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Regional Boards => Mid-South => Topic started by: MaxConcrete on April 22, 2015, 09:19:38 PM

Title: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 22, 2015, 09:19:38 PM
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/scoping_documents4.aspx (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/scoping_documents4.aspx)

In particular see these schematics
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/16_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_02_Eastern_Half.pdf (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/16_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_02_Eastern_Half.pdf)
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/17_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_03_Western_Half.pdf (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/17_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_03_Western_Half.pdf)
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf)

Earlier "leaks" of info hinted at a major rebuild, but this is more than I expected.

* Complete rebuild of the *entire* downtown Houston freeway complex. Everything.
* Removal of the Pierce Elevated and realigning I-45 along US 59 on the east side of downtown
* A super-wide new trench on the east side of downtown with 18 freeway lanes plus frontage roads.
* Abandoning a wide section of US 59 in northeast downtown and realigning it to eliminate curves, sending it directly through the Clayton Homes housing project. The abandoned section is relatively new, rebuilt and widened in 2003.
* Demolishing and rebuilding the US 59/I-10 interchange, most of which was built in 2003.
* Interstate 10 on the north side of downtown widened to 18 freeway lanes to accommodate I-10, I-45 and the I-10 express lanes. Since the term "express lanes" is used rather than "managed lanes", it suggests the I-10 express lanes will not be tolled.
* Realignment of I-10/I-45 west of Elysian, and abandonment of the existing I-10 corridor.
* Freeways on the west side of downtown no longer serve through-traffic and are downsized to provide connections into downtown. Freeway will still exist northward from the current western end of the Pierce Elevated.
* On the south side of downtown, the elevated US 59 is sunk into a trench and widened, with five northbound lanes and four southbound lanes.
* The US 59/SH 288 interchange is completely rebuilt.
* The US 59/SH 288 trench gets more lanes, generally around 20 lanes.
* On the northwest side of downtown, complete rebuild of the I-45/I-10 multiplex. It looks like the elevated HOV structure is also a goner, replaced by the four elevated I-10 express lanes.

The I-45 corridor north of downtown is also slated to be widened from downtown to Beltway 8.
* From I-10 to I-610, the corridor is kept narrow to appease the neighborhood, 4-2M-2M-4 plus frontage roads (M=managed). At North Main, the frontage road is on top of the main lanes.
* Complete rebuild of the I-45/I-610 interchange to be five-level.
* 4-2M-2M-4 configuration from I-10 to BW8. I think this is underdesigned. It needs to be 5-2M-2M-5, especially since a very wide corridor is being cleared and space is available.
* From I-610 to BW8, the corridor is widened to be 480 feet wide. This will be a huge right-of-way clearance event. But as anyone who has driven the corridor knows, the corridor is a dump and leaves a bad impression of Houston, so this clearance should be beneficial.

There's no mention of the cost. I'm thinking this is between $5 and $7 billion. I think there is political will to get the downtown rebuild done. But it is anyone's guess how long the entire project will require.
 
 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bjrush on April 22, 2015, 09:41:45 PM
Who is coming up with this stuff? TxDOT or a consultant for TxDOT
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 22, 2015, 09:50:40 PM
Who is coming up with this stuff? TxDOT or a consultant for TxDOT

TxDOT led this study, and they always have consultants on the team.

This study has been ongoing for a very long time (early 2000s) and the delays appear to be caused by the need to get more input and approval from stakeholders, mainly the City of Houston and the downtown Houston business establishment. So I think downtown Houston interests are on board with this. In fact, they probably demanded these costly features which added immensely to the cost.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: ARMOURERERIC on April 22, 2015, 10:17:20 PM
You know, with the short linear distance of the loop in downtown Houston, has anyone ever thought of making an 8-10 lane one way loop, like a massive freeway rotary around the core.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: nexus73 on April 22, 2015, 10:42:29 PM
Lordy, if ODOT could only Think Big when it comes to the PDX freeway mess! 

Rick
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: nolia_boi504 on April 22, 2015, 10:56:07 PM
You know, with the short linear distance of the loop in downtown Houston, has anyone ever thought of making an 8-10 lane one way loop, like a massive freeway rotary around the core.
That actually was one of the options considered.

http://abc13.com/traffic/future-plans-for-big-changes-for-i-45/240341/
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 23, 2015, 08:38:12 AM
Wow...

(http://i.imgur.com/yzoond1.png)
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: pctech on April 23, 2015, 09:02:37 AM
Where are they going to come up with "mind boggling" money for a project like this? TX. is a fairly wealthy state, but doesn't have this much road building money floating around.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 23, 2015, 09:27:42 AM
Houston Chronicle report

Short Version
http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/I-45-moving-sinking-and-shifting-from-Pierce-6216991.php (http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/I-45-moving-sinking-and-shifting-from-Pierce-6216991.php)

Long Version
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Massive-I-45-project-would-remove-Pierce-6217572.php?t=040dea6378fda33e64&cmpid=email-premium (http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Massive-I-45-project-would-remove-Pierce-6217572.php?t=040dea6378fda33e64&cmpid=email-premium)


Excerpts:

A massive plan to add managed lanes along Interstate 45 and potentially to reconfigure downtown freeway access will debut publicly Thursday, years after state officials started discussions of what could be the largest freeway rebuilding project ever undertaken in the Houston area.

In documents posted Tuesday, planners outlined broadly the proposal to add two managed lanes to I-45 from the Sam Houston Tollway in northern Houston to U.S. 59 south of the city’s central business district. A public meeting to detail the proposal is scheduled Thursday.

Though the project stretches for roughly 16 miles, it’s the southernmost four miles that have received the most attention. In the plans posted, TxDOT proposes to depress the freeway – much like U.S. 59 west of Spur 527 – between Cavalcade and Quitman streets.

In downtown, sweeping changes are planned, including realigning the freeway to run parallel to U.S. 59. Moving the freeway would mean eliminating the Pierce Elevated, which carries I-45 across the central business district.

Remaking I-45 will take years, with public meetings and more detailed analysis remaining. Officials said it is too early to pinpoint an exact cost, but transportation officials predict all of the work will cost "north of $6 billion," said Quincy Allen, district engineer for TxDOT's Houston office.

 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 23, 2015, 10:08:44 AM
The biggest hurdle I see (other than funding, of course) is the five-level stack at 610. It's close to gentrifying neighborhoods, and they will not be happy about the added visual impact that the added flyover height will have.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on April 23, 2015, 12:33:49 PM
Makes sense to me ,I think the present I-10/I-45 interchange is an engineering marvel, having two right angle freeways parallel each other as traffic interchanges and then depart.

This would tear down the hwy 59/I-10 interchange only a few years after being rebuilt.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Henry on April 23, 2015, 01:16:02 PM
I am not the least bit surprised by this. It proves once again that when it comes to highway planning, ambition doesn't get any bigger than in TX!
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 23, 2015, 03:35:27 PM
I have a question: how are they going to connect the Hardy Toll Road extension to this monstrosity??

My usual concerns about tearing down perfectly fine freeways aside, though, I can live with this proposal.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 23, 2015, 03:42:28 PM
The design includes ramps to and from the future Hardy Toll Road

See: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 23, 2015, 04:04:14 PM
I'm having a little bit of trouble reading the schematics. North of 610, where the red bridge graphics are shown on 45, are those to indicate where 45 is going over the cross street (red being the freeway bridge), or passing under the cross street (red being the overpass bridge)? If it's the latter, this is even more monumental a change.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: mrsman on April 26, 2015, 03:02:29 PM
You know, with the short linear distance of the loop in downtown Houston, has anyone ever thought of making an 8-10 lane one way loop, like a massive freeway rotary around the core.
That actually was one of the options considered.

http://abc13.com/traffic/future-plans-for-big-changes-for-i-45/240341/

A better place for a one-way freeway loop is Kansas City.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 26, 2015, 08:45:33 PM
The design includes ramps to and from the future Hardy Toll Road

See: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf

Ahhh....just noticed that.  Thanks.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: codyg1985 on April 28, 2015, 08:42:49 AM
I can only imagine how much of a pain the construction would be for this.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on April 28, 2015, 09:30:36 AM
I can only imagine how much of a pain the construction would be for this.

Right now TXDot has done the impossible, they have rebuilt two/thirds of I-35 while keeping it open. It will be a little painful, but at the end well worth it.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 29, 2015, 04:45:37 PM
Some renders in this video:

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: pctech on April 30, 2015, 09:46:32 AM
This one project will probably cost more than La. DODT's entire annual budget.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: The Ghostbuster on April 30, 2015, 05:09:51 PM
Only in Texas. Some of the things (highway projects) that happen there, you couldn't get away with anywhere else.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Buffaboy on May 01, 2015, 12:40:03 AM
I'd shyt my pants if NYSDOT could come up with anything CLOSE to anything in these schematics, EVEN in NYC/downstate.

It's sad too, because the Tappan Zee Br. cost $3B AND people cried foul thinking it sucked up all the money.

And in most Upstate cities they wouldn't allow the eminent domain to make it happen.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Henry on May 01, 2015, 12:51:32 PM
This one project will probably cost more than La. DODT's entire annual budget.
Only in Texas. Some of the things (highway projects) that happen there, you couldn't get away with anywhere else.
Agreed on both counts.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 01, 2015, 03:36:22 PM
The Houston Business Journal is reporting strong support for the new downtown design from the downtown business community. This support is crucial because those interests have political influence. Strong support could also move it to construction sooner, especially with the likelihood of a substantial increase in TxDOT's budget.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/houston-real-estate-heavyweights-all-for-downtown.html (http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/houston-real-estate-heavyweights-all-for-downtown.html)

Houston real estate heavyweights all for downtown highway transformation
Apr 30, 2015, 11:41am CDT


A plan to decommission a portion of I-45 running through downtown Houston could increase development and connectivity downtown, real estate experts say.

A Texas Department of Transportation proposal to realign Interstate 45 downtown with Highway 59 would render the Pierce Elevated, a portion of I-45 that runs along Pierce Street through the central business district, unused. At a recent Urban Land Institute panel on downtown Houston, real estate experts were united in support of the plan to demolish or transform the Pierce Elevated.

The group of panelists, representing various sectors of the real estate industry including office, multifamily and retail, all agreed that the plan would lessen or remove a barrier between areas of downtown that could result in improved connectivity and more development.

"I couldn't be more enthusiastic about it," said Sanford Criner, vice chairman at CBRE with more than 40 years' experience with office leasing and development. "Mobility is always important, but our problem isn't getting people downtown, it's what can we do with them when they're here?

....
 
 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: NE2 on May 01, 2015, 04:14:20 PM
(http://www.texasfreeway.com/Houston/historic/road_maps/images/1965_houston_humble_highres.jpg)
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 01, 2015, 09:16:39 PM
(http://www.texasfreeway.com/Houston/historic/road_maps/images/1965_houston_humble_highres.jpg)

Or better yet, just force all through traffic to use the Grand Parkway and demolish EVERY FREEWAY inside..or make them 4-lane boulevards. /sarcasm

Who pays your salary, NE2? Grover Norquist?? #YaMadSon
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: NE2 on May 01, 2015, 10:03:40 PM
I've run out of original ideas to post.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 02, 2015, 10:30:09 AM
OOPS....wrong Norquist; meant JOHN "Dump all freeways" Norquist, not Grover.


Although, Grover sucks, too.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Atomica on May 03, 2015, 12:47:54 AM
I question the need to demolishing such recent additions to the system myself...However, Texas are sitting on top of a $15bn surplus and they are attracting more business and more residents sooooo....
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: codyg1985 on May 03, 2015, 10:12:17 AM
I question the need to demolishing such recent additions to the system myself...However, Texas are sitting on top of a $15bn surplus and they are attracting more business and more residents sooooo....

It certainly makes you wonder how far ahead they planned when the I-10/US 59 interchange was revamped.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: mrsman on May 03, 2015, 11:19:20 AM
The Houston Business Journal is reporting strong support for the new downtown design from the downtown business community. This support is crucial because those interests have political influence. Strong support could also move it to construction sooner, especially with the likelihood of a substantial increase in TxDOT's budget.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/houston-real-estate-heavyweights-all-for-downtown.html (http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/houston-real-estate-heavyweights-all-for-downtown.html)

Houston real estate heavyweights all for downtown highway transformation
Apr 30, 2015, 11:41am CDT


A plan to decommission a portion of I-45 running through downtown Houston could increase development and connectivity downtown, real estate experts say.

A Texas Department of Transportation proposal to realign Interstate 45 downtown with Highway 59 would render the Pierce Elevated, a portion of I-45 that runs along Pierce Street through the central business district, unused. At a recent Urban Land Institute panel on downtown Houston, real estate experts were united in support of the plan to demolish or transform the Pierce Elevated.

The group of panelists, representing various sectors of the real estate industry including office, multifamily and retail, all agreed that the plan would lessen or remove a barrier between areas of downtown that could result in improved connectivity and more development.

"I couldn't be more enthusiastic about it," said Sanford Criner, vice chairman at CBRE with more than 40 years' experience with office leasing and development. "Mobility is always important, but our problem isn't getting people downtown, it's what can we do with them when they're here?

....
 
 

Would TX DOT be able to leverage the increased value of the real estate to help pay for the highway improvements?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 03, 2015, 12:53:02 PM
I question the need to demolishing such recent additions to the system myself...However, Texas are sitting on top of a $15bn surplus and they are attracting more business and more residents sooooo....

I asked a representative at the public meeting about the realignment of US 59 on the northeast side of downtown. As you mention, that section of freeway is a distribution system into downtown, entirely elevated, with some impressive structures, completed around 2003.

He told me that it is desirable to remove the curve in the existing alignment, and more significantly the realignment will make constructability much easier. He also said they already have approval to basically wipe out the Clayton Homes housing project. He said the housing project is susceptible to flooding and the residents will be relocated to new housing. I'm sure the downtown Houston real estate and business interests would love to see that low-income housing moved elsewhere, because having it removed will make the area much more attractive for redevelopment.
 
 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Atomica on May 04, 2015, 12:33:26 AM
I question the need to demolishing such recent additions to the system myself...However, Texas are sitting on top of a $15bn surplus and they are attracting more business and more residents sooooo....

It certainly makes you wonder how far ahead they planned when the I-10/US 59 interchange was revamped.


And how much growth they had planned for as well.  They know by now that their business-friendly and freedom-friendly environment has bolstered its population and traffic growth.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on May 04, 2015, 07:28:54 AM
This one project will probably cost more than La. DODT's entire annual budget.

Greater Houston's GDP is twice as big as the state of Louisiana. :)

And of course, such a mega project means that kind of money is spent over multiple years.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Henry on May 04, 2015, 01:03:21 PM
So will the total length of I-45 change if and when the project is done?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: mrsman on May 09, 2015, 10:09:30 PM
What I find very interesting is that this plan is being touted by the anti-road folks at Streetsblog and similar sites as being a positive in removing the Pierce elevated, while ignoring the fact that they are widening the other freeways to take over some of the loss of capacity.

Do people here believe that this project will be an overall positive for the driving public?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 10, 2015, 11:35:23 AM
I just placed online a thorough analysis of the plan which identifies problems and concerns

http://houstonfreeways.com/analysis (http://houstonfreeways.com/analysis)

If any technically-oriented types out there want to review my list, I would be pleased to get some feedback to verify my concerns are valid.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 10, 2015, 10:12:10 PM
Personally, I think it would have been better if they didn't remove the Pierce Elevated, had dropped it in a trench and widened it to handle existing I-45 traffic, replaced the proposed managed lanes with regular free lanes, and used alternatives like expanded light rail corridors to handle the commuter traffic.


I understand how downtown business leaders want to expand development, but this is sounding more like an expensive clusterwack more and more.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on May 11, 2015, 12:53:40 PM
Personally, I think it would have been better if they didn't remove the Pierce Elevated, had dropped it in a trench and widened it to handle existing I-45 traffic, replaced the proposed managed lanes with regular free lanes, and used alternatives like expanded light rail corridors to handle the commuter traffic.I understand how downtown business leaders want to expand development, but this is sounding more like an expensive clusterwack more and more.

1. There appears to be two primary practical concerns behind the removal of the Pierce. First, expansion of the existing deck is infeasible given the property values of the surrounding buildings. Furthermore, given the development of the surrounding neighborhood, such an expansion would likely fail a "highest, best use" test. The second practical concern is that trenching the Pierce would likely cost multiple billions for a single mile of roadway, due to takings and the difficulties of constructing a trenched roadway in dense, urbanized surroundings. Double-decking would likely be the most cost-effective way of expanding the Pierce, which is politically infeasible.

2. Light rail isn't designed to handle commuter traffic, and would not address the primary concerns with the Pierce, which is its failures in handling through traffic. You would need higher-speed commuter or interurban rail to address that, which is difficult in a sprawled, multinodal city like Houston.

3. Free lanes would be nice, but would have their own sets of problems (weaving, which is endemic in Houston) owing to the current funding environment, and TxDOT's aversion to creating divided express and local lanes.

