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-   -   Houston’s $7 billion solution to gridlock is more highways (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//showthread.php?t=239922)

The North One Aug 6, 2019 4:07 PM

Houston’s $7 billion solution to gridlock is more highways
 
Quote:

A “Texas-sized” expansion of highways finds the sprawling city laying out a blueprint for more cars
By Patrick Sisson Aug 5, 2019, 8:29am PDT

Like many American cities, Houston is encircled by rings of highways—nine major radial freeways, three ring freeways, and a 180-mile fourth outer ring on the way.

But Houston isn’t just encircled by roads, it’s symbolically, and literally, being choked by cars. It’s consistently ranked as a top city for traffic congestion, ninth-worst for ozone pollution according to the American Lung Association, and a tragic nexus for deaths from car crashes. The annual death toll, according to the Houston Chronicle, is equivalent to “three fully-loaded 737s crashing each year at Houston’s airports, killing all aboard.”

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the solution is more roads, specifically, a multiyear, multibillion dollar project to widen and expand the city’s highway infrastructure in an attempt to ease persistent bottlenecks that clog downtown traffic.

This isn’t a small upgrade: in the name of accelerating commutes, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) will widen and rebuild nearly 25 miles of highways in the city’s downtown, expanding some to be as wide as the length of two football fields. In addition to years of construction, the “Texas-sized” expansion would displace four houses of worship, two schools, 168 homes, 1,067 multifamily units, and 331 businesses that account for just under 25,000 employees, impacting mostly people of color in low-income neighborhoods.

Why a “highway boondoggle” is business as usual

Transit and community activists have painted the project as a symbol of all that’s wrong with transportation planning, and a sign of how focusing on cars instead of more efficient, affordable ways to move residents across the Houston area, will cost the city in terms of air pollution, congestion, affordability, and even resiliency.

The Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, a nationwide nonprofit declared the project one of its annual “highway boondoggles,” projects that define needless and wasteful spending. This highway project will not only not solve the problems it claims to solve, the group claims. Additionally, since it doesn’t include right-of-way costs (paying property owners for the right to travel through or above their land), the $7 billion price tag is simply a best-case scenario.
https://www.curbed.com/2019/8/5/2075...45-north-txdot

Video Link

LA21st Aug 6, 2019 4:11 PM

Good luck with that.

the urban politician Aug 6, 2019 4:20 PM

Awesome!

Obadno Aug 6, 2019 4:25 PM

At least some spots are tunneled :shrug:

Steely Dan Aug 6, 2019 4:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LA21st (Post 8650722)
Good luck with that.

my first thought as well.

The North One Aug 6, 2019 4:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8650738)
At least some spots are tunneled :shrug:

Nope, read the annotations in the video. It would require a third party to come up with a development plan and to finance it. Purely "conceptual".

Obadno Aug 6, 2019 4:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The North One (Post 8650748)
Nope, read the annotations in the video. It would require a third party to come up with a development plan and to finance it. Purely "conceptual".

oh....

homebucket Aug 6, 2019 4:36 PM

Disgusting.

mrnyc Aug 6, 2019 4:45 PM

lol of course --- its no secret texas loves them some highways. especially anything they can build skyhigh flyovers for no reason.

JManc Aug 6, 2019 5:10 PM

The comments here are predicable as usual. The freeways highlighted in the video are some of the most gridlocked in the city and the infrastructure is old and decrepit and seeing as this city is reliant on cars, freeway construction is a reality.

authentiCLE Aug 6, 2019 5:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8650816)
The comments here are predicable as usual. The freeways highlighted in the video are some of the most gridlocked in the city and the infrastructure is old and decrepit and seeing as this city is reliant on cars, freeway construction is a reality.

Perhaps the solution isn't to just build more lane miles? The city is reliant on cars because they don't provide an alternative.

authentiCLE Aug 6, 2019 6:00 PM

edit: double post

TexasPlaya Aug 6, 2019 6:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by authentiCLE (Post 8650870)
Perhaps the solution isn't to just build more lane miles? The city is reliant on cars because they don't provide an alternative.

