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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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2 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Thanks for making my point 

J, why don't you help us understand your point?

There seemed to be two in your original message:

17 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Yeah just a bunch of businesses nobody cares about like Matty and Big E said.

That there are a "bunch of businesses nobody cares about"?

I guess that's accurate.  Pretty much anywhere.  Do you "care" about businesses in Conroe?

17 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

These are what make Houston great. 

Seems like a weird blanket statement to make, unless you have a history with these guys and they are your preferred opticians.  Or, are they just "great" because they agree with your position on NHHIP?  Again, seems to be a pretty weird way to develop a position about small businesses.

Perhaps what would be most instructive is if you tell us how the position of this business should be weighed against the positions of others.  There must be some "system" in your head, something like:

1) Small business=weighted more than big business because . . . ?

2) Business located close to freeway but not in right-of-way=weighted more than business that may use the freeway but not adequately "near" it because . . . ?

In re (2), how close do they need to be to get the special consideration?  Do you envision it as a simple veto on any prospective project?  Assuming you fly out of HOU, if residents of Glenbrook Valley are opposed to a couple new gates at HOU, does the same standard apply?

Help us understand.

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2 hours ago, Montrose1100 said:

Are we sure?

We've got a cluster around Eureka Heights, and some within the loop at Pierce Junction, some inside the beltway 

RRC Map

This one wasn't on the map. I looked at the time - I've been a frequent user of the RRC maps for a long time, it's the easiest way to get a map of the land grants with abstract numbers I know of, and it's superimposed over recognizable landmarks like streets. Throw in the image layer, and it's even better. The RRC has done a great job of trying to record as many well locations as possible, but there are some missing.

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3 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

No.  They are not within the expansion ROW.  

The owner of Smith's has stated a portion of the lot behind the structure itself will be taken. It's currently used as parking for employees of his business and those of the other establishments in the strip center. 

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3 hours ago, JClark54 said:

The owner of Smith's has stated a portion of the lot behind the structure itself will be taken. It's currently used as parking for employees of his business and those of the other establishments in the strip center. 

Ten years or so ago, it was indeed used for some parking. But anyone can take a look at Google street view and see that stopped parking back there years ago, and at least as of January 2020 the portion of the lot behind the structure is currently a fenced-in grass-covered nothing.

Edited by Houston19514
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12 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

Ten years or so ago, it was indeed used for some parking. But anyone can take a look at Google street view and see that stopped parking back there years ago, and at least as of January 2020 the portion of the lot behind the structure is currently a fenced-in grass-covered nothing.

I'll take my daily view of the area as neighborhood resident over a January 2020 street view any day. The fence was erected to stop defecation and vandalism from the encampment that developed under the highway. 

Using a street view nearly two years old to justify your point is lazy. 

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1 minute ago, JClark54 said:

I'll take my daily view of the area as an area resident over a January 2020 street view any day. The fence was erected to stop defecation and vandalism from the encampment that developed under the highway. 

Sounds like an argument for trenching the freeway.

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I'm all for preserving historic structures, beautiful warehouses, and mostly anything interesting. However, honestly, don't understand why we're defending strip centers when we all bust out the champagne if an apartment complex has GFR. The city needs to densify and a strip center with a surface lot are protest worthy?

Everything and nothing is sacred in this town. 

Build the HSR. Improve the freeways. 

Do It Episode 3 GIF by Star Wars

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I completely agree with Montrose! I feel for those who may have to move, but for the businesses/ churches? The majority of the highway is surrounded by crumbling infrastructure. There are WAY too many billboards and abandoned signs, driveways in mediocre state, and absolutely no landscaping. Im sure every single one of us acknowledge that this highway is an extreme eyesore. I understand that the money could be spent on numerous other projects but this project would be a HUGE positive for Houston. Imagine if this highway ends up looking like the Katy freeway. I know there's still a traffic issue on Katy freeway but its a BEAUTIFUL highway. The highway is surrounded with lush landscape and greenery. Driving from i45 to i10 is like night and day. i45 is by far one of the ugliest highways I've ever seen (and i've been to NY, FL, CA, CO). Its one of the first impressions outsiders get when they travel from the airport and the reason a lot of outsiders say "Houston is ugly".  I think the Houston architecture forum should realize that this project is going to beautify our city. Yes public transportation should be our main focus, but THIS highway and the surrounding strip centers needs to be addressed as well. We can pass this project and see an instant improvement to the area, or we can reject it and wait for each and every parcel to be renovated/ rebuild (if and when).......so maybe in the next 100-200 years? 

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11 hours ago, JClark54 said:

I'll take my daily view of the area as neighborhood resident over a January 2020 street view any day. The fence was erected to stop defecation and vandalism from the encampment that developed under the highway. 

