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2/10/20 meeting for public input re: Bridge over Brazos street at Spur 527


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14 hours ago, HouTXRanger said:

Hmm. This is pretty enlightening, although it sucks to hear this is why the project fell through.

Considering how other projects/proposals have gone through Planning ect. with overwhelming positive feedback, I thought it was really weird how this specific project fell through when it seemed on the outset to be a slam dunk: take expensive infrastructure off the city's books, increase pedestrian safety, local homeowners get less traffic on their neighborhood streets. Considering how much it usually takes to get a city initiative cancelled in Houston, the opposition seemed very disproportionate to the response.

Honestly kinda glad to know it was a cluster from the start, because it gives me more confidence in the current and upcoming city initiatives that I know are being done correctly.

 

This project would have been a disaster, amazing how fast things can pass without public input when they benefit very wealthy homeowners in a two block radius. 

 

You don't think that new park would have been more expensive to maintain than a basic overpass that survived 60 years without maintenance btw? 

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The rendering is 😍     I used to live in Westmoreland, and it is so dangerous crossing at Holman.    This would be a real benefit for the area. 

I know dozens of people that live in midtown/downtown hi- rises. Most of them only use their cars socially. They commute via walking, rail, or bike. That's why building along a simple transit corridor

It was open on both sides originally          We are not talking about removing the spur.  We are talking about removing one of the entrances and the exits to the spur

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On 10/3/2020 at 5:28 PM, bulldog said:

No. The initial tear-down (as part of the original approved $4MM reconstruction project) started and then was halted when someone in the Mayor's Office found out the city owned the bridge and not TXDOT. The Mayor's Office cherry-picked entities to provide "public support" with the intent to justify not rebuilding it. They dumped the permanent tear-down proposal on Public Works, which fumbled around for a few months trying to figure out what to do.

 

How exactly do you think any project is developed? How do you think Complete Communities or other planning initiatives happen? Sometimes they come from within the Planning Department or from Public Works and sometimes they come from the mayor's office. 

 

And cherry-picked entities? You mean the ones that already deemed this area dangerous? 😄

 

Can you elaborate on why you think that Public Works "fumbled around for a few months"? It's a pretty simple solution. Seems like it would have taken about one 15 minute meeting to figure out some implementation ideas. You paint a picture like they were losing sleep for weeks on end trying to wrap their brain around the problem. 

 

You have such a skewed view of how you think the city operates. What if I told you someone in the crooked city government came up with the implementation for every project. 

 

14 hours ago, HouTXRanger said:

Hmm. This is pretty enlightening, although it sucks to hear this is why the project fell through.

Considering how other projects/proposals have gone through Planning ect. with overwhelming positive feedback, I thought it was really weird how this specific project fell through when it seemed on the outset to be a slam dunk: take expensive infrastructure off the city's books, increase pedestrian safety, local homeowners get less traffic on their neighborhood streets. Considering how much it usually takes to get a city initiative cancelled in Houston, the opposition seemed very disproportionate to the response.

Honestly kinda glad to know it was a cluster from the start, because it gives me more confidence in the current and upcoming city initiatives that I know are being done correctly.

 

It wasn't a cluster at all until big business interests from Midtown got involved. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but many of them have built their business models not on local residents, but by drive-by commuters who live far away. Whole Foods is evidently very much unhappy with how their store is performing and Spec's freaked out since their sales dipped when Brazos closed (yes a new Total Wine opened between the Heights and their store at the same time 🤔)

 

16 minutes ago, iah77 said:

 

This project would have been a disaster, amazing how fast things can pass without public input when they benefit very wealthy homeowners in a two block radius. 

 

You don't think that new park would have been more expensive to maintain than a basic overpass that survived 60 years without maintenance btw? 

 

Are you talking about Westmoreland who would have lost their convenient access road from Bagby into their neighborhood? 

 

This project would have been a disaster.... for non-resident cut-through traffic using Midtown as a highway bypass to get from 45 to 59 and possibly for downtown workers who would have had to consolidate on *gasp* Smith and Louisiana which are two whole blocks away.

 

 

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Also, very wealthy homeowners? Everything immediately east is apartments, and the number of people in those apartments is vastly greater than the number of people in the houses a block or two west of the project.

Hell, there are plenty of apartments on Hawthorne and Emerson on the west side as well. 

 

I do not understand the continued whining about a proposal that didn't even end up getting built. You people got your nasty overpass rebuilt. Quit being sore winners about it and crying about ill-defined "corruption."

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5 hours ago, iah77 said:

 

This project would have been a disaster, amazing how fast things can pass without public input when they benefit very wealthy homeowners in a two block radius. 

