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TxDOT Proposes Elevating I-10 near I-45


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The proposed project would raise the elevation of the existing I-10 main lanes above the floodplain of White Oak Bayou from Heights Blvd. to I-45. The proposed construction area would be approximately 1.8 miles in length. The project also includes the construction of a 21.7-acre detention pond located on the north side of I-10 between Taylor St. and Houston Ave. and would construct a 10-foot shared use path on the north side of I-10 along White Oak Bayou between Studemont St. and I-45.

Although additional right of way would be required, no residential or non-residential structures are anticipated to be displaced at this time. Information concerning services and benefits available to affected property owners and information about the tentative schedule for right-of-way acquisition and construction can be obtained from the TxDOT Houston District Office by calling (713) 802-5270.

The proposed project would involve construction in wetlands. The proposed project would involve an action in a floodplain. 

https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/houston/072622.html?fbclid=IwAR3ivAMnO24msSi1KLOH91bSzdS2tlL7EEZqpf_CPlTbdtYtgXRQgG3fHK4

 

First Ward residents are concerned of the increased noise this would have on their area.

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27 minutes ago, Ross said:

Isn't most of this already raised? I guess I'll have to go drive it to see.

No, it's currently on the ground in the flood plain. This is actually before I-45 closer to Houston Ave and Studemont.

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7 hours ago, Triton said:

No, it's currently on the ground in the flood plain. This is actually before I-45 closer to Houston Ave and Studemont.

After looking at the map some more that makes sense. It's not really starting at Heights, but East of Studemont and West of Taylor(or thereabouts) where it drops off the elevated portion to ground level. The detention is presumably going to be South of the Bayou in the area that's North of the freeway on a line extended from Silver and Sabine. It would be nice if TxDOT put a map on that web page.

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If they are re-doing this section, can they make the i45 exit a right hand exit? It always backs up from people not realizing it is on the left and having to cut over at the last second (or cut over to the right to avoid going on to i45)

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19 minutes ago, sapo2367 said:

If they are re-doing this section, can they make the i45 exit a right hand exit? It always backs up from people not realizing it is on the left and having to cut over at the last second (or cut over to the right to avoid going on to i45)

Maybe that's part of the I-45 reconstruction downtown.  I tried looking at a TXDOT map of what's planned, but couldn't make heads or tails of it.

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1 hour ago, sapo2367 said:

If they are re-doing this section, can they make the i45 exit a right hand exit? It always backs up from people not realizing it is on the left and having to cut over at the last second (or cut over to the right to avoid going on to i45)

At least both 45 exits are on the same side. Unlike on 610 North, where they are on opposite sides.

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On 7/1/2022 at 2:26 PM, sapo2367 said:

If they are re-doing this section, can they make the i45 exit a right hand exit? It always backs up from people not realizing it is on the left and having to cut over at the last second (or cut over to the right to avoid going on to i45)

The number of people not realizing the exit is on the left is significantly outnumbered by the number of people who insist on performing the classic Houston traffic maneuver of using the exit lane to bypass the backed-up lane of thru traffic by zooming almost all the way up to the exit before cutting back into the thru traffic lane. These entitled morons invariably block the exit lane while they're waiting for someone to let them back into the thru traffic lane.   

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4 hours ago, X.R. said:

It feels like TxDOT is just begging to spend money at this point. 

The name should be changed to Texas Department of Highways.  It seems to have little interest in "transportation," except in that one form.

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35 minutes ago, editor said:

The name should be changed to Texas Department of Highways.  It seems to have little interest in "transportation," except in that one form.