4. Reconstruction of any freeway system in the center of a city will be an expensive cluster unless corners are cut, like they were for the first Pierce reconstruction.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: The Ghostbuster on May 11, 2015, 04:06:50 PM
Does anyone know how much this "massive, mind-boggling" rebuild is going to cost? Or how long it will take to complete the projects?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Perfxion on May 11, 2015, 04:53:15 PM
My guess is 6.5 to 7.5 billion dollars. Plus 5 to 8 years giving the fact that they would need to do the I69/US59/I45 section first to allow traffic to still move. Then the revamp/deconstruction of the Peirce section. Plus, city is still trying to bring in events like the Superbowl, World Cup, and Wresltemania, which a project like that makes those bids next to impossible to achieve.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 26, 2016, 03:23:46 PM
The Houston Chronicle reported on the current status of the project.
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Houston-s-7-billion-highway-project-would-widen-8323573.php?t=a0e53f5b64&cmpid=email-premium (http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Houston-s-7-billion-highway-project-would-widen-8323573.php?t=a0e53f5b64&cmpid=email-premium)

Highlights

TxDOT posted the latest design schematics on the project web site in May and I updated my analysis of the project design.
http://houstonfreeways.com/Home/analysis (http://houstonfreeways.com/Home/analysis)
Project site: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/ (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/)

Highlights
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on June 27, 2016, 09:39:33 AM
When was the I-10/59 (now I-69) interchange redone? Five or seven years ago? And it will be replaced in five to seven years? Amazing.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on June 27, 2016, 09:48:05 AM
  • They are hoping for a ROD in 2018 with construction to start in 2020

I'm amazed how fast the decision-making process is in this case. In most areas such a very large project would require decades of political indecisiveness and shifting priorities before it gets built with a reduced scope.

This project hardly appeared on the radar until 2015, right?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: US 81 on June 27, 2016, 11:56:28 AM
I'm no highway engineer, but the way Houston floods, it surprises me to see plans for more trenching of highways.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on June 27, 2016, 04:22:12 PM
I'm no highway engineer, but the way Houston floods, it surprises me to see plans for more trenching of highways.

Flooded freeways hold water that would otherwise sit in neighborhoods. Any expansion of impervious surface requires a retention offset, and trenching freeways provides much of that retention.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: US 81 on June 27, 2016, 04:51:12 PM
I'm no highway engineer, but the way Houston floods, it surprises me to see plans for more trenching of highways.

Flooded freeways hold water that would otherwise sit in neighborhoods. Any expansion of impervious surface requires a retention offset, and trenching freeways provides much of that retention.

Ah, the light dawns. Thank you.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: noelbotevera on June 27, 2016, 05:53:26 PM
Not only am I interested with DFW's projects, but I'm interested with what Houston can do. I just haven't really spoke much about them, but this is of real interest. I'm actually ok with the Pierce Elevated being demolished, because that is a bottleneck at 6 lanes while the other side is 8 lanes. Hoo boy.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: US 41 on June 27, 2016, 07:59:13 PM
When I drove through Houston in November it didn't seem like it was that bad in the downtown area. I was stuck in a traffic jam because of an incident that closed every lane, except for the far right lane. Besides that traffic seemed to move pretty well, which surprised me since it is the 4th largest city in the US. If you really wanted to avoid the downtown area you could take I-610. The only reason I didn't take I-610 is because I like to drive to drive right through the middle of huge cities.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 27, 2016, 09:34:44 PM

I'm amazed how fast the decision-making process is in this case. In most areas such a very large project would require decades of political indecisiveness and shifting priorities before it gets built with a reduced scope.

This project hardly appeared on the radar until 2015, right?

The process actually started in 2002 but was suspended between 2005 and 2011 due to lack of consensus and lack of money. The process has been in the active study mode since around 2012.

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/history.aspx (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/history.aspx)

While it still took some time to get to this point, there are probably only a very few cities in the USA which can implement a project this ambitious, both politically and financially. Dallas is working toward something similar, but it is being done one small section at a time.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 27, 2016, 09:55:36 PM
When was the I-10/59 (now I-69) interchange redone? Five or seven years ago? And it will be replaced in five to seven years? Amazing.
It was completed by early 2004, if I recall correctly. (Most of it was open in late 2013, just in time for the Super Bowl.) The record for the shortest-lived major interchange is the original IH-10 west and BW8 interchange, Houston's first five-level interchange which existed from 1988 to around 2007 (19 years). The I-10/59 interchange would have to come down before 2023 to break the record, and I think it is unlikely it will be replaced before 2023.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on February 24, 2017, 11:42:36 PM
It looks like this project is going to happen, sooner rather than later.

Yesterday TxDOT approved $922 million toward the $1.7 billion first phase on the south side of downtown. (I'm assuming the rest of the funding is in place). Work on the section of IH-69 between Spur 527 and SH 288 could start as soon as 2020, with additional work north of SH 288 starting in 2021 and 2022. According to the article, the TxDOT Commission is slated to approve more funds next month to continue pushing work northward, including the relocation of IH-45. A ROD is expected this year, and a public meeting should take place within the next few months. The most recent number I've seen for all downtown work is $2.9 billion.

Probably subscriber-only
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/State-accelerates-start-time-for-major-I-45-10958185.php (http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/State-accelerates-start-time-for-major-I-45-10958185.php)

(http://ww3.hdnux.com/photos/57/36/37/12445678/4/920x1240.jpg)

Project site with schematics
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/ (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/)
Quote
...
Though these first steps are incremental compared to the overall plan, officials say they are important and send the clear message: The I-45 freeway is relocating and the elevated portion along Pierce will be abandoned and maybe demolished within the next dozen years.

Work on revamping the freeway intersections is slated for late 2020 or early 2021, years ahead of when state officials first predicted when they unveiled their construction plans in 2014.

For the Houston region, it might be the most significant freeway project in anyone's lifetime. That's because it reconfigures the three interstates that form the backbone of how Houstonians move - I-45, I-69 and Interstate 10 - in the one area where they are so closely tangled and reliant on drivers making transitions from one to another as smooth as possible.

The state commitment, provided the Texas Transportation Commission proceeds with its planned changes to the Unified Transportation Plan that sets all state highway project priorities, would contribute $923 million of the $1.7 billion needed to rebuild I-45, I-69 and Texas 288 where the three freeways converge. Most of the money comes from Texas Clear Lanes, a program aimed at addressing congestion in the state's five biggest cities.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: DNAguy on February 28, 2017, 02:06:26 PM
What the heck is TxDOT doing w/ the 610 rebuild? I was super jazzed about this post until I saw that!

That has 5 lanes in both directions and a significant median (enough for a HOV even!) in-between.

If you want to rebuild 610, do the part from 288 to 45. That section is a POS, engineered to 1960's standards, and has discontinuous frontage roads at rr crossings that cause traffic jams by forcing folks onto the highway for local trips. I know it's most poor black folks who live in that area so TxDOT could care less, but A LOT of petrochemical trucks use those roads so time = $$$$. 288 to 225 needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. 610 from i45 to 225 needs an 610 west style (I10 to 290) revamp with direct 225 to I45 connectors that are separated from 610 traffic. Do that and stop wasting $.

As someone who commutes from 90A to Deer Park everyday, I can attest that the major cause of traffic on the section of 610 slated to be rebuilt is:
1.) The 288 interchange (which will likely likely be solved when its rebuild)
2.) 90A-Main / frontage traffic backing up onto the freeway (Would be solved with direct connectors from 90A north to 610 east & 610 west to 90A south 
3.) S Post Oak's traffic backing up onto 610 (A problem solved with adding overpasses to 90A and/or extending the FB tollroad to South Post Oak)

The work they're doing does nothing to address these issues.

I can't even TxDOT. I just can't even....
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on February 28, 2017, 03:43:26 PM
So the recently built I-69/59 over I-10 interchange will be changed or remodeled?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on February 28, 2017, 08:23:34 PM
So the recently built I-69/59 over I-10 interchange will be changed or remodeled?

According to the plan it will be totally demolished and replaced. Somewhat of a shame, since it has some nice, long, high ramps into downtown.

Depending on exactly when it happens, it could take the record for the shortest-lived major interchange. But most likely it won't take the record, because the original 5-level IH-10 West/Beltway 8 interchange lasted from 1989 until 2008, only 19 years. To beat that record, the new interchange will need to be done by 2022, which is unlikely.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on February 28, 2017, 08:34:49 PM
What the heck is TxDOT doing w/ the 610 rebuild? I was super jazzed about this post until I saw that!

That has 5 lanes in both directions and a significant median (enough for a HOV even!) in-between.

If you want to rebuild 610, do the part from 288 to 45. That section is a POS, engineered to 1960's standards, and has discontinuous frontage roads at rr crossings that cause traffic jams by forcing folks onto the highway for local trips. I know it's most poor black folks who live in that area so TxDOT could care less, but A LOT of petrochemical trucks use those roads so time = $$$$. 288 to 225 needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. 610 from i45 to 225 needs an 610 west style (I10 to 290) revamp with direct 225 to I45 connectors that are separated from 610 traffic. Do that and stop wasting $.

As someone who commutes from 90A to Deer Park everyday, I can attest that the major cause of traffic on the section of 610 slated to be rebuilt is:
1.) The 288 interchange (which will likely likely be solved when its rebuild)
2.) 90A-Main / frontage traffic backing up onto the freeway (Would be solved with direct connectors from 90A north to 610 east & 610 west to 90A south 
3.) S Post Oak's traffic backing up onto 610 (A problem solved with adding overpasses to 90A and/or extending the FB tollroad to South Post Oak)

The work they're doing does nothing to address these issues.

I can't even TxDOT. I just can't even....

The work on Loop 610 will add an interchange at Cambridge Street to create a new access route into the Medical Center. The project is not part of a Loop 610 rebuild or widening; it is strictly for medical center access.

As for widening between between SH 288 and IH 45: as you mentioned it is a mostly black, lower-income area. And because of the low-income minority status, it becomes very difficult to gain approval for highway improvements due to "environmental justice" issues. Political leadership does not want to be seen as pushing highway improvements through a minority area where there is opposition (and there always is opposition), so (the last time I checked) nothing is planned and nothing is slated to happen in the long term regional plan (i.e. the next 30 years).
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on March 01, 2017, 03:48:40 AM
What the heck is TxDOT doing w/ the 610 rebuild? I was super jazzed about this post until I saw that!

That has 5 lanes in both directions and a significant median (enough for a HOV even!) in-between.

If you want to rebuild 610, do the part from 288 to 45. That section is a POS, engineered to 1960's standards, and has discontinuous frontage roads at rr crossings that cause traffic jams by forcing folks onto the highway for local trips. I know it's most poor black folks who live in that area so TxDOT could care less, but A LOT of petrochemical trucks use those roads so time = $$$$. 288 to 225 needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. 610 from i45 to 225 needs an 610 west style (I10 to 290) revamp with direct 225 to I45 connectors that are separated from 610 traffic. Do that and stop wasting $.

As someone who commutes from 90A to Deer Park everyday, I can attest that the major cause of traffic on the section of 610 slated to be rebuilt is:
1.) The 288 interchange (which will likely likely be solved when its rebuild)
2.) 90A-Main / frontage traffic backing up onto the freeway (Would be solved with direct connectors from 90A north to 610 east & 610 west to 90A south 
3.) S Post Oak's traffic backing up onto 610 (A problem solved with adding overpasses to 90A and/or extending the FB tollroad to South Post Oak)

The work they're doing does nothing to address these issues.

I can't even TxDOT. I just can't even....

The work on Loop 610 will add an interchange at Cambridge Street to create a new access route into the Medical Center. The project is not part of a Loop 610 rebuild or widening; it is strictly for medical center access.

As for widening between between SH 288 and IH 45: as you mentioned it is a mostly black, lower-income area. And because of the low-income minority status, it becomes very difficult to gain approval for highway improvements due to "environmental justice" issues. Political leadership does not want to be seen as pushing highway improvements through a minority area where there is opposition (and there always is opposition), so (the last time I checked) nothing is planned and nothing is slated to happen in the long term regional plan (i.e. the next 30 years).

I would figure, though, with Prez Trumpster's proposals to do away with most regulations constraining highway construction and environmental impact on "environmental justice" communities, it should get a bit easier to approve upgrades through poor Black communities. That is, if the "freeway teardown" folks don't get there first.

I agree that something really does need to be done on that segment of 610 between 45 and 288. A more fully directional interchange between 610 and 45 would be pretty nice.

BTW...are there still plans for a tollway along SH 35 which would go from 45/610 to Alvin to connect with the proposed Grand Parkway?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on March 01, 2017, 09:47:36 AM
What the heck is TxDOT doing w/ the 610 rebuild? I was super jazzed about this post until I saw that!

That has 5 lanes in both directions and a significant median (enough for a HOV even!) in-between.

If you want to rebuild 610, do the part from 288 to 45. That section is a POS, engineered to 1960's standards, and has discontinuous frontage roads at rr crossings that cause traffic jams by forcing folks onto the highway for local trips. I know it's most poor black folks who live in that area so TxDOT could care less, but A LOT of petrochemical trucks use those roads so time = $$$$. 288 to 225 needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. 610 from i45 to 225 needs an 610 west style (I10 to 290) revamp with direct 225 to I45 connectors that are separated from 610 traffic. Do that and stop wasting $.

As someone who commutes from 90A to Deer Park everyday, I can attest that the major cause of traffic on the section of 610 slated to be rebuilt is:
1.) The 288 interchange (which will likely likely be solved when its rebuild)
2.) 90A-Main / frontage traffic backing up onto the freeway (Would be solved with direct connectors from 90A north to 610 east & 610 west to 90A south 
3.) S Post Oak's traffic backing up onto 610 (A problem solved with adding overpasses to 90A and/or extending the FB tollroad to South Post Oak)

The work they're doing does nothing to address these issues.

I can't even TxDOT. I just can't even....

The work on Loop 610 will add an interchange at Cambridge Street to create a new access route into the Medical Center. The project is not part of a Loop 610 rebuild or widening; it is strictly for medical center access.

As for widening between between SH 288 and IH 45: as you mentioned it is a mostly black, lower-income area. And because of the low-income minority status, it becomes very difficult to gain approval for highway improvements due to "environmental justice" issues. Political leadership does not want to be seen as pushing highway improvements through a minority area where there is opposition (and there always is opposition), so (the last time I checked) nothing is planned and nothing is slated to happen in the long term regional plan (i.e. the next 30 years).

I would figure, though, with Prez Trumpster's proposals to do away with most regulations constraining highway construction and environmental impact on "environmental justice" communities, it should get a bit easier to approve upgrades through poor Black communities. That is, if the "freeway teardown" folks don't get there first.

I agree that something really does need to be done on that segment of 610 between 45 and 288. A more fully directional interchange between 610 and 45 would be pretty nice.

BTW...are there still plans for a tollway along SH 35 which would go from 45/610 to Alvin to connect with the proposed Grand Parkway?

They're building ramps from SB 45 to WB 610, actually. And last I remember, the SH 35 tollway is on hiatus indefinitely. Too much development around Pearland for there to be a viable corridor.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: DNAguy on March 01, 2017, 11:08:39 AM
They're building ramps from SB 45 to WB 610, actually.

I don't understand why they did this really.

Surface streets and the existing SH35 / frontage road route to WB 610 adequately handle anyone making the making the SB45 to WB 610 trip

The $30 MM or so it's costing to build that flyover is a waste of resources that should be saved for a more comprehensive overhaul of the 225/610 interchange to 45/610 interchange that is a complete mess OR put into more deserving projects.

You might have an argument for the EB 610 to NB 45 flyover they're building...... but that's going to do didly for actually alleviating any congestion on 610 as it's mostly due to:
1.) the steep grade of 610 over 45
2.) the steep grade + tight curve of the EB 610 to SB 45 direct connector
3.) The Hobby airport exiting traffic fighting with the merging direct connector traffic on 45
4.) The entering traffic onto 610 fighting the exiting traffic to SB45 at ~ Woodridge / SH35

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on March 01, 2017, 11:30:58 AM
why not just remove all of 45, is the stub really that necessary?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on March 01, 2017, 12:07:39 PM
why not just remove all of 45, is the stub really that necessary?

Yes. It's the primary means by which S. Downtown, Midtown and Montrose access the freeway system.

This, incidentally, leads to one of the primary knocks against the Pierce Elevated - it's practically useless to those who live in the area. People coming from the southwest use Spur 527, the downtown Gulf Freeway exits from the southeast, and the Jackson/Chenevert exits from the south. The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: compdude787 on March 01, 2017, 03:44:31 PM
The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.

Why not?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: inkyatari on March 01, 2017, 03:49:49 PM

Yesterday TxDOT approved $922 billion toward the $1.7 billion first phase on the south side of downtown. (I'm assuming the rest of the funding is in place).

I saw this and my eyes bugged out,  :-o then I realized it was a typo...
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: DNAguy on March 01, 2017, 04:43:38 PM
The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.

Why not?