Why are you assuming that’s the only solution? Are you informed about the revamped bus system that sought to controversially prioritize ridership over service?

Familiar with the METRO 2040 plans?

TexasPlaya Aug 6, 2019 6:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8650816)
The comments here are predicable as usual. The freeways highlighted in the video are some of the most gridlocked in the city and the infrastructure is old and decrepit and seeing as this city is reliant on cars, freeway construction is a reality.

This. It’s simply unrealistic to do anything but rebuild highways. I think there’s a huge opportunity to increase park and ride but that doesn’t seem to gain much traction.

The Houston system serves just as many people or even more than our peer up the state in DFW who spent much more money on rail.

ardecila Aug 6, 2019 6:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The North One (Post 8650748)
Nope, read the annotations in the video. It would require a third party to come up with a development plan and to finance it. Purely "conceptual".

Honestly, for a freeway project in Houston this one is remarkably progressive. It removes half of the downtown freeway loop completely, removing the barrier on the south and west sides of downtown Houston. The other half of the downtown freeway loop gets pushed below ground, where it can be covered by park space, convention center expansion, stadium parking decks, or (maybe) private development.

It also sinks the Southwest Freeway through Midtown, where the Main St corridor will benefit urbanistically.

Basically, it's Houston's Big Dig, and should have many of the same urban benefits that Boston experienced whether the trenches get decked over or not. Those who are screaming about a "boondoggle freeway expansion" are deliberately ignoring the very real freeway removals and remediations that are part of the project.

RCDC Aug 6, 2019 7:46 PM

Ahh, Houston, don't ever change.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 8650733)
Awesome!

What, that highway widening doesn't reduce congestion? Maybe if the highway didn't have on-ramps, merge areas or interchanges.

That non-rush hour video was interesting, apparently all exits will have perpetual green signals at surface intersections. :tup:

The North One Aug 6, 2019 8:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 8650927)

Basically, it's Houston's Big Dig, and should have many of the same urban benefits that Boston experienced whether the trenches get decked over or not. Those who are screaming about a "boondoggle freeway expansion" are deliberately ignoring the very real freeway removals and remediations that are part of the project.

This is such a bizzarre/absurd take and false comparison. Don't know where to start.

jtown,man Aug 6, 2019 8:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The North One (Post 8651010)
This is such a bizzarre/absurd take and false comparison. Don't know where to start.

Why?

JManc Aug 6, 2019 8:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by authentiCLE (Post 8650870)
Perhaps the solution isn't to just build more lane miles? The city is reliant on cars because they don't provide an alternative.

The city is reliant on cars because the population is spread out. Those freeways are utilized by commuters in far flung neighborhoods and suburbs. There is no other viable alternative. Houston is not a compact metro with a dense centralized population where mass transit can effectively serve the region as well as freeways. A commuter rail might work for larger suburbs; Woodlands, Sugar Land, Katy, Galveston, etc but there's a lot of politics involved and the city is already expanding light-rail but that's limited to the inner loop area.

authentiCLE Aug 6, 2019 8:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TexasPlaya (Post 8650905)
Why are you assuming that’s the only solution? Are you informed about the revamped bus system that sought to controversially prioritize ridership over service?

Familiar with the METRO 2040 plans?

I'll happily admit I am not familiar with it. After a quick google search it seems like an aspirational plan for revamping the regional transit system? Good for you, Houston. I'll wait to see how much of it gets funded.

Northern Light Aug 6, 2019 8:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8651031)
The city is reliant on cars because the population is spread out. Those freeways are utilized by commuters in far flung neighborhoods and suburbs. There is no other viable alternative. Houston is not a compact metro with a dense centralized population where mass transit can effectively serve the region as well as freeways. A commuter rail might work for larger suburbs; Woodlands, Sugar Land, Katy, Galveston, etc but there's a lot of politics involved and the city is already expanding light-rail but that's limited to the inner loop area.