If you look up "transportation" in the Dictionary of Texas, it says "Roads and highways built to facilitate the quick and efficient movement of cars, trucks, and people from one place to another. Railroads were once a type of transportation, but are no longer relevant, as the technology is too old"🤣

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1 hour ago, Ross said:

If you look up "transportation" in the Dictionary of Texas, it says "Roads and highways built to facilitate the quick and efficient movement of cars, trucks, and people from one place to another. Railroads were once a type of transportation, but are no longer relevant, as the technology is too old"🤣

It's not that rail is not relevant or too old a technology (but that is also kind of true)...it's that it's just not even close to being cost effective. These light rail projects cost $200-500MM per mile (conservative estimates)...highway projects move more people at less than half the cost of rail. The choo choo fans on this board need to come to grips with the fact that cars are far more effective and efficient at moving people to and from decentralized population/job centers. 

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1 hour ago, Heights88 said:

It's not that rail is not relevant or too old a technology (but that is also kind of true)...it's that it's just not even close to being cost effective. These light rail projects cost $200-500MM per mile (conservative estimates)...highway projects move more people at less than half the cost of rail. The choo choo fans on this board need to come to grips with the fact that cars are far more effective and efficient at moving people to and from decentralized population/job centers. 

Tell that to most European and Asian countries.Houston ranks No. 11 among U.S. cities with worst traffic congestion -  CultureMap Houston

Ah yes, this is much more effective and efficient than taking the train.

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2 hours ago, Some one said:

Tell that to most European and Asian countries.Houston ranks No. 11 among U.S. cities with worst traffic congestion -  CultureMap Houston

Ah yes, this is much more effective and efficient than taking the train.

With regards to moving to and from multiple destinations that are not near a rail station, and/or carrying more goods than you are physically able to lift and bring on the train, that is exactly correct.  If you happen to live by a rail station and all your destinations are near rail stations, and the train runs on a schedule that works for you, then a train might be more efficient.

Cars and roads are analogous to the packet switching system used by the internet. 

Trains are a bit more analogous to this technology...

tin-can-telephone-19th-century-science-s

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I just... you highway apologist weirdos have been to other countries right? 

Cars are *incredibly* inefficient, but we also have some of the poorest transit infrastructure in the entire word, so you have to go elsewhere to experience how transit is supposed to work. 

The independence offered by a car is often an illusion. With a well-designed transit system, you're *always* within a 5 minute walk of access to the system, and ...that's all you need.

You're never stuck in traffic. You never have to worry about parking. If a train is full, you wait a few minutes. 

And yeah, I realize we can never hope to have the advanced transit network of a wealthy, hyper-advanced, futuristic country like *checks notes* Spain, but that doesn't say anything about the inherent value of transit. It just says a lot about how deeply broken and backward our ability to build infrastructure has become.

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47 minutes ago, Texasota said:

I just... you highway apologist weirdos have been to other countries right? 

Cars are *incredibly* inefficient, but we also have some of the poorest transit infrastructure in the entire word, so you have to go elsewhere to experience how transit is supposed to work. 

The independence offered by a car is often an illusion. With a well-designed transit system, you're *always* within a 5 minute walk of access to the system, and ...that's all you need.

You're never stuck in traffic. You never have to worry about parking. If a train is full, you wait a few minutes. 

And yeah, I realize we can never hope to have the advanced transit network of a wealthy, hyper-advanced, futuristic country like *checks notes* Spain, but that doesn't say anything about the inherent value of transit. It just says a lot about how deeply broken and backward our ability to build infrastructure has become.

I think "weirdos" is a bit strong.  I think some people are just used to doing things a certain way.

It's not about different nations, or different cultures, or anything like that.  It's just about density.

Transit works great in places with urban density.  It works less well in places where people are spread out. 

When I moved away from Houston in 2003, I brought two cars with me.  Within two months in my new, far denser, city, I realized that I didn't need the cars, and sold them both, relying exclusively on transit and the occasional Zip Car.  I then moved to another city with more density than Houston.  Again, no cars, just transit and Zip Cars.  Then I moved to the desert.  I had to buy a car.  Because everything was spread out.

I think that once Houston becomes more dense, people will become more accepting of transit.  But that will be a long time coming because Houston has been allowed to sprawl without control for most of its existence.  There are plenty of Houston suburbs that don't need to exist.  Their populations could easily be absorbed into all of the currently vacant land within the city of Houston.  But there's no economic incentive there. 