Using a street view nearly two years old to justify your point is lazy. 

I live in the neighborhood too.  Whatever their reason for putting up the fence with padlocked gate, the fact is, there is nobody parking back there on anything close to a regular basis.

Edited by Houston19514
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3 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

I live in the neighborhood too.  Whatever their reason for putting up the fence with padlocked gate, the fact is, there is nobody parking back there on anything close to a regular basis.

They parked there just every business day, especially when the ticket resale place was in business, prior to COVID. Obviously now, parking demand is less. Basing perceived long-term parking lot usage off what one sees (or street views) during COVID would be suboptimal, though, as many businesses have seen decreased parking demand during this time. 

I know the lot is in use because I've parked in it every year to get eyeglasses and many times for tickets. Each instance, my car was not the only one there. 

Regardless of our differing views on "regular," or whether we're for or against for the project, a business owner can still dislike the taking of property he owns. Especially as Wheeler evolves with the possible BRT line, parking will be a premium and he owns the whole strip center, so he has to think of prospective tenant needs.

That being said, I am for the segment. My initial comment was not in opposition to the segment, but just to correct the erroneous claim above that none of his land is in the right of way. A portion of the rear parking lot is. The 10 years or so claim also mentioned in response is also inaccurate, as I have parked there many times in the last decade.

 

 

 


 

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16 hours ago, JClark54 said:

They parked there just every business day, especially when the ticket resale place was in business, prior to COVID. Obviously now, parking demand is less. Basing perceived long-term parking lot usage off what one sees (or street views) during COVID would be suboptimal, though, as many businesses have seen decreased parking demand during this time. 

I know the lot is in use because I've parked in it every year to get eyeglasses and many times for tickets. Each instance, my car was not the only one there. 

Regardless of our differing views on "regular," or whether we're for or against for the project, a business owner can still dislike the taking of property he owns. Especially as Wheeler evolves with the possible BRT line, parking will be a premium and he owns the whole strip center, so he has to think of prospective tenant needs.

That being said, I am for the segment. My initial comment was not in opposition to the segment, but just to correct the erroneous claim above that none of his land is in the right of way. A portion of the rear parking lot is. The 10 years or so claim also mentioned in response is also inaccurate, as I have parked there many times in the last decade.

 

 

 


 

FWIW, the project's maps do not show the "parking lot" being taken.  The entire parking lot is shown outside the right-of-way.

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39 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

FWIW, the project's maps do not show the "parking lot" being taken.  The entire parking lot is shown outside the right-of-way.

On 8/25/2021 at 1:06 AM, Big E said:

I don't even know if their business is actually in danger of being taken,

 

The phrase "Being Taken" is misleading.   Owners of properties are being compensated.   Business can move, change or cash out.  Happens all the time.   

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2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

FWIW, the project's maps do not show the "parking lot" being taken.  The entire parking lot is shown outside the right-of-way.

 

If you zoom in, they are seeking a small, negligable corner of the lot, quotations or not aside. What's he's upset about is the loss of most of the driveway accessing the lot. Per the letter he received from TxDOT and presented at neighborhood meetings with TxDOT, the agency is seeking enough of the driveway as part of ROW to make vehicular access challenging, unless he carves out the corner to accommodate a new driveway. So multiple spots would be hard to access otherwise. 

I don't really care to continually debate whether the space merits parking lot status or not. You feel it's not based on your quotation usage and claim that it hasn't been used in more than a decade. I and others have parked there on occasion so I feel it qualifies as one. These apparent differing views on its usage do not offer further value to the discussion. It just wastes my time and yours as well as those on the forum. 

My initial post wasn't an attempt to refute the merits of a project over the lot. It was to provide insight that he was losing a small amount of land despite what you claimed. 

 

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Edited by JClark54
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On 8/25/2021 at 10:27 AM, j_cuevas713 said:

Thanks for making my point

As @mattyt36 said, I don't really get what your point is. What is your actual point here? Fact of the matter is, these are a bunch of businesses nobody cares about, and no, they don't make Houston great, at least not on their own. There are hundreds of businesses like them, many of which actually support this project. Should this one business which opposes this project, for its own selfish reasons, get more consideration than others which support it, for their own self-interested reasons?

7 hours ago, Naviguessor said:

 

The phrase "Being Taken" is misleading.   Owners of properties are being compensated.   Business can move, change or cash out.  Happens all the time.   

Yeah, that was slip of the tongue on my part. I didn't want to imply that they were "literally" just going to take the business from them, only that they were going to get hit with eminent domain.

6 hours ago, samagon said:

more articles about how adding lanes just doesn't help.

https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/08/please-stop-adding-more-lanes-to-busy-highways-it-doesnt-help/?comments=1&post=40177651

Austin is specifically referenced, and Houston is pictured.

