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Toll Road On SH 288


jbmurrah

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Hey folks I really enjoy reading this forum. I was curious if anyone had any info on the SH 288 Corridor Feasibility Study that DOT began in 2003.

Brian

I do not wish to see 288 convert into a toll road, especially not during my school year; I commute to school using SH 288.

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Guest Plastic

It wouldn't become a tollway but have TOlllanes in the middles. Much like The Katy freeway accept they're not that much needed. 288 doesn't get backed up does it.

What I think they should do is put some tolllanes in or expand it. Then in the very center put some commuter rail tracks. That way the commuters could ride all the way Downtown and not have to transfer onto Main St. It would go down 288 to 610 and meet the Main St. line at The Astrodome. Then either take 610 or go down the tracks to SOuth Main. It would then go toStafford. Then lastly to First Colony Mall(Sugarland). I say this cause there's so much open space in the middle of 288.

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288 doesn't get backed up does it.

:lol::lol::lol:

What I think they should do is put some tolllanes in or expand it. Then in the very center put some commuter rail tracks. That way the commuters could ride all the way Downtown and not have to transfer onto Main St. It would go down 288 to 610 and meet the Main St. line at The Astrodome. Then either take 610 or go down the tracks to SOuth Main. It would then go toStafford. Then lastly to First Colony Mall(Sugarland). I say this cause there's so much open space in the middle of 288.

The plan is to preserve the right of way used by the railroad tracks along Almeda Road for future use as commuter rail. The median will accomodate additional general purpose lanes and bidirectional HOT. That's what 288 was initially designed for, and that's how it will be used...but they're going to need to redesign the interchange with I-45.

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:lol::lol::lol:

The plan is to preserve the right of way used by the railroad tracks along Almeda Road for future use as commuter rail. The median will accomodate additional general purpose lanes and bidirectional HOT. That's what 288 was initially designed for, and that's how it will be used...but they're going to need to redesign the interchange with I-45.

NOOOOOOOOO!! **mutters to self: We don't never get to have original interchanges in Houston no mo**

288 doesn't get backed up does it.

I see someone here is hard of hearing and can't hear traffic updates either.

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The interchange with I-45 is just fine. It's I-45 itself that needs help, as well as the downtown section of US59. The interchange backs up because I-45 backs up; four lanes of NB capacity is more than enough, if only they don't merge down to two in the end.

288 inside the Loop is adequate; they need to modernize the South Loop interchange, as well as widen it all the way out to Pearland.

Edited by desirous
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The interchange backs up because I-45 backs up; four lanes of NB capacity is more than enough, if only they don't merge down to two in the end.

Bear in mind that not only do they merge down to two, but for each exit to I-45 North and South, they merge down to one lane. Depending upon the time of day, one or the other are heavily used, but not necessarily both. You're right that the I-45 capacity needs to be upgraded as well, though.

288 inside the Loop is adequate; they need to modernize the South Loop interchange, as well as widen it all the way out to Pearland.

Inside the loop, they at least need to consider more efficient interchanges at Holcombe/OST and at North and South MacGregor. A flyover or two supporting TMC commuters would be very helpful and would also increase ambulance accessibility.

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I don't think they rails on S.Main should be used. WHat will the train do when there's traffic?

OK, there are two problems with your post. First, I was not referring to the tracks along S. Main, but to the ones along Almeda Road. Second, the real question should be "WHat will the traffic do when there's trains?"

The answer: they stop and wait.

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Bear in mind that not only do they merge down to two, but for each exit to I-45 North and South, they merge down to one lane. Depending upon the time of day, one or the other are heavily used, but not necessarily both. You're right that the I-45 capacity needs to be upgraded as well, though.

Inside the loop, they at least need to consider more efficient interchanges at Holcombe/OST and at North and South MacGregor. A flyover or two supporting TMC commuters would be very helpful and would also increase ambulance accessibility.

That's what I meant. Merging down to two lanes means one in each direction. Both the NB and SB exits are actually built as two-lane connectors, but the Pierce Elevated is not wide enough to handle that capacity. If I-45 is widened by one lane in each direction, the backups on 288 NB will be reduced.

As for the flyovers, that can be fixed... just build them, like Coit @ US75 in Dallas.

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288 inside the Loop is adequate; they need to modernize the South Loop interchange, as well as widen it all the way out to Pearland.

The damn builders wait until it is too late to widen roads. It still boggles my mind that a huge chunk of the Beltway 8 is 2 lanes, what was the point of that!!! :angry:

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The damn builders wait until it is too late to widen roads. It still boggles my mind that a huge chunk of the Beltway 8 is 2 lanes, what was the point of that!!! :angry:

I hear ya, I hear ya.