The one major pain point — commuting — has been tempered by TXDOT's relentless paving of everything it can see.  But there's only so many lanes of highway you can build, so people were starting to get tired of losing 20% of their time awake each day sitting in traffic.  Now that work-from-home is the norm for many people, I expect that the desire for transit will be lessened because the commuting pain is also lessened.

I'd like to be proven wrong, but it's my observation that pretty much the only thing driving density in Houston is people from out of town who are used to living in places with density and getting around on transit.  As long as they keep moving into downtown and adjacent neighborhoods, there's reason to develop transit.  But I think that city-wide mass transit of the kind badly needed by people who can't afford to live near downtown is a lost cause.  At least in my lifetime.

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52 minutes ago, Texasota said:

I just... you highway apologist weirdos have been to other countries right? 

The independence offered by a car is often an illusion.

And yeah, I realize we can never hope to have the advanced transit network of a wealthy, hyper-advanced, futuristic country like *checks notes* Spain, but that doesn't say anything about the inherent value of transit. It just says a lot about how deeply broken and backward our ability to build infrastructure has become.

 

I'm not a highway apologist, but I did just spend 10 days in Spain, in a rental car, going to dozens of restaurants/museums/churches/hotels/scenic areas inaccessible by trains.  The independence offered was very very real. 

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15 hours ago, Heights88 said:

It's not that rail is not relevant or too old a technology (but that is also kind of true)...it's that it's just not even close to being cost effective. These light rail projects cost $200-500MM per mile (conservative estimates)...highway projects move more people at less than half the cost of rail. The choo choo fans on this board need to come to grips with the fact that cars are far more effective and efficient at moving people to and from decentralized population/job centers. 

A quick internet search shows that the cost of light rail is $15 million to $100 million per mile.  Not $200 million to $500 million. 

I think you should expand on your assertion that "cars are more effective and efficient at moving people to and from decentralized population/job centers."  I think that's not right.  It's certainly contrary to the conventional wisdom, so I'd like to see some numbers on it.

You can fit an order of magnitude more people in the physical space of a train than you can in the physical space of a car.  And moving people and things between centers is what trains excel at.  That's why bulk freight is carried by trains, and not trucks.  Cars are good for last-mile things, but not great for moving people to and from job centers.

When a highway is at capacity, you're stuck, or you build another highway for billions, assuming there's room for it.  When a train fills up, you add more trains, at a cost of low-millions.

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These conversations always devolve into an absurd binary, as though wanting better transit means you think cars should be illegal or are never useful.

Is a car useful if you want to go to Azurmendi or hop between towns in La Rioja? Sure. Nobody is saying cars are never useful, but they are *far* less efficient most of the time.

And it's really not just about density. Density helps, but the minimum density at which transit can work is a lot lower than people seem to think. Greater Copenhagen is roughly the same size, population, and overall density as the city of Houston, yet it supports a network of subways and express buses that arrive every 2 minutes all day every day.

And "we're not dense enough to support transit" is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We continue to destroy our own cities to make room for cars, which perpetuates that lack of density, which continues to excuse the same type of development.

This is a choice. It is not inevitable, and we don't have to keep making the same mistakes.

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15 hours ago, Heights88 said:

It's not that rail is not relevant or too old a technology (but that is also kind of true)...it's that it's just not even close to being cost effective. These light rail projects cost $200-500MM per mile (conservative estimates)...highway projects move more people at less than half the cost of rail. The choo choo fans on this board need to come to grips with the fact that cars are far more effective and efficient at moving people to and from decentralized population/job centers. 

Do you have a source for this? 

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15 hours ago, Heights88 said:

The choo choo fans

Please be less dismissive and more respectful of the opinions of others.  Remember that you're advocating the position of vroom vroom motorheads.

