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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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19 hours ago, Luminare said:

I've been torn as well, but I think its wise to leave it and reinvent it. I like cities that tell stories of their past. The Pierce Elevated should stand as a monument to what was seen as trial blazing for a time, and an achievement, to the next generation who look upon it with disgust, but then reinvent it to what they perceive as the next best way, and I'm sure in 20-30 years we will be doing the same thing again, but with something else. When something is completely scrubbed then we lose that piece of our history, and unfortunately it might mean it gets repeated again. I really enjoyed Berlin in Germany for the same thing. Its really interesting just how many different interventions and interpretations of the Berlin Wall there are. Some areas only mark it with one line of bricks, other sections remain as it were, but have been converted to art pieces, and one section is exactly as it was before the wall fell to show the scale and it lends perspective of those from that time, and a reminder to those in the future of what not to do. I'm really curious about our interpretation of Pierce. At the end of the day its about execution. Will the city pick a firm that knows what its doing and make this definitively Houston. Remains to be seen.

If we could turn the Pierce into our own East Side Gallery like Berlin, I'd be down

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1 hour ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

why not just tear the Pierce down and be rid of it. Sell the land, that will offset some of the land they have to buy to move the freeway.

Or even better, leave the Pierce there, carrying traffic and give up this foolish plan to bury multiple freeways. I know I am on the losing side of this battle, but that would be my preference if I was ever asked.

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16 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

why not just tear the Pierce down and be rid of it. Sell the land, that will offset some of the land they have to buy to move the freeway.

Tear it down, turn the land into a linear park and watch the surrounding blocks develop like around Discovery Green is my preference.

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I am kind of with Ross, but I'm kind of not. 

Tearing down Pierce will take away one of the most majestic views in the entire state, which will be a major loss for the city of Houston.  But i'm all for burying or capping parts of the 59, more specificially by George R. Brown which will connect downtown with the rest of East downtown (Eado). 

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On 10/8/2022 at 7:54 PM, Ross said:

Or even better, leave the Pierce there, carrying traffic and give up this foolish plan to bury multiple freeways. I know I am on the losing side of this battle, but that would be my preference if I was ever asked.

Unfortunately the Pierce Elevated is getting too old and will have to be replaced in the coming decades if NHHIP doesn't happen, so if motor vehicle traffic needs to continue there, it will need to be torn down and rebuilt anyway.  So it can't just be left there if it needs to continue to handle vehicles.  They already replaced the deck maybe 20-25 years ago, but the supports are still original I believe.

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1 hour ago, scarface said:

I am kind of with Ross, but I'm kind of not. 

Tearing down Pierce will take away one of the most majestic views in the entire state, which will be a major loss for the city of Houston.  But i'm all for burying or capping parts of the 59, more specificially by George R. Brown which will connect downtown with the rest of East downtown (Eado). 

I don't consider the Pierce elevated to have "majestic views" either from on top (safer if eyes are on the road) nor underneath it (dodgy parking lots / homeless encampments/ high crime rates).

 

For Houston's sake ..... TEAR IT DOWN. Sell some and make a few other parts into parks. The inner city will be much better for it and property values in midtown will soar.

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Highline Park in NYC is really cool. From its wikipedia page: The park became a tourist attraction and spurred real estate development in adjacent neighborhoods, increasing real-estate values and prices along the route. By September 2014, the park had nearly five million visitors annually, and by 2019, it had eight million visitors per year.

 

I think the Pierce Elevated should be kept, it has potential to become something never done before. 

 

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2 hours ago, TacoDog said:

Highline Park in NYC is really cool. From its wikipedia page: The park became a tourist attraction and spurred real estate development in adjacent neighborhoods, increasing real-estate values and prices along the route. By September 2014, the park had nearly five million visitors annually, and by 2019, it had eight million visitors per year.

 

I think the Pierce Elevated should be kept, it has potential to become something never done before. 