For 288, and for 288 alone, it shouldn't be a problem... the ROW is absolutely titanic. There's enough space in the median to fit 8-10 more lanes.

The segment inside 610 will need to be expanded too though, if the Fort Bend Tollway is ever extended to S Post Oak. Most inbound traffic would prefer 288 over the constipated US59 interchange.

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The interchange with I-45 is just fine. It's I-45 itself that needs help, as well as the downtown section of US59. The interchange backs up because I-45 backs up; four lanes of NB capacity is more than enough, if only they don't merge down to two in the end.

288 inside the Loop is adequate; they need to modernize the South Loop interchange, as well as widen it all the way out to Pearland.

What's wrong with the South Freeway/Loop interchange?

288_610_stack_evening_view_lres_23-may-2001.jpg

I hope the modernization U R speaking of does not include replacing the guardrails because I'm sick and tired of seeing those sh**ty-ass looking concrete jersey rails that we're stuck with on 92% of the freeways forever.

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What's wrong with the South Freeway/Loop interchange?

288_610_stack_evening_view_lres_23-may-2001.jpg

I hope the modernization U R speaking of does not include replacing the guardrails because I'm sick and tired of seeing those sh**ty-ass looking concrete jersey rails that we're stuck with on 92% of the freeways forever.

Everything but the guardrails. ;)

For starters, how 288 SB gets squeezed to one side and down to two through lanes, and how the 610 EB to 288 NB connector is merged from two lanes to one. That must be expanded if the Fort Bend TW reaches S Post Oak. How about a straighter road with improved line-of-sight and geometries to speed up traffic, as well as reconfigured exits to reduce weaving. In other words, something like the 610/10 interchange, minus the rails. ;)

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  • 1 year later...
The Chron is reporting that a design firm has been picked for the tolling of 288. $1.2 billion dollar project. No federal money, all local.

It's funny how some people say it's just a concept -- nothing firm, while at the same time Emmett says, "If we don't start now, it just takes too long to get it under way."

There's not really any conflict there. Emmett is clearly referring to getting underway with the early planning steps, such as the one reported in the article. He is in no way suggesting that we have to start construction now.

Edited by Houston19514
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I wonder if the project will be a combination of capacity added to the free mainlanes and an addition of toll roads? I was driving down the 288/59 merge, and it's got a few lane balance issues at the interchange at 59. Hopefully they can sort all of that out when the time for construction comes.

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Just check the HCTRA website. They give a rundown.

The project will use the large median for SH 288 to place toll lanes similar to I-10.

The tollway will have entrances and exits just like the Katy Toll road. It will terminate just before US 59 with flyovers going into midtown and exits onto the final portion of SH 288.

It will not go all the way to I-45. The purpose it to move people and not cars. This leads to moving commuters. The primary destinations for the toll road will be Beltway 8, Loop 610, Medical Center, then Midtown which will allow traffic to move into downtown.

The Katy Toll road does the same thing with exits at specific points.

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The project will use the large median for SH 288 to place toll lanes similar to I-10.

Another lost opportunity.

It will not go all the way to I-45. The purpose it to move people and not cars. This leads to moving commuters.

If they really believed this, they'd be thinking rail, not Katy Freeway Part II.

I thought Delay was out of office?

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I'd really like to avoid more toll roads in Houston. I know they shift some of the financial burden to the drivers who use the roads, but they don't seem to solve any problems related to traffic. Some of the worst traffic in the city is on the Westpark tollway and Beltway 8.

Like Trae posted, a commuter rail would do far more to relieve traffic congestion. And if we really want to charge people for driving on our roads, wouldn't it make more sense to charge the heaviest vehicles and tractor trailers that cause the greatest damage to the roads?

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I'd really like to avoid more toll roads in Houston. I know they shift some of the financial burden to the drivers who use the roads, but they don't seem to solve any problems related to traffic. Some of the worst traffic in the city is on the Westpark tollway and Beltway 8.

I agree. And the reason this is such a shame is that there's wide open land ready to be turned into rail at the least possible cost. Instead, TXDOT is going to pave it over now and it'll just be more expensive 50 or 60 years from now when all that has to be torn up and replaced with rail anyway.

Like Trae posted, a commuter rail would do far more to relieve traffic congestion. And if we really want to charge people for driving on our roads, wouldn't it make more sense to charge the heaviest vehicles and tractor trailers that cause the greatest damage to the roads?

I think they already do. I think one way is through higher fuel taxes, which is why narrow states that can be crossed without refueling have a kind of special trucker toll tag that bills the drivers when they enter the state.