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12 hours ago, august948 said:

With regards to moving to and from multiple destinations that are not near a rail station, and/or carrying more goods than you are physically able to lift and bring on the train, that is exactly correct.  If you happen to live by a rail station and all your destinations are near rail stations, and the train runs on a schedule that works for you, then a train might be more efficient.

That issue could be solved by having a walkable environment and an efficient biking and bus system. Yeah cars are still needed by some magnitude, especially if you live in a rural area, but in a large city, having walkable areas accessible by trains should be priority.

12 hours ago, august948 said:

Cars and roads are analogous to the packet switching system used by the internet. 

Trains are a bit more analogous to this technology...

tin-can-telephone-19th-century-science-s

I will never understand this argument. Should we stop driving cars since they have been around since the 1900s? Should we stop using our phones because they were invented in the 1876? Trains in America may be abysmal (although that's due to a lack of investment in them) but that's not the case everywhere else. Go to Spain or Japan and tell them that their maglev and bullet trains are outdated and see how they'd react. 

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22 minutes ago, Some one said:

That issue could be solved by having a walkable environment and an efficient biking and bus system. Yeah cars are still needed by some magnitude, especially if you live in a rural area, but in a large city, having walkable areas accessible by trains should be priority.

I will never understand this argument. Should we stop driving cars since they have been around since the 1900s? Should we stop using our phones because they were invented in the 1876? Trains in America may be abysmal (although that's due to a lack of investment in them) but that's not the case everywhere else. Go to Spain or Japan and tell them that their maglev and bullet trains are outdated and see how they'd react. 

It was more of an example than an argument.  When you have multiple (millions, really) possible start and end points for a journey combined with millions of individual trips the most efficient way to pull that off is a packet system.  In this case, cars or buses are the packets and roads are the pathways that allow them to move from any point to any other point.  Trains, by definition, follow a fixed path and cannot deviate from it.  Thus, trains are efficient at moving people and goods from one fixed point to others along the same fixed pathway.  That's fine if all your start and end points are along that pathway but the efficiency starts to break down once you move beyond it.

Most of the developed world came into being when foot travel was the primary means of transit.  It shouldn't be surprising, then, that Spain and Japan among others have developed in such a way that train transit naturally works better than it ever will here where we have had at least horses and horse drawn carts to enable greater movement of people and goods.  I know there are those that fantasize about millions of people abandoning trillions in investments in single family homes in the suburbs in favor of high rise living inside the loop but that's just not going to happen.

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Nobody is expecting the outer suburbs and exurbs to disappear, but the balance of growth has already changed. Yes, we continue to destroy the Katy Prairie for low density development, but the city itself is also densifying. Serving that densifying population better is just as important as serving the exurban dually drivers.

Also, just to go back to Copenhagen as an example: most of it was built in the 19th century or later. There are new neighborhoods being built *now* on reclaimed land.

Most of Barcelona in 19th and 20th century development. 

20th and 21st century suburbs in Spain, Germany, etc all have transit access most cities in the US should be envious of.

Tokyo is constantly being rebuilt. 

This is not a question of when a city was built, this is a question of how we decide to build and what we decide to prioritize. 

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49 minutes ago, august948 said:

 I know there are those that fantasize about

Are there?  It sounds like you're projecting.

Quote

millions of people abandoning trillions in investments in single family homes in the suburbs in favor of high rise living inside the loop but that's just not going to happen.

Yet somehow it was OK for millions of people to abandon (inflation-adjusted) trillions in investments when cities replaced their trolleys, interurban lines, and bus systems with trillion-dollar highways?

TxDOT's budget is a third of a trillion dollars per year.  Perhaps we should demand that more of the money that all taxpayers pay is used for transportation that all the taxpayers can use.