 

An interesting compromise would be to remove alternating sections of each direction of the freeway to allow for park development underneath as well. Green space in the sunlit sections of the ground level and playgrounds/exercise fixtures in the shaded areas. A multilevel park would be really cool and wouldn’t just be a copy of the Highline that’s 2-3x as wide.

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37 minutes ago, texan said:

An interesting compromise would be to remove alternating sections of each direction of the freeway to allow for park development underneath as well. Green space in the sunlit sections of the ground level and playgrounds/exercise fixtures in the shaded areas. A multilevel park would be really cool and wouldn’t just be a copy of the Highline that’s 2-3x as wide.

I'd be down with leaving a few sections up, but ONLY where it crosses over streets ..... it would preserve  possible "vista" points into downtown while still leaving all the blocks for future development into housing and offices. Over time these could be connected into an elevated park/walkway system between new buildings built all along the section..... essential a second "street" level much like what is done in many large cities overseas

Edited by 77002er
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5 hours ago, texan said:

An interesting compromise would be to remove alternating sections of each direction of the freeway to allow for park development underneath as well. Green space in the sunlit sections of the ground level and playgrounds/exercise fixtures in the shaded areas. A multilevel park would be really cool and wouldn’t just be a copy of the Highline that’s 2-3x as wide.

It was a long time ago now, but I remember attending a meeting where the city showed a proposal similar to this. The parts that were still up they also filled in underneath to have little shops etc, and the bits that were still elevated were enough that you could walk end to end. Definite High Line vibes

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On 10/10/2022 at 1:02 PM, 77002er said:

I don't consider the Pierce elevated to have "majestic views" either from on top (safer if eyes are on the road) nor underneath it (dodgy parking lots / homeless encampments/ high crime rates).

 

For Houston's sake ..... TEAR IT DOWN. Sell some and make a few other parts into parks. The inner city will be much better for it and property values in midtown will soar.

You sound like the safety police 😄, but ok. I see what you're saying.

Maybe it will be overall for better for the city of Houston, but that view coming into downtown from 45 will be severely diminished by paralleling it with 59.

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2 hours ago, scarface said:

You sound like the safety police 😄, but ok. I see what you're saying.

Maybe it will be overall for better for the city of Houston, but that view coming into downtown from 45 will be severely diminished by paralleling it with 59.

"Safety Police?" 😆

I personally think that the view coming into downtown is a lot more impressive from a distance ... when you get right on top of downtown you lose perspective of the "Emerald City-esque" skyline. Besides,from what I understand  the western portion will remain as a spur to allow access into downtown.

Edited by 77002er
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https://abc13.com/txdot-i-45-expansion-eado-apartments-demolitions/12343109/

TXDoT keeps on providing us with not so good looks for their PR.

Quote

One family was forced to leave their apartment unit at Clayton Homes just blocks away, also under TxDOT's direction.

"At best, unfair, at worst, criminal," Jasmine Gaston, a displaced resident, said.

 

The low-income housing was certainly in need of renovation, but she says she was promised help with a move within a 2-mile radius. Gaston says the promise was not fulfilled.

yeesh. makes me feel less good when I see the budget of the project that includes relocation assistance, where is that going, if not to the people who need it most?

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I would put zero faith in that "reporting".  I am not buying for a second that TxDOT has forced anyone to relocate without covering their costs, as is required by federal (and probably state) law.  (And of course the "reporter" has zero interest in investigating that claim or to even be skeptical of it...).  Did they even reach out to TxDOT for a response to that claim?  Seems like they did not.

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11 hours ago, Big E said:

Keep in mind, Clayton Homes is a mold infested mess subject to flooding, and its demolition has been in the cards for awhile now, whether the freeway was going to happen or not.

Yes, would it have killed the "reporter" to include a few actual facts and context?  That wouldn't even require investigation.  Our local media is despicable.  I'm not sure I could continue to live here if I watched local news.  ;-)

 

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I just don't understand how this is "racially motivated"....