For $7 Billion, how much of non-urban, non-transit friendly, and flood-prone suburban Houston could you remove?

The answer, on property acquisition costs, using the average price of a home in Houston is roughly 24,000 properties, housing in/around 70,000 people.

Obviously there are demolition costs etc.

But, you get to withdrawl some of the most expensive services from water to garbage from areas that are inefficient to service.

I've never understood why this sort of thinking isn't an option.

I pointed out in discussion about a Toronto subway extension, that one could move the entire suburban 'downtown' it was destined to serve to the existing subway terminus for less money!

If Houston is inefficiently laid out (and it is), then rather than spending billions trying to service a giant mistake........better to spend those billions erasing the mistake.

What's left will be far more cost-effective to serve in an environmentally responsible way.

If you add what Houston has in its other medium/long-term infrastructure budgets from water/sewer, to transit, to parks/community centres...........you have a good 20 Billion to play with.

Better off to relocate 120,000 people and 1 major demand-driver (a post-secondary school, a hospital, a mall) .....

This will free up all that highway capacity you need.

Then spend much more strategically on modest capacity expansion/service-frequency upgrades for the existing transit infrastructure, libraries/parks etc.

JManc Aug 6, 2019 8:56 PM

You lost me at relocating 120,000 people. That's more dystopian than any freeway expansion...of which is not the most ideal solution but it is what it is. My suburb is about 80,000 and in very floody area and if that were to 'go away', the plans for these freeways would not change since 80,000 people is a drop in the well in a metro of 7 million. Those 80,000 people would move to other suburbs with similar property values, not the city where homes cost 2-3x and shittier schools.

Hudson11 Aug 6, 2019 9:17 PM

woah, is it 1960?

sopas ej Aug 6, 2019 9:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8651031)
The city is reliant on cars because the population is spread out. Those freeways are utilized by commuters in far flung neighborhoods and suburbs. There is no other viable alternative. Houston is not a compact metro with a dense centralized population where mass transit can effectively serve the region as well as freeways. A commuter rail might work for larger suburbs; Woodlands, Sugar Land, Katy, Galveston, etc but there's a lot of politics involved and the city is already expanding light-rail but that's limited to the inner loop area.

I'm actually surprised that Houston does not have commuter rail; even Albuquerque has commuter rail, and it's a much smaller city and metro area.

The North One Aug 6, 2019 9:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8651029)
Why?

Because Boston didn't spend billions of dollars widening highways to the length of football fields and created new ring roads for the Big Dig, they added an airport connection that goes entirely underground. Boston's cap had full funding and it still took almost ten years to finish. None of these conceptual caps will happen in your lifetime. This is much more like an Eisenhower era highway project, it's displacing thousands of people.

The parts being removed are a weak consolation prize for this massive sprawl subsidy and who even knows if that'll happen, are they going to start removing those parts of the highway first? Otherwise it'll be decades for a removal to take place if ever.

Northern Light Aug 6, 2019 9:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8651090)
You lost me at relocating 120,000 people. That's more dystopian than any freeway expansion...of which is not the most ideal solution but it is what it is. My suburb is about 80,000 and in very floody area and if that were to 'go away', the plans for these freeways would not change since 80,000 people is a drop in the well in a metro of 7 million. Those 80,000 people would move to other suburbs with similar property values, not the city where homes cost 2-3x and shittier schools.

There should be no communities w/'shittier' schools.

That is a failing in dire need of correction.

All schools in a state should be state-funded and administered and school boards should be entirely abolished.

Lest you think this is some how radical the Canadian Province of New Brunswick abolished school boards a generation ago; and the province of Quebec is moving to do the same now.

They are an anachronism.

Planning laws should also ban the construction of anything else 'suburban'.

Again this is effectively the case already in Toronto. Its not quite a 'ban' but the Provincial Planning laws and policies set minimum density requirements, along with requiring sidewalks and various other 'urban' amenities such that the suburban style of the '90s and prior years is now exceedingly rare in new construction here.