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i think it's also interesting to think about the financial implications of our car-based transportation system.  while our tax dollars fund roads and highways, each individual also has to buy a car and then insure/fuel/maintain it (you technically don't have to own a car in houston but in reality you kinda do).  sure you get some control over what kind of car you buy, but at the end of the day, owning a car is part of the "living-in-houston" tax.  if you take the money that millions of houstonians spend on their cars and divert it into a public transit system, would it be enough to turn houston into a city where you don't need a car? 

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3 hours ago, Texasota said:

I just... you highway apologist weirdos have been to other countries right? 

Cars are *incredibly* inefficient, but we also have some of the poorest transit infrastructure in the entire word, so you have to go elsewhere to experience how transit is supposed to work. 

The independence offered by a car is often an illusion. With a well-designed transit system, you're *always* within a 5 minute walk of access to the system, and ...that's all you need.

You're never stuck in traffic. You never have to worry about parking. If a train is full, you wait a few minutes. 

And yeah, I realize we can never hope to have the advanced transit network of a wealthy, hyper-advanced, futuristic country like *checks notes* Spain, but that doesn't say anything about the inherent value of transit. It just says a lot about how deeply broken and backward our ability to build infrastructure has become.

I doubt there's a city, let alone an entire country, in the world in which you are always within a 5-minute walk of access to the transit system.

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Obviously not a country, but a city? Definitely. This is part of why treating buses as serious transit is important; you need them to get to that level of access. 

In a city with decent transit, you start getting multiple transit options to choose between depending on the needs of a specific trip. Maybe the subway is 10 minutes away (while a bus is 5), but the subway will get you to your destination faster. Do you want to walk further or have a longer overall trip? 

A 5 minute walk is 1/4 of a mile, so all you need is frequent transit lines consistently within 1/2 mile of each other. 

 

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30 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Obviously not a country, but a city? Definitely. This is part of why treating buses as serious transit is important; you need them to get to that level of access. 

In a city with decent transit, you start getting multiple transit options to choose between depending on the needs of a specific trip. Maybe the subway is 10 minutes away (while a bus is 5), but the subway will get you to your destination faster. Do you want to walk further or have a longer overall trip? 

A 5 minute walk is 1/4 of a mile, so all you need is frequent transit lines consistently within 1/2 mile of each other. 

 

I understand all that and I still think you're wrong.  Pick some random spots in any city with Google maps (which covers buses and trains) and one can easily find spots where the walk to the initial transit connection is more than 5 minutes.  I tried Madrid and Paris.  (If there is in some cases a closer bus stop than the one in your itinerary, it's not very relevant. If the bus stop is for a bus that doesn't take you where you are going or provide an opportunity of a reasonably efficient connection, so what?)

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I'm not seeing anywhere in Madrid more than 5 minutes from a bus stop, though I can't be sure of the frequency of every bus line. 

But let's say you're correct. At a minimum, there are definitely cities with good transit that also have dead zones/underserved areas.

Is this just a general objection to hyperbole? 

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1 hour ago, editor said:

Are there?  It sounds like you're projecting.

Yet somehow it was OK for millions of people to abandon (inflation-adjusted) trillions in investments when cities replaced their trolleys, interurban lines, and bus systems with trillion-dollar highways?

TxDOT's budget is a third of a trillion dollars per year.  Perhaps we should demand that more of the money that all taxpayers pay is used for transportation that all the taxpayers can use.

I don't believe I commented on the moral implications of post-war white flight, if that is what you are referring to.  Whether or not something is morally right is sometimes different from what actually happens.  The interesting question is why something happens and what can we glean from that for the future.

As for TxDOT's budget, is that third of a trillion dollars just for urban areas?  Are they not responsible for building and maintaining roads state wide?

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1 hour ago, TrainTrak said:

i think it's also interesting to think about the financial implications of our car-based transportation system.  while our tax dollars fund roads and highways, each individual also has to buy a car and then insure/fuel/maintain it (you technically don't have to own a car in houston but in reality you kinda do).  sure you get some control over what kind of car you buy, but at the end of the day, owning a car is part of the "living-in-houston" tax.  if you take the money that millions of houstonians spend on their cars and divert it into a public transit system, would it be enough to turn houston into a city where you don't need a car? 