 

 

Seems like a bad example of that, considering IT DIDN'T PASS AND IS NOT HAPPENING!

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8 hours ago, iah77 said:

 

This project would have been a disaster, amazing how fast things can pass without public input when they benefit very wealthy homeowners in a two block radius. 

 

You don't think that new park would have been more expensive to maintain than a basic overpass that survived 60 years without maintenance btw? 


Yes, I do think that, because it's true. Roads and highways are massive money sinks. Look at how many billions of dollars we spend on highway interchange redos every decade! People absolutely take for granted how expensive modern streets are.

Tons of concrete, rebar, and way, way more labor than people think. And I doubt the overpass had zero work done on it in 60 years. Even quick pothole fillings and asphalt patches cost tens of thousands of dollars per hour. Multiply that by 60 years, and that's a massive price tag considering the overpass generates zero income to cover that cost. That's not to mention all the small things it costs the city administratively, though that's small peanuts compared to the public works price tag.

Comparatively, a park costs next to nothing to build or maintain. And, removing the bridge would have made one of the most important connections between Midtown and Montrose safe and pedestrian friendly. People used to and still do treat it like a highway on/off ramp instead of a neighborhood street.

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9 hours ago, iah77 said:

You don't think that new park would have been more expensive to maintain than a basic overpass that survived 60 years without maintenance btw? 

 

translation:  Let's pave all the parks and save money

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16 hours ago, HouTXRanger said:


Yes, I do think that, because it's true. Roads and highways are massive money sinks. Look at how many billions of dollars we spend on highway interchange redos every decade! People absolutely take for granted how expensive modern streets are.

Tons of concrete, rebar, and way, way more labor than people think. And I doubt the overpass had zero work done on it in 60 years. Even quick pothole fillings and asphalt patches cost tens of thousands of dollars per hour. Multiply that by 60 years, and that's a massive price tag considering the overpass generates zero income to cover that cost. That's not to mention all the small things it costs the city administratively, though that's small peanuts compared to the public works price tag.

Comparatively, a park costs next to nothing to build or maintain. And, removing the bridge would have made one of the most important connections between Midtown and Montrose safe and pedestrian friendly. People used to and still do treat it like a highway on/off ramp instead of a neighborhood street.

Sounds like the contractor charging thousands of dollars to fix a pothole is your problem and not the actual overpass lol...

 

People actually use streets and highways. It's funny how upset people get when things don't fit their narrative.

 

Btw, as a Houston resident and person who pays taxes, why shouldn't people be allowed to use it as a cut through? You make it sound illegal. People treat it like a on/off ramp because that is what is it. So if everywhere becomes a "neighborhood street", how exactly would you even move smoothly through Houston? Through our non-existent subway? 

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you know, I think the biggest mistake Planning made with this proposal was in not just making it a surface street southern extension of Bagby. Remove the northbound bridge, create a much more clearly programmed plaza between Bagby and (the previous) Saint Dane's, and maintain connectivity south to the spur and (new!) connection to Hawthorne. Maybe 2 lanes - one of which peels off at Hawthorne. 

 

That would have maintained most of the safety improvements while also keeping good connectivity and avoid making all these quasi-park spaces with somewhat unclear purposes. 

 

Because again, to be clear, these kinds of higher speed auto-oriented monstrosities don't just speed commuter traffic with no side effects- they increase the frequency of serious car crashes resulting in real human suffering and loss of life. 

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2 hours ago, iah77 said:

People actually use streets and highways.


And they don't use parks? You're missing the key component: Cars use these streets and highways because they're designed around them. I liked the change because it would have made the streets more usable for bikers and pedestrians by removing unnecessary high speed intersections. Elgin/Westheimer could have evolved into a much more pedestrian friendly corridor (which it kinda has to, since there isn't any room for more lanes so car traffic's maxxed out).

 

 

2 hours ago, iah77 said:

Btw, as a Houston resident and person who pays taxes


. . . I hate to burst your bubble, but I live here too and I also pay taxes. Most of us do. Thus, the Houston in Houstonarchitecture.com

 

 

2 hours ago, iah77 said:

why shouldn't people be allowed to use it as a cut through? You make it sound illegal.

People treat it like a on/off ramp because that is what is it. So if everywhere becomes a "neighborhood street", how exactly would you even move smoothly through Houston? Through our non-existent subway? 


I call it a neighborhood street because there are single family houses who have their driveways directly on Bagby by that intersection. It also serves as a connection between many neighborhoods in Montrose to Elgin, the whole foods, and the rail. If it weren't such a dangerous intersection, people would walk through there much more often.

