Checking in from a center lane of I-10 heading east, a longtime Swamplot correspondent has a few questions for informed readers:
This ginormous new billboard structure went up last week at the CBS Outdoor HQ on Studemont at I-10. Is it legal? Was there a similar steel mega-billboard there before the remodeling of I-10, which obliged CBS (then Clear Channel Outdoor) to demolish part of the north