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I agree. And the reason this is such a shame is that there's wide open land ready to be turned into rail at the least possible cost. Instead, TXDOT is going to pave it over now and it'll just be more expensive 50 or 60 years from now when all that has to be torn up and replaced with rail anyway.

SH 288 has been planned with a dual freeway in mind since 1963. Of course, the freeway wasn't built then, but A.C. Kyser, the man in charge of designing Houston's freeways inside of the loop until the mid 70s, realized that the freeway would need to carry a lot of traffic. They weren't planned as toll lanes, but free "express" lanes. Of course, at that time, nobody thought of rail as an alternative, and if they did, they likely thought that the Columbia Tap rail line would do the job of serving the future suburbs to be built along 288. I don't think anyone then knew that the rail line would be torn up in 1985.

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Another problem I see with a tollway in the middle of 288 is safety... I've seen people fly along Beltway 8 and the Hardy Toll road at break-neck speeds... it's like people figure they've paid for an open road, and dammit, they're going to use it. Especially when there are poor suckers crawling along in the congested free lanes, you really have to stick it to them by going 90 mph in the middle.

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Another problem I see with a tollway in the middle of 288 is safety... I've seen people fly along Beltway 8 and the Hardy Toll road at break-neck speeds... it's like people figure they've paid for an open road, and dammit, they're going to use it. Especially when there are poor suckers crawling along in the congested free lanes, you really have to stick it to them by going 90 mph in the middle.

The Harris County Constable will keep tabs on that.

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I don't think 288 has the volume to reasonably support commuter rail. It's suburbia, not urban center to urban center. I highly doubt all those people driving up 288 in the morning are going to ditch their cars for waiting for a train and then transferring onto buses when they get there. Most of them spend 10-15 minutes just to get to 288 because the freakin idiotic suburban traffic light system and roads are designed and run by morons.

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I think they already do. I think one way is through higher fuel taxes, which is why narrow states that can be crossed without refueling have a kind of special trucker toll tag that bills the drivers when they enter the state.

Yep, they do. My mom's boyfriend is an owner/operator and he gripes about having to calculate up the extra fuel taxes.

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I don't think 288 has the volume to reasonably support commuter rail. It's suburbia, not urban center to urban center. I highly doubt all those people driving up 288 in the morning are going to ditch their cars for waiting for a train and then transferring onto buses when they get there. Most of them spend 10-15 minutes just to get to 288 because the freakin idiotic suburban traffic light system and roads are designed and run by morons.

Well, there are several park and ride locations along 288 that always seemed to be full. Seems like they could expand and leverage these for a commuter rail that ties into the existing light rail leading to the TMC and DT.

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Well, there are several park and ride locations along 288 that always seemed to be full. Seems like they could expand and leverage these for a commuter rail that ties into the existing light rail leading to the TMC and DT.

Several park and ride locations along 288 that always seem to be full? I only know of two locations on FM 518 and Hwy 6. Those are no P&R, they are just carpool-vanpool locations and are not well utilised compared to the number of people living in the area.

A few Metro express in the morning and evening may not be a bad idea to start, but many people here are just not so enthusiastic about commuter stuff.

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METRO can't service areas south of the BW 8 on SH 288. It is out of the service area. The city of Pearland and a portion of Brazoria County would have to have an election and accept a higher property taxes to become part of the service area. Northeast areas of Fort Bend County have turned down METRO expansion measures before.

Commuter rail is also a waste of money for the amount of people that are available to use it. On top of that, most will not want to use it.

Commuter rail is not a simple installation either. It has to work around the freight rail carriers schedule which is increasingly getting busier. The rail companies will force METRO to build all needed improvements to allow the freight operations complete freedom while still allow commuter rail. In the end, the rail companies don't have to do a damn thing. It's their tracks.

All of these issues factor into why commuter rail is such a crappy option. Not just ridership. A toll facility is cheaper, more flexible, and giver users more freedom.

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METRO can't service areas south of the BW 8 on SH 288. It is out of the service area. The city of Pearland and a portion of Brazoria County would have to have an election and accept a higher property taxes to become part of the service area. Northeast areas of Fort Bend County have turned down METRO expansion measures before.

Commuter rail is also a waste of money for the amount of people that are available to use it. On top of that, most will not want to use it.

Commuter rail is not a simple installation either. It has to work around the freight rail carriers schedule which is increasingly getting busier. The rail companies will force METRO to build all needed improvements to allow the freight operations complete freedom while still allow commuter rail. In the end, the rail companies don't have to do a damn thing. It's their tracks.