Ive been to the Lofts at the Ballpark, and it felt like it was mostly white with a few latino/ asians/ black. Well that was demolished for highway project.... but since this complex is mostly black, its racially motivated? The term "racially motivated" has lost its actual meaning over the last decade. If this was racially motived, then so was i10 when it expanded into mostly white neighborhoods, Texas Central Rail was too since it was cutting through mostly white farm land? I feel like this "racial" battle is so stupid to me. 

Instead, people need to shift their energy into 

  • Texas Redistricting...now THAT is racially motivate
  • Texas' 1836 project that plans to practically erase history and accountability of slavery in our school system 
  • Pacific Union being able to poison the land in AA neighborhoods for decades with nothing being done....
  • Gulfton, a predominantly latino neighborhood, is severely neglected even though its sandwich between 2 upscale neighborhoods (Uptown & Bellaire)

Theres way more serious racial battles......this..... this is not it. It's really simply, theres a highway thats going to be expanded, theres buildings next to it, the buildings are being removed, whether hispanic, white, black, asian, it's going to be removed. 

 

Edited by Amlaham
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On 10/20/2022 at 12:05 PM, Amlaham said:

I just don't understand how this is "racially motivated"....

Ive been to the Lofts at the Ballpark, and it felt like it was mostly white with a few latino/ asians/ black. Well that was demolished for highway project.... but since this complex is mostly black, its racially motivated? The term "racially motivated" has lost its actual meaning over the last decade. If this was racially motived, then so was i10 when it expanded into mostly white neighborhoods, Texas Central Rail was too since it was cutting through mostly white farm land? I feel like this "racial" battle is so stupid to me. 

Instead, people need to shift their energy into 

  • Texas Redistricting...now THAT is racially motivate
  • Texas' 1836 project that plans to practically erase history and accountability of slavery in our school system 
  • Pacific Union being able to poison the land in AA neighborhoods for decades with nothing being done....
  • Gulfton, a predominantly latino neighborhood, is severely neglected even though its sandwich between 2 upscale neighborhoods (Uptown & Bellaire)

Theres way more serious racial battles......this..... this is not it. It's really simply, theres a highway thats going to be expanded, theres buildings next to it, the buildings are being removed, whether hispanic, white, black, asian, it's going to be removed. 

 

It's all about the local reporters trying to break into the big time

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  • 3 weeks later...

While I was taking pics at the Sunrise Lofts yesterday a jogger stoped to talk with me. He said he used to live the Ballpark Lofts until he got paid to move out. He said they gave him $1350 to find a new place and $1200 for moving expenses. He said he now lives at the Finger's 500 Crawford St.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/12/2022 at 10:42 AM, Triton said:

Now that the midterms are over, I'm willing to bet we finally see some movement on this project in the coming months. 

Don't be too sure.

How a park designation could derail the I-45 expansion

Quote

A Houston City Council member is resurrecting a push to designate White Oak Bayou near downtown as a city park — all in an effort to derail the controversial Interstate 45 expansion project.

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1 hour ago, jadebenn said:

Classic cutting off one's nose to spite one's face as I am sure no one has a full appreciation of the real (i.e., feasible) alternatives.  Not to mention where were all of these people, what, 10 years ago, when the planning process started?  At the very least they should have the burden of presenting an actual, preferred alternative to advance start a meaningful dialogue.

However, Turner is by all appearances for it, the GHP is for it, I am confident Turner will be able to "herd the cats" when it comes to a City Council vote, if any.

Hidalgo is the wild card.  It remains amazing to me that Mealer didn't make this a centerpiece campaign issue instead of going on and on about crime--it would've diluted some of the crazy for the moderate voting block.

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56 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

Classic cutting off one's nose to spite one's face as I am sure no one has a full appreciation of the real (i.e., feasible) alternatives.  Not to mention where were all of these people, what, 10 years ago, when the planning process started?  At the very least they should have the burden of presenting an actual, preferred alternative to advance start a meaningful dialogue.