Wouldn't that require running buses along all the backroads that encompass the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland MSA?

I'm also curious how you would go about doing ordinary family shopping.  How do you bring a cart full of groceries and other sundries home via train and bus?  What happens when you try to bring back a sheet or two of plywood from Home Depot?  Do you have to make separate trips for everything you need since you can only carry so much?

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3 hours ago, Texasota said:

These conversations always devolve into an absurd binary, as though wanting better transit means you think cars should be illegal or are never useful.

Is a car useful if you want to go to Azurmendi or hop between towns in La Rioja? Sure. Nobody is saying cars are never useful, but they are *far* less efficient most of the time.


wait, did you creep on my social media? 😂  Azurmendi was great, La Rioja was a ghost town after the past 2 years of no tourism dollars.   

but, yes, i would love more transit options, and I'm still extremely pissed the i10 BRT line isn't going to have a First Ward stop.   


 

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2 hours ago, editor said:

Are there?  It sounds like you're projecting.

Yet somehow it was OK for millions of people to abandon (inflation-adjusted) trillions in investments when cities replaced their trolleys, interurban lines, and bus systems with trillion-dollar highways?

TxDOT's budget is a third of a trillion dollars per year.  Perhaps we should demand that more of the money that all taxpayers pay is used for transportation that all the taxpayers can use.

 

36 minutes ago, august948 said:

I don't believe I commented on the moral implications of post-war white flight, if that is what you are referring to.  Whether or not something is morally right is sometimes different from what actually happens.  The interesting question is why something happens and what can we glean from that for the future.

As for TxDOT's budget, is that third of a trillion dollars just for urban areas?  Are they not responsible for building and maintaining roads state wide?

Let's remember that plenty of this infrastructure that was abandoned was because the private companies that were running them were insolvent and had to be bailed out.  I can see how it was totally logical to "cut the losses" and invest money in new technology that at the time promised more flexibility.  (That's not to say I don't also see how it could have been totally self-serving for others (i.e., the automobile industry) to serve as boosters.) 

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16 minutes ago, crock said:


wait, did you creep on my social media? 😂  Azurmendi was great, La Rioja was a ghost town after the past 2 years of no tourism dollars.   

but, yes, i would love more transit options, and I'm still extremely pissed the i10 BRT line isn't going to have a First Ward stop.   


 

Ha! My wife and I went to Azurmendi on our honeymoon. It was good, but I don't really think it was worth the price. 

Yeah... I think that's partly an artifact of HGAC's involvement. A First Ward stop (and, for that matter, a Heights Boulevard/Yale stop) would be incredibly useful. 

Better connectivity to the other side of I-10 would be too, but the width of the freeway makes that prohibitively expensive.

Edited by Texasota
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  • The title was changed to TxDOT Proposes Raising I-10 near I-45
6 hours ago, editor said:

Are there?  It sounds like you're projecting.

Yet somehow it was OK for millions of people to abandon (inflation-adjusted) trillions in investments when cities replaced their trolleys, interurban lines, and bus systems with trillion-dollar highways?

TxDOT's budget is a third of a trillion dollars per year.  Perhaps we should demand that more of the money that all taxpayers pay is used for transportation that all the taxpayers can use.

TxDOT's budget is NOT a third of a trillion dollars per year. The entire State of Texas budget for the biennium is about $250 billion. I think you missed a comma somewhere.

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9 hours ago, Texasota said:

I just... you highway apologist weirdos have been to other countries right? 

Cars are *incredibly* inefficient, but we also have some of the poorest transit infrastructure in the entire word, so you have to go elsewhere to experience how transit is supposed to work. 

The independence offered by a car is often an illusion. With a well-designed transit system, you're *always* within a 5 minute walk of access to the system, and ...that's all you need.

You're never stuck in traffic. You never have to worry about parking. If a train is full, you wait a few minutes. 

