either.

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16 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

Is this even true, though?  Where are you getting this from?  I doubt those flows account for even 10% of peak hour demand, but I'll be the first to tell you I have zero data to back it up.

Of course it's not true. Not even close. That's the thing about this "debate" both here and more broadly.  The opponents (including the county's lawsuit and including the self-proclaimed urban experts like Jeff Speck) routinely rely on misstatements, exaggerations, misunderstandings, and flat out lies.  

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On 7/2/2021 at 10:30 AM, H-Town Man said:

.

 

Austin had this idea with building 130 to relieve congestion on I-35. They thought all the trucks and through-traffic would opt for this super fast tollway. But everybody just kept going through on I-35 and traffic didn't get any better. Most people have a very basic, instinctual understanding that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and it is hard to get them out of that.

 

the southern end of 130 is 45 miles from San Antonio.

45/610 S and 45/610 N intersections won't move.

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4 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

the southern end of 130 is 45 miles from San Antonio.

SH 130 is actually signed along I-410 from I-35 SW of Downtown San Antonio to I-10 east of Downtown San Antonio where it's signed on I-10 to the point where the tollroad picks up outside Seguin. The idea was that truck traffic on I-35 would see the SH 130 sign and bypass San Antonio on SH 130/I-410 and SH 130/I-10 to pick up the tollroad and bypass Austin.

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On 7/3/2021 at 11:38 AM, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

the southern end of 130 is 45 miles from San Antonio.

45/610 S and 45/610 N intersections won't move.

SH 45 allows you to drive back to I-35 south of Austin, or you can stay on 130. They made it very easy to bypass just Austin or to bypass the whole congested I-35 corridor from Austin to San Antonio.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/3/2021 at 11:13 AM, Houston19514 said:

Of course it's not true. Not even close. That's the thing about this "debate" both here and more broadly.  The opponents (including the county's lawsuit and including the self-proclaimed urban experts like Jeff Speck) routinely rely on misstatements, exaggerations, misunderstandings, and flat out lies.  

really? 

the vote by HGAC seems to paint this as very much a regional vs local transportation issue.

from this article:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-I-45-must-not-go-forward-over-16068321.php

Quote

The Transportation Policy Council — which handles federal transportation money as a part of the Houston-Galveston Area Council — voted 14-9 for a resolution expressing support for the project, even as every single member of the regional council representing either the city, Harris County, or Houston METRO voted no.

translation: the only support for this project lies outside of Houston, IE regional traffic.

so that's where I'm basing my opinion. are you suggesting that my opinion is based on a misstatement, exaggeration, misunderstanding, or a flat out lie?

and of those 4 possibilities, please provide some actual data so that I may better understand the facts, rather than just accusations.

Edited by samagon
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Studies have shown that people who choose to live next to a freeway are more likely to be displaced by freeway expansions. This is a huge problem, because in no way should these people be more affected by freeway expansions than everybody else. Absolutely none.

 

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On 7/6/2021 at 9:55 AM, samagon said:

really? 

the vote by HGAC seems to paint this as very much a regional vs local transportation issue.

from this article:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-I-45-must-not-go-forward-over-16068321.php

translation: the only support for this project lies outside of Houston, IE regional traffic.

so that's where I'm basing my opinion. are you suggesting that my opinion is based on a misstatement, exaggeration, misunderstanding, or a flat out lie?

and of those 4 possibilities, please provide some actual data so that I may better understand the facts, rather than just accusations.

Well that's simply fallacious.

How are the Committee members appointed?

Harris County has SUED TxDOT over the project . . . why would anyone appointed by the County vote in support for the resolution?  As the editorial states, Mayor Turner has also made his position clear.  The City has de facto control of the METRO Board, with another 2 of the remaining 4 appointed by the County.  The outcome of the vote shouldn't have surprised anyone . . . or at least anyone who knows how these things work.  (Not to mention it's a toothless resolution . . . )

There is undoubtedly plenty of support within the County and City for this project, and plenty of examples within this post.  They aren't appointed by the Mayor or Commissioner's Court to the HGAC Board, however.

Look at it this way . . . just because Ken Paxton decided to sue GA, PA, WI, and MI because of some wacky partisan plot to undo the 2020 election results doesn't mean that all of Texas supported him.  In fact, even though TX went for Trump, I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of Texans did not support him.  But people in these political positions tend to be a bit more ideological and catering to their perceived base.

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1 hour ago, mattyt36 said:

Well that's simply fallacious.

How are the Committee members appointed?

Harris County has SUED TxDOT over the project . . . why would anyone appointed by the County vote in support for the resolution?  As the editorial states, Mayor Turner has also made his position clear.  The City has de facto control of the METRO Board, with another 2 of the remaining 4 appointed by the County.  The outcome of the vote shouldn't have surprised anyone . . . or at least anyone who knows how these things work.  (Not to mention it's a toothless resolution . . . )

There is undoubtedly plenty of support within the County and City for this project, and plenty of examples within this post.  They aren't appointed by the Mayor or Commissioner's Court to the HGAC Board, however.

Look at it this way . . . just because Ken Paxton decided to sue GA, PA, WI, and MI because of some wacky partisan plot to undo the 2020 election results doesn't mean that all of Texas supported him.  In fact, even though TX went for Trump, I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of Texans did not support him.  But people in these political positions tend to be a bit more ideological and catering to their perceived base.

I'm not following you at all. please be more specific and direct in showing me how the HGAC vote doesn't paint this as a regional vs local transit issue. 

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11 minutes ago, samagon said:

I'm not following you at all. please be more specific and direct in showing me how the HGAC vote doesn't paint this as a regional vs local transit issue. 

Because the HGAC members who oppose are appointed by the politicians who oppose the project. You are beholden to the person who appointed you. An HGAC vote is not the same as a public opinion poll.

 

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32 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

Because the HGAC members who oppose are appointed by the politicians who oppose the project. You are beholden to the person who appointed you. An HGAC vote is not the same as a public opinion poll.

 

That's it, thanks.  Put another way, if Ed Emmett and Buzbee won I'm sure the vote would've gone differently.   But that wouldn't have told you much, either.  

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