However, Turner is by all appearances for it, the GHP is for it, I am confident Turner will be able to "herd the cats" when it comes to a City Council vote, if any.

Hidalgo is the wild card.  It remains amazing to me that Mealer didn't make this a centerpiece campaign issue instead of going on and on about crime--it would've diluted some of the crazy for the moderate voting block.

All of "these people" have been there from the start, getting railroaded by TxDOT's really poor desire to cover the planet with concrete. 

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3 minutes ago, Ross said:

All of "these people" have been there from the start, getting railroaded by TxDOT's really poor desire to cover the planet with concrete. 

Funny, considering most of "these people" are saying now that they didn't have a say to begin with.

So which one is it?

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8 hours ago, jadebenn said:

This makes absolutely no sense. There is already a freeway over that part of the bayou. What do they really hope to accomplish. 

6 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

Classic cutting off one's nose to spite one's face as I am sure no one has a full appreciation of the real (i.e., feasible) alternatives.  Not to mention where were all of these people, what, 10 years ago, when the planning process started?  At the very least they should have the burden of presenting an actual, preferred alternative to advance start a meaningful dialogue.

However, Turner is by all appearances for it, the GHP is for it, I am confident Turner will be able to "herd the cats" when it comes to a City Council vote, if any.

Hidalgo is the wild card.  It remains amazing to me that Mealer didn't make this a centerpiece campaign issue instead of going on and on about crime--it would've diluted some of the crazy for the moderate voting block.

If Turner is really for the project, then he needs to start being more vocal and shooting these bad ideas down before they start.

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16 hours ago, Big E said:

If Turner is really for the project, then he needs to start being more vocal and shooting these bad ideas down before they start.

(1) I'd have to think a lot hinged on this past election and people were in "wait-and-see" mode.  I think @Triton is right that we may see some movement either one way or the other soon (although I have nothing to base that on).

(2) As a longtime State pol, I think Mayor Turner sees his role as an intermediary between the County and the State and the business community, so he has been pretty deliberate and not being the loudest voice in the room (although I have nothing to base that on, either).

Regardless the mantra of these anti-NHHIP groups appears to be, "Well we complained, so they're supposed to cancel everything," again, based on what happened in like 1950s Baltimore when whole neighborhoods nowhere near any existing freeway were being demolished for the first time.  

At no point have they offered any alternative other than to not build, it is absolutely performative and juvenile and not in the best interest of the city or the region as it's not like the problem goes away.  I mean, sheesh, at least put something up that says, "Spend the $7 billion on commuter rail, and here's an alignment that would work."  If they tried, I'd definitely have more empathy.

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On 11/21/2022 at 1:41 PM, mattyt36 said:

Classic cutting off one's nose to spite one's face as I am sure no one has a full appreciation of the real (i.e., feasible) alternatives.  Not to mention where were all of these people, what, 10 years ago, when the planning process started?  At the very least they should have the burden of presenting an actual, preferred alternative to advance start a meaningful dialogue.

However, Turner is by all appearances for it, the GHP is for it, I am confident Turner will be able to "herd the cats" when it comes to a City Council vote, if any.

Hidalgo is the wild card.  It remains amazing to me that Mealer didn't make this a centerpiece campaign issue instead of going on and on about crime--it would've diluted some of the crazy for the moderate voting block.

100% this.

I was there in the meetings in the very beginning (because I live close to I-45) and no one was raising any idea about mass transit until too far into the project when they are trying to finalize the design. When TXDOT first proposed doing this project, the city should have been working with them hand in hand. 

Would be curious how that section south of the Westpark Tollway got there. Did the city and the toll road authority work together to keep that land available? It's clearly meant for mass transit with even the highway pillars being set so that light rail or BRT can travel between them. 

That sort of engagement should have been here on this project but it never was. I didn't see BRT diagrams until the final months of decision making for the I-45 project.