Poor TxDOT is taking a beating.

Except the main point of this project is not to add lanes. Segments 1 and 2 are mainly adding bus/managed lanes. Segment 3 isn't adding any lanes at all, only moving existing lanes to the other side of downtown, sinking a whole bunch of lanes below grade, and straightening the freeways. This segment for I-69 south of downtown is only sinking a freeway, not adding lanes. So this argument is completely pointless in regards to this project. In fact, I remember the old Keep Houston Houston blog criticizing the proposal years ago specifically because it didn't add any lanes, as it pointed out that one of the problems with the downtown ring is that it has far fewer lanes within it than the freeways coming into it and going out of it carry, which snarls traffic is you squeeze multiple lanes into tighter roads.

Edited by Big E
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17 hours ago, Big E said:

As @mattyt36 said, I don't really get what your point is. What is your actual point here? Fact of the matter is, these are a bunch of businesses nobody cares about, and no, they don't make Houston great, at least not on their own. There are hundreds of businesses like them, many of which actually support this project. Should this one business which opposes this project, for its own selfish reasons, get more consideration than others which support it, for their own self-interested reasons?

Yeah, that was slip of the tongue on my part. I didn't want to imply that they were "literally" just going to take the business from them, only that they were going to get hit with eminent domain.

Except the main point of this project is not to add lanes. Segments 1 and 2 are mainly adding bus/managed lanes. Segment 3 isn't adding any lanes at all, only moving existing lanes to the other side of downtown, sinking a whole bunch of lanes below grade, and straightening the freeways. This segment for I-69 south of downtown is only sinking a freeway, not adding lanes. So this argument is completely pointless in regards to this project. In fact, I remember the old Keep Houston Houston blog criticizing the proposal years ago specifically because it didn't add any lanes, as it pointed out that one of the problems with the downtown ring is that it has far fewer lanes within it than the freeways coming into it and going out of it carry, which snarls traffic is you squeeze multiple lanes into tighter roads.

Keep Houston Houston, great memories!  I miss it as much as Swamplot.

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On 8/27/2021 at 3:36 PM, JClark54 said:

 

If you zoom in, they are seeking a small, negligable corner of the lot, quotations or not aside. What's he's upset about is the loss of most of the driveway accessing the lot. Per the letter he received from TxDOT and presented at neighborhood meetings with TxDOT, the agency is seeking enough of the driveway as part of ROW to make vehicular access challenging, unless he carves out the corner to accommodate a new driveway. So multiple spots would be hard to access otherwise. 

I don't really care to continually debate whether the space merits parking lot status or not. You feel it's not based on your quotation usage and claim that it hasn't been used in more than a decade. I and others have parked there on occasion so I feel it qualifies as one. These apparent differing views on its usage do not offer further value to the discussion. It just wastes my time and yours as well as those on the forum. 

My initial post wasn't an attempt to refute the merits of a project over the lot. It was to provide insight that he was losing a small amount of land despite what you claimed. 

 

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We shall see.  I would expect that TxDot will happily allow his driveway to exist within the right of way (or make negligible adjustments to the right of way to allow for his driveway).
 

That being said, he might have a stronger case if he was actually currently using it as a parking lot.  

(BTW, I did NOT claim it had not been used as a parking lot for more than a decade.)

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I apologize, you didn't write a decade. You wrote: "Ten years or so ago, it was indeed used for some parking."

"That being said, he might have a stronger case if he was actually currently using it as a parking lot."  

Glad to see you acknowledge he's impacted, regardless of whether or not it's a parking lot. 

"We shall see.  I would expect that TxDot will happily allow his driveway to exist within the right of way (or make negligible adjustments to the right of way to allow for his driveway)."

I'm sure he'd love to know your insight that TxDOT may be willing to accommodate him. 

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I’ve been seeing a lot of opposition to this over on Reddit (among other places), but I’m confused. I thought that segment 3 has been pretty heavily-supported overall, and it was mostly segments 1 & 2 that were in contention.

I keep seeing people talking about lanes being added- do they mean the whole project, a specific segment, or is it the putting multiple freeways together and giving it a big footprint people are talking about? I was under the impression that txdot wanted to add managed/transit lanes but not much else. 
 

Is the project still open for public comment, or did they close the surveys? What is the timeline they’re looking at right now?

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40 minutes ago, BEES?! said:

I’ve been seeing a lot of opposition to this over on Reddit (among other places), but I’m confused. I thought that segment 3 has been pretty heavily-supported overall, and it was mostly segments 1 & 2 that were in contention.

I keep seeing people talking about lanes being added- do they mean the whole project, a specific segment, or is it the putting multiple freeways together and giving it a big footprint people are talking about? I was under the impression that txdot wanted to add managed/transit lanes but not much else. 
 