1.) Tight curve radius on western end of downtown
2.) # of lanes (3 in each direction)
3.) Left and right exits / entrances
4.) Engineering of overpass itself (its like being in a boat w/ all the bobbing up and down at speeds > 30 mph)
5.) The terrible interchanges with I10 and 59/69
6.) And finally everyone seems to be distracted by the tall buildings to the point that they forget how to drive.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on March 01, 2017, 05:28:37 PM
The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.

Why not?

1.) Tight curve radius on western end of downtown
2.) # of lanes (3 in each direction)
3.) Left and right exits / entrances
4.) Engineering of overpass itself (its like being in a boat w/ all the bobbing up and down at speeds > 30 mph)
5.) The terrible interchanges with I10 and 59/69
6.) And finally everyone seems to be distracted by the tall buildings to the point that they forget how to drive.

 :-D to #6

this must have been designed back in the original interstate construction days.  generally all interstates in downtown areas are terribly designed by today's standards.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Henry on March 02, 2017, 09:49:58 AM
So the recently built I-69/59 over I-10 interchange will be changed or remodeled?

According to the plan it will be totally demolished and replaced. Somewhat of a shame, since it has some nice, long, high ramps into downtown.

Depending on exactly when it happens, it could take the record for the shortest-lived major interchange. But most likely it won't take the record, because the original 5-level IH-10 West/Beltway 8 interchange lasted from 1989 until 2008, only 19 years. To beat that record, the new interchange will need to be done by 2022, which is unlikely.
Sign of the times...nothing lasts forever these days, does it? :(
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on March 02, 2017, 10:31:26 AM
The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.

Why not?

1.) Tight curve radius on western end of downtown
2.) # of lanes (3 in each direction)
3.) Left and right exits / entrances
4.) Engineering of overpass itself (its like being in a boat w/ all the bobbing up and down at speeds > 30 mph)
5.) The terrible interchanges with I10 and 59/69
6.) And finally everyone seems to be distracted by the tall buildings to the point that they forget how to drive.

What is so terrible on the I-10 interchange. Its the same as the Mixmaster in downtown Dallas. I think its pretty innovative, two major freeway parallel each other, exchange traffic, and then separate. No right angle exits.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 06, 2017, 10:07:05 PM
I just noticed an updated "project overview briefing packet" on the project web site
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/20170327_NHHIP_Presentation_Project%20Overview%20Briefing%20for%20Website.pdf (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/20170327_NHHIP_Presentation_Project%20Overview%20Briefing%20for%20Website.pdf)
Project site http://www.ih45northandmore.com/ (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/)

On the last page there is a cost summary for the downtown work
Construction: $3.067 billion
Right-of-way: $875.4 billion

Total: $3.942 billion

Those numbers do not include the deck park, which could add another couple hundred million dollars.

The right-of-way on the east side of downtown, $423.6 million, is quite high.

Construction of Interstate 10 on the north side of downtown, including the big interchange complex with IH-45, is also quite high at $1.63 billion.

Work on the south side of downtown is slated to start in 2020, and work on the north side of downtown is slated to start in 2026. So that would put completion around 2030.

There's no word on the rest of the project, from downtown north to Beltway 8. North of downtown is actually most of the project length, and I'm concerned it could get pushed into the distant future (after 2030) since the downtown work will consume most available funding. I'm thinking some new transportation funding will be needed to get that part of the project moving forward anytime soon. I'm not optimistic about any non-tolled funding from a Trump infrastructure program, but that would seem to be the best hope for new funding in the short term.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 25, 2017, 12:39:11 PM
The draft EIS has been published: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/draft_eis.aspx
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: compdude787 on April 28, 2017, 12:26:05 PM
The draft EIS has been published: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/draft_eis.aspx

Cool! Looks like the new combined I-45/I-69 is going to be one heck of a wide freeway! I count a total of 21 lanes, not including frontage roads.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 28, 2017, 04:08:08 PM
Looking at the new schematics, am I correct in seeing that there is no direct movement from 45N to 10E, 45S to 59N, 59S to 45N and 10E to 45S? Not that it's an issue - I doubt there is much traffic that flows that way - but it is a bit of a sea change in how TxDOT approaches Interstate connections.

There will be a lot of "TO I-XX" signs here, something you really don't see in the Houston area.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 28, 2017, 04:29:30 PM
The I-10 / I-45 mix will feature up to 32 freeway lanes.

(http://i.imgur.com/EgOQHdA.png)
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: intelati49 on April 28, 2017, 04:36:19 PM
The I-10 / I-45 mix will feature up to 32 freeway lanes.

(http://i.imgur.com/EgOQHdA.png)

This is mindboggling. Two thoughts: 1. I should move to Texas and get a EIT there. 2. How the hell do they intend to pay for this?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TheArkansasRoadgeek on April 28, 2017, 04:46:58 PM
The I-10 / I-45 mix will feature up to 32 freeway lanes.

(http://i.imgur.com/EgOQHdA.png)

This is mindboggling. Two thoughts: 1. I should move to Texas and get a EIT there. 2. How the hell do they intend to pay for this?

It's Texas, I'm sure they'll find a way!
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on May 04, 2017, 09:50:53 AM
http://ih45northandmore.com/

The new May 2017 schematics have been added to the project website. Someone with a more careful eye than me (MaxConcrete?) may want to take a look at the revisions listed here.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 04, 2017, 10:00:51 PM
The changes in the new schematics versus the May 2016 schematics are mostly minor. I'm hoping to be able to post a full analysis on HoustonFreeways.com this weekend.

In short

Mid and south side of downtown: minimal changes

North side of downtown
Some beneficial tweaks at the IH 69/IH 10 interchange
The IH 10/IH 45 interchange complex received the most changes, including shifting the IH 10 eastbound main lanes to the west side of the multiplex. There are numerous tweaks, mostly adding lanes to certain ramps, for example the downtown spur connector. All changes are beneficial.

IH 45 between IH 10 and IH 610, including the 45/610 interchange is basically the same.

IH 45 from IH 610 to BW 8 has minimal changes, mostly some ramp repositioning.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on May 16, 2018, 02:21:47 PM
New schematics:

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 17, 2018, 12:35:46 AM
Thanks for the tip about the new schematics

After a side-by-side comparison to the May 2017 schematics, there are only two non-negligible changes.
1. The SH 288 toll lanes previously ended/started with a connection ramp into Chenevert street. The residents in that area were complaining about it last year. The ramp into Chenevert is now eliminated. There is now a ramp from the southbound SH 288 frontage road into the southbound toll lane, and the northbound toll lane terminates into the ramp which connects into IH 45 (both northbound and southbound)
2. Changes on the south end of the downtown connector. Last year's design went over West Dallas Street, but the new design goes under Dallas Street and a new overpass over the connector is added at Andrews Street. The northbound frontage road smooth transition into Houston street is eliminated, and it now requires crossing the Dallas bridge with a left turn and right turn. The new drawing also suggests that the Sabine Street bridge over Buffalo Bayou will be replaced.

Item 1 is probably a plus from the mobility perspective. Item 2 has a minimal effect, but probably slightly negative due to the loss of the smooth transition to Houston Street.

Of course I'm disappointed that there are no changes which address any of my items of concern which I posted last year, so I think I can safely conclude that there will be no changes relating to my items of concern
http://houstonfreeways.com/analysis (http://houstonfreeways.com/analysis)

On a more positive note, TxDOT representatives stated in a recently posted video (long video) that the Interstate 10 Express lanes will not be tolled and appear to be restriction-free, and the IH 45 MaX lanes will not be tolled, but will be restricted to HOV vehicles at peak periods.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9IFTSNIn0A&t=28s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9IFTSNIn0A&t=28s)

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on June 04, 2019, 01:32:49 PM
New schematics on www.ih45northandmore again
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on June 04, 2019, 04:21:30 PM
Are there major changes?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on June 04, 2019, 04:39:20 PM
So the relatively new I-69/I-10 interchange will be replaced, after............12-15 years of use?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on June 05, 2019, 10:20:42 AM
So the relatively new I-69/I-10 interchange will be replaced, after............12-15 years of use?

It doesn't look like it will be as much replaced as refined to add the through and MAX lanes for the realigned I-45, as well as account for the completion of the Hardy Toll Road extension.

Personally, I'm still not so happy about taking out the Allen Elevated, but I guess that's what they wanted.

If the MAX lanes are going to be free and mostly unrestricted, I want to know how they are going to pay for all this without the "magic" of tolling. Not that I mind, though.

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: thisdj78 on June 05, 2019, 06:47:05 PM
So the relatively new I-69/I-10 interchange will be replaced, after............12-15 years of use?

They did the same with the Beltway 8/Katy Freeway interchange. It was approximately 15 years old when they started replacing it.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 08, 2019, 09:30:41 PM
Are there major changes?
I did a side-by-side comparison of the new and prior schematics.
All changes are minor, and most are very minor.

The most significant change is that the Montrose bridge over IH-69 is no longer slated to be replaced. The number of lanes on IH-69 remains the same, and it appears they are squeezing in the lanes by narrowing the HOV lane width.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 09, 2019, 07:11:32 PM
Narrow lanes? Do they not realize this project is located in Texas, a place where lots of people drive great big vehicles? It's not some far flung Eastern European community where people are tooling around in tiny cars.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on July 26, 2019, 09:46:57 PM
Funding for segment 2 of the project (between IH-10 and Loop 610 including the 610 interchange) received a crucial endorsement today when HGAC committed $100 million in discretionary funds as requested by the Texas Transportation Commission, which has tentatively allocated $840 million to the $1.225 billion segment 2.

http://www.h-gac.com/transportation-policy-council/meeting-agendas/documents/2019/july/ITEM-08-North-Houston-Highway-Improvement-Program.pdf (http://www.h-gac.com/transportation-policy-council/meeting-agendas/documents/2019/july/ITEM-08-North-Houston-Highway-Improvement-Program.pdf)

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Houston-area-officials-commit-100-million-to-14189219.php?src=hp_totn (https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Houston-area-officials-commit-100-million-to-14189219.php?src=hp_totn)

Project opposition is launching an all-out effort to kill or delay the project. There was a large, hostile crowd at the meeting. I was at the meeting and spoke in favor of the funding. According to the news report, 59 of 65 speakers opposed the project. I was speaker #14 and was the first to speak in favor. Houston celebrity "Mattress Mac" spoke ahead of me and opposed the project. In the end, only one member of the policy council voted against the funding, which is a good outcome and suggests council support remains strong. However, we certainly have not heard the last from the opposition and I'm thinking there may be a lawsuit to stop the project. The Houston Chronicle has also been very biased in its project reporting, being against the project.

In terms of segment 2, it is unexpectedly expensive at $1.225 billion. The TxDOT UTP lists the Loop 610 interchange at $520 million. If that is construction cost only, then it will likely become the most expensive interchange ever built in Texas. (The High Five in Dallas had a construction cost around $260 million when awarded around 2000.) The main lanes south of the interchange are listed at $320 million. I don't know about the remaining $385 million, it may be right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation, design, project management, etc.

With the newly added funding in the UTP, total project funding is now at $4.7 billion, and includes all work from the Loop 610 interchange southward, including all elements of the downtown work.

UTP: https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/transportation-planning/utp.html (https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/transportation-planning/utp.html)




Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on July 26, 2019, 10:19:51 PM
Do the people who oppose this project not realize they live in freaking Houston? The expansion of Katy Freeway and other major highways outside of the I-610 loop should have been a clue as to what would eventually happen. They should also realize the expansion along I-10 and I-69 is a direct consequence of re-routing I-45 around the East side of downtown so the old elevated freeway can be removed.

Houston is a giant-sized metro. No one is getting around that entire metro using bicycles and light rail trains. It's still a very very car-oriented metropolis and it's one that continues to add population at a fairly rapid pace. Houston could be the nation's 3rd largest city in terms of city limits population, passing Chicago, within the next 10-20 years. All modes of transportation will have to be expanded dramatically. Roads, rail, buses, bike paths, etc. Everything. It's not a zero sum game situation.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on July 28, 2019, 06:01:57 PM
Hopefully these people don't have an impact and this project proceeds on schedule.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: In_Correct on July 29, 2019, 06:34:59 PM
Large Hostile Crowd, :fight: I Would Like You To Meet My Good Friend Water Hose.  :pan:
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on July 30, 2019, 03:18:12 AM

[...]

Project opposition is launching an all-out effort to kill or delay the project. There was a large, hostile crowd at the meeting. I was at the meeting and spoke in favor of the funding. According to the news report, 59 of 65 speakers opposed the project. I was speaker #14 and was the first to speak in favor. Houston celebrity "Mattress Mac" spoke ahead of me and opposed the project. In the end, only one member of the policy council voted against the funding, which is a good outcome and suggests council support remains strong. However, we certainly have not heard the last from the opposition and I'm thinking there may be a lawsuit to stop the project. The Houston Chronicle has also been very biased in its project reporting, being against the project.

[...]


Let me guess....they want to tear down the entire Interstate freeway network inside of I-610 and turn current I-69/US 59 through downtown Houston into a high-speed rail line?

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on July 30, 2019, 07:04:09 PM

[...]

Project opposition is launching an all-out effort to kill or delay the project. There was a large, hostile crowd at the meeting. I was at the meeting and spoke in favor of the funding. According to the news report, 59 of 65 speakers opposed the project. I was speaker #14 and was the first to speak in favor. Houston celebrity "Mattress Mac" spoke ahead of me and opposed the project. In the end, only one member of the policy council voted against the funding, which is a good outcome and suggests council support remains strong. However, we certainly have not heard the last from the opposition and I'm thinking there may be a lawsuit to stop the project. The Houston Chronicle has also been very biased in its project reporting, being against the project.

[...]


Let me guess....they want to tear down the entire Interstate freeway network inside of I-610 and turn current I-69/US 59 through downtown Houston into a high-speed rail line?

 :-D don't you love freeway haters?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: rte66man on July 30, 2019, 09:24:54 PM

[...]

Project opposition is launching an all-out effort to kill or delay the project. There was a large, hostile crowd at the meeting. I was at the meeting and spoke in favor of the funding. According to the news report, 59 of 65 speakers opposed the project. I was speaker #14 and was the first to speak in favor. Houston celebrity "Mattress Mac" spoke ahead of me and opposed the project. In the end, only one member of the policy council voted against the funding, which is a good outcome and suggests council support remains strong. However, we certainly have not heard the last from the opposition and I'm thinking there may be a lawsuit to stop the project. The Houston Chronicle has also been very biased in its project reporting, being against the project.

[...]


Let me guess....they want to tear down the entire Interstate freeway network inside of I-610 and turn current I-69/US 59 through downtown Houston into a high-speed rail line?

Nah, they want at-grade boulevards..............
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on July 31, 2019, 12:03:14 PM
I wonder if the folks wanting these at-grade boulevards as opposed to freeways ever drive any significant distance, like 10 miles, on such streets. It doesn't take long to get really tired of all the stop lights.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: compdude787 on July 31, 2019, 04:53:32 PM
^ I totally agree with that! It truly amazes me how people think that freeways are unnecessary when so many people use them. Even in traffic it's still slower to take surface streets than the freeway for the most part.

And I also cannot stand it when none of the lights on a road are synchronized and you end up having to stop at every single one. :angry:
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: thisdj78 on August 01, 2019, 09:40:29 AM
I wonder if the folks wanting these at-grade boulevards as opposed to freeways ever drive any significant distance, like 10 miles, on such streets. It doesn't take long to get really tired of all the stop lights.

Maybe they see older European cities and envision the same for here. Difference is, those cities were built before the age of cars and public transportation is key there.

It’s hard to convert a large car driven city to other modes of transportation (which is what removing freeways would require).
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on August 01, 2019, 06:50:54 PM
I wonder if the folks wanting these at-grade boulevards as opposed to freeways ever drive any significant distance, like 10 miles, on such streets. It doesn't take long to get really tired of all the stop lights.

the answer is an obvious no  :-D
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: NE2 on August 01, 2019, 06:54:31 PM
Large Hostile Crowd, :fight: I Would Like You To Meet My Good Friend Water Hose.  :pan:
Found the bootlicker.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 01, 2019, 07:36:39 PM
Quote from: thisdj78
Maybe they see older European cities and envision the same for here. Difference is, those cities were built before the age of cars and public transportation is key there.

They know European cities aren't spread out over large areas like American cities. Population density is much higher. The United States dismantled much of its old passenger rail infrastructure decades ago while the passenger rail infrastructure in Europe (and Asia for that matter) has grown and continually modernized. The culture about transit use is very different overseas whereas car culture dominates in the US.

Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc. It's a good bet the policy makers championing mass transit use don't even use it themselves. I picture those "suits" using private car services, limousines and even helicopters hopping from one helipad to the next.

The "romance" with mass transit sours pretty quickly when you experience the amount of time it drains from your day by using it. I lost 3 hours every day to my commute between Manhattan and Staten Island back in college. Even a train ride from the middle of Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan would often take at least 45 minutes to an hour or more each way.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on August 01, 2019, 08:17:49 PM
Quote from: thisdj78
Maybe they see older European cities and envision the same for here. Difference is, those cities were built before the age of cars and public transportation is key there.