And yeah, I realize we can never hope to have the advanced transit network of a wealthy, hyper-advanced, futuristic country like *checks notes* Spain, but that doesn't say anything about the inherent value of transit. It just says a lot about how deeply broken and backward our ability to build infrastructure has become.

I can show you multiple locations in London where access to public transport is more than a 5 minute walk, and that's a city with a tremendous amount of public transport.

8 hours ago, editor said:

I think "weirdos" is a bit strong.  I think some people are just used to doing things a certain way.

It's not about different nations, or different cultures, or anything like that.  It's just about density.

Transit works great in places with urban density.  It works less well in places where people are spread out. 

When I moved away from Houston in 2003, I brought two cars with me.  Within two months in my new, far denser, city, I realized that I didn't need the cars, and sold them both, relying exclusively on transit and the occasional Zip Car.  I then moved to another city with more density than Houston.  Again, no cars, just transit and Zip Cars.  Then I moved to the desert.  I had to buy a car.  Because everything was spread out.

I think that once Houston becomes more dense, people will become more accepting of transit.  But that will be a long time coming because Houston has been allowed to sprawl without control for most of its existence.  There are plenty of Houston suburbs that don't need to exist.  Their populations could easily be absorbed into all of the currently vacant land within the city of Houston.  But there's no economic incentive there. 

The one major pain point — commuting — has been tempered by TXDOT's relentless paving of everything it can see.  But there's only so many lanes of highway you can build, so people were starting to get tired of losing 20% of their time awake each day sitting in traffic.  Now that work-from-home is the norm for many people, I expect that the desire for transit will be lessened because the commuting pain is also lessened.

I'd like to be proven wrong, but it's my observation that pretty much the only thing driving density in Houston is people from out of town who are used to living in places with density and getting around on transit.  As long as they keep moving into downtown and adjacent neighborhoods, there's reason to develop transit.  But I think that city-wide mass transit of the kind badly needed by people who can't afford to live near downtown is a lost cause.  At least in my lifetime.

There is not as much open space within the city as you might think. There is definitely not enough space for even a small master planned community of the type so many people want to live in. However, Houston is increasing density in a very organic manner. If you look at the area bounded by East TC Jester, Durham, 610 and 14th, for example, the density there is way higher than it used to be, as small homes on large lots have been replaced with townhomes. A number of mobile home parks have also been replaced with more density.

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8 hours ago, editor said:

A quick internet search shows that the cost of light rail is $15 million to $100 million per mile.  Not $200 million to $500 million. 

I think you should expand on your assertion that "cars are more effective and efficient at moving people to and from decentralized population/job centers."  I think that's not right.  It's certainly contrary to the conventional wisdom, so I'd like to see some numbers on it.

You can fit an order of magnitude more people in the physical space of a train than you can in the physical space of a car.  And moving people and things between centers is what trains excel at.  That's why bulk freight is carried by trains, and not trucks.  Cars are good for last-mile things, but not great for moving people to and from job centers.

When a highway is at capacity, you're stuck, or you build another highway for billions, assuming there's room for it.  When a train fills up, you add more trains, at a cost of low-millions.

The last piece of Houston light rail that was built(green and purple lines) cost $153 million per mile. https://urbanreforminstitute.org/2022/07/comparing-inflating-costs-houston-highways-vs-transit/ another fine piece by Tory Gattis.

That price is not likely to go down.

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I remember hearing that depressed freeways were supposed to be better in floodplains because they can function as spillways during floods and store water that would otherwise flood adjacent neighborhoods. Is there a reason they're not going this route (no pun intended)? Maybe the nearly 22 acre detention pond would take care of that?

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7 hours ago, JLWM8609 said:

I remember hearing that depressed freeways were supposed to be better in floodplains because they can function as spillways during floods and store water that would otherwise flood adjacent neighborhoods. Is there a reason they're not going this route (no pun intended)? Maybe the nearly 22 acre detention pond would take care of that?