Is the project still open for public comment, or did they close the surveys? What is the timeline they’re looking at right now?

Everything is on hold for now. Reddit is mostly teenagers/early twentysomethings who parrot what the current trends are, and right now, to be reflexively against any freeway project is very trendy.

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The Texas Transportation Commission is set to consider the 2022 Unified Transportation Program, of which the proposed IH 45 project is a part of, at their meeting Tuesday. Commissioners have indicated in statements that they may vote to accept the 10-year plan as is with the project included or remove it. 

The full UTP is found here: https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/tpp/utp/utp-2022.pdf

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1 hour ago, BEES?! said:

I’ve been seeing a lot of opposition to this over on Reddit (among other places), but I’m confused. I thought that segment 3 has been pretty heavily-supported overall, and it was mostly segments 1 & 2 that were in contention.

I keep seeing people talking about lanes being added- do they mean the whole project, a specific segment, or is it the putting multiple freeways together and giving it a big footprint people are talking about? I was under the impression that txdot wanted to add managed/transit lanes but not much else. 
 

Is the project still open for public comment, or did they close the surveys? What is the timeline they’re looking at right now?

this sentiment confuses me so much, the whole way on segment 1 and 2 there is usually 1 extra main lane of traffic in each direction. this is on top of the addition of the managed lanes.

segment 3, just i45 mainlanes, there's between 3 and 5 lanes, not including ramps to change freeways. the entire distance of the pierce elevated is 3 lanes in each direction. 

segment 3 is harder to reconcile additional main lanes specific for i45 realignment because currently there's on/off ramps for Pease/Jefferson, and those are maintained (along with entry/exits farther north of this) in the current alignment of 45, while the through alignment moves to the other side of downtown, and maintains the same number of lanes, or adds additional lanes.

not to mention that 59 adds lanes in the segment where it is parallel to i45. currently there's 4 lanes (in each direction) of 59 next to the GRB, in the expansion there are 5 SB, and 6 NB lanes on 59.

https://hntbcorp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=24136b20c5a24e299895dbb2504c89ec

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TXDot hearings going on right now on this topic, they got 8200 comments, a "record number of comments" regarding this project. So I'm sure they have heard it from every angle covered in this thread and much more: 

https://twitter.com/Gail_HPM/status/1432734763014672394?s=20

It seems Commissioner Cagle, Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark, and The Montgomery County Judge Keogh made the trip. 

Survey Results of said comments:

898624426_SurveyResults.jpg.8833acd66dfa2d59353e92073d9293d3.jpg

Edited by X.R.
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1 hour ago, X.R. said:

TXDot hearings going on right now on this topic, they got 8200 comments, a "record number of comments" regarding this project. So I'm sure they have heard it from every angle covered in this thread and much more: 

https://twitter.com/Gail_HPM/status/1432734763014672394?s=20

It seems Commissioner Cagle, Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark, and The Montgomery County Judge Keogh made the trip. 

Survey Results of said comments:

898624426_SurveyResults.jpg.8833acd66dfa2d59353e92073d9293d3.jpg

Seems pretty definitive to me. Understandable if the support vs against was more even, but it was clear for a while that the objections and those giving TXDOT a "beating" were a very vocal minority. The best can hope for is that their concerns are mediated during revisions, and I would certainly like to see some opposition propositions put in place. I was always for the other redesign options instead of the typical TXDOT solution. Lets see what moves forward. Finally though this can start making headway and eventually get built.

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as @JClark54 mentions, still gotta get past the FHA issues with the project, and they have to get through the lawsuit from the county as well.

I was very much expecting the people being for this project to be in the majority, and I have to look to Star Trek for guidance, as this is tough moral ground upon which we walk.

clearly, logic dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, which we learned in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

but then, we learn in the beginning of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, that while the logical answer is that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, that the human thing to do is to put the needs of the few ahead of the needs of the many and that these two concepts are at odds.

anyway, using character development arcs from science fiction movies probably won't do much here other than to get a sensible chuckle from a few, or draw ire from others, but whatever, it's how my brain works. :lol:

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

I was very much expecting the people being for this project to be in the majority

I didn't get that vibe 🤣

In fairness, 8,170 comments out of an MSA with 7 million people.

Out of curiosity, did anyone on here submit a comment?  I didn't . . . other than here, of course.

Looks like there was a real opportunity to mobilize people on both sides and, at the end of the day, neither side really did.  Maybe most of the 5K "pro" comments were mobilized by the GHP and local chambers of commerce.  Still way lower than I would have expected.

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44 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

I didn't get that vibe 🤣

In fairness, 8,170 comments out of an MSA with 7 million people.

Out of curiosity, did anyone on here submit a comment?  I didn't . . . other than here, of course.