All of these issues factor into why commuter rail is such a crappy option. Not just ridership. A toll facility is cheaper, more flexible, and giver users more freedom.

Well said kjb. I think we just looked past those elections and logistics.

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All of these issues factor into why commuter rail is such a crappy option. Not just ridership. A toll facility is cheaper, more flexible, and giver users more freedom.

More freedom? Really? Let's just pave over everything else while we're at it. You guys want tollways out of the wazoo. More freedom would mean having the option of taking transit, not burning the same amount of gas, while spending more money to use a roadway.

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I work in real estate and need my vehicle most days to tour properties with clients or visit with clients and show them what is available to them. I live in the Katy area. If I worked in an office complex and did not go out or have a daily need for my vehicle I would certainly utilize some form of mass transit. Specifically commuter rail. The commuters in Pearland have the beginnings a the same problems Katy, Sugar Land, Kingwood and the Woodlands have all experienced...Growth. Has it been as rampant as those mentioned areas? Not until recently. With SH 288 being able to handle more lanes of tolled traffic or some type of commuter rail, I applaud the efforts of whomever is trying to address it. By getting this going today, it should lesson the problems the other areas have had to endure. I wish they had set aside enough room along I-10 for some type of rail, instead I am going to have to pay to play so to speak. BTW, construction has already begun on extending the service lanes along SH 288 from FM 518 north to CR 403.

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Everything but the guardrails. ;)

For starters, how 288 SB gets squeezed to one side and down to two through lanes, and how the 610 EB to 288 NB connector is merged from two lanes to one. That must be expanded if the Fort Bend TW reaches S Post Oak. How about a straighter road with improved line-of-sight and geometries to speed up traffic, as well as reconfigured exits to reduce weaving. In other words, something like the 610/10 interchange, minus the rails. ;)

The ramps on the northern side of the 288/610 interchange were designed originally with the eventual addition of express (now toll) lanes in mind. the inner of the two lanes would split off and lead to these express lanes. Since they were never built (yet), they had to merge the two lanes together until the lanes were built. Once the toll lanes are built, the inner lanes will be finally connected to them, allowing access to the toll lanes from 610 and improving traffic flow in general. Just watch and see.

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The ramps on the northern side of the 288/610 interchange were designed originally with the eventual addition of express (now toll) lanes in mind. the inner of the two lanes would split off and lead to these express lanes. Since they were never built (yet), they had to merge the two lanes together until the lanes were built. Once the toll lanes are built, the inner lanes will be finally connected to them, allowing access to the toll lanes from 610 and improving traffic flow in general. Just watch and see.

There's a thread I started on 288 expansion. In it ToryGattis gave a detailed explanation of how 610 would look in his blog. Lemme look for it. Here.

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I agree. And the reason this is such a shame is that there's wide open land ready to be turned into rail at the least possible cost. Instead, TXDOT is going to pave it over now and it'll just be more expensive 50 or 60 years from now when all that has to be torn up and replaced with rail anyway.

so they are not going to put rail along the westpark right-of-way? dang! i didn't know TXDOT was already going to expand lanes on the Westpark. i can see where it would be useful to extend it past 1463, but i thought commuter rail was in the works to go to Fulshear along that right of way? (i think, though, that Ft Bend County has not wanted to be a part of METRO do to taxes) the reason i am asking is that i recently moved out to katy and was reeeallly hoping for rail to be out here within the next 5 years-ish... :angry2:

nathan

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so they are not going to put rail along the westpark right-of-way? dang! i didn't know TXDOT was already going to expand lanes on the Westpark.

As you are probably aware, a 50-foot-wide corridor was set aside along the Westpark corridor for future transit use. It appears that the corridor will be used for light rail from near Cummins to the Hillcroft transit center at the Southwest Freeway. West of the Hillcroft transit center, there are no plans to use the corridor, as far as I know. The Westpark corridor is not a candidate for commuter rail, as far as I know, so any extension would be light rail.

So, to answer the question, there never were any actual plans for rail on the corridor west of the Hillcroft transit center. The right-of-way set-aside ensures that rail is an option for the future. But due to the outrageous cost of light rail, it is only feasible for short distances (less than 10 miles) and I think farthest it will ever extend west is to Beltway 8. But you never know. In 30 or 50 years, extending transit to Katy or even Fulshear may be feasible. That's why the right-of-way is preserved.

Also, TxDOT has nothing to do with the Westpark Tollway. It is a project of the Harris County Toll Road Authority and the Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority.

