Investing in the Grand Parkway

INVESTING IN THE GRAND PARKWAY Commuters struggling to cross the Katy Prairie on congested House Hahl Rd. will be happy to learn that traffic relief is on the way: Harris County’s commissioners voted yesterday to apply for $181 million in federal stimulus money for the Segment E marshland cut-through of the Grand Parkway, which will connect major employment and shopping centers in Katy and Cypress. $20 million in engineering and other contracts for the project were awarded a few months ago, but the commissioners yesterday approved a “comprehensive traffic and revenue study” for the segment. The study, which won’t be complete before construction begins in February, will help support claims that the road will be able to pay for itself, with tolls. [Houston Chronicle; more from Houston Tomorrow, both via Off the Kuff]

13 Comment

  • Ok, in general I am in favor of construction and development, but I understand that this segment has several issues environmentally, beyond whether it will pay for itself, so I am a little perplexed as the reason for the study. I think the actual reason has nothing to do with proving that the road is warranted, but more to do with how much do they need to charge to make it work.

  • Driven by developers who don’t see that that game is over.

  • Meanwhile, two coworkers of mine along with thousands of other north Houston dwellers deal with daily traffic nightmares at 249/BW8 because of the lack of direct connectors. Those are real people who live here now who deal with real traffic. Why in the world are we trying to get “ahead” of the congestion when we’re not first dealing with the existing congestion? What is the County thinking?!?

  • All roads are driven by developers. Hell, even our light rail system is driven by developers. Find something new to bitch about. All transportation is driven by business interests.

    Any new road or expansion is to improve commerce. Everything thinks its for improving traffic. Improving traffic means commerce benefits. Welcome to real world.

    The traffic study that will be completed after construction starts is to justify any bond money that HCTRA will pull for this project. The thing is that HCTRA’s bond rating is so stellar that they have no problem selling their bonds. The study is a formality.

    HCTRA is awash in revenues that they are helping Harris County and other incorporated entities rebuild and improve roads that can supply traffic to their toll facilities. With the Katy Freeway now having a toll facillty, any road connected to it can also be improved.

    Marshland Cut-Through? Talk about a bad insult. Lots of other marshlands would scoff at that. Why is this road so evil yet all the paths and road built nearly 100-years ago through marshes to connect communities ok? Or should those communities not exist because we have a new standard of avoiding a marsh today?

    If Houston didn’t exist and this road was being constructed as a connection between the communities of Katy and Cypress, would there be this much opposition of it destroying the marshland? I think there would be support because two communities are not better connected. Just ask Liberty and Dayton Texas how much the expanded US 90 between them through marsh and riverine floodplain help their two towns grow.

  • HCTRA’s bond rating has to be maintained at it’s stellar rating! Sadly enviornmental study does not matter when it comes to developers and monetary gains.

    Katy is about to lose one of it’s last remaining praire. This road will spur development in an area that is also the watershed region for several of Houston’s bayous.

  • Yes, because someone built roads 100 years ago, it’s ok to do whatever the fast buck artists want now.

    Sometimes one wishes for the Vogons :)

  • But the same “fast buck artist” as you call them built the roads back then also.

    Who do you think built the original roads to Texas? It wasn’t the government. J.P. Morgan and his rail road built the road that US 90 followed. US 90 was originally upgraded for increased truck traffic, but many segments existed along stretches of the railroad put in by the rail road companies.

    The more things change, everything stays the same.

  • I always chuckle when everyone complains about the evil developers … unless you are living on your family’s historic acreage and built your own house, where you are living was built and exists because of developers. Also, I gurantee that someone complained about where you live being developed when ground broke.

  • The rate of development is far greater now than it was 100 years ago. There is also a lot less land available for natural environments. For example, cutting down a 1000 tree natural evironment, and building a subdivison and planting 3000 tress in backyards & front yards is not the same.

    There is nothing wrong with new development but there is certainly a place for sustainable and responsible development, and re-using what we already have in the city rather than developing new chuncks of land for fast and easy money.

  • irfan,

    70% of the US population lives in the urbanized area that makes up about 2% of the US land area. (US Census)

    About 5-7% of the total US land area is actually developed by people (excluding agricultural land for crops and livestock).

    We by far are not paving our wilderness in concrete. The Katy Prairie represents and extremely small portion of area getting developed. The land you see in the Katy Prairie exists throughout south central Louisiana were it’ll likely never be developed. The Texas Coastal plains is quite undeveloped also. All this crying over really nothing. Wildlife is quite more adaptable than we give them credit for and they’ll move easily where they have to.

    I’m more and more convinced that people that live in Houston that go after developers for building the outer suburbs don’t realized how much is not developed when they leave the city. I guess they fly everywhere versus drive. The drive from Houston to Dallas alone should demonstrate how uninhabited this state is. Better yet, drive US 59 in either direction from Houston.

  • Wow… nobody lives in this section of the Katy Prarie!! There’s no need for this road. If you want to go to Austin… take I-10. If you want to go to San Antone… take I-10. If you want to go shopping, go to La Canterra or take I-10. I refuse to throw my tax dollars away so a couple thousands people can have a nice easy ride between Katy Mills and Cypress Premium Outlets. This pork-laden project needs to be put to a county-wide vote!!!!

    Give more money to the METRO system! Let’s improve public transit, instead of wasting our money on unsustainable crap.

  • I think it’s time to feature just which entities have acquired land adjacent to this boondoggle. List which individuals hold controlling interest and then we can discuss interesting sidelights like contributions to various elected officials.

    This city/region has myriad development option closer in – residential and commercial.

    Think not? Drive S. Main to Missouri City.

    No, this is just the same old crap with the same cast of characters. The land is bought so its time for the political whores to deliver the infrastructure. The stimulus money waste on this joke just pushed the process quicker.
    …and it goes without saying some engineers who work in this milieu will be angry and unpersuasive apologists for this stupid waste of taxpayer money.

  • Wayne,

    Do you not realize how many people from NW Houston work in the Energy Corridor and Westchase? This project will allow an alternative route for commuters.

    Infill is the answer, but have you actually driven S. Main to MO City? Just building houses and retail isn’t going to make infill happen. There is a reason Houston has many “black holes” in which development is absent, crime is very bad and the schools are equally as bad. By all means, put your money where your mouth is and develop those areas.