Comment of the Day: The Invention of Feeder Food

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE INVENTION OF FEEDER FOOD “On another note, I would like to find out precisely who was responsible for making the philosophical decision to attach feeder roads to freeways in Texas in the first place, way back in the 50’s. Feeder Roads turned out to be an aesthetic disaster, helped kill off many local business districts, and led to the proliferation of countless mediocre restaurant chains.” [Mies, commenting on Comment of the Day: That’s Why They Call Them Feeder Roads]

13 Comment

  • That’s strange. Many small town fought hard to have the the freeways come near them to boost their tax revenue base. Currently, TxDOT is upgrading two way frontage roads near many small towns to one way roads. The small town benefits big time from chain restaurants and hotels opening along the feeders and freeway exits, and the historic downtown areas are untouched.

    The towns also used the new businesses at the freeway to help refurbish their historic areas in downtown and advertise for tourism.

    In small towns, freeways passing by them have allowed them to survive while not destroying the core of the town.

    You can take the tale of two towns in northeastern Texas. Jefferson and Marshall. Jefferson was the the center in that portion of Texas. It has a river and rail which made a great cross roads. When I-20 was built it passed near Marshall. Jefferson dried up with no passenger rail service and Marshall grew. Downtown Marshall is quaint and historic while outskirts of Marshall provide all the modern services locals and travelers want.

    I would say Conroe is the same also. downtown Conroe is a busy place during the week with lots of local businesses but also has huge modern developments along I-45 which feed the tax base.

    Although mediocre restaurants are littered all along the freeways, it really hasn’t killed the local eateries that serve up the best food. The small local restaurant is more popular than ever and has become popular for tourist to seek out.

  • The existence of national restaurant chains is due to feeder roads? What a baseless claim.
    Texas is one of the only places in the U.S. that have feeder roads along so many freeways and interstates, especially as far as urban areas are concerned. Do you think that there aren’t chain restaurants in other parts of the country?

  • Fredericksburg, one of the nicer smaller towns in Texas, thankfully still has a thriving Main Street and is a major tourist destination. Thankfully, a huge highway and feeder roads did not ruin that small town.

  • The concrete industry loves Texas’ cities commitment to feeder roads.

  • That is true, but I would venture to say that the region of Houston pave more streets in concrete than all the feeders roads that were built or rebuilt during the last 15 years. Maybe more.

  • Every little bit helps–now if they could only get TXDoT to make those noise walls mandatory and a couple of feet higher.

  • Noise walls are required when projected sound levels surpass the maximum set by EPA and AASHTO guidelines.

    Most sound walls are built per requests by residential neighborhoods and TxDOT won’t say no especially if the comment is during the public comment period. A few sound walls meet the requirement to where they have to be built.

    On the Katy Freeway, even built sound walls in areas behind commercial development adjacent to residential. Just look at the wall next to the IKEA parking lot. TxDOT built that even though they didn’t have to.

  • If I remember correctly, feeder roads were the idea of Oscar Holcombe, Mayor in the 40’s. The Gulf Freeway was/is the first freeway to have feeders.

  • rsb320,

    San Antonio had freeways with feeders before Houston’s Gulf Freeway was designed and built.

  • “The reason for the widespread use of frontage roads in Texas again can be traced to Dewitt Greer. He decided that it was cheaper to build frontage roads to keep access to adjacent properties than it was to purchase those access rights, which is required under state law.”

    Pretty good history of the Texas highway system.

  • I love feeder roads. I also love Texas Turnarounds (the ability to make that u-turn before the intersection where the feeder road intersects with the cross street).

    I don’t know why so many so many people seem to hate the things that make Houston so much better than every place else.

  • My sentiments exactly Bernard.

    Everybody that comes in from out of state usually loves them. Miss you exit, go to the next one and U-turn.

  • As I posted in the other thread (why Swamplot needs three topics for one discussion is *beyond* me): Every other city has the EXACT same commercial development at major interchanges, except instead of being linear (and easily accessible) it’s clumped together, so you have to wade through a sea of traffic lights to get anywhere.

    Every trip you take to a feeder-fronting business, whether it’s Best Buy or Kroger, would take several minutes longer if you had to wade through the morass of traffic lights that characterizes freeway-centric commercial developments in the Northwest, the Midwest, or the East Coast. That’s WEEKS of your life back, actual time you spend having sex or playing video games or eating too much queso.