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So, to answer the question, there never were any actual plans for rail on the corridor west of the Hillcroft transit center. The right-of-way set-aside ensures that rail is an option for the future. But due to the outrageous cost of light rail, it is only feasible for short distances (less than 10 miles) and I think farthest it will ever extend west is to Beltway 8. But you never know. In 30 or 50 years, extending transit to Katy or even Fulshear may be feasible. That's why the right-of-way is preserved.

And I think that's all anyone here is asking for from the 288 redevelopment -- the preservation of some space for, or some other forethought put into, the addition of rail in the future.

No one's saying that 288 is packed as badly as other corridors which deserve rail. But what you have with 288 right now is a wide expanse of nearly virgin ground. It's important not to waste that opportunity by blacktopping the entire thing and thinking that's a long term solution. Most of the expense in building a rail system comes from land acquisition. This is a chance to do a little planning now so that in the future taxpayers won't have to cough up nearly as much money to build rail when the time comes.

FWIW, the train lines (two tracks) that run down the middle of I-90/I-94 in Chicago take up 43 feet of the right-of-way. Does anyone know how wide the 288 expansion would be? Could 43 feet be set aside for rail use in the future?

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And I think that's all anyone here is asking for from the 288 redevelopment -- the preservation of some space for, or some other forethought put into, the addition of rail in the future.

No one's saying that 288 is packed as badly as other corridors which deserve rail. But what you have with 288 right now is a wide expanse of nearly virgin ground. It's important not to waste that opportunity by blacktopping the entire thing and thinking that's a long term solution. Most of the expense in building a rail system comes from land acquisition. This is a chance to do a little planning now so that in the future taxpayers won't have to cough up nearly as much money to build rail when the time comes.

FWIW, the train lines (two tracks) that run down the middle of I-90/I-94 in Chicago take up 43 feet of the right-of-way. Does anyone know how wide the 288 expansion would be? Could 43 feet be set aside for rail use in the future?

A July 1999 article on texasfreeway.com says it's 100 ft wide.

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As you are probably aware, a 50-foot-wide corridor was set aside along the Westpark corridor for future transit use. It appears that the corridor will be used for light rail from near Cummins to the Hillcroft transit center at the Southwest Freeway. West of the Hillcroft transit center, there are no plans to use the corridor, as far as I know. The Westpark corridor is not a candidate for commuter rail, as far as I know, so any extension would be light rail.

huh...the only reason i asked was because on metro's website on phase II i believe, there is a commuter line on the map. i truly hope they continue to keep that 50 foot right-of-way. i drive out on westpark to 1463 every day and it is obvious and i know that is set aside; i just hope they continue to keep it, as it would be nice to have some sort of mass transit along that route.

nathan

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And I think that's all anyone here is asking for from the 288 redevelopment -- the preservation of some space for, or some other forethought put into, the addition of rail in the future.

No one's saying that 288 is packed as badly as other corridors which deserve rail. But what you have with 288 right now is a wide expanse of nearly virgin ground. It's important not to waste that opportunity by blacktopping the entire thing and thinking that's a long term solution. Most of the expense in building a rail system comes from land acquisition. This is a chance to do a little planning now so that in the future taxpayers won't have to cough up nearly as much money to build rail when the time comes.

FWIW, the train lines (two tracks) that run down the middle of I-90/I-94 in Chicago take up 43 feet of the right-of-way. Does anyone know how wide the 288 expansion would be? Could 43 feet be set aside for rail use in the future?

A July 1999 article on texasfreeway.com says it's 100 ft wide.

It looks like it could be more like 115 ft. inside the loop. (http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=29....mp;t=h&z=19) Outside the loop, it looks like it's right at 100 ft. (http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=29....mp;t=h&z=19).

However, there is existing ROW outside the mainlanes, both inside and outside the loop. Outside the loop, it's level ground and just grass. Inside the loop, it's primarily earthen slopes. If Westpark Tollway was done in a 50 ft. right of way, I would think that we could have a 2x2 lane toll road and still have room for rail here. If we are serious (and by that I mean willing to spend the money at some point in the future) about having rail, AND a toll road, AND maybe adding a fifth mainlane in each direction, it could probably be done in the style of the North Central Expressway (U.S. 75) in Dallas.

But where would this train go once it gets to the 288/59 interchange? Elevated? Or underground all the way to the proposed Intermodal Center? That's almost 3 miles! Could that cost be justified? Even by 2040? I wouldn't think so. If it wouldn't go to the Intermodal Center, where would it end up? It would need some place to drop all of these commuters that would connect them to light rail or buses.

Another issue is at the interchange with I-610. Is there room here for toll lanes AND rail?

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