Looks like there was a real opportunity to mobilize people on both sides and, at the end of the day, neither side really did.  Maybe most of the 5K "pro" comments were mobilized by the GHP and local chambers of commerce.  Still way lower than I would have expected.

While 8,170 comments out of the 7 million people in the metro is not a lot, Commissioner Bugg did say this was a record for public engagement for TxDOT. So this project will have the most representation by the community it's in of any TxDOT project.

Edited by texan
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2 hours ago, texan said:

While 8,170 comments out of the 7 million people in the metro is not a lot, Commissioner Bugg did say this was a record for public engagement for TxDOT. So this project will have the most representation by the community it's in of any TxDOT project.

Just shows how disengaged everyone is, which was the point many of us were making all along in the face of blanket statements implying there was some burgeoning lack of support.  

I wish someone could explain the next step in the County lawsuit.  I doubt the Chronicle will write anything of substance other than that the lawsuit is still pending.  I personally haven't seen a summary of (and the legal basis for) the complaint, but, then again, I haven't done much digging.  One article mentioned the County suing under the Civil Rights Act.  So far no press release on the County Attorney's website.  (Nothing from the Mayor's Office, either.) 

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according to this article they have approved this contingent upon FHA coming to a decision in the next 90 days.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/I-45-project-still-on-the-table-with-90-day-16425828.php

they also have a breakdown of the money spent so far. of the $500 million spent, nearly $400 million has been land acquisition. 

regarding the 8,000 comments out of 7,000,000 people, there's more than enough people to consider it a representative sample. if 2,500 people out of the 7,000,000 had been chosen at random, that would be a representative sample with a 95% confidence level. increase that to 4,200 and you can have a 99% confidence level. the problem is that this isn't a representative sample, it's a call for comment, to have a representative sample, you need to choose the respondents at random, considering demographics. this didn't do anything of that sort. so we can't really come to any conclusions about what these 8,000 comments mean for the opinion of the greater Houston area.

it's interesting to note the article didn't mention the lawsuit at all.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

according to this article they have approved this contingent upon FHA coming to a decision in the next 90 days.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/I-45-project-still-on-the-table-with-90-day-16425828.php

As suspected, nothing much of substance as to the procedure in the Chronicle article.  Why has the FHWA put the project on hold?  Because of "concerns related to its impacts on minority and low-income communities."  A bit general, there.  Concerns related to what exactly?  Under what legislative or regulatory authority? 

The March 8 cease and desist letter (available Federal Highway Administration Asks Texas To Halt I-45 Expansion, As Harris County Sues TxDOT – Houston Public Media) references 3 letters sent to TxDOT citing concerns under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act--one by Sheila Jackson Lee (in December 2020), one by the Air Alliance Houston (January 2021), and one by Texas Housers (also January 2021), a low-income housing group.  Title VI states:

§2000d Prohibition against exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits of, and discrimination under federally assisted programs on ground of race, color or national origin

No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Needless to say, it's pretty broad.

The letter states that FHWA needs additional time to evaluate the concerns raised and to "[determine] whether any further actions may be necessary to address these concerns" and states that it will "expedite its efforts to resolve any issues as quickly as possible."

So, as of yesterday, it appears TxDOT is giving FHWA 90 days to complete this process, which I guess means December 1.  And it appears that the FHWA's concerns are wholly related to the nondiscrimination provisions of the Civil Rights Act.

Harris County then sued TxDOT shortly thereafter, citing NEPA and the agency's failure to give proper "environmental consideration for all projects requiring federal action."  Title VI also applies to environmental determinations, so I'd guess that's the main thrust of the Harris County lawsuit as well:

Title VI and Environmental Justice | US EPA

The record of decision (RoD) was issued by TxDOT under a memorandum of understanding with the FHWA in February 2021.  (This is normal, the sponsor agency completes the NEPA process.)

Record of Decision - North Houston Highway Improvement Project (txdot.gov)

So going forward I guess the universe of outcomes is:

1) The FHWA could complete its review of the Title VI concerns without any findings

2) The FHWA could complete its review of the Title VI concerns with findings for TxDOT to remedy

3) The FHWA (or EPA?) could take action (sue?) to invalidate the RoD, which would make the project ineligible for federal funding

Independent of those scenarios, however, the Harris County lawsuit could proceed until it was dropped, dismissed, or determined.  

Seems like the most likely scenario of the above is (2), which results in some compromise of allowing some initial work (perhaps Segment 3) to proceed while the concerns are remedied such that FHWA and the County can save face.  Then the County would drop its lawsuit.

It seems like all of this may have started in October 2020, when TxDOT specified the minimum 30-day comment period for the RoD.

