If you missed yesterday’s meeting in Hockley, you have until Wednesday to send Harris County your thoughts on the map above,Â fromÂ theÂ official county study of roadÂ networkÂ expansion proposed between I-10 and 290 west of the Grand Pkwy. The thick red dashes markÂ a proposed loop road circling around almost the entirety of the Katy Prairie Conservancy‘s land preserve (shown as the darkest green blocks, amid slightly-grayer-green agricultural/undeveloped land and a few kelly-green public parks). Purple dashesÂ show the proposed routes of new or expanded thoroughfares, some of which cut through the preserve and cross throughÂ the Cypress Creek floodway (shown as a blue underlay making a rough U through the conservancy’s land).
Further west (marked inÂ blue dashes) is the not-yet-planned-but-still-showing-up-in-planning-maps route of Houston’s proposed outer-outer-outer loop, SH 36A (formerly nicknamed the Prairie Parkway). The map above also includes overlays of Harris County’sÂ future development predictions, with dark taupe showing existing development and slightlyÂ lighter taupe showing expected expansion.
For comparison, here’s the Katy Prairie Conservancy’s map of west Houston; currently developed areas are marked in gray,Â the organization’s protected areas are marked in green, and the dashed green band shows how far theÂ prairie ecosystemÂ used toÂ extend:
County engineer John Blount tells David Fehling of Houston Public Media that the Katy Prairie Conservancy should be happy with changes already made to the plan, which breaks with Houston’sÂ since-1942-traditional 1-mile-by-1-mile thoroughfare grid pattern. Here’s what that plan originallyÂ looked like:
The conservation group says that while some planned roads have been eliminated, others have been added, and that flooding and habitat issuesÂ raisedÂ at the 1 meeting it was invited to attend back in SeptemberÂ are not actually addressed byÂ the currentÂ version of the plan (which was released in March).
Meanwhile, the Houston Galveston Area Council’s technical advisory committee heard a presentation last month proposing a feasibility study for the SH36 segment shown on the top map; Jay Crossley of think tank Houston Tomorrow wrote in the Houston Chronicle last week thatÂ the committee willÂ vote on funding thatÂ study at May’s monthly meeting.
- As Houston Sprawls, New Roads Proposed For Katy PrairieÂ [Houston Public Media]
- US 290 Area Major Thoroughfare Study, March 2016 [HCPID]
- Previously on Swamplot:Â This Week, Houston Begins Slicing Whatâ€™s Left of the Katy Prairie in Two
Maps: Harris County Planning and Infrastructure Department (top and bottom), Katy Prairie ConservancyÂ (middle)