But, cars aren't going away anytime soon and they also need corridors. Thing is, this bridge isn't about connecting Montrose to Midtown, or serving any of the people who actually live there. It's about funneling commuters in and out of downtown and on to 59.

That's why it's completely appropriate in my opinion to funnel commuters down just two blocks, about 200ft, to use the other two ramps onto the spur at Smith or Milam.
That's what's so silly about all this to me, and why I thought it seemed like a no-brainer. There are already two other ramps for this that are on better, wider streets, while that area desperately needs better multimodal infrastructure. 
 

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On 10/6/2020 at 9:57 AM, Texasota said:

Also, very wealthy homeowners? Everything immediately east is apartments, and the number of people in those apartments is vastly greater than the number of people in the houses a block or two west of the project.

Hell, there are plenty of apartments on Hawthorne and Emerson on the west side as well. 

 

I do not understand the continued whining about a proposal that didn't even end up getting built. You people got your nasty overpass rebuilt. Quit being sore winners about it and crying about ill-defined "corruption."

100% agree. 
It's true that there are mansions on Westmoreland Blvd., and that our former mayor and her wife have a stately home there. But there's also
somewhere around a dozen apartment complexes, and although rents have skyrocketed, the tenants can hardly be described as "very wealthy". A large percentage are occupied by young adults who tend to be more enthusiastic about having a walkable and bikeable neighborhood. Removal of the Spur could have helped to tie Montrose,  Westmoreland, and Midtown together, to the benefit of all involved. But, no.
I lived in Westmoreland for well over 23 years and it's bemusing to read the proclamations of people who obviously have little acquaintance with the neighborhood and no comprehension of  how unwelcome that damn Spur is. 

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Oh my

 

when did “mansion” become a negative noun. Perhaps those families as my family saw that those larger homes were priced at the same level as NEW Suburban homes   of same size Twenty years ago.......my goodness..... buying urban ( here in Montrose) would allow my family a great school system, huge tree canopies, fenced yard, walkability—  walkability you know that thing where you purposely use your car less......knowing that less car use is better for the environment.
There was a lot of national conversation about that in the early 2000’s. Who knew that making that  choice to live closer to work, schools and Businesses would be liability 20 years later from those who made the choice to live in suburbia, and choose to commute.

 

and no we were not wealthy, not when we bought our home close to Elgin and Bagby, not now. We do pay a lot in Taxes (seems a tricky thing also - everyone thinks they are taxed at the highest rate, which gives them permission to speak to what those taxes are used for. )I gauge the rate of my taxes ( please go and see what percentage of taxes this area pays) with what I personally receive for it- crap sidewalks, bumpy street surfaces, pot holes, crap street lighting and character building sewage and water pressure..... uh also from commuters who explain, that I need to suck it up about commuter traffic and priorities.

Sure tax payers get to speak up and have an opinion but surely commuters can understand how the phrase “ As a Taxpayer.....” can be a bit grating.

 

It is so puzzling to me that the conversation seemed to crawl  towards shame.
 

Of course, I did choose my location, I am am trying to save and maintain my historical house, I am trying to walk And bike more. Yup, trying to drive less, and I do think a small green space that helps With pedestrian safety issues And promotes more biking  was a good thing.
COH  and commuters didn’t agree. They had a stronger voice in what  was the “greater good”
 

Lastly

My update about those safety  measures for biking and walking were to bring awareness that while the bridge is being rebuilt.....those efforts were put on hold. No— those proposals were NOT done away with. But yes, COH is notoriously slow at rebuilding projects. COH is notoriously short sighted when circumstances ( they didn’t anticipate )change.
So IMO the safety stuff might end up like the “ fully funded” Lower Westheimer Renovations. You know.... pushed back and back and back.

 


 

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Brazos Street bridge reconstruction

108567.jpgThe rebuild of the Brazos Street bridge should be completed in January, according to Houston Public Works. In December, crews were finalizing intersection improvements, including new striping, curb ramps and pedestrian crossings. In addition, Smith Street will be reduced to two lanes from three from Francis Street to Holman Street. The bridge, which brings traffic from Hwy. 59 into Midtown, has been closed since summer 2019 after its surface began to deteriorate.

Cost: $4 million

Timeline: fall 2019-winter 2020
 

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5 hours ago, X.R. said:

That was fast, holy shit. It takes them forever to pave a road, but putting in beams and such take a few months. The power of local business interests, lol. 

Just hope they didn't pick the same contractors that did the Ardmore St. bridge for Harris County Flood Control District. Opening was pushed back almost 2 months because they had to redo the deck. 

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