They know European cities aren't spread out over large areas like American cities. Population density is much higher. The United States dismantled much of its old passenger rail infrastructure decades ago while the passenger rail infrastructure in Europe (and Asia for that matter) has grown and continually modernized. The culture about transit use is very different overseas whereas car culture dominates in the US.

Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc. It's a good bet the policy makers championing mass transit use don't even use it themselves. I picture those "suits" using private car services, limousines and even helicopters hopping from one helipad to the next.

The "romance" with mass transit sours pretty quickly when you experience the amount of time it drains from your day by using it. I lost 3 hours every day to my commute between Manhattan and Staten Island back in college. Even a train ride from the middle of Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan would often take at least 45 minutes to an hour or more each way.
China has 3-4 times the US population and I have heard most of it is in the east region.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: kphoger on August 02, 2019, 02:30:28 PM
Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc.

Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

For tourists, transit is also superior in my opinion, as you don't have to pay for expensive parking and then walk a mile from your parking spot to wherever you're going.  Directions are easy too.  Instead of having to know all the streets to turn on, you just have to know what bus or rail line to get on and where to get off.  Pretty much any A-to-B journey can thus be accomplished with two transfers max.

I'd amend your statement to say you cannot get around in a small city very fast using transit, because smaller cities tend to have less frequent departures.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: thisdj78 on August 02, 2019, 04:19:17 PM
Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc.

Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

For tourists, transit is also superior in my opinion, as you don't have to pay for expensive parking and then walk a mile from your parking spot to wherever you're going.  Directions are easy too.  Instead of having to know all the streets to turn on, you just have to know what bus or rail line to get on and where to get off.  Pretty much any A-to-B journey can thus be accomplished with two transfers max.

I'd amend your statement to say you cannot get around in a small city very fast using transit, because smaller cities tend to have less frequent departures.

Or to amend even further, you can’t get around big automobile-centric cities very fast using public trans. Examples would be LA, Phoenix, Houston & Dallas. The growth of these cities came after the car, whereas NYC and to a lesser extend Chicago, experienced growth when not many people had cars....therefore it’s easier to get around without one in those cities.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: nolia_boi504 on August 02, 2019, 05:22:12 PM
Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc.

Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

For tourists, transit is also superior in my opinion, as you don't have to pay for expensive parking and then walk a mile from your parking spot to wherever you're going.  Directions are easy too.  Instead of having to know all the streets to turn on, you just have to know what bus or rail line to get on and where to get off.  Pretty much any A-to-B journey can thus be accomplished with two transfers max.

I'd amend your statement to say you cannot get around in a small city very fast using transit, because smaller cities tend to have less frequent departures.
Chicago's highways are significantly smaller than ours, and they don't have multiple massive business centers outside of the downtown area like we do. Plus their high parking rates, lack of parking options, congested streets, etc etc, etc are all a direct result of their mass transit focus from decades ago. Houston has evolved completely different than Chicago/NY. What works there doesn't work here. We should continue focusing on transit in heavily populated areas (Downtown, Galleria, etc).

Pixel 3

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on August 02, 2019, 10:05:04 PM
Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc.

Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

For tourists, transit is also superior in my opinion, as you don't have to pay for expensive parking and then walk a mile from your parking spot to wherever you're going.  Directions are easy too.  Instead of having to know all the streets to turn on, you just have to know what bus or rail line to get on and where to get off.  Pretty much any A-to-B journey can thus be accomplished with two transfers max.

I'd amend your statement to say you cannot get around in a small city very fast using transit, because smaller cities tend to have less frequent departures.
Thats generally only true if you have no transfers. Even a single transfer from my experience can add quite a bit of time to the trip and make it that much worse on the top of the grocery of reasons mass transit sucks.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 03, 2019, 12:27:21 AM
Quote from: kphoger
Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

I lived in New York City for 5 years and traveled daily between Staten Island and Manhattan for 4 of those years and Brooklyn for the last. Using the buses, subways and Staten Island Ferry was anything but fast. The commute was at least 90 minutes each way. The only way I could shave any time at all, maybe 10-15 minutes at most, was catching a bus over the Verrazano Bridge and getting on the R Train in Bay Ridge at just the right time. The commute was a slog.

Contrast that to my experiences temping at a couple "Wall Street" companies during the summers. I'd work late and the car service for Merrill Lynch would take me from the World Financial Center to my front door step in Staten Island in under 30 minutes. It was a pretty big extreme, and not one lost on me when I hear rich politicians extolling the virtues of mass transit when those same douche bags don't soil themselves with riding on the subway with "common folk." They're getting from point A to point B in a car service or some other kind of exclusionary gig.

Mass transit does offer its benefits. But time saving is definitely NOT one of them. If I was back in NYC the ONLY benefit I would see in using mass transit as opposed to driving a car is the cost savings on tolls and garage parking. There is absolutely nothing time saving about taking the bus, train and ferry.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: rte66man on August 03, 2019, 09:09:22 AM
Bringing this back on subject......

Any updates on the Hardy Toll Road connection to I10/I69?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Revive 755 on August 03, 2019, 11:20:09 AM
Chicago's highways are significantly smaller than ours, and they don't have multiple massive business centers outside of the downtown area like we do. Plus their high parking rates, lack of parking options, congested streets, etc etc, etc are all a direct result of their mass transit focus from decades ago. Houston has evolved completely different than Chicago/NY. What works there doesn't work here. We should continue focusing on transit in heavily populated areas (Downtown, Galleria, etc).
Pixel 3

Schaumburg, Oak Brook, and whatever village/city has the area along Lake Cook Road west of the Tri-State might disagree with the "business centers outside of downtown" part (maybe not the "massive" part though).

I strongly agree about the size of the highways in Chicagoland, especially considering the smaller St. Louis and Omaha metro seem to have as many highways at the same width.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: kphoger on August 05, 2019, 02:05:10 PM
I lived in New York City for 5 years and traveled daily between Staten Island and Manhattan for 4 of those years and Brooklyn for the last. Using the buses, subways and Staten Island Ferry was anything but fast. The commute was at least 90 minutes each way. The only way I could shave any time at all, maybe 10-15 minutes at most, was catching a bus over the Verrazano Bridge and getting on the R Train in Bay Ridge at just the right time. The commute was a slog.

What was the travel time by car for the same trip?  Without knowing that, I have no idea if 90 minutes is good or bad.  From your front door of your house to the front door of your destination, what was the time difference between driving and transit?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: thisdj78 on August 05, 2019, 02:51:07 PM
I lived in New York City for 5 years and traveled daily between Staten Island and Manhattan for 4 of those years and Brooklyn for the last. Using the buses, subways and Staten Island Ferry was anything but fast. The commute was at least 90 minutes each way. The only way I could shave any time at all, maybe 10-15 minutes at most, was catching a bus over the Verrazano Bridge and getting on the R Train in Bay Ridge at just the right time. The commute was a slog.

What was the travel time by car for the same trip?  Without knowing that, I have no idea if 90 minutes is good or bad.  From your front door of your house to the front door of your destination, what was the time difference between driving and transit?

I don’t live there but have made that drive several times while there on business. Hotel to office was an hour minimum in non-peak times.

I looked up the route on Waze and it shows an hour and 26 minute drive during morning rush hour. But of course it could be different depending on which part of Staten and Manhattan you’re going to and from, but probably not by much.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on August 05, 2019, 03:49:17 PM
Nearly 600,000 Americans commute 90 minutes or more one way, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2013/cb13-41.html

About 8.1 percent of U.S. workers have commutes of 60 minutes or longer, 4.3 percent work from home, and nearly 600,000 full-time workers had "megacommutes" of at least 90 minutes and 50 miles. The average one-way daily commute for workers across the country is 25.5 minutes, and one in four commuters leave their county to work.

According to Out-of-State and Long Commutes: 2011, 23.0 percent of workers with long commutes (60 minutes or more) use public transit, compared with 5.3 percent for all workers.

(...)

Based on the 2006-2010 American Community Survey, 586,805 full-time workers are mega commuters -- one in 122 of full-time workers. 


So while there are a lot of anecdotes about the terrible commutes and large amounts of people having very long commutes, the actual share of them is pretty low: 8.1% commute 60 minutes or more and only 0.8% of full-time workers commute 90 minutes or more. So it's safe to say a 90 minute commute is an outlier, though they might be more common in certain metropolitan areas with severely unaffordable housing or a higher transit share, as transit commutes tend to be significantly longer than other modes, this is true even in Europe.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: kphoger on August 05, 2019, 04:59:19 PM
The reason I asked is that I don't consider a 90-minute public transit travel time to be outrageous, if the drive time is also 90 minutes.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: In_Correct on August 05, 2019, 07:39:16 PM
The reason I asked is that I don't consider a 90-minute public transit travel time to be outrageous, if the drive time is also 90 minutes.

Also consider that the roads can some times have delays which means the travel time is similar with general Public Transit and some times faster with Commuter Rail.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 08, 2019, 11:56:34 AM
Quote from: kphoger
What was the travel time by car for the same trip?  Without knowing that, I have no idea if 90 minutes is good or bad.  From your front door of your house to the front door of your destination, what was the time difference between driving and transit?

Commuting by car took about half the time. When my parents where in NYC I would sometimes be able to catch a ride in my Dad's carpool from Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island to midtown Manhattan. That, and the short subway ride on the 6 train from 59th and 23rd Street would take roughly 45 minutes. This was roughly 30 years ago. Driving time might be a little longer in 2019, but I'm sure that the buses, ferry and subway haven't sped up at all either.

If I lived in NYC I would probably still use mass transit rather than drive a car into Manhattan. The tolls and parking costs are way too expensive. Cost savings is really the only advantage of using mass transit in New York City. Mass transit has plenty of its own drawbacks. I froze my butt off plenty of times standing at bus stops or on outdoor subway platforms. There's not too much shelter from the wind and rain there. Summer weather in the subway can be pretty unpleasant too. I've read NYC's homeless population has grown dramatically in recent years, so I imagine the subways have plenty of that piss, orange juice and carbon smell. Even if things are clean you still have to deal with crowds. God forbid you have to carry anything like a briefcase or portfolio case onto a crowded bus or subway car with standing room only space. Those real world features of mass transit aren't included in the romantic sales pitch proponents of mass transit sell to the public.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: nolia_boi504 on August 09, 2019, 10:27:06 PM


Quote from: kphoger
What was the travel time by car for the same trip?  Without knowing that, I have no idea if 90 minutes is good or bad.  From your front door of your house to the front door of your destination, what was the time difference between driving and transit?

Commuting by car took about half the time. When my parents where in NYC I would sometimes be able to catch a ride in my Dad's carpool from Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island to midtown Manhattan. That, and the short subway ride on the 6 train from 59th and 23rd Street would take roughly 45 minutes. This was roughly 30 years ago. Driving time might be a little longer in 2019, but I'm sure that the buses, ferry and subway haven't sped up at all either.

If I lived in NYC I would probably still use mass transit rather than drive a car into Manhattan. The tolls and parking costs are way too expensive. Cost savings is really the only advantage of using mass transit in New York City. Mass transit has plenty of its own drawbacks. I froze my butt off plenty of times standing at bus stops or on outdoor subway platforms. There's not too much shelter from the wind and rain there. Summer weather in the subway can be pretty unpleasant too. I've read NYC's homeless population has grown dramatically in recent years, so I imagine the subways have plenty of that piss, orange juice and carbon smell. Even if things are clean you still have to deal with crowds. God forbid you have to carry anything like a briefcase or portfolio case onto a crowded bus or subway car with standing room only space. Those real world features of mass transit aren't included in the romantic sales pitch proponents of mass transit sell to the public.

I wish more people with experience/perspective like you would speak up more about the downsides of public transit. I especially agree with your last sentence, where those "minor" inconveniences are swept aside.

Pixel 3

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: kphoger on August 10, 2019, 05:17:33 PM
I doubt the "romantic sales pitch proponents of mass transit" have ever had to actually get by without a car in the suburbs.  In the northern states.  In February.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: kphoger on August 10, 2019, 05:32:24 PM
God forbid you have to carry anything like a briefcase or portfolio case onto a crowded bus or subway car with standing room only space. Those real world features of mass transit aren't included in the romantic sales pitch proponents of mass transit sell to the public.

There was this one time...

I was catching Amtrak out of Chicago's Union Station with my then-two-year-old daughter.  We were getting there from Glen Ellyn, out in the western suburbs.  I had a rolling suitcase, a backpack, a car seat, a pack-and-play, a diaper bag, and maybe something else I'm forgetting.  As such, my goal was to get from Glen Ellyn to Union Station with as little walking as possible.  We took Metra to Oak Park, then took a city bus down Harlem to the Eisenhower, then the Blue Line L from Harlem to Clinton, then walked a few blocks from the Clinton subway station to Union Station—and all she was old enough to really carry was a stuffed animal.  I counted at the end, and I had made use of seven total strangers along the way.  This included loading or unloading things on or off a bus or train, and even one lady who held my daughter's hand to cross the street in downtown Chicago because for some reason she was refusing to budge and I didn't have an empty hand to grab her with.  Oh yeah, and the elevator was out of service at the Clinton subway station, so I had to haul all that baggage up the stairs without being able to help my daughter, who could still only climb stairs by using her hands—one of which was clutching the stuffed animal.  Which therefore became quite filthy.

Or those times I took Pace bus to do my grocery shopping, hauling one of those old-lady carts full of groceries on and off the bus.  That would have been impossible on a crowded CTA bus downtown, but it worked OK in the suburbs—but only because I was strong enough to load the whole cart onto my back while climbing the steps of the bus.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 13, 2019, 02:05:24 PM
Your story gave me more flashbacks to living in New York City, as well as living in Japan. My family didn't have a car when we were stationed in Japan for 3 years. When we lived off the Marine Corps base "out in town" we had to heat our old rental house using kerosene heaters. That meant frequent trips at least a half mile away to the nearest "Mama San Shop" convenience story that sold kerosene among other things. We would buy our groceries on the Marine Corps base and push them in four wheel carts all the way back home. Complete pain in the ass.

Hauling bags of groceries onto a city bus or subway train is no picnic either. Gotta always buy light loads of stuff and make more trips to the store.
 :-/
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: In_Correct on August 14, 2019, 04:51:22 PM
These comments about the problems with public transit reminds me of The Bob Newhart Show, about Dr. Hartley walking endlessly to get to work. One of the scenes has him walking with Elliot Carlin.

Even if there are many problems with Public Transit, There are times that I want to take Public Transit. There are too many dangerous drunk drivers, or on the smart phones, or they simply do not have an understanding of traffic rules. Or perhaps some traffic rules is too dangerous. I hate "Turn Right On Red". I have heard an increase of horns honking at each other. Also if there are self driving cars that is going to cause even more problems as the car stalls during a software update.  :-o :crazy: :paranoid: :rolleyes:

Another concern I have is Ethanol. I will go out of my way to get NON Ethanol Gas (and even Diesel might contain Ethanol.) and almost every gas station in urban and suburban areas is going to have Ethanol, perhaps even E85. It seems they want to scare people who use conventional Petrol, and even Diesel.

I like to drive. I certainly like carrying every thing that I need. But if driving becomes too annoying, I would much rather take Public Transit if it is there and functional.

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on January 21, 2020, 03:55:01 PM
I was looking at the project as a refresher and I really hope this thing is built. It has the potential to be game changing for downtown area. One of the documents has timeline established of 2021 to begin construction on the downtown loop which is segment 1. Is that still the right start date?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: 1 on January 21, 2020, 05:23:40 PM
I doubt the "romantic sales pitch proponents of mass transit" have ever had to actually get by without a car in the suburbs.  In the northern states.  In February.

I've done it.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on January 21, 2020, 06:33:28 PM
One of the documents has timeline established of 2021 to begin construction on the downtown loop which is segment 1. Is that still the right start date?

Yes, the current plan is to award a design-build contract for all the downtown work in 2021. The contract amount is currently listed at $2.9 billion
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2021/harris.htm#050008001 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2021/harris.htm#050008001)

Downtown will require a major right-of-way clearance, and the Houston Chronicle recently reported on the relocation of the Mexican Consulate.
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Mexican-consulate-moving-to-southwest-Houston-to-14905843.php (https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Mexican-consulate-moving-to-southwest-Houston-to-14905843.php)
https://www.google.com/maps/@29.732366,-95.3819319,3a,75y,114.21h,99.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sH7DeTer3HT80YmrEjXaRug!2e0!7i3328!8i1664?hl=en (https://www.google.com/maps/@29.732366,-95.3819319,3a,75y,114.21h,99.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sH7DeTer3HT80YmrEjXaRug!2e0!7i3328!8i1664?hl=en)

The ROD has not yet been released. When the ROD is issued, there is a good chance of a lawsuit against the project, which could delay it. Other factors could also cause delay, such as right-of-way clearance and utility relocation. So far, the all-out efforts of the opposition (including the anti-project Houston Chronicle) to kill the project have failed.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on January 21, 2020, 06:53:41 PM
One of the documents has timeline established of 2021 to begin construction on the downtown loop which is segment 1. Is that still the right start date?

