If you missed yesterday’s meeting in Hockley, you have until Wednesday to send Harris County your thoughts on the map above, from the official county study of road network expansion proposed between I-10 and 290 west of the Grand Pkwy. The thick red dashes mark 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 dashes show the proposed routes of new or expanded thoroughfares, some of which cut through the preserve and cross through the Cypress Creek floodway (shown as a blue underlay making a rough U through the conservancy’s land).
Further west (marked in 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’s future development predictions, with dark taupe showing existing development and slightly 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, the organization’s protected areas are marked in green, and the dashed green band shows how far the prairie ecosystem used to 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’s since-1942-traditional 1-mile-by-1-mile thoroughfare grid pattern. Here’s what that plan originally looked like:
The conservation group says that while some planned roads have been eliminated, others have been added, and that flooding and habitat issues raised at the 1 meeting it was invited to attend back in September are not actually addressed by the current 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 that the committee will vote on funding that study at May’s monthly meeting.
- As Houston Sprawls, New Roads Proposed For Katy Prairie [Houston Public Media]
- US 290 Area Major Thoroughfare Study, March 2016 [HCPID]
- Previously on Swamplot: This Week, Houston Begins Slicing What’s Left of the Katy Prairie in Two
Maps: Harris County Planning and Infrastructure Department (top and bottom), Katy Prairie Conservancy (middle)