24 Comment

  • I really believe you pick these comments based on what Lulu wants to scribble that day. This idea is ridiculous and has zero chance of happening….zero

  • I’d like 10 million dollars and Kate Upton as a friend with benefits. >8^p~

  • It would certainly be popular with HPD; the railway overpasses at Shepherd and Durham are their foremost speed-trap honeyholes.

  • It’s one thing to be a NIMBY about non-residential use coming to your non-zoned area of town…one should at least expect that to happen. It’s quite another to cry NIMBY when someone proposes to build a TOLL ROAD in your backyard. Nothing would reverse the trend of money coming into the heights more than the sound and look of a massive toll road. I presume the appeal of a toll road would be to shuttle cars from 6-10 N and beyond to I-10 and further south. Doesn’t sound like much of a boon to the local residents or area. But, I also presume that the commentor(s) who have suggested this idea aren’t local residents either. They just want more freeways and express lanes to subsidize their choice to live far away from where they work and play. Seems like the hopeful vitalization of N. Shepherd would be an example of Houston’s organic real estate market–one which lets the market dictate what is valued or not. The demand for development on N. Shepherd certainly exists. Let the market work out the details on what that should/will look like. Silly ideas like a N. Shepherd toll road won’t be part of it.

  • Congratulations to Niche for a truly awesome troll.

  • Abiding Dude, we’re talking about the Shepherd corridor and not Heights Blvd. or 19th Street. Its an extremely ugly commercial strip that happens to be built up and oriented very strategically in terms of its regional transportation potential. This corridor is low-hanging fruit.

    Its true that I don’t live in the Heights and would never want to (the price is too high to have such insufferable neighbors), but I’ve lived and worked on all sides of it and have had to put up with the same traffic that you do; and I’ve been the cut-through traffic that you loathe. So I don’t mind giving folks in the suburbs another path to where they’re going if doing so keeps them out of my way (and yours too). Allowing unmitigated congestion inside of the city doesn’t improve the quality of life for people living inside the city.

  • Sure, make it contra flow like the middle of W. Alabama. Put up barriers along the sides of the route, add EZ Tag sensors, and watch the money roll in.

  • And I should say that by barriers I mean the 4-foot high ones, sometimes plastic but usually concrete not unlike the ones found lining freeways.

    It would work pretty well up until 610 or so until Shepherd is no longer one way, then it could get expensive to build.

  • North of 610 is easy too. Although Shepherd/Durham merges, there’s plenty of ugly low-density commercial land on one side or the other (or both) all the way until north of Pinemont, at which point there’s a big median and ROW acquisition is unnecessary.

    But yeah…goodbye church parking lot, goodbye Sears.

  • and here i thought the value of toll roads was to create new infrastructure, not turn publicly funded infrastructure into revenue raising private entrprises that destroy the net worth of all residents living within the corridor.

    besides, how is that any better than saying we start charging congestion pricing on 45 north which would obviously provide more value in terms of revenue and traffic management?

  • I suppose everybody’s forgotten that the Hardy is getting expanded to go from the Loop to downtown – which has the potential to do a lot to relieve 45.

  • Well maybe it could finally provide a little competition for HCTRA at the local level.

    Possibly have the city run it – or Metro – then put the profits into a pool and use it for QOL improvements.

  • Hell, the city/county could just put up eztag sensors hidden all over the place. Rake in the cash and most people would never notice.

  • Charging congestion pricing for the use of freeways AND major thoroughfares during peak hours is a perfectly reasonable idea that addresses an externality that encumbers the public’s enjoyment of its infrastructure. Depending on your political persuasion, you might advocate that the revenues should be used for QOL enhancements (which could include road expansion itself) or that they simply offset a portion of general property taxes; there’s a balance in there, somewhere.

    There are numerous toll projects that should happen; the Hardy is among them, but its pretty distant from the Shepherd corridor. I’m not opposed to them coming from a different agency from HCTRA, but they are presently the most legislatively enabled entity.

  • I really wish someone would break down the economics of the tolls in Houston. I dont seem to read anything about them. Increases of 25cents here, 10cents there, what is the impact of those increases? I just never really know if that is the cost of business or is someone making a lot of money?

  • Why not just pave it all and make the traffic lights timed correctly? The stretch from Washington to I-10 is a true Cluster Frak thanks to bad traffic lights that break up continuous flow

  • In my mind the toll way model is backwards. The HOV/Toll lanes should be free for those with high occupancy. The saps driving alone in the mainlanes should be paying the toll.

  • @ Rex: Here’s a link to all of HCTRA’s annual reports. I read one completely, front to back, a couple years back and it was instructive.


    @ Bubba: The HOV/Toll lanes you speak of already are free to those with high-occupancy vehicles.

  • Shep between I-10 and 610 isn’t pretty, but it is redeveloping rapidly and has some very productive real estate. The Kroger is one of the largest in the City and does huge business. There is a new Petco in the same shopping center. Pockets of redevelopment are going up between 11th and 19th (Fat Cat Creamery in a new strip mall, Hunky Dory development, Height Beer Garden, etc.). And there is a 60 unit town home development from Weekly Homes going in around 6th St. and Shep. While there isn’t much of an argument from an aesthetic stand point to keep Shepherd from turning into a highway, there is a huge economic argument against it. That corridor will very much be needed to provide additional retail development as the inner loop fills up with lots of new residents coming to the new multi family developments and redeveloped single family areas (just compare Cottage Grove between now and 2005). Lastly, the biggest problem with using Shepherd as an alternative to I-45 is that it spits you out about 3 miles and a bunch of over burden intersections away from Downtown.

  • My drive through the Woodlands would be better if Grogan’s Mill Road were a continuation of the Hardy Toll Road, can we also consider that preposterous notion?
    A better solution to congestion would be to install a 1 cent toll at the beltway (or the county line) on all of the arteries in and out of town, payable in cash only at a one-lane toll booth. This would relive traffic throughout the city and put the burden where it belongs, on the periphery of town. Also, no one could complain that the city was trying to make money from it.
    There is a price to pay for living in the distant suburbs, and the appropriate people need to pay that price.

  • On the other hand, every street that intersects with a Shepherd tollway would immediately find themselves on a cul-de-sac. Who wouldn’t want that?

    Shepherd itself could even be made walkable – behind the barriers, of course.

  • @ Old School: That it is redeveloping rapidly is all the more reason to identify and protect an easement for future use.

    @ anon22: I don’t necessarily foresee cul-de-sacs. The implementation of a toll road would not require the elimination of the grade-level thoroughfare.