Critics: 30-day window to comment on I-45 project far too short for generation-lasting rebuild (houstonchronicle.com)

So maybe this most recent comment period for the State transportation plan was a way to sort of address that (although admittedly it is not the same formal process).

I don't understand why a reporter whose sole job is to report on Houston transportation can't spell those things out and help connect the dots.

1 hour ago, samagon said:

regarding the 8,000 comments out of 7,000,000 people, there's more than enough people to consider it a representative sample. if 2,500 people out of the 7,000,000 had been chosen at random, that would be a representative sample with a 95% confidence level. increase that to 4,200 and you can have a 99% confidence level. the problem is that this isn't a representative sample, it's a call for comment, to have a representative sample, you need to choose the respondents at random, considering demographics. this didn't do anything of that sort. so we can't really come to any conclusions about what these 8,000 comments mean for the opinion of the greater Houston area.

True, but above you stated you weren't surprised with the response.  What exactly are you insinuating here, and what course of action would you propose?

1 hour ago, samagon said:

it's interesting to note the article didn't mention the lawsuit at all.

As the French say, quelle surprise.

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I think you missed a part of the universe of outcomes

4) FHWA is unable to complete their review in 90 days, and TxDOT removes the project.

and I think you're reading into my words too much, I'm not insinuating anything, or suggesting a course of action. I'm just saying that I'm not surprised by the results of the comment feedback, and that we shouldn't treat the comments as a proper representative sample of support for/against.

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20 hours ago, samagon said:

as @JClark54 mentions, still gotta get past the FHA issues with the project, and they have to get through the lawsuit from the county as well.

I was very much expecting the people being for this project to be in the majority, and I have to look to Star Trek for guidance, as this is tough moral ground upon which we walk.

clearly, logic dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, which we learned in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

but then, we learn in the beginning of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, that while the logical answer is that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, that the human thing to do is to put the needs of the few ahead of the needs of the many and that these two concepts are at odds.

anyway, using character development arcs from science fiction movies probably won't do much here other than to get a sensible chuckle from a few, or draw ire from others, but whatever, it's how my brain works. :lol:

"I'm a doctor, not a highway engineer!" said Bones, as he pondered the body of a redshirt who'd dared to venture onto I-45. 

 

bones.jpg

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3 hours ago, samagon said:

according to this article they have approved this contingent upon FHA coming to a decision in the next 90 days.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/I-45-project-still-on-the-table-with-90-day-16425828.php

they also have a breakdown of the money spent so far. of the $500 million spent, nearly $400 million has been land acquisition. 

regarding the 8,000 comments out of 7,000,000 people, there's more than enough people to consider it a representative sample. if 2,500 people out of the 7,000,000 had been chosen at random, that would be a representative sample with a 95% confidence level. increase that to 4,200 and you can have a 99% confidence level. the problem is that this isn't a representative sample, it's a call for comment, to have a representative sample, you need to choose the respondents at random, considering demographics. this didn't do anything of that sort. so we can't really come to any conclusions about what these 8,000 comments mean for the opinion of the greater Houston area.

it's interesting to note the article didn't mention the lawsuit at all.

This is a very worthy critique. I was actually surprised that they were able to breakdown the comments by region, out of region and unknown. Wasn't expecting any sort of transparency with that. If I were running things I would certainly have hired one who does polling on the daily, to not only construct a survey, but also could reveal with precision certain specifics. Right off the bat we should know neighborhood, distance from the highway, time spent on the highway daily, where do they typically get on and where they typically get off, and which option do they prefer. Even if people prefer the funding and project as is, that doesn't really say which option they prefer.

You are absolutely right. This could be a lot more thorough, but as you said yourself this was historic turnout for a comment round, and any pollster regardless of precision of who is who would love to get 8000 comments for anything.

I think it would have been nice to also highlight typical complaints, or typical mentions for why they support. That would have been nice to see.

All this means though is that there is room for improvement in the future, and at the vary least while one may not like what TXDOT is doing or does at the very least its clear they are following a process, and are trying to be as transparent as they think they can or should be. Whether it should be more or less, or what can be improved can be adjusted for the next big project.

Edited by Luminare
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1 hour ago, samagon said:

I think you missed a part of the universe of outcomes

4) FHWA is unable to complete their review in 90 days, and TxDOT removes the project.

That's, as "they" say, patently absurd.  We're back to being unserious, I see.

The FHWA "unable to complete" and takes no action?  And TxDOT says on Day 91, "Oh well, guys, thanks for trying.  We said 90 days and you couldn't complete it.  We understand.  Oh well, $500MM down the drain--que será, será."  Nevermind the implications for all future highway projects in the state.

1 hour ago, samagon said:

and I think you're reading into my words too much, I'm not insinuating anything, or suggesting a course of action. I'm just saying that I'm not surprised by the results of the comment feedback, and that we shouldn't treat the comments as a proper representative sample of support for/against.