*****

There is nothing dystopian about correcting mistakes, about prioritizing the wise investment of tax dollars or removing people from regulatory floodplains where houses never should have been allowed in the first place.

The notion that such an idea is scary is beyond peculiar.

JManc Aug 6, 2019 9:54 PM

You can't correct mistakes by erasing them. The suburbs that are already built and habitable are not going anywhere and the only solution is to make them more sustainable. However that may be. There were several thousand homes that were wiped out during Harvey that the county came in and bought out and those areas are done for as far as further development. Previously, they would flood, insurance would pay out and people would rebuild until the next flood.

RE: the schools; absolutely agreed but in this country, that is unlikely to ever come to fruition to due politics.

@sopas ej: suburban residents are dead opposed to any form of commuter rail. Much of it based on racism.

mhays Aug 6, 2019 10:22 PM

If your goal is more driving, this sounds like a big step forward.

TexasPlaya Aug 6, 2019 11:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8651117)
I'm actually surprised that Houston does not have commuter rail; even Albuquerque has commuter rail, and it's a much smaller city and metro area.

We have a grade separated park and ride system that uses the freeways to serve the 4 major central employment centers. That's where mass transit commuter solutions should begin, upgrading and expanding that.

I wonder how effective commuter rail is in Albuquerque.

TexasPlaya Aug 6, 2019 11:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 8650927)
Honestly, for a freeway project in Houston this one is remarkably progressive. It removes half of the downtown freeway loop completely, removing the barrier on the south and west sides of downtown Houston. The other half of the downtown freeway loop gets pushed below ground, where it can be covered by park space, convention center expansion, stadium parking decks, or (maybe) private development.

It also sinks the Southwest Freeway through Midtown, where the Main St corridor will benefit urbanistically.

Basically, it's Houston's Big Dig, and should have many of the same urban benefits that Boston experienced whether the trenches get decked over or not. Those who are screaming about a "boondoggle freeway expansion" are deliberately ignoring the very real freeway removals and remediations that are part of the project.

Pretty much. This would incorporate the Big Dig and Dallas's Klyde Warren Park (park over a trenched freeway) on a bigger scale. It would essentially reverse a significant chunk of freeway slicing through downtown and walling off sections.

benp Aug 6, 2019 11:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8651031)
The city is reliant on cars because the population is spread out. Those freeways are utilized by commuters in far flung neighborhoods and suburbs. There is no other viable alternative. Houston is not a compact metro with a dense centralized population where mass transit can effectively serve the region as well as freeways. A commuter rail might work for larger suburbs; Woodlands, Sugar Land, Katy, Galveston, etc but there's a lot of politics involved and the city is already expanding light-rail but that's limited to the inner loop area.

In my opinion it is not lack of highways that's the problem in Houston, but lack of adequate secondary roads available as alternatives. Feeder roads do not provide an adequate alternative if the main lanes are clogged, as they are often worse. The design of the road system also means freeways are required for local traffic, additionally clogging sometimes just for an exit or two.

There has been incredibly little update or improvement to non-freeway arteries in the last 20 years beyond re-striping or cleanup/repaving of a few blocks.

Besides the effect of funneling all traffic to freeways due to lack of connectivity on secondary roads, the secondary road system infrastructure itself is inadequate to hold peak traffic everywhere, and sometimes it is especially worse in the furthest suburbs that still depend on old Farm to Market roads to handle major commuter traffic.

Fresh Aug 7, 2019 12:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 8650927)
Honestly, for a freeway project in Houston this one is remarkably progressive. It removes half of the downtown freeway loop completely, removing the barrier on the south and west sides of downtown Houston. The other half of the downtown freeway loop gets pushed below ground, where it can be covered by park space, convention center expansion, stadium parking decks, or (maybe) private development.

It also sinks the Southwest Freeway through Midtown, where the Main St corridor will benefit urbanistically.