Yes, the current plan is to award a design-build contract for all the downtown work in 2021. The contract amount is currently listed at $2.9 billion
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2021/harris.htm#050008001 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2021/harris.htm#050008001)

Downtown will require a major right-of-way clearance, and the Houston Chronicle recently reported on the relocation of the Mexican Consulate.
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Mexican-consulate-moving-to-southwest-Houston-to-14905843.php (https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Mexican-consulate-moving-to-southwest-Houston-to-14905843.php)
https://www.google.com/maps/@29.732366,-95.3819319,3a,75y,114.21h,99.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sH7DeTer3HT80YmrEjXaRug!2e0!7i3328!8i1664?hl=en (https://www.google.com/maps/@29.732366,-95.3819319,3a,75y,114.21h,99.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sH7DeTer3HT80YmrEjXaRug!2e0!7i3328!8i1664?hl=en)

The ROD has not yet been released. When the ROD is issued, there is a good chance of a lawsuit against the project, which could delay it. Other factors could also cause delay, such as right-of-way clearance and utility relocation. So far, the all-out efforts of the opposition (including the anti-project Houston Chronicle) to kill the project have failed.
I am having a hard time understanding why they are protesting this project so fiercely. This project is tearing down a major divisive freeway, reconnecting neighborhoods, allow for a slight uptick in red line service, adding potential for new large park caps in several different places, and if I am not mistaken, will fund street bike/ped improvements along with a couple new trails/greenways.

That is all of the things it will do besides alleviate car traffic, modernize a roadway, and in turn will improve rubber tire mass transit lines but I get they do not care for those things. It doesn't make much sense for this to be protested as I am sure this will be the last time this freeway network in the vicinity gets widened this century.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on January 21, 2020, 07:29:10 PM
I am having a hard time understanding why they are protesting this project so fiercely. This project is tearing down a major divisive freeway, reconnecting neighborhoods, allow for a slight uptick in red line service, adding potential for new large park caps in several different places, and if I am not mistaken, will fund street bike/ped improvements along with a couple new trails/greenways.

That is all of the things it will do besides alleviate car traffic, modernize a roadway, and in turn will improve rubber tire mass transit lines but I get they do not care for those things. It doesn't make much sense for this to be protested as I am sure this will be the last time this freeway network in the vicinity gets widened this century.

The Chronicle published a pro-project op-ed I submitted last August
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Houston-needs-the-I-45-expansion-Opinion-14277421.php (https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Houston-needs-the-I-45-expansion-Opinion-14277421.php)

However, the Chronicle buried it deep inside the print edition of the paper on a weekday, and held me to 700-word limit. I was mainly responding to two 2000+ word anti-project op-eds which the Chronicle featured on the front page of the Sunday editorial section (on different dates), including one by Jeff Speck who has no connection to Houston but is a well-known anti-freeway activist.

As for the opposition, they are generally recycling the usual claims that have been used against urban freeways for the last 50 years. The business community and City of Houston realize the benefits far outweigh any costs, and they support the project. As long as CoH stays on board, I think the project will surely move forward. Mayor Turner was re-elected in December, and he supports the project, and has said nothing negative about the project since re-election. (He did make some negative comments before the election, probably lip service to certain constituencies).
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on January 21, 2020, 07:40:50 PM
I just read your article. Very good article explaining as much detail as possible in 700 characters. Then I went to the comments to see what responses were and  :banghead:
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on January 22, 2020, 03:58:57 AM
One of the documents has timeline established of 2021 to begin construction on the downtown loop which is segment 1. Is that still the right start date?


Yes, the current plan is to award a design-build contract for all the downtown work in 2021. The contract amount is currently listed at $2.9 billion
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2021/harris.htm#050008001 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2021/harris.htm#050008001)

Downtown will require a major right-of-way clearance, and the Houston Chronicle recently reported on the relocation of the Mexican Consulate.
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Mexican-consulate-moving-to-southwest-Houston-to-14905843.php (https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Mexican-consulate-moving-to-southwest-Houston-to-14905843.php)
https://www.google.com/maps/@29.732366,-95.3819319,3a,75y,114.21h,99.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sH7DeTer3HT80YmrEjXaRug!2e0!7i3328!8i1664?hl=en (https://www.google.com/maps/@29.732366,-95.3819319,3a,75y,114.21h,99.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sH7DeTer3HT80YmrEjXaRug!2e0!7i3328!8i1664?hl=en)

The ROD has not yet been released. When the ROD is issued, there is a good chance of a lawsuit against the project, which could delay it. Other factors could also cause delay, such as right-of-way clearance and utility relocation. So far, the all-out efforts of the opposition (including the anti-project Houston Chronicle) to kill the project have failed.

So, what exactly do the opponents of this project want? Bring back the Pierce Elevated section? Or, blow out all the remaining sections and kill or boulevardize all the freeways in Houston inside of I-610 and the US 59/I-69 corridor? Or, even, rip that down and force I-69 to use the Grand Parkway (TX 99), as what was proposed originally in the TTC-69 tollway proposals?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: jbnv on January 22, 2020, 09:59:26 AM
So, what exactly do the opponents of this project want? Bring back the Pierce Elevated section? Or, blow out all the remaining sections and kill or boulevardize all the freeways in Houston inside of I-610 and the US 59/I-69 corridor? Or, even, rip that down and force I-69 to use the Grand Parkway (TX 99), as what was proposed originally in the TTC-69 tollway proposals?

Probably just to be kings and tell people what they can and cannot do. We saw the same thing with I-49 in Lafayette.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on January 22, 2020, 01:01:56 PM
So, what exactly do the opponents of this project want? Bring back the Pierce Elevated section? Or, blow out all the remaining sections and kill or boulevardize all the freeways in Houston inside of I-610 and the US 59/I-69 corridor? Or, even, rip that down and force I-69 to use the Grand Parkway (TX 99), as what was proposed originally in the TTC-69 tollway proposals?

Probably just to be kings and tell people what they can and cannot do. We saw the same thing with I-49 in Lafayette.
Is that project officially dead!?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on January 22, 2020, 07:24:59 PM
So, what exactly do the opponents of this project want? Bring back the Pierce Elevated section? Or, blow out all the remaining sections and kill or boulevardize all the freeways in Houston inside of I-610 and the US 59/I-69 corridor? Or, even, rip that down and force I-69 to use the Grand Parkway (TX 99), as what was proposed originally in the TTC-69 tollway proposals?

Probably just to be kings and tell people what they can and cannot do. We saw the same thing with I-49 in Lafayette.
Is that project officially dead!?

More like in limbo until funding is resolved.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on January 23, 2020, 12:24:31 PM
TxDOT released a bunch of visualizations on their Youtube channel today, so it doesn't look like it's dead.





Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on January 23, 2020, 07:59:52 PM
TxDOT released a bunch of visualizations on their Youtube channel today, so it doesn't look like it's dead.


Those all appear to be the original animated visualizations from May 2017 (as indicated in the videos) with no updates.

For the downtown, the 2017 animation does not include two major design changes in the most recent schematic: 1) The removal of the connection ramp to/from the SH 288 managed lanes, and 2) the downtown connector now goes under West Dallas Street.

For section 2 (IH-10 to Loop 610), changes have been minimal since 2017 but the video shows U-turns at N.Main (north side) and Cottage Street, and those U-turns have been eliminated.

North of Loop 610, I don't think there have been any changes so the animation should still be accurate.

It does seem strange for the videos to be reposted without the needed updates.

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on February 01, 2020, 02:31:08 PM
The City of Houston is in process of holding meetings to get public feedback, including a meeting this morning which I attended.

All the options are visible on the survey site
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MTHBX5S (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MTHBX5S)

Overview

My Take
The project is not at risk and will probably proceed without major changes. But TxDOT will need to implement some changes to satisfy CoH, and I think a high percentage of options are infeasible or expensive, which may cause some political difficulty.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on February 10, 2020, 07:37:18 PM
More negative press on this. I really hope these RE/T folks don’t fuck this project up.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/I-45-project-TxDOT-freeway-project-7B-TxDOT-15039483.php
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on February 10, 2020, 09:19:11 PM
I think it's nothing short of INSANE for any of these groups to seriously be thinking about building abnormally narrow lanes.

I pretty much avoid I-35E to the North of Dallas due to the narrow lanes on that interim upgrade. 11' wide lanes might be okay if everyone is driving little tiny Fiat cars. Many millions of American drivers are getting around in full size trucks, SUVs and other large vehicles. It's not any fun to be moving along at 60mph-70mph feeling like you're going to trade paint with vehicles in the adjacent lanes.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Rothman on February 10, 2020, 09:47:51 PM
Somebody would not deal with eastern freeways well.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: thisdj78 on February 10, 2020, 10:08:59 PM
Somebody would not deal with eastern freeways well.

The average speed limit on freeways in East Coast cities is 55mph isn’t it?

It’s like 65 in Texas cities (sometimes 60 in construction zones)
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Rothman on February 10, 2020, 10:30:21 PM


Somebody would not deal with eastern freeways well.

The average speed limit on freeways in East Coast cities is 55mph isn’t it?

It’s like 65 in Texas cities (sometimes 60 in construction zones)

You believe speed limits matter when it comes to trading paint out here in the East?  You poor naive chump. :D
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: thisdj78 on February 10, 2020, 10:46:37 PM


Somebody would not deal with eastern freeways well.

The average speed limit on freeways in East Coast cities is 55mph isn’t it?

It’s like 65 in Texas cities (sometimes 60 in construction zones)

You believe speed limits matter when it comes to trading paint out here in the East?  You poor naive chump. :D

Of course it doesn’t matter, but when the speed of traffic is moving at an average of 55-60 vs 70-80 (and in larger vehicles on top of that), it makes difference in someone’s perception of safety.

As someone who’s spent a lot of time driving in NYC and Boston, I’m nowhere near naive or a chump. 😎
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Rothman on February 10, 2020, 10:49:03 PM
Pfft.  Your experience doesn't sound very representative.

Let's get him out here on the roads!
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: J N Winkler on February 10, 2020, 11:19:34 PM
I don't mind 11 ft unit lane width, though I prefer 12 ft.  What I really want to avoid is 10 ft, which is good for a 30% reduction in capacity.

On Kellogg Avenue in Wichita, the West Street flyover was built in the mid-1980's with 11 ft lanes and the adjoining sections of the Kellogg freeway were built later with 12 ft lanes.  This results in a fairly abrupt transition (https://www.google.com/maps/@37.6746131,-97.3757517,3a,75y,63.17h,90.5t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJsv_95aKGP5wIyDIs2AYIg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656) eastbound as the width of the traveled way expands from 33 ft to 36 ft while the centerline stays laterally fixed.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on February 11, 2020, 07:48:45 AM
they can't make them less than 12 ft, any thing less than 12 is substandard for an interstate. 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on February 13, 2020, 03:07:09 PM
Brand new highways desiring an Interstate designation can't have travel lanes less than 12' wide. But that rule apparently isn't stopping people from trimming lane sizes on expansions of existing Interstate highways.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: nolia_boi504 on February 13, 2020, 06:01:58 PM
Aren't there requirements for shoulder widths as well? Looks like 610 West loop will permanently be shoulderless where the elevated bus lanes drop through the middle of the highway.... l

Pixel 4

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: rte66man on February 16, 2020, 06:50:31 PM
they can't make them less than 12 ft, any thing less than 12 is substandard for an interstate. 

Tell that to Dallas drivers on the recently rebuilt I35E
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on February 16, 2020, 07:42:41 PM
they can't make them less than 12 ft, any thing less than 12 is substandard for an interstate. 

Tell that to Dallas drivers on the recently rebuilt I35E

It is surprising FHWA allowed the 11-foot-wide lines on an interstate. I'm thinking it was allowed because it is an "interim" configuration, planned to be temporary until the ultimate configuration is built.

The ultimate configuration from IH 635 to south of the Bush Turnpike (the Dallas County section) has $600 million in funding in the 2020 UTP and it is slated for award in August 2021
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2021/dallas.htm#019603274 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2021/dallas.htm#019603274)

The 2020 UTP also funds work north of SH 121 (Rayburn Turnpike) in Lewisville on or before FY 2023. The Lewisville area is probably the worst area for 11-foot-wide lanes.

So by the mid-to-late 2020s, a lot of the 11-foot-wide lanes should be eliminated.

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: BrandonC_TX on February 17, 2020, 12:55:18 AM
It will be crazy if TxDOT once again uses narrow lanes on the downtown Houston project.  I believe they did that on US 290 in northwest Houston as well, though the full left shoulder makes it seem not as bad as I-35E north of Dallas (which lacks a left shoulder from on the entire rebuilt section from I-635 to US 380).

NCTCOG's Mobility 2045 plan (https://www.nctcog.org/trans/plan/mtp/2045#plandocument) does not call for improvements on I-35E in the Lewisville/Lake Dallas area until the 2037-2045 timeframe (keeping a 4+2R+4 configuration there), though TxDOT has nothing to do with that plan.  I would expect full improvements sooner, and the configuration of the ultimate project is very similar to the I-45 project in north Houston (while woven ramps between the managed lanes on I-35E might make that project seem more expensive, all the major stack interchanges are already in place thanks to the interim project, whereas I-45 in north Houston calls for a new 5-level stack at I-610).

It just surprises me to see all the narrow lanes on recent TxDOT projects, where TxDOT has maintained very high standards in the recent past.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: dfwmapper on February 17, 2020, 03:15:29 AM
I'm guessing that most of the substandard designs date back to the budget shortfall era when the only hope of ever getting anything built was cutting every possible corner. Remember that highway funding had mostly dried up in this state until we passed Prop 1 in 2014 (rainy day fund) and Prop 7 in 2015 (sales and vehicle registration taxes) to steal money from other sources to pay for roads.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: sprjus4 on February 17, 2020, 10:17:10 AM
The upcoming expansion of Loop 1604 in San Antonio from 4 (2 each way) to 10 lanes (4 + 1 HOV each way) is being built with reduced 11 foot lanes to accommodate a narrow ROW. Not sure how I feel about that though.

I-264 in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia has 11 foot lanes, and while it’s certainly noticeable when driving, people seem to maintain doing 70+ mph on the 8-lane 55 mph highway without issue.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on June 19, 2020, 11:39:19 AM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Echostatic on June 19, 2020, 11:51:36 AM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

They ran a similar article a few years ago about the I-35 Capital Express upcoming in Downtown Austin.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: sprjus4 on June 19, 2020, 11:59:11 AM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread
:no:

It won't change anything. Much like the upcoming I-35 project, this will be most likely be constructed as planned and provide significant relief to the current mess that is Downtown.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on June 19, 2020, 12:01:22 PM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

They ran a similar article a few years ago about the I-35 Capital Express upcoming in Downtown Austin.
There is no denying previous accounts of freeways that were built with racist planning or simply taking advantage of locations that are occupied mainly by minorities. With that said what is the endgame with the mentality of “we can’t build through here because there are too many minorities?” So the 241 in South OC can’t be extended because of a bunch of wealthy white people that live there don’t want it near them and we can’t widen this freeway because there are too many minorities in this area. So how do you build and expand freeways/infrastructure? I don’t get it.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on June 19, 2020, 12:04:14 PM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread
:no:

It won't change anything. Much like the upcoming I-35 project, this will be most likely be constructed as planned and provide significant relief to the current mess that is Downtown.
I sure hope so. I’m fairly certain many “POC” will be using this freeway now and after it’s expanded.

Funny enough it also has many improvements to localized areas along its path, adds bike lanes, improved service on the red line with a grade separation, adds new trails, removed part of an elevated freeway, and paves way for several park caps to better connect neighborhoods. Why is that never mentioned from the RE/T groups?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: nolia_boi504 on June 19, 2020, 12:05:44 PM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread
:no:

It won't change anything. Much like the upcoming I-35 project, this will be most likely be constructed as planned and provide significant relief to the current mess that is Downtown.
I sure hope so. I’m fairly certain many “POC” will be using this freeway now and after it’s expanded.

Funny enough it also has many improvements to localized areas along its path, adds bike lanes, improved service on the red line with a grade separation, adds new trails, removed part of an elevated freeway, and paves way for several park caps to better connect neighborhoods. Why is that never mentioned from the RE/T groups?
Because that makes too much sense and doesn't sell clicks...stupid media!

Pixel 4

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: sprjus4 on June 19, 2020, 12:10:04 PM
Funny enough it also has many improvements to localized areas along its path, adds bike lanes, improved service on the red line with a grade separation, adds new trails, removed part of an elevated freeway, and paves way for several park caps to better connect neighborhoods. Why is that never mentioned from the RE/T groups?
And the proposed expansions aren't "racist". It follows along the existing path of I-10 and I-45 and only builds upon them. Will right of way acquisition be needed? Yes. It's not a purposely selected path for a new location freeway that bypasses a white community to tear through a black community. That's what RE/T groups try to make it out to be.

How about right of way acquisition that's taken when a freeway is expanded through a white suburban area? Is that "racist"?