I know, you're "just asking questions," right?

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

This is a very worthy critique. I was actually surprised that they were able to breakdown the comments by region, out of region and unknown. Wasn't expecting any sort of transparency with that. If I were running things I would certainly have hired one who does polling on the daily, to not only construct a survey, but also could reveal with precision certain specifics. Right off the bat we should know neighborhood, distance from the highway, time spent on the highway daily, where do they typically get on and where they typically get off, and which option do they prefer. Even if people prefer the funding and project as is, that doesn't really say which option they prefer.

Yikes if you are suggesting that polls should factor into any of these decisions.  Who would be allowed to vote (certainly a propos these days)?  How would you weigh the responses?    

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37 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

That's, as "they" say, patently absurd.  We're back to being unserious, I see.

The FHWA "unable to complete" and takes no action?  And TxDOT says on Day 91, "Oh well, guys, thanks for trying.  We said 90 days and you couldn't complete it.  We understand.  Oh well, $500MM down the drain--que será, será."  Nevermind the implications for all future highway projects in the state.

I know, you're "just asking questions," right?

come on now, seriously? I presume you didn't read the article because of paywall, but I still have to say, Seriously?

from the chron article I linked:

Quote

“It is not the local support that's the problem. It's Washington, D.C., (that) is the problem, impeding our ability to go forward with this project,” Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Bruce Bugg said.

“We will give FHWA 90 days and we will come back and revisit this,” Bugg said. “After the 90 days have expired we will discuss what to do with the project.”

He said if the issues have not made progress, the commission could start the process of removing the project from the long-term plan. TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said removing the project would require another 60-day public comment process.

is there some other interpretation of this string of words than how I read it? 

all that FHWA says in response is that they have resources to complete in a timely manner, not that they're trying to meet TxDOT timeline.

Quote

In a statement, federal officials said FHWA “is providing the resources to complete the reviews in a timely manner and will communicate the results upon completion.” Officials did not specify whether that would be within the deadline set by the transportation commission, or acknowledge any of the state’s conditions.

so yeah, I fully expect that TxDOT will sit down on day 91 and revisit this, as they have said they would.

if you didn't read it because of a paywall, maybe next time don't engage in the discussion when you don't have all the facts of the story, or at least ask for a citation?

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58 minutes ago, samagon said:

come on now, seriously? I presume you didn't read the article because of paywall, but I still have to say, Seriously?

Sammy, dear, I have subscribed to the Chronicle in print for long before it ever had a paywall.  Can't say I've ever gotten (or am getting) my money's worth, but there's only one shop in town.  So don't you worry.

58 minutes ago, samagon said:

is there some other interpretation of this string of words than how I read it? 

Um, yeah.

If you think:

“We will give FHWA 90 days and we will come back and revisit this,” Bugg said. “After the 90 days have expired we will discuss what to do with the project."

Translates into 

"FHWA is unable to complete their review in 90 days, and TxDOT removes the project."

Well, I'd say you'd have some serious reading comprehension issues.  Maybe I've been wrong all along and "unserious" is the wrong word to use.

But, in any case, keep on with the wishcasting . . . 

Edited by mattyt36
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28 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

Sammy, dear, I have subscribed to the Chronicle in print for long before it ever had a paywall.  Can't say I've ever gotten (or am getting) my money's worth, but there's only one shop in town.  So don't you worry.

Um, yeah.

If you think:

“We will give FHWA 90 days and we will come back and revisit this,” Bugg said. “After the 90 days have expired we will discuss what to do with the project."

Translates into 

"FHWA is unable to complete their review in 90 days, and TxDOT removes the project."

Well, I'd say you'd have some serious reading comprehension issues.  Maybe I've been wrong all along and "unserious" is the wrong word to use.

But, in any case, keep on with the wishcasting . . . 

I was adding that 4th option to the 3 you already stated. it is by far not the only option. if you don't think that is a possible outcome then YOU are wishing.

I re-engaged in good faith, but you are showing that's not a thing.

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33 minutes ago, samagon said:

I was adding that 4th option to the 3 you already stated. it is by far not the only option. if you don't think that is a possible outcome then YOU are wishing.

I re-engaged in good faith, but you are showing that's not a thing.

Sam, your option is possible only in the sense that it can be written into a sentence and can therefore be read. 

There is zero logic behind TxDOT as currently constituted letting a rogue and uncooperative FHWA effectively cancel a project a decade in the making without "fighting back," be it through a lawsuit, reengaging with FHWA on potential redesign, etc.  After all, it's not just NHHIP we're talking about here . . . it'd set a precedent for the FHWA to cancel every future highway project in the state on a whim.  And, as you have acknowledged, TxDOT is highway-oriented, run by a lot of extremely highway-centric people, and the administration isn't changing anytime in the next 90 days to say, "Oh well, we gave it our best, let's just remove it and move on."