The most my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods were trying to do were working on connections that TXDOT was removing, such as the North St Bridge (which is gone unfortunately in the design) and ramps on the northside of N Main which I still don't understand. There was also the talk of sound barriers. That was literally it. 

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On 11/24/2022 at 4:32 AM, Big E said:

I'm not sure what you are trying to prove. The freeway is already there. You can see the current alignment in the picture. They are just moving over not even a mile.

I think the argument, at least in the context of the bayou greenway, is that the new alignment cuts into existing green space along the bayou and removing the current alignment between I-45 and Elysian won't add much green space back because there are parking lots/streets underneath I-10 already, unless they're going to be removing some of those. I can anticipate a similar argument for the Pierce Elevated - if a park is built there, it would either be on top of the highway, so the existing concrete structure is still there, or it'd be limited/broken up by all of the perpendicular streets. I'm not sure if those arguments have been made in a very clear way by anyone involved, but that would be my good faith interpretation.

 

I hope that this project proceeds because the highways around downtown are a mess but even though I think it will be a net positive for city, I can respect that every change may not be a positive one. Loss of green space is a tough trade off for any development project, not to mention one this size. I also can barely keep up with this project on HAIF so I sympathize with the average person trying to process all of the information (and am very impressed how all of the rest of you are able to keep up with this so well!).

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9 hours ago, TXK said:

I think the argument, at least in the context of the bayou greenway, is that the new alignment cuts into existing green space along the bayou and removing the current alignment between I-45 and Elysian won't add much green space back because there are parking lots/streets underneath I-10 already, unless they're going to be removing some of those. I can anticipate a similar argument for the Pierce Elevated - if a park is built there, it would either be on top of the highway, so the existing concrete structure is still there, or it'd be limited/broken up by all of the perpendicular streets. I'm not sure if those arguments have been made in a very clear way by anyone involved, but that would be my good faith interpretation.

 

I hope that this project proceeds because the highways around downtown are a mess but even though I think it will be a net positive for city, I can respect that every change may not be a positive one. Loss of green space is a tough trade off for any development project, not to mention one this size. I also can barely keep up with this project on HAIF so I sympathize with the average person trying to process all of the information (and am very impressed how all of the rest of you are able to keep up with this so well!).

I mean, in the end, we aren't losing much. Its still crossing the bayou, just in a different spot. Any land the highway vacates can be redeveloped, and most of what the new highway will be covering is existing parking lots.

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On 11/25/2022 at 9:39 PM, Big E said:

I mean, in the end, we aren't losing much. Its still crossing the bayou, just in a different spot. Any land the highway vacates can be redeveloped, and most of what the new highway will be covering is existing parking lots.

it isn't though. look at the screenshot from the project plan, overlay on the image from google earth, sure there is a bit of parking lot, but most is very green.

image.png.21a8cdf8a79805a955080d0e575c0edf.png

 

it's also true that there is a lot of green space that will be created when the alignment is shifted north, which might make great parkland, but it's just very weird that you would suggest that the shift of the freeway location isn't taking away any greenspace, when it so clearly does. and to answer your question from a few posts up, I'm not proving anything, just pointing out that your statement is false. 

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On 12/1/2022 at 10:47 AM, samagon said:

it isn't though. look at the screenshot from the project plan, overlay on the image from google earth, sure there is a bit of parking lot, but most is very green.

image.png.21a8cdf8a79805a955080d0e575c0edf.png

 

it's also true that there is a lot of green space that will be created when the alignment is shifted north, which might make great parkland, but it's just very weird that you would suggest that the shift of the freeway location isn't taking away any greenspace, when it so clearly does. and to answer your question from a few posts up, I'm not proving anything, just pointing out that your statement is false. 

You are only looking at the bayou. I've moved on from that. I'm talking about the large parking lots that are already fronting the bayou in this picture, which will be what will be taken out once the highway is moved. The bayou is just a small part of the land the new freeway will cover when moved, and, as has already been pointed out, the freeway already crosses the bayou right next to that location, so nothing of value is really lost. You're just trading one area of underutilized greenway for another.