As for the trails, freeway removal, and caps, they love to advocate for all these things (and don't get me wrong, when it can be appropriately constructed - I'm all for it), and when they're implemented, they could care less. But if we widen a freeway in the process to accommodate additional traffic from a re-routed road along with just a general need for more capacity, split lane configurations, etc. :-o
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: kphoger on June 19, 2020, 12:28:57 PM
And the proposed expansions aren't "racist". It follows along the existing path of I-10 and I-45 and only builds upon them. Will right of way acquisition be needed? Yes. It's not a purposely selected path for a new location freeway that bypasses a white community to tear through a black community.

The property value of houses next to freeways tends to be lower than that of houses farther from freeways.  Black residents tend to be economically disadvantaged compared to white residents.  Therefore, I assume black residents are more likely to live in the houses slated for acquisition than white residents.  But that doesn't make the plan racist.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: sprjus4 on June 19, 2020, 12:41:27 PM
And the proposed expansions aren't "racist". It follows along the existing path of I-10 and I-45 and only builds upon them. Will right of way acquisition be needed? Yes. It's not a purposely selected path for a new location freeway that bypasses a white community to tear through a black community.

The property value of houses next to freeways tends to be lower than that of houses farther from freeways.  Black residents tend to be economically disadvantaged compared to white residents.  Therefore, I assume black residents are more likely to live in the houses slated for acquisition than white residents.  But that doesn't make the plan racist.
Should DOTs now construct new freeways through white neighborhoods instead of widening existing freeways? Redundancy could be the answer to solve racism.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: kphoger on June 19, 2020, 01:04:26 PM


And the proposed expansions aren't "racist". It follows along the existing path of I-10 and I-45 and only builds upon them. Will right of way acquisition be needed? Yes. It's not a purposely selected path for a new location freeway that bypasses a white community to tear through a black community.

The property value of houses next to freeways tends to be lower than that of houses farther from freeways.  Black residents tend to be economically disadvantaged compared to white residents.  Therefore, I assume black residents are more likely to live in the houses slated for acquisition than white residents.  But that doesn't make the plan racist.

Should DOTs now construct new freeways through white neighborhoods instead of widening existing freeways? Redundancy could be the answer to solve racism.

Either that, or people could just accept the fact that every project has its downsides.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 19, 2020, 01:56:05 PM
It won't change anything. Much like the upcoming I-35 project, this will be most likely be constructed as planned and provide significant relief to the current mess that is Downtown.

I don't think we can assume it will proceed as planned. For the last 1-2 years the opposition has waged an all-out war to kill this project, and they are getting more support. Recently the City of Houston acceded to the opposition and drastically changed its position, from supporting the current design to opposing it. Now CoH opposes all planned improvements north of downtown, and they actually want to reduce current mobility options by removing the HOV lane. CoH basically took all the complaints of the opposition and used it as their new position on the project. CoH still supports the downtown work (with remediation) since the downtown work eliminates three elevated freeways.  I blogged about the ridiculous and harmful request here
https://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-city-of-houstons-problematic.html (https://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-city-of-houstons-problematic.html)

The Houston Chronicle is also waging war against the project. They have been running anti-project editorials regularly, and recently their regular (non-editorial) reporting has been biased against the project.

There is now a page on the official site for the dialog
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/CityOfHoustonFacilitationGroup.aspx (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/CityOfHoustonFacilitationGroup.aspx)

Combine the opposition from the City of Houston with expected large cuts to TxDOT funding in the next few years, and I think there is a reasonable chance the project will not survive. The main question is if TxDOT will be willing to do only the downtown work, and then bottleneck I-45 north of downtown as currently requested by CoH. In my opinion, it makes no sense to spend the 4+ billion to relocate I-45 in the downtown area just to shrink it north of downtown. On the other hand, the downtown work will be benefcial for I-69 and I-10.

My heart won't be broken if the entire project is canceled, since it is very expensive and provides very limited mobility benefits.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on June 19, 2020, 02:01:22 PM
I really hope this project goes through as planned. I’ve emailed several leaders vocalizing my support for this project. It would be incredible and a game changer for the area. It sucks that mega projects like this fade so much opposition and are often canceled or reduced in size. Far too often everyone complains about current conditions but when a real solution is presented people whine and moan about change.

I also disagree this project will provide “limited mobility benefits.”
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: sprjus4 on June 19, 2020, 03:15:20 PM
I don't think we can assume it will proceed as planned. For the last 1-2 years the opposition has waged an all-out war to kill this project, and they are getting more support. Recently the City of Houston acceded to the opposition and drastically changed its position, from supporting the current design to opposing it. Now CoH opposes all planned improvements north of downtown, and they actually want to reduce current mobility options by removing the HOV lane. CoH basically took all the complaints of the opposition and used it as their new position on the project. CoH still supports the downtown work (with remediation) since the downtown work eliminates three elevated freeways.  I blogged about the ridiculous and harmful request here
https://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-city-of-houstons-problematic.html (https://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-city-of-houstons-problematic.html)
The City of Houston should either get a no-build, meaning the elevated freeways stay, and traffic gets far worse Downtown in the coming years, or a full-build. Either all components of the project get constructed, or none.

provides very limited mobility benefits.
Disagree.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: jbnv on June 19, 2020, 04:42:31 PM
So how do you build and expand freeways/infrastructure?

You don't.

That's the endgame for many of these opponents. Just stop the thing from ever getting built. Throw anything at it that makes it more expensive and/or postpones it (which also makes it more expensive). Legislation, lawsuits, injunctions--whatever you can get from the government. 

See Interstate 49 through Lafayette, LA. We've been talking about it for four decades. No ground broken and little hope of any ground actually getting broken, thanks to a handful of obnoxious activists.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bwana39 on June 20, 2020, 12:23:05 PM

The bottom line is the Pierce Elevated (IH45 on the west side of downtown Houston) needs replaced. No build is not a good option.  The suggested loop aroung downtown is going to displace a whole lot of stuff.

Actually burying I45 although expensive might actually be the better choice.


I don't think we can assume it will proceed as planned. For the last 1-2 years the opposition has waged an all-out war to kill this project, and they are getting more support. Recently the City of Houston acceded to the opposition and drastically changed its position, from supporting the current design to opposing it. Now CoH opposes all planned improvements north of downtown, and they actually want to reduce current mobility options by removing the HOV lane. CoH basically took all the complaints of the opposition and used it as their new position on the project. CoH still supports the downtown work (with remediation) since the downtown work eliminates three elevated freeways.  I blogged about the ridiculous and harmful request here
https://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-city-of-houstons-problematic.html (https://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-city-of-houstons-problematic.html)
The City of Houston should either get a no-build, meaning the elevated freeways stay, and traffic gets far worse Downtown in the coming years, or a full-build. Either all components of the project get constructed, or none.



Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: -- US 175 -- on June 21, 2020, 12:43:34 PM

Actually burying I45 although expensive might actually be the better choice.


If Houston weren"t close to sea level and susceptible to flooding and hurricanes, that might be an option.  Buffalo Bayou flooding was so bad during/after Harvey, it took out a whole TV station.  So, if the project is a thing, progesses, and gets done, my money (if I had any) would be on elevating or at least keeping I-45 above water.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: CoreySamson on June 22, 2020, 12:46:29 PM

Actually burying I45 although expensive might actually be the better choice.


If Houston weren"t close to sea level and susceptible to flooding and hurricanes, that might be an option.  Buffalo Bayou flooding was so bad during/after Harvey, it took out a whole TV station.  So, if the project is a thing, progesses, and gets done, my money (if I had any) would be on elevating or at least keeping I-45 above water.

Actually, it would be better if 45 were sunk below ground than building a new bridge, despite what Houston's flooding history might say.

If they sink it below ground, then water that would otherwise end up in people's homes would drain in there. Indeed, not being able to drive on 45 for a few days while it drained is better than more families devastated by a flooding event than necessary.

I can't really think of any other cons for sinking 45. The pavement on 288 and 59, which has been flooded time and time again, seems fine and not damaged, which would be my other big concern.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: texaskdog on June 22, 2020, 01:04:12 PM
And the proposed expansions aren't "racist". It follows along the existing path of I-10 and I-45 and only builds upon them. Will right of way acquisition be needed? Yes. It's not a purposely selected path for a new location freeway that bypasses a white community to tear through a black community.

The property value of houses next to freeways tends to be lower than that of houses farther from freeways.  Black residents tend to be economically disadvantaged compared to white residents.  Therefore, I assume black residents are more likely to live in the houses slated for acquisition than white residents.  But that doesn't make the plan racist.

they do tear out the poorest of areas, which is not racist as much of an economics issue.  Around here "tolerant Austin" they claim to be for the minorities but are gentrifying them out of their communitites.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: texaskdog on June 22, 2020, 01:04:38 PM

Actually burying I45 although expensive might actually be the better choice.


If Houston weren"t close to sea level and susceptible to flooding and hurricanes, that might be an option.  Buffalo Bayou flooding was so bad during/after Harvey, it took out a whole TV station.  So, if the project is a thing, progesses, and gets done, my money (if I had any) would be on elevating or at least keeping I-45 above water.

Houston is always underwater
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Perfxion on June 23, 2020, 09:26:13 AM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

Can't call it the race card when many places done this many times over the years. One large ongoing complaint has always been massive displacement without replacement. As much of a relief this may be, you can't go Fitzowl on a neighorhood and just shrug your shoulder. Urbran renewal projects tend to do that to POC way too often.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: nolia_boi504 on June 23, 2020, 01:10:08 PM

Actually burying I45 although expensive might actually be the better choice.


If Houston weren"t close to sea level and susceptible to flooding and hurricanes, that might be an option.  Buffalo Bayou flooding was so bad during/after Harvey, it took out a whole TV station.  So, if the project is a thing, progesses, and gets done, my money (if I had any) would be on elevating or at least keeping I-45 above water.

Actually, it would be better if 45 were sunk below ground than building a new bridge, despite what Houston's flooding history might say.

If they sink it below ground, then water that would otherwise end up in people's homes would drain in there. Indeed, not being able to drive on 45 for a few days while it drained is better than more families devastated by a flooding event than necessary.

I can't really think of any other cons for sinking 45. The pavement on 288 and 59, which has been flooded time and time again, seems fine and not damaged, which would be my other big concern.
Totally agree. It took nearly a month after Harvey to drain and fix the beltway at Memorial. Traffic really sucked getting around it, but the volume of water that it held could have done much more damage elsewhere.

I have always assumed that park areas around Allen Pkwy and similar were designed to flood in major rain events. The media (both national and local) make a big fuss about how poorly they were designed. But, let's face it, we have a flood problem. The types of rain events we faced the last few years would have crippled any other city, especially if they don't have areas to hold large amounts of water (Barker/Addicks Reservoir, sunken freeways, etc).

I'm definitely not saying these systems are perfect. But the situation could be far worse.

Pixel 4

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: stridentweasel on June 23, 2020, 03:42:38 PM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

Can't call it the race card when many places done this many times over the years. One large ongoing complaint has always been massive displacement without replacement. As much of a relief this may be, you can't go Fitzowl on a neighorhood and just shrug your shoulder. Urbran renewal projects tend to do that to POC way too often.

Thank you so much for saying this.  I 100% agree.

Frankly, I don't consider "StreetsBlog" to be the greatest journalism ever, and I'm not inherently opposed to all highway expansions.  But as planners and designers, anyone who proposes a highway expansion that displaces residents and/or businesses should have an ethical responsibility to include a fair, just, and equitable proposal for replacement of housing units and business spaces.

In other words, it's bad design to just say "Let someone else figure that out."

No disrespect intended toward FritzOwl, however.  I just do very strongly believe that any highway proposals that don't give thought to the broader social and physical context should stay in Fictional Highways.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on June 23, 2020, 04:11:19 PM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

Can't call it the race card when many places done this many times over the years. One large ongoing complaint has always been massive displacement without replacement. As much of a relief this may be, you can't go Fitzowl on a neighorhood and just shrug your shoulder. Urbran renewal projects tend to do that to POC way too often.
You absolutely can call it the race card since if this were a white neighborhood this card wouldn’t be used. Regardless of what has happened in the past, we need an expanded freeway. Many POC of will use it and benefit from it. They are pulling the card and they have done it before.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Perfxion on June 23, 2020, 05:13:01 PM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

Can't call it the race card when many places done this many times over the years. One large ongoing complaint has always been massive displacement without replacement. As much of a relief this may be, you can't go Fitzowl on a neighorhood and just shrug your shoulder. Urbran renewal projects tend to do that to POC way too often.
You absolutely can call it the race card since if this were a white neighborhood this card wouldn’t be used. Regardless of what has happened in the past, we need an expanded freeway. Many POC of will use it and benefit from it. They are pulling the card and they have done it before.

When people oppose a freeway in a white neighborhood, it doesn't get built. When black neighborhoods oppose, its still plans as is. Can you name all the black neighborhoods that had freeways blocked because it would destroy the area? Again, it isn't the race card when successful freeway blocking in a neighborhood only happens in white neighborhoods.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: mrsman on June 23, 2020, 06:22:00 PM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

Can't call it the race card when many places done this many times over the years. One large ongoing complaint has always been massive displacement without replacement. As much of a relief this may be, you can't go Fitzowl on a neighorhood and just shrug your shoulder. Urbran renewal projects tend to do that to POC way too often.
You absolutely can call it the race card since if this were a white neighborhood this card wouldn’t be used. Regardless of what has happened in the past, we need an expanded freeway. Many POC of will use it and benefit from it. They are pulling the card and they have done it before.

When people oppose a freeway in a white neighborhood, it doesn't get built. When black neighborhoods oppose, its still plans as is. Can you name all the black neighborhoods that had freeways blocked because it would destroy the area? Again, it isn't the race card when successful freeway blocking in a neighborhood only happens in white neighborhoods.

I can't in Houston, but there are several black neighborhoods in other cities that have been successful in blocking freeways.  Washington Dc blocked many of their roads through black neighborhoods.  The revolts propelled the career of Marion Barry, the mayor for life.  Yes, I-395 did blow through some neighborhoods on the southside of town, but the I-95 North Cenrtral Freeway and the I-70S freeways were stopped at the Beltway and were prevented from going through.

And to this day, parts of US 71 in Kansas City still have grade crossings.   They cleared homes for the expressway but still blocked the freeway completion project.  At this point, no new home need destroyed for this, yet it is still being blocked on racism grounds.

Another one is Baltimore.  Yes, some black neighborhoods there got destroyed for I-170 and I-95 construction, but I-70 was stopped dead in its tracks at the Baltimore city line near I-695.  So the unfinished I-170 did destroy homes for about a one mile corridor, the larger freeway project that would have connected this to the rest of I-70 was cancelled.

I can acknowledge that there were certainly racial elements at play at deciding which areas would be destroyed for a highway project, and yes given two equal routings the one through a minority neighborhood would likely get picked.  But some white areas were destroyed and some black areas were saved.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Some one on June 23, 2020, 08:53:42 PM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

Can't call it the race card when many places done this many times over the years. One large ongoing complaint has always been massive displacement without replacement. As much of a relief this may be, you can't go Fitzowl on a neighorhood and just shrug your shoulder. Urbran renewal projects tend to do that to POC way too often.
You absolutely can call it the race card since if this were a white neighborhood this card wouldn’t be used. Regardless of what has happened in the past, we need an expanded freeway. Many POC of will use it and benefit from it. They are pulling the card and they have done it before.

When people oppose a freeway in a white neighborhood, it doesn't get built. When black neighborhoods oppose, its still plans as is. Can you name all the black neighborhoods that had freeways blocked because it would destroy the area? Again, it isn't the race card when successful freeway blocking in a neighborhood only happens in white neighborhoods.

I can't in Houston, but there are several black neighborhoods in other cities that have been successful in blocking freeways.  Washington Dc blocked many of their roads through black neighborhoods.  The revolts propelled the career of Marion Barry, the mayor for life.  Yes, I-395 did blow through some neighborhoods on the southside of town, but the I-95 North Cenrtral Freeway and the I-70S freeways were stopped at the Beltway and were prevented from going through.

And to this day, parts of US 71 in Kansas City still have grade crossings.   They cleared homes for the expressway but still blocked the freeway completion project.  At this point, no new home need destroyed for this, yet it is still being blocked on racism grounds.

Another one is Baltimore.  Yes, some black neighborhoods there got destroyed for I-170 and I-95 construction, but I-70 was stopped dead in its tracks at the Baltimore city line near I-695.  So the unfinished I-170 did destroy homes for about a one mile corridor, the larger freeway project that would have connected this to the rest of I-70 was cancelled.

I can acknowledge that there were certainly racial elements at play at deciding which areas would be destroyed for a highway project, and yes given two equal routings the one through a minority neighborhood would likely get picked.  But some white areas were destroyed and some black areas were saved.
Don't forget I-83, which although it was built past 695, the last few miles was stopped dead in its track (it was supposed to terminate at I-95).

Although it's not a black community, I can think of one example in Houston. 225 was supposed to be extended to US 59 in Downtown, but was eventually canceled thanks to East End's protests. Heck, there were even ghost stubs too (which eventually got removed as part of 59's (and I-10 junction) rebuild in 2003).
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bwana39 on June 23, 2020, 09:39:37 PM
Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

Can't call it the race card when many places done this many times over the years. One large ongoing complaint has always been massive displacement without replacement. As much of a relief this may be, you can't go Fitzowl on a neighorhood and just shrug your shoulder. Urbran renewal projects tend to do that to POC way too often.