Just a complete guess here...but could it be that they want to make sure certain routes stay open during flooding events?

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14 hours ago, Ross said:

The last piece of Houston light rail that was built(green and purple lines) cost $153 million per mile. https://urbanreforminstitute.org/2022/07/comparing-inflating-costs-houston-highways-vs-transit/ another fine piece by Tory Gattis.

That price is not likely to go down.

I think you should fine a more credible/impartial source.  The Urban Reform Institute is devoted to promoting last century's methods of development.

Quote

Cities are told how to become “more sustainable” by expanding transit, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and adopting restrictions and planning approaches that mandate higher densities, and, increasingly, bar the expansion of single-family home-dominated areas... Urban Reform Institute Is a Counterpoint

Source

I find it amazing that they are publicly in favor of the expansion of fossil fuels when even the big oil companies like Shell and BP are getting out of that business.

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10 hours ago, JLWM8609 said:

I remember hearing that depressed freeways were supposed to be better in floodplains because they can function as spillways during floods and store water that would otherwise flood adjacent neighborhoods. Is there a reason they're not going this route (no pun intended)? Maybe the nearly 22 acre detention pond would take care of that?

I think that detention ponds are probably better suited for this than highways.  For a couple of reasons:

  • Detention ponds are wider and longer, and can hold more water.
  • If they prove to be insufficient, they can be expanded downward for more capacity.  I've seen this happen in other cities with flash flooding.
  • If one pond fills up routinely, pipes and pumps can be built to move the water to another pond, lake, river, etc. where it doesn't.
  • Keeping the highways clear aids in evacuation.
  • Water piles up quickly, but recedes slowly.  Letting the water in the ponds drain away at their own pace doesn't affect anyone.  Letting water drain away from highways, even with pump assists, keeps the highways closed.

In cities that deal with flash floods, there are massive detention ponds.  They have to be much larger than what we'd need in Houston because they also have to catch trees, rocks, mud, lahar, and other debris that gets swept ahead of the water.  Normally, they're just enormous, deeply sunken, parks with soccer and baseball fields and places to sit and fly kites and stuff.  When the bad times come, they fill up and little of any value is damaged.

As a point of interest, State Farm will sell you insurance for lahar.  I had it for a while. It's part of a "pyroclastic event" rider.

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12 hours ago, JLWM8609 said:

I remember hearing that depressed freeways were supposed to be better in floodplains because they can function as spillways during floods and store water that would otherwise flood adjacent neighborhoods. Is there a reason they're not going this route (no pun intended)? Maybe the nearly 22 acre detention pond would take care of that?

One guess I'd make is that since I-10 West is a designated hurricane evacuation route they want to make sure it stays open even during the heavy rains from outer bands that can move into our area in advance of a hurricane.

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2 hours ago, editor said:

I think you should fine a more credible/impartial source.  The Urban Reform Institute is devoted to promoting last century's methods of development.

Source

I find it amazing that they are publicly in favor of the expansion of fossil fuels when even the big oil companies like Shell and BP are getting out of that business.

I doubt the cost numbers are wrong. That was the first reasonable source of costs that I found. Tory Gattis has always been reasonable, at least the stuff I've read. If you ahve a source that says the Metro Light Rail costs are lower, I would be happy to look at it.

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On 7/7/2022 at 11:48 AM, editor said:

A quick internet search shows that the cost of light rail is $15 million to $100 million per mile.  Not $200 million to $500 million. 

The quick internet search (i.e., Wikipedia) actually says the cost of most LRT systems ranges from $15 million to more than $100 million per mile, and that's from 2006.

In more recent times, it looks like LA has a light rail project for about $253 million/mile. Another project for $165 million/mile. Another for $293 million/mile.  https://labusinessjournal.com/infrastructure/car-loving-la-midst-largest-rail-construction-prog/

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  • The title was changed to TxDOT Proposes Elevating I-10 near I-45

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