Basically, it's Houston's Big Dig, and should have many of the same urban benefits that Boston experienced whether the trenches get decked over or not. Those who are screaming about a "boondoggle freeway expansion" are deliberately ignoring the very real freeway removals and remediations that are part of the project.

Do you have more information about this? The article didn't say anything about removing half the freeway loop

Northern Light Aug 7, 2019 12:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8651146)
You can't correct mistakes by erasing them.

Why have spell check?, a backspace key, the option to delete a file, or in old-school parlance, the eraser end of a pencil or liquid paper?

Mistakes are meant to be erased.

Quote:

The suburbs that are already built and habitable are not going anywhere and the only solution is to make them more sustainable.
That seems defeatist.

Quote:

There were several thousand homes that were wiped out during Harvey that the county came in and bought out and those areas are done for as far as further development.
Wait a minute.......Harvey erased some mistakes.....and that's ok.......but you're not allowed to do it on purpose?

Quote:

Previously, they would flood, insurance would pay out and people would rebuild until the next flood.
That would seem an abundantly good reason to to get rid of those homes/neighbourhoods.

Not to mention it would surely save some lives as well, in the next big storm.

It would then make that storm much cheaper to deal with as there's less damage, no people in danger, fewer roads closed and much less need for emergency/disaster response.......etc.

TexasPlaya Aug 7, 2019 12:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Light (Post 8651277)
Why have spell check?, a backspace key, the option to delete a file, or in old-school parlance, the eraser end of a pencil or liquid paper?

Mistakes are meant to be erased.

Fixing mistakes takes time and will power.

Quote:

That seems defeatist.
No, just pragmatic given real life constraints.

Quote:

Wait a minute.......Harvey erased some mistakes.....and that's ok.......but you're not allowed to do it on purpose?
That's right, uprooting people due to lack of urban ideals isn't a viable plan.

glowrock Aug 7, 2019 1:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 8650927)
Honestly, for a freeway project in Houston this one is remarkably progressive. It removes half of the downtown freeway loop completely, removing the barrier on the south and west sides of downtown Houston. The other half of the downtown freeway loop gets pushed below ground, where it can be covered by park space, convention center expansion, stadium parking decks, or (maybe) private development.

It also sinks the Southwest Freeway through Midtown, where the Main St corridor will benefit urbanistically.

Basically, it's Houston's Big Dig, and should have many of the same urban benefits that Boston experienced whether the trenches get decked over or not. Those who are screaming about a "boondoggle freeway expansion" are deliberately ignoring the very real freeway removals and remediations that are part of the project.

This, this and fucking this! Yes, this is an extremely expensive project. But yes, it will be removing two sides of horrific elevated freeway that acts as both a massive physical and mental separation around downtown Houston. The gridlock is absolutely real, the narrow freeways are absolutely real (in the downtown loop area), and the interchanges are a disaster.

Hopefully this will finally allow some congestion relief, allowing not only cars but also buses to easier get in and out of downtown, especially the regional/express buses.

Aaron (Glowrock)

glowrock Aug 7, 2019 1:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhays (Post 8651166)
If your goal is more driving, this sounds like a big step forward.

Fine. Let's stop driving in Houston. So we've got buses (stuck in the same traffic as cars except where HOV/Transit/dedicated bus lanes exist), light rail (limited in Houston, no political will to get it really extended as far as it needs to), and of course walking/bicycling. You've got a metro area that's spread out to hell and over 6 million people. How do you expect to be able to get around town? What if one half of a couple works in one area and the other one works in a completely different area? Seriously, Houston isn't going to be able to be weaned from the automobile anytime soon. Getting rid of two parts of the downtown ring is a very good thing, both visually and bettering commute times. Yes, that means the other two parts are going to be even wider than before, but I'm not sure how else you can do this.

At any rate, Houston is a commuting disaster already. No amount of mass transit infrastructure is going to fix this, unfortunately.