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On 12/3/2022 at 6:19 PM, Big E said:

You are only looking at the bayou. I've moved on from that. I'm talking about the large parking lots that are already fronting the bayou in this picture, which will be what will be taken out once the highway is moved. The bayou is just a small part of the land the new freeway will cover when moved, and, as has already been pointed out, the freeway already crosses the bayou right next to that location, so nothing of value is really lost. You're just trading one area of underutilized greenway for another.

you're right, there is going to be new area opened up to potential green space where I-10's current ROW exists, but I'm not aware of the city, or state proposing that the vacated area becomes accessible park area? all it says on the available segment 3 view is 'surplus ROW'.

and the width of existing ROW is somewhere between 200-320'. the new ROW width will be between 370-500', and while the old segment crossed the bayou at more or less a perpendicular, the new freeway will cross that area at a much more oblique angle, which will provide for a much larger footprint. anyway.

there's potential for things to shake down just right, and there will be accessible park area in what is removed of that old TXDoT ROW, and what's left that's not part of the new TXDoT ROW.

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9 hours ago, samagon said:

you're right, there is going to be new area opened up to potential green space where I-10's current ROW exists, but I'm not aware of the city, or state proposing that the vacated area becomes accessible park area? all it says on the available segment 3 view is 'surplus ROW'.

and the width of existing ROW is somewhere between 200-320'. the new ROW width will be between 370-500', and while the old segment crossed the bayou at more or less a perpendicular, the new freeway will cross that area at a much more oblique angle, which will provide for a much larger footprint. anyway.

there's potential for things to shake down just right, and there will be accessible park area in what is removed of that old TXDoT ROW, and what's left that's not part of the new TXDoT ROW.

They haven't stated what they are doing with the ROW, which leaves the door open for something good to be done with it. Just moving the freeway will be a boon for the area because it will give that whole surrounding neighborhood a little more room to breathe. couple that with the canal they are planning to build and redevelopment of the bayou shore near downtown, and they can do something really nice with it all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I heard that this involved some announcement of an MoU between the City, County, and State to allow the NHHIP to proceed.  Unfortunately, we don't have great news organizations that can write up a brief summary in an hour (or the Mayor's Office to issue a press release concurrently)--maybe they'll get to it by the end of the week. 

https://twitter.com/SylvesterTurner/status/1604891838074290177?s=20&t=hqhJJSIAAsBBZTY_IqeaIA

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On 12/17/2022 at 2:20 PM, j_cuevas713 said:

I'm so torn on the reroute. While I agree the land that would be freed up would be great, I can't get over the negative impact this project will create on minority neighborhoods. If the city designates White Oak bayou as park space, the reroute is likely finished. 

I like to look at TXDoT projects in Houston that take land to expand freeways from the angle of "WWAOD", or "What Would Afton Oaks Do".

would Afton Oaks (or the Uptown residents in general) fight against TXDoT taking ROW to expand the 610 loop to ease congestion and make travel easier through this part of town?

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29 minutes ago, samagon said:

would Afton Oaks (or the Uptown residents in general) fight against TXDoT taking ROW to expand the 610 loop to ease congestion and make travel easier through this part of town?

If only that were a valid comparison (granted, I know that's never stopped you before).

29 minutes ago, HoustonMidtown said:

 

 

Sure would be nice to know the details!

Edited by mattyt36
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54 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

I heard that this involved some announcement of an MoU between the City, County, and State to allow the NHHIP to proceed.  Unfortunately, we don't have great news organizations that can write up a brief summary in an hour (or the Mayor's Office to issue a press release concurrently)--maybe they'll get to it by the end of the week. 

https://twitter.com/SylvesterTurner/status/1604891838074290177?s=20&t=hqhJJSIAAsBBZTY_IqeaIA

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/I45-expansion-project-back-on-17663766.php

The Chron's piece was up 10 minutes after the press conference concluded. 

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