Ergo I stand by my description of your option as absurd, but if you want me to re-label it as "not very likely," fine.  These days the best case scenario for NHHIP to be canceled is probably someone sues the State for I-45 abetting people getting to Planned Parenthood faster.

2 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

That's, as "they" say, patently absurd. not very likely.

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17 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

Sam, your option is possible only in the sense that it can be written into a sentence and can therefore be read. 

There is zero logic behind TxDOT as currently constituted letting a rogue and uncooperative FHWA effectively cancel a project a decade in the making without "fighting back," be it through a lawsuit, reengaging with FHWA on potential redesign, etc.  After all, it's not just NHHIP we're talking about here . . . it'd set a precedent for the FHWA to cancel every future highway project in the state on a whim.  And, as you have acknowledged, TxDOT is highway-oriented, run by a lot of extremely highway-centric people, and the administration isn't changing anytime in the next 90 days to say, "Oh well, we gave it our best, let's just remove it and move on."

Ergo I stand by my description of your option as absurd, but if you want me to re-label it as "not very likely," fine.  These days the best case scenario for NHHIP to be canceled is probably someone sues the State for I-45 abetting people getting to Planned Parenthood faster.

I am curious then, if TxDOT didn't mean what they said, then why do you think they said it?

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

I am curious then, if TxDOT didn't mean what they said, then why do you think they said it?

Sam, if you think "We will give FHWA 90 days and we will come back and revisit this,” Bugg said. “After the 90 days have expired we will discuss what to do with the project" means, "Hey, FHWA, if you don't come to a decision within 90 days, we will just drop it," well, then, I'm not sure what to tell you.  It either means you have never involved in a negotiation of this kind, or you're being deliberately obtuse or disingenuous.  Or, hell, both.  TxDOT might as well cancel it now.  Wink, wink. 

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58 minutes ago, samagon said:

willful ignorance?

so again. I am curious, if TxDOT didn't mean what they said, then why do you think they said it?

What is the conditional tense? - Conditional tense - GCSE German Revision - BBC Bitesize

What is the conditional tense?

The conditional tense is used to say what might happen under certain conditions.

TxDOT could do a lot of things, of which this is one.  In another world, they could build a commuter rail system.  But that'd require a hell of a lot of very unlikely things to happen first, as we have discussed.

Let me suggest a likely scenario:

DUG BEGLEY: "What is TxDOT's next step in the process?"

TXDOT: "We will give FHWA 90 days and we will come back and revisit this.  After the 90 days have expired we will discuss what to do with the project.”

DUG BEGLEY: "Does that include the possibility that the project is removed?"

TXDOT: "Yes, we could do that."

DUG BEGLEY: "What would that entail?"

TXDOT: "Another 60-day comment process."

Sam, let's try again with some holistic thinking.

I have presented plenty of obvious arguments as to why this scenario makes zero sense.  You have conveniently ignored engaging with any of them.  I'm not surprised--it's how you roll.  You're scrupulously literal when you need to be and fantastically figurative whenever it suits.

I'll ask you yet again, what is your theory as to exactly why would TxDOT remove the project wholesale if FHWA sits on its review?  

In the spirit of holistic thinking . . . note that from a political perspective, ending the project is not a winner in any way for the Biden Administration, in the same way it's not a winner for the Abbott administration to withdraw its request with its tail between its legs.  Why?  Because it is a gift to the Texas Republican Party in that it is a great, (on the surface) non-culture war issue to appeal to the suburban voters they have lost in droves to say, "Look what the elitist liberals in the City of Houston and Harris County are doing to the suburbs.  They want you to sit in traffic because they think it will force you to move into a city with real estate you can't afford, with much higher taxes, where you will be forced to send your kids to poor performing schools.  They don't want us to be able to use the gas taxes that you have paid into the system to make your lives a little easier.  Not only that . . . they want to waste half a billion dollars that was already spent."  These ads write themselves.

Hell, they can point to posts in this very thread that say that very thing unabashedly.

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you keep going on about plausibility, we're not having the same conversation. I fully understand both the denotative and connotative definition of the word "could", and I understand what it means in the context of what the spokesperson for TxDOT stated.

I will rephrase the question, maybe you'll get it this time and answer the question asked, rather than go on about something else entirely?

why would TxDOT go on record and say:

Quote

“We will give FHWA 90 days and we will come back and revisit this,” Bugg said. “After the 90 days have expired we will discuss what to do with the project.”

and then provide this as a possible outcome of the revisitation?

Quote

He said if the issues have not made progress, the commission could start the process of removing the project from the long-term plan. 

 

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