Thank you so much for saying this.  I 100% agree.

Frankly, I don't consider "StreetsBlog" to be the greatest journalism ever, and I'm not inherently opposed to all highway expansions.  But as planners and designers, anyone who proposes a highway expansion that displaces residents and/or businesses should have an ethical responsibility to include a fair, just, and equitable proposal for replacement of housing units and business spaces.

In other words, it's bad design to just say "Let someone else figure that out."

No disrespect intended toward FritzOwl, however.  I just do very strongly believe that any highway proposals that don't give thought to the broader social and physical context should stay in Fictional Highways.

I agree with you but......

It is going to displace communities. It SHOULD place the displaced residents in better housing, better neighborhoods, adn better prospects fo rthe future.

What happens is the landlords take their money and run and the renters are left to their own devices to find a new slum (IE housing at the same depressed price point.) The robber barrons prevail again.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: kphoger on June 24, 2020, 09:30:27 AM
It is going to displace communities. It SHOULD place the displaced residents in better housing, better neighborhoods, adn better prospects fo rthe future.

I'd rather see "equivalent" in place of "better".  I don't consider it to the job of the DOT to provide upward mobility at taxpayer expense.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: STLmapboy on June 24, 2020, 09:44:56 AM
It is going to displace communities. It SHOULD place the displaced residents in better housing, better neighborhoods, adn better prospects fo rthe future.

I'd rather see "equivalent" in place of "better".  I don't consider it to the job of the DOT to provide upward mobility at taxpayer expense.

Yeah. I believe one of the projects will be demolished for this.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on June 24, 2020, 12:17:14 PM
i would think they would be happy for this. it removes a massive stretch of highway and will reconnect so much. what's not to like about that?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bwana39 on June 24, 2020, 01:39:36 PM
It is going to displace communities. It SHOULD place the displaced residents in better housing, better neighborhoods, adn better prospects fo rthe future.

I'd rather see "equivalent" in place of "better".  I don't consider it to the job of the DOT to provide upward mobility at taxpayer expense.


Yeah. I believe one of the projects will be demolished for this.


By better, I don't think I mean fancier. I think what I mean is better maintained in a place with better schools and opportunities.  The point is to replace the substandard housing with units that meet the minimal standards for decency.

The biggest problem in our cities is the failure to maintain properties. As housing standards go down, crime goes up. I get that this problem does not belong to the DOT, at the same time getting rid of substandard housing is desirable regardless of how it is attained.

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: kphoger on June 24, 2020, 01:46:08 PM
The point is to replace the substandard housing with units that meet the minimal standards for decency.

This I can get behind.

in a place with better schools and opportunities.

This I cannot.

getting rid of substandard housing is desirable regardless of how it is attained.

This I'm not sure about.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: webny99 on June 25, 2020, 12:38:36 PM
It is going to displace communities. It SHOULD place the displaced residents in better housing, better neighborhoods, and better prospects for the future.

I'd rather see "equivalent" in place of "better".  I don't consider it to the job of the DOT to provide upward mobility at taxpayer expense.

Agree as a general rule, but the problem is that "equivalent" can be hard to measure, as where do you draw the line between "equivalent" and "worse"?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on August 17, 2020, 09:11:45 PM
An updated animated rendering was posted today


This rendering is consistent with the December 2019 schematic. The main changes are the elimination of the connections to Chenevert at the 69/288 interchange, sinking the south end of the downtown connector into a trench, and some tweaking of the eastbound frontage road on the southwest side of the 69/10/45 interchange.

I don't see changes to the design since the December 2019 schematic. When the the City of Houston published its measured opposition to the project earlier this year, it included a wish list of changes in the downtown area (but no major downsizing was requested in the downtown area).

An H-GAC committee is currently studying the project and how to handle the CoH requests for changes. My best guess is that they needed the TxDOT design to be accurately shown in the rendering, so it was updated. I'm thinking that changes are still possible and likely depending on the committee recommendation.

The animation still does not cover the 45/10 multiplex on the northwest side of downtown, which is one of the more interesting sections of the project.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bwana39 on August 22, 2020, 01:40:06 AM
The title on thread states a fallacy. TXDOT did not recommend this. TXDOT said I-45 through downtown needed rebuilt. Their original goal was to replace it in the same basic footprint as it currently occupies. Urbanists demanded that the current I-45 route be abandoned. The city of Houston supported the Urbanist initiative.  TXDOT has proposed a road that accomplishes both goals. IE .."This is what Houston asked for"

From an Urbanist perspective;the cross country freeways should barely cross the  outskirts of the metro area. Then PERHAPS freeways leading TO downtown but not through it or even around it. Arterials would route traffic into and out of downtown and discourage thru traffic.

Not sure it is a win for the Urbanists. Between the pain of construction on ALL THREE of the downtown interstates, it may take 2 decades to ever settle in from the construction.  About the only saving grace is that I-45 on the west side of downtown is slated to stay to after the mid-point of the project.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on August 22, 2020, 01:54:49 AM
The project as currently proposed is absolutely incredible and will do wonders for Houston. It’s beautiful and I hope it is built. Houston will be a better city once this is built.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bruce on August 22, 2020, 02:43:03 AM
God this whole thread makes me want to puke.

All this money could be used to fix some of Houston's more pressing needs, like having a functional drainage system or rail transit.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: sprjus4 on August 22, 2020, 10:17:14 AM
God this whole thread makes me want to puke.

All this money could be used to fix some of Houston's more pressing needs, like having a functional drainage system or rail transit.
Meanwhile traffic on the existing interstates, which is already terrible, will continue to get significantly worse in future years. The rebuild was needed 20 years ago.

Have you ever driven I-10 / I-45 / I-69 around Downtown during rush hour?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bruce on August 22, 2020, 12:33:17 PM
God this whole thread makes me want to puke.

All this money could be used to fix some of Houston's more pressing needs, like having a functional drainage system or rail transit.
Meanwhile traffic on the existing interstates, which is already terrible, will continue to get significantly worse in future years. The rebuild was needed 20 years ago.

Have you ever driven I-10 / I-45 / I-69 around Downtown during rush hour?

No, but I've seen plenty of credible data to suggest that wanton freeway expansion in Houston has resulted in more traffic, not less: Reducing congestion: Katy didn’t (https://cityobservatory.org/reducing-congestion-katy-didnt/) (uses Transtar data).

A smart strategy of easing chokepoints and investing in real alternatives (and thinking beyond just the pandemic) like public transit would actually work.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: sprjus4 on August 22, 2020, 01:18:20 PM
No, but I've seen plenty of credible data to suggest that wanton freeway expansion in Houston has resulted in more traffic, not less: Reducing congestion: Katy didn’t (https://cityobservatory.org/reducing-congestion-katy-didnt/) (uses Transtar data).
Ah, the induced demand fallacy.

Quote
A smart strategy of easing chokepoints and investing in real alternatives (and thinking beyond just the pandemic) like public transit would actually work.
Not against having public transit, but there’s little to suggest that it would do much to actually ease congestion. Most people are going to continue to prefer to drive, despite what RE/T groups may believe.

Did it ever occur that not all traffic is local? Houston is the junction of 3 major interstate highways that carry a significant amount of through traffic. Expanding light rail and transit isn’t going to result in rush hour becoming free flowing on the interstates. Expansion of roads is necessary and will continue as planned.

Are you suggesting I-35 in Downtown Austin is adequate and shouldn’t be expanded?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: rte66man on August 22, 2020, 03:01:54 PM
God this whole thread makes me want to puke.

All this money could be used to fix some of Houston's more pressing needs, like having a functional drainage system or rail transit.

Rail transit in Houston won't work because the major business areas are too diffused. Downtown, Airport, Galleria, Spring, the Woodlands etc. plus all the reverse commutes. But the biggest reason is the car culture is too entrenched. Mass transit works better where business is far more concentrated.

I see you are from the greater Seattle area. If Houston was laid out all strung out from north to south like that, then public transit might work. Houston is like a giant wagon wheel with expansion on all 4 sides (only constricted by Galveston Bay). Rail transit would be prohibitively expensive to build out.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on August 22, 2020, 03:20:35 PM
God this whole thread makes me want to puke.

All this money could be used to fix some of Houston's more pressing needs, like having a functional drainage system or rail transit.
Meanwhile traffic on the existing interstates, which is already terrible, will continue to get significantly worse in future years. The rebuild was needed 20 years ago.

Have you ever driven I-10 / I-45 / I-69 around Downtown during rush hour?

No, but I've seen plenty of credible data to suggest that wanton freeway expansion in Houston has resulted in more traffic, not less: Reducing congestion: Katy didn’t (https://cityobservatory.org/reducing-congestion-katy-didnt/) (uses Transtar data).

A smart strategy of easing chokepoints and investing in real alternatives (and thinking beyond just the pandemic) like public transit would actually work.
The overwhelmingly majority of people there use the car. This is an amazing project. Houston can have a rail expansion with this project.

FYI, this project will support BRT, improve walkability/biking infrastructure, build parks, and improve operations to the red line.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on August 23, 2020, 03:54:08 AM
No, but I've seen plenty of credible data to suggest that wanton freeway expansion in Houston has resulted in more traffic, not less: Reducing congestion: Katy didn’t (https://cityobservatory.org/reducing-congestion-katy-didnt/) (uses Transtar data).

The population of Greater Houston has grown by nearly 2.5 million people since 2000. That's similar to the entire metro area of cities like Austin, Kansas City, Portland, Sacramento or Las Vegas added in just 20 years.

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bwana39 on August 23, 2020, 09:32:55 AM
Quote
A smart strategy of easing chokepoints and investing in real alternatives (and thinking beyond just the pandemic) like public transit would actually work.

Getting people from the Houston suburbs on mass transit?   Even if you could relatively cover all directions, the mindset just isn't there 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: rte66man on August 23, 2020, 12:03:26 PM
Went back and forth a few times on the TxDOT conceptualization as it relates to the Hardy Connector.  From what I saw, no connection from WB 10 to NB Hardy and I wasn't able to see under the deck by the convention center but there wasn't a connection for SB Hardy to EB 45. If true, that is really unfortunate.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bwana39 on August 24, 2020, 05:30:28 PM
i would think they would be happy for this. it removes a massive stretch of highway and will reconnect so much. what's not to like about that?

The developers are happy about it. The urbanists are still unhappy. Their goal for freeway removal is removal WITHOUT replacement. This replacement actually will clear out moderate and lower income people, street level businesses, and lots more.  This may even be a LOSS for the urbanists as there will be more lane miles downtown after it is finished than there currently are.

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 25, 2020, 10:45:21 PM
The New Urbanists need to get themselves caught up with some current events (along with some other key groups of people involved in urban planning and development).

These trendy yet high cost of living urban centers are facing an existential threat brought on by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, resulting economic downturn and the various yet persistent states of lock-down. Businesses and residents are both figuring out they don't really have to live and work in the hard to afford urban center. Improvements in technology and leaps in Internet speeds are making it possible for them to leave for less costly locations with far shorter commute times (or no drive time at all).

There is suddenly a lot more empty offices in these urban centers. And there is a growing number of changed minds and attitudes about people working remotely from home, after the pandemic forced many businesses to try it. Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs. A big wave of rental evictions and property foreclosures will start rolling any day now. These urban Whole Foods Utopias are going to get hurt.

Even for people living in urban centers who are still doing well financially they've seen their quality of life get hit by this pandemic. Many outlets of leisure, entertainment and nightlife are still closed or only partially re-opened with restrictions. We may eventually get a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. But how long will it be until the next pandemic hits? There is no guarantee life will go 100% back to "normal" anytime soon. How many people will still want to pay a high premium to live in an urban center that's as dull as any small town?

Houston doesn't have a living cost problem quite as absurd as New York City or San Francisco. But it's not exactly cheap either. The suburbs in the Houston metro have exploded in size due in large part to people looking for more home for their bucks. A great deal of decentralization has happened. The downtown area of Houston doesn't have a monopoly on high rise office space or even culture and nightlife. The consequences of this pandemic will make it more obvious.

If TX DOT wants to do a big overhaul of the downtown Houston freeway network I think they'll eventually be able to do what they wish. Given the current circumstances and likely trends going forward, the New Urbanists won't be able to block this project forever, much less sustain their philosophy for the long term either. Factors like income inequality, falling fertility rates and now these pandemics just fowl up that whole idea. Social Distancing may give way to Living Distancing
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on August 26, 2020, 04:34:36 AM
A great deal of decentralization has happened. The downtown area of Houston doesn't have a monopoly on high rise office space or even culture and nightlife.

I've read this interesting statistic about I-35E in Dallas (in relation to the Horseshoe Project), that when I-35E was built 80% of traffic on it had a destination or origin in downtown Dallas. Nowadays, 80% just passes by, to another point in the metro area.

The problem with 'new urbanism' and transit advocates is that they still think in terms of everything must go to downtown, as if we are still in the 1950s. Rail services are still mostly catering to that, but that has become a small minority of all commuting and non-commuting trips in an urban area.

The same goes for criticism about sprawl, it's still measured in distance from downtown while someone living in the Katy or Woodlands area isn't even that likely to travel all the way to downtown Houston on I-10 or I-45. The highest traffic volume on I-10 is way west of downtown, traffic volumes actually go down as you approach downtown, contrary to 'conventional wisdom' that there is an ever larger flow of traffic joining the freeway on their way to downtown. That's how rail transit work, but that's not how road transportation works anymore.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 26, 2020, 02:02:35 PM
Quote from: Chris
The problem with 'new urbanism' and transit advocates is that they still think in terms of everything must go to downtown, as if we are still in the 1950s. Rail services are still mostly catering to that, but that has become a small minority of all commuting and non-commuting trips in an urban area.

I think the New Urbanist mindset is even more outdated than that. One thing many of them like to do is point to European cities, where there is a far greater level of density, mixed use properties, walk-ability, use of mass transit and longer distance rail transit. They want American cities to function more like these European cities. But they conveniently overlook the fact those European cities were built-out long before automobiles became popular. In some cases the street layouts pre-date automobiles by hundreds of years.

Rail travel made the first form of urban sprawl possible. Cities like London and Paris or even New York City and Boston here in the US used rail travel to grow out to their current boundaries. Some of these rail corridors are just as big and disruptive as a major highway. Many old cities have one or more major railroad stations built in the city centers. There's no doubt those train stations and rail corridors going to them displaced a lot of homes in order to be built. Prior to rail everyone was on foot, on a horse or in a horse-drawn carriage. Cities were far smaller in geographical size and far more densely packed with population.

Back in the 1980's metro areas like Dallas-Fort Worth and the Northern Virginia suburbs of DC began to change the relationship of downtown urban centers and the suburbs. The old idea was big business needed to locate its operations in a skyscraper downtown and let the employees commute in from the suburbs. JCPenney's move from Manhattan to the Dallas area was a key example. Rather than renting space in a tower downtown they built a new HQ campus miles away in Plano. JCPenney chose to build its HQ closer to where its employees would likely be living.

The Manhattan commercial real estate market was still able to thrive in the last 30 years. But a lot of that has been supplemented by international customers and speculators. The commercial real estate market in Manhattan is now in a deep tail-spin. And not all of the down-turn is COVID-19 related. Meanwhile the DFW market is currently the hottest commercial real estate market in the nation, followed by Austin.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on August 26, 2020, 02:55:23 PM
Most American urbanists also seem to have a romanticized idea of transportation in Europe. The share of driving is around 80% in most EU countries, fluctuating between 75 and 90% in most countries. Yes you can get around by public transport, but if your destination is not in a city center it is time-consuming and impractical, so most people drive.

These people tend to overlook the fact that traveling as a tourist is very different from regular daily commuting, where the vast majority of trips do not start and end in a historic, dense city center.

And unlike U.S. cities, European downtowns tends to have far less office employment. A large chunk of city center employment is in the hospitality, retail and tourist sector, which are mostly low-paying jobs in areas with a high cost of living, effectively creating some kind of an urban / suburban-periphery divide in terms of socio-economics but also transportation patterns.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bwana39 on August 26, 2020, 03:24:56 PM
Here is a simple fact. As far as disruption goes, it would be less disruptive to close the Pierce elevated  and tear it down then Dig a cut and cover tunnel for I-45 along its current route.  Close the tunnel in. Build the streetscape that the various downtown groups want on the surface.  Do little or nothing to the fairly recently constructed or revamped (current) I-10 and I-69.

They should leave I-10 and I-69 as is and build the tunnel. The disruption of the (extra) traffic  detoured around downtown probably would be similar to the disruption from rebuilding I-69 and I-10 even with the current I-45 still open.  It might be less. Undoubtedly it would NOT be more.

Flooding.  Come on... The Washburn tunnel in Pasadena has been there 60 years. The Baytown Tunnel was there for 40+. The Belle Chase Tunnel  and the Harvey Tunnel in metro New Orleans , there is even a tunnel in Houma LA. The tunnels in Mobile are way closer to the gulf than this.  The cut and cover proposed  over I-69 / I-45 is going to be in effect tunnel.  (Much like the Woodall Rogers Freeway in Dallas.)

They are going to build a tunnel regardless of where I-45 is routed.  Frankly it has the same likelihood of flooding as Central Expressway in Dallas (the below grade sections north of downtown)  if they use similar drainage techniques. https://www.texastribune.org/2018/07/06/hurricane-harvey-floods-houston-water-tunnel/  (Central drains using a similar algorithm.)     Remember when the Southwest freeway flooded and boats were floating down it.   Any roadway in Houston (or even less flood prone areas) is going to require flood mitigation of one sort or another if it is significantly below grade. 

The only advantage of the proposed east / north loop over a tunnel along the current route of I-45 is if developers wanted to build another set of skyscrapers down the (current) R.O.W. once I-45 is removed.

One other advantage to keeping the current I-45 alignment: 1 wreck on the proposed roadway could completely shutdown two or even all three freeways. I know Houston police do a better job of getting traffic going after a wreck than others (especially DALLAS) but.....

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 26, 2020, 05:29:19 PM
Quote from: Chris
Most American urbanists also seem to have a romanticized idea of transportation in Europe.

I suspect at least some are transportation hypocrites. That really goes for people in positions to actually change policy, like politicians and other community leaders. They'll recommend the "average person" strap-hang on a city bus or subway train. Meanwhile those New Urbanists are actually driving, using a taxi cab or even a private car service. 30 years ago when I lived in NYC it seemed like a status symbol to not have to use mass transit.

The only thing I miss about commuting in New York City: the Staten Island Ferry. The scenery was pretty cool. However I do not miss waiting on the ferry in the terminals, having to stand due to all the homeless people sleeping (and peeing) on the benches. I don't miss riding the bus or the subway.

Quote from: bwana39
Here is a simple fact. As far as disruption goes, it would be less disruptive to close the Pierce elevated  and tear it down then Dig a cut and cover tunnel for I-45 along its current route.

Building a cut and cover tunnel in downtown Houston is a non-starter. First: there is no such thing as anyone building a super highway tunnel in the US without it costing an absolutely insane amount of money. Second: Houston is badly flood prone. Some of their freeways can act like bath tubs to hold flood water. Tunnels don't hold up so well to that.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bwana39 on August 27, 2020, 01:18:02 AM
Quote from: bwana39
Here is a simple fact. As far as disruption goes, it would be less disruptive to close the Pierce elevated  and tear it down then Dig a cut and cover tunnel for I-45 along its current route.

Quote
Building a cut and cover tunnel in downtown Houston is a non-starter. First: there is no such thing as anyone building a super highway tunnel in the US without it costing an absolutely insane amount of money. Second: Houston is badly flood prone. Some of their freeways can act like bath tubs to hold flood water. Tunnels don't hold up so well to that.

"A seven-block “cap” will cover the freeway behind the GRB, creating the possibility of a park that reconnects Downtown to EaDo. South of Downtown, TxDOT will change I-69 from elevated to depressed,..." (https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/06/03/experts-share-what-txdots-i-45-project-means-houston)

This will in effect be a tunnel! As to tunnel cost, the tunnels we have built in the major cities of late have been bored tunnels. I am talking cut and cover. Just like the depressed / deck park sections would functionally be. Don't say a tunnel won't work all the while you plan on building a tunnel. The expense of the proposed I-45 (and rebuilt I-69 and I-10)would far outweigh a cleanly built tunnel along the current I-45 route if it is closed for the duration.

I said tunnel. I guess I should have said depressed freeway with a continuous cap?



Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on August 27, 2020, 02:35:02 PM
Cut and cover tunnels aren't as simple and minimally destructive as you think.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bwana39 on August 27, 2020, 08:44:52 PM
Cut and cover tunnels aren't as simple and minimally destructive as you think.

I get that. There are water, sewer, gas, storm drains, and perhaps even steam. Then there are electric and communications cables. Probably other stuff out there too.  There might even be pedestrian tunnels. Then there are the foundations of the adjacent buildings, not to mention vibration and other construction related complications to buildings in the area. (An area wider than you might think!)

Disruption of traffic crossing the ROW (which would be a ditch in the interim. ) I am not suggesting open it all up at once....

No, I didn't oversimplify or dismiss the complications. The fact is whether they call it a tunnel or not, the "depressed roadway with a cap" is in effect going to be a tunnel. I don't think it matters which side of downtown it is on. Either place, it will retain similar complications.

As to the alternative of a bored tunnel, it could go under much of the existant details, that said, this is where the balooning expenses have historically come in. Who is to say that if the proposed freeway was going to be built at ground level (it is not slated to be) that it will not have the same type of cost overruns.

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on September 25, 2020, 07:47:06 PM
The FEIS has been issued. I don't see any changes that were not already known, and all previously-known changes were minor. The ROD can be issued after 30 days.
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/final_eis.aspx (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/final_eis.aspx)

The H-GAC study group is in progress and could recommend changes.

If there is a lawsuit on deck, it would probably be filed in the near future.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on September 25, 2020, 07:55:36 PM
Tentatively, when could construction begin? 2022 by chance?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on September 25, 2020, 08:10:11 PM
Tentatively, when could construction begin? 2022 by chance?
It is slated for a 2022 start, but I think delays are likely, especially if there is a lawsuit.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Plutonic Panda on October 29, 2020, 11:56:24 AM
30 day comment period has been extended for another 30 days.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Comment-deadline-extended-for-7B-planned-rebuild-15682077.php
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bluecountry on October 29, 2020, 04:17:00 PM
Cut and cover tunnels aren't as simple and minimally destructive as you think.
How so?
It is buried, and if you put green space, parks, rain garden, affordable housing as the 'cover' it works.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on October 29, 2020, 04:25:38 PM
Cut and cover tunnels aren't as simple and minimally destructive as you think.
How so?
It is buried, and if you put green space, parks, rain garden, affordable housing as the 'cover' it works.

do they even allow anything more than a park on top of capped freeways? i've never seen anything more than that. i feel like a tunnel would be needed if you wanted to place buildings on top.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: rte66man on October 30, 2020, 09:59:33 AM
Cut and cover tunnels aren't as simple and minimally destructive as you think.
How so?
It is buried, and if you put green space, parks, rain garden, affordable housing as the 'cover' it works.

do they even allow anything more than a park on top of capped freeways? i've never seen anything more than that. i feel like a tunnel would be needed if you wanted to place buildings on top.

Yes they do. See Minneapolis as one example:
https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9815753,-93.2771086,794m/data=!3m1!1e3
https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9793158,-93.2794253,3a,75y,33.43h,94.59t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sSQnbssf0Gf0bO9uOTRaSfQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Kansas City is another
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.097581,-94.5882976,871m/data=!3m1!1e3
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0962925,-94.5852085,3a,75y,264.86h,94.14t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sSQsp43Z9vzeVCz8WVdhbfQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Both are only one block at a time but it's still a cap.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Hot Rod Hootenanny on October 30, 2020, 11:20:12 PM
Cut and cover tunnels aren't as simple and minimally destructive as you think.
How so?
It is buried, and if you put green space, parks, rain garden, affordable housing as the 'cover' it works.

do they even allow anything more than a park on top of capped freeways? i've never seen anything more than that. i feel like a tunnel would be needed if you wanted to place buildings on top.

From the state that Silverback loves to hate...
Columbus's High Street cap (from I-670 below) - https://goo.gl/maps/hiRmw62uoDMrX8U9A
Columbus's High Street cap (from High St above I-670) - https://goo.gl/maps/RtcB5tCRUmBwKTRMA
Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: BigManFromAFRICA88 on November 01, 2020, 11:48:43 PM
Cut and cover tunnels aren't as simple and minimally destructive as you think.
How so?
It is buried, and if you put green space, parks, rain garden, affordable housing as the 'cover' it works.

do they even allow anything more than a park on top of capped freeways? i've never seen anything more than that. i feel like a tunnel would be needed if you wanted to place buildings on top.

I-5 through downtown Seattle has entered the chat.

EDIT: And Georgia SR 400 through the Buckhead CBD as well.
Title: Pierce Elevated.
Post by: bwana39 on November 07, 2020, 01:24:38 PM
Personally, I would still  prefer keeping I-45 & I-69 separate.

This said, I had had  based my opinions solely on my on-the ground recollections. I am not sure I had ever really looked closely at a map of downtown Houston. My perception was that the current route was relatively straight and the replacement route was circumnavigous.  The proposed route is indeed not straight, but it appears to be similar in mirror to the current route.  So, any argument about replacing a relatively straight through route with a looping one flies out the door. The proposed route for I-45 is about 3/4 of a mile longer.

I still have some issues. These superwide freeways are great until they aren't. What happens when a single wreck shuts down I-10, I-45, & I-69.

The Pierce Elevated was just an extender to make the north and south stubs of US-75 into downtown meet.  It was built elevated and without exits and entrances to the surface streets. By its design, it was supposed to be literally a bypass of downtown. As it was elevated there should have been minimal interference between downtown and midtown. What happened was that Midtown as most urban core neighborhoods declined during the last half of the twentieth century. Victorian homes became multi-family tenements. Changing demographics NOT I-45 caused the changes. This century gentrification came.

So here is what happens when the Pierce elevated is gone. It literally creates "new land". Places where developers can build (or in some cases restore / refurbish) properties along the corridor. It may make transitions of urban buildings in downtown to residential units more viable (as services are now closer to downtown. ) I used the word MAY. The fact is the footprint of the freeway is fairly small. 

The Pierce elevated needs replaced. While capacity is one of the issues, the bigger issue is it needs to be rebuilt. 60 year-old bridges that have been used heavily (much like I-345 in Dallas) need replacement.

There have been some successful freeway removals in the US. All of them before this have either removed the freeway from a waterfront or have been replaced by tunnels in a similar path.  For Houston, a tunnel is an option that has been barely mentioned. The irony is part of the project moving the Freeway to the Southeast side of downtown includes what is a defacto tunnel. (So the line goes... A tunnel wouldn't work, but let's build a depressed roadway with a covered deck at ground level...in function a tunnel.). 

Houston just needs to finish the improvements on I-610 so the through traffic has somewhere else to go. Close the Pierce elevated then build a tunnel to bridge the gap. It might be inconvenient, but I can assure you no more inconvenient than rebuilding I-69 and I-10 both to accomplish this.  This proposal will probably work well in the end, but getting there may stall any benefits.  Building a tunnel along the Pierce corridor could cut down many of the negatives of the current proposal as well.

This all said, as close in as I-610 is, just closing and removing the Pierce elevated MIGHT be achievable with MINIMAL upgrades at all.  Time, not engineering would prove that out.

Tear it down and leave it be for a couple of years. See what the traffic actually does.... If it is unmanageable, build the tunnel. If it adapts without a big increase in gridlock. Build just the boulevard...

Here is my bet... They build the freeway basically as proposed. Some time a decade or later someone proposes to bridge the freeway stub that will still reach to around Smith Street with the freeways south of downtown with a tunnel.  IE replace the Pierce elevated.





Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: MaxConcrete on November 07, 2020, 02:44:29 PM
The Pierce elevated needs replaced. While capacity is one of the issues, the bigger issue is it needs to be rebuilt. 60 year-old bridges that have been used heavily (much like I-345 in Dallas) need replacement.
The pavement/deck of the Pierce Elevated was replaced in 1997, and it still has plenty of life in it, 20+ years. However, the Pierce Elevated has suffered from inadequate capacity for decades.

Here is my bet... They build the freeway basically as proposed. Some time a decade or later someone proposes to bridge the freeway stub that will still reach to around Smith Street with the freeways south of downtown with a tunnel.  IE replace the Pierce elevated.
I agree that the downtown work for the NHHIP will most likely proceed as planned, and this work will be the first part of the NHHIP to proceed. Opposition is focusing on IH-45 north of downtown, and they are trying to kill that part of the project.

I disagree that some kind of vehicular replacement for the Pierce Elevated will be built. That would be expensive, and the main purpose of the project from the perspective of downtown interests is to get rid of the Pierce Elevated.





[/quote]
Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: silverback1065 on November 07, 2020, 10:40:26 PM
Why does this thread have a different name now?
Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: Plutonic Panda on November 08, 2020, 12:12:42 AM
This name is more appropriate, IMO.
Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: bwana39 on November 08, 2020, 08:33:36 AM
Why does this thread have a different name now?

This is a larger project than just the reroute of I-45 around downtown. It is a three segment project: Segment 3 is the downtown freeways modification. The reroute of I-45 is the biggest highlight, but it includes work on the entire downtown freeway system including  I-10, I-69, and TX-288. It is expected to be done first.

Segment 2 is widening  the North Freeway (I-45) from the I-10 split to I-610 including revamping the I-610 / I-45 interchange.
.
Segment 1 is widening of the North Freeway (I-45) from I-610 to Beltway-8.

At this point, the plan for the downtown  part is mostly  decided. Construction is still years off. There is still a good bit of controversy surrounding the part going north of downtown.
Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: STLmapboy on November 13, 2020, 01:36:09 PM
So when will the contract be awarded? Has the comment period ended?
Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: Plutonic Panda on November 13, 2020, 02:28:24 PM
So when will the contract be awarded? Has the comment period ended?
The public comment period was extended for 30 days and is still active.
Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: bwana39 on November 13, 2020, 02:29:02 PM
So when will the contract be awarded? Has the comment period ended?

see below...
30 day comment period has been extended for another 30 days.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Comment-deadline-extended-for-7B-planned-rebuild-15682077.php
Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: MaxConcrete on December 09, 2020, 01:37:41 PM
https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2020/12/08/houston-mayor-pushes-back-on-txdot-i-45-plans.html?cx_testId=40&cx_testVariant=cx_27&cx_artPos=0#cxrecs_s (https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2020/12/08/houston-mayor-pushes-back-on-txdot-i-45-plans.html?cx_testId=40&cx_testVariant=cx_27&cx_artPos=0#cxrecs_s)

According to the article, the latest communication from Houston Mayor Turner to TxDOT focuses on asking TxDOT for more funding to replace displaced housing, and also seeks TxDOT's response to flooding concerns. The article mentions Turner still would like to see a narrower footprint for the project.

I think this is mostly a favorable development for the project. I have not seen the Mayor's December 8 letter, but the article suggests that Turner seems to no longer be asking major changes to the project, but is focusing on mitigation.

My perception (which is based on publicly available info only) is that TxDOT is planning to press forward with the FEIS design with little or no changes. This could invite a lawsuit from certain parties, but it does not sound like the city of Houston is threatening to participate in litigation.
Title: Re: North Houston Highway Improvement Project (includes downtown rebuild)
Post by: MaxConcrete on January 16, 2021, 05:40:16 PM
Here's the latest status of the project.

A special committee of HGAC (the regional planning council) has been working for the last 6-12 months to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between all parties. On January 8 the committee ended its planned activity when an impasse was reached. TxDOT refused to sign the memorandum of understanding due to language that certain parties wanted. (I don't know the specifics of that language.) TxDOT Houston director Eliza Paul said they "agree to disagree". There won't be a signed memorandum, but instead the committee will submit a resolution to the TPC with goals and objectives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEbX6g--c0c (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEbX6g--c0c)

Harris County has hired legal counsel. Harris County Commissioner Garcia says they have not yet made a decision to file a lawsuit against the project, but TxDOT is expecting a lawsuit as soon as the ROD is issued. Having a lawsuit is not a surprise, but the news here is that Harris County is taking the lead, as opposed to a community interest organization like LINK. Of course, Harris County would have unlimited resources to pursue legal action, whereas a community organization would not.

In separate action, most of the downtown work has been delayed due to financial constraint, which presumably is loss of revenue due to Covid. https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/27fd20e3-92a8-48f4-b901-0f5c43316b34/STIP-Movement-Detail-Pages-January2021.pdf (https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/27fd20e3-92a8-48f4-b901-0f5c43316b34/STIP-Movement-Detail-Pages-January2021.pdf)

IH69 from Spur 527 to SH288 ($260 million): still listed for 2022
IH69 from SH288 to IH45 ($485 million): still listed for bidding in July 2022
IH69/IH10 interchange and IH10 on the north side of downtown ($1.06 billion): delayed from 2022 to 2024
IH69 on the east side of downtown ($1.14 billion): delayed from 2022 to 2025
IH45 on the west side of downtown ($243 million): delayed from 2022 to 2025
All work on the northwest side of downtown (IH45/IH10 interchange) to Loop 610: no longer scheduled, listed as 2030 start date in planning documents

My impression: Signing the MOU would probably have forced TxDOT to significantly alter the FEIS plan, which TxDOT was not willing to do. So that is good news for keeping the FEIS plan alive. Most likely this will be settled by a lawsuit and court decision. This could delay the schedule if TxDOT ultimately wins, but since the schedule is already delayed, it may not have much effect. If TxDOT loses in court, the schedule is moot and the entire project is in doubt.
It's unclear to me if the first projects on the south side of downtown, which are noncontroversial, will able to be able to proceed in 2022 if a lawsuit is filed. That depends on whether there is an injunction against TxDOT for work on the project.