Aaron (Glowrock)

JManc Aug 7, 2019 1:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Light (Post 8651277)
Why have spell check?, a backspace key, the option to delete a file, or in old-school parlance, the eraser end of a pencil or liquid paper?

Mistakes are meant to be erased.

Someone's home is not a spelling error. You seem to be a little cavalier with seizing people's homes against their will for a little social engineering.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Light (Post 8651277)

Wait a minute.......Harvey erased some mistakes.....and that's ok.......but you're not allowed to do it on purpose?

The damaged homes the county bought out were in flood zones and most already had a long history of flooding; they were at risk even during a hard rain storm where as most homes damaged during Harvey had never been flooded before. You just don't knock down houses that flooded once for the first time. There were ~200,000 houses that flooded...and many of them were $300k and above.

The North One Aug 7, 2019 1:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fresh (Post 8651257)
Do you have more information about this? The article didn't say anything about removing half the freeway loop

Here's a general view of the plan regarding the core.

https://cdn.bisnow.net/fit?height=48...VZ51gep8F0dKl0
https://www.bisnow.com/houston/news/...ear-eado-65467

Basically a small stretch of the least invasive highway circling downtown could possibly be removed, meanwhile everything around it gets a massive expansion fueling suburban growth for the next generation and removing thousands from their homes. How progressive.

lio45 Aug 7, 2019 2:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8651117)
I'm actually surprised that Houston does not have commuter rail; even Albuquerque has commuter rail, and it's a much smaller city and metro area.

? I recall seeing rail / tramways in Houston even 15 years ago... unless you define it as inter-city? (Actually, I'm pretty sure now that that's what you meant)

Albuquerque from what I remember of my visit is surrounded by mountains, while Houston has viable terrain for suburbs pretty much 360 degrees around it. It's easier to have rail to satellite towns if they're concentrated. Houston's suburbs are the exact opposite of this, basically a ring.

Northern Light Aug 7, 2019 3:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8651311)
Someone's home is not a spelling error. You seem to be a little cavalier with seizing people's homes against their will for a little social engineering.



The damaged homes the county bought out were in flood zones and most already had a long history of flooding; they were at risk even during a hard rain storm where as most homes damaged during Harvey had never been flooded before. You just don't knock down houses that flooded once for the first time. There were ~200,000 houses that flooded...and many of them were $300k and above.

You and I simply have completely different perspectives.

Toronto had a 'Harvey'.........it was called 'Hazel'.....only a Tropical Storm by the time it made its way to Toronto in 1954........but dumped enough rain to kill double-digits and wiped out dozens of homes in river valley areas.

The response was to ban new housing in river valleys AND to tear down most that had already been built. Conservation Authorities were created to ensure this level of catastrophe never repeated itself.

For the most part, this plan was executed properly, one or two influential areas got to keep most of their homes, and instead got dams, dykes/berms or other protections.

But today Toronto is remarkably green for a big city, because it has thousands of acres of valley parkland, natural and manicured, where no homes or businesses are allowed.

It was simple, matter-of-fact response to one disaster........never-again.

The same way Australia banned handguns after a violent massacre (a disaster of a different kind)

Much of the world believes in solutions. The persistent objection in the U.S. that we must accommodate people who are wrong is bizarre. No! Change is needed.

Homes within the 25-year flood line must go.

Once you do that, prioritizing those homes that also represent a significant operational cost to maintain due to inefficient land use............

You then move on to penalizing homeowners and businesses who cost the government more money.

Take up more land, pay more tax; use more water, pay more, more power, pay more, have more garages (presumably due to greater use of roads), pay more.

Implement that, and inefficiently laid out homes become worth less and the government will buy them out at a discount, on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis.

Northern Light Aug 7, 2019 3:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TexasPlaya (Post 8651291)

That's right, uprooting people due to lack of urban ideals isn't a viable plan.

No.

You don't uproot people because of their politics or preferences.

You uproot them to save their lives, to minimize future costs, both disaster-based and on-going operations.

You make changes to reduce future risk to everyone, and to allow government to operate more efficiently delivering more service for less tax.

That should be a win-win across the political spectrum.

If its not, oh well. Time to impose on those who feel they are entitled to free money every time their house floods; or just because they want the same services as everyone else, even if it costs government twice as much to deliver them, .......but at the same price everyone else pays, of course.

Northern Light Aug 7, 2019 3:10 AM

I find this resistance to change very peculiar.

When forest/meadow/dessert became suburbia, that was was apparently fine change.

When a highway was blown through, which resulted in many homes and businesses bought out, that too was fine.

But when someone says, take the highway out.............that's not ok?

When someone says tear the home down and put the farm back or the forest or the desert, that's not ok?

So change is fine......as long it promotes pollution, sprawl, bad planning, higher costs, less efficiency and a poorer, more at-risk citizenry.

But change is awful, if it improves safety, reduces risk, reduces pollution, promotes integration, and makes government more efficient.

Really?

Reverberation Aug 7, 2019 3:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrnyc (Post 8650783)
lol of course --- its no secret texas loves them some highways. especially anything they can build skyhigh flyovers for no reason.

I support this. I also support light rail, heavy rail, high speed rail, helicopters, hyperloop, etc. basically any and all means to get as many people into and out of the city.

accord1999 Aug 7, 2019 3:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Light (Post 8651124)
Again this is effectively the case already in Toronto. Its not quite a 'ban' but the Provincial Planning laws and policies set minimum density requirements, along with requiring sidewalks and various other 'urban' amenities such that the suburban style of the '90s and prior years is now exceedingly rare in new construction here.

Why are we using Toronto as a model city? It has one of the least affordable housing markets in the world (median house price is over C$800K but median household income is only around C$72K) and also has terrible commute times. No surprise that these were the two top issues in the most recent city elections.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toron...sues-1.4857377

Quote:

Originally Posted by TexasPlaya (Post 8651222)
I wonder how effective commuter rail is in Albuquerque.

2500 trips/day from APTA's Q1 ridership report.

mhays Aug 7, 2019 3:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glowrock (Post 8651308)
Fine. Let's stop driving in Houston. So we've got buses (stuck in the same traffic as cars except where HOV/Transit/dedicated bus lanes exist), light rail (limited in Houston, no political will to get it really extended as far as it needs to), and of course walking/bicycling. You've got a metro area that's spread out to hell and over 6 million people. How do you expect to be able to get around town? What if one half of a couple works in one area and the other one works in a completely different area? Seriously, Houston isn't going to be able to be weaned from the automobile anytime soon. Getting rid of two parts of the downtown ring is a very good thing, both visually and bettering commute times. Yes, that means the other two parts are going to be even wider than before, but I'm not sure how else you can do this.

At any rate, Houston is a commuting disaster already. No amount of mass transit infrastructure is going to fix this, unfortunately.

Aaron (Glowrock)

The topic is called "more highways." My post was about that, not about taking lanes away from the current system. Did you think some of the other posts were mine, which is the only way your post makes any sense?

Once you calm down, it's obviously possible to put the GROWTH of the transportation system into something other than traffic capacity...that's where transit, density-enabled walking, and so on come in.

Northern Light Aug 7, 2019 3:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by accord1999 (Post 8651393)
Why are we using Toronto as a model city? It has one of the least affordable housing markets in the world (median house price is over C$800K but median household income is only around C$72K) and also has terrible commute times. No surprise that these were the two top issues in the most recent city elections.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toron...sues-1.4857377


2500 trips/day from APTA's Q1 ridership report.

I didn't identify Toronto as a 'model city' in the aggregate sense. I identified an example showing something was possible, and had been done elsewhere.

That's all.

I fail to understand the over-reaction on your part.

Toronto is not evil. Its land values are determined in part by the fact its one of the fastest growing urban regions in the developed world.

That will spike your land prices. There's a separate discussion to be had, in a Toronto-centric thread, where we can debate what policy changes would lower commutes and moderate the pace of housing/rental price increases.

But this, is not that thread. This is about a proposal to expand an already very large freeway system, in Houston.

Los Angeles has been there, and done that (as has Toronto at a lesser scale) and both can tell you that that neither decreases land prices, or for that matter holds them steady, nor is it good for the environment or government finances.

Put simply, the best solution for Houston involves different ways to manage congestion and growth.

TexasPlaya Aug 7, 2019 4:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Light (Post 8651365)
No.

You don't uproot people because of their politics or preferences.

You uproot them to save their lives, to minimize future costs, both disaster-based and on-going operations.

You make changes to reduce future risk to everyone, and to allow government to operate more efficiently delivering more service for less tax.

That should be a win-win across the political spectrum.

If its not, oh well. Time to impose on those who feel they are entitled to free money every time their house floods; or just because they want the same services as everyone else, even if it costs government twice as much to deliver them, .......but at the same price everyone else pays, of course.

Yea no. This is old freeway infrastructure in the heart of downtown Houston where all of the major US interstates meet and it's utterly laughable to think you can just replace that or mitigate that in this reality.

JManc Aug 7, 2019 5:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Light (Post 8651356)
You and I simply have completely different perspectives.

Toronto had a 'Harvey'.........it was called 'Hazel'.....only a Tropical Storm by the time it made its way to Toronto in 1954........but dumped enough rain to kill double-digits and wiped out dozens of homes in river valley areas.

The response was to ban new housing in river valleys AND to tear down most that had already been built. Conservation Authorities were created to ensure this level of catastrophe never repeated itself.

For the most part, this plan was executed properly, one or two influential areas got to keep most of their homes, and instead got dams, dykes/berms or other protections.

But today Toronto is remarkably green for a big city, because it has thousands of acres of valley parkland, natural and manicured, where no homes or businesses are allowed.

It was simple, matter-of-fact response to one disaster........never-again.

The same way Australia banned handguns after a violent massacre (a disaster of a different kind)

Much of the world believes in solutions. The persistent objection in the U.S. that we must accommodate people who are wrong is bizarre. No! Change is needed.

Homes within the 25-year flood line must go.

Once you do that, prioritizing those homes that also represent a significant operational cost to maintain due to inefficient land use............

You then move on to penalizing homeowners and businesses who cost the government more money.

Take up more land, pay more tax; use more water, pay more, more power, pay more, have more garages (presumably due to greater use of roads), pay more.

Implement that, and inefficiently laid out homes become worth less and the government will buy them out at a discount, on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis.

You are comparing a city in the 1950's which was a fraction of its (and Houston's) current population with a much different climate, topography and elevation. You are talking 25 year flood plains but we are well beyond that here; much of the county is dotted with 100 and 500 year floodplains. We are talking about a considerable population spread across these areas with some of the most expensive real-estate are located around there. It's simply not a realistic notion to even entertain.

plutonicpanda Aug 7, 2019 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by authentiCLE (Post 8650870)
Perhaps the solution isn't to just build more lane miles? The city is reliant on cars because they don't provide an alternative.

"isn't just" and you are correct. But part of the solution is to build more of these freeways and widen them. They just need to get more serious about their transit. I wish LA would be rebuild its freeways downtown in the same way Houston is. It would help tremendously. Instead the planners scream induced demand and do nothing while traffic continues to get worse and the state keeps bleeding people to Texas, a state with wider freeways. Go figure.

plutonicpanda Aug 7, 2019 10:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hudson11 (Post 8651109)
woah, is it 1960?

Tell that to Florida. And NC. And Arizona. And California. And Oklahoma. And Florida. And a grocery list of countries around the world.

This is proposed in Melbourne

https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0...b9f00a8e24f96c

Hopefully it happens. This isn't the 1960's. This is 2019. These proposals will continue until you die. So have fun repeating yourself like record every time a project like this is proposed. You will see it more and more as freeway usage continues to grow.

I applaud Houston and can't wait until this beauty is built along with it's downtown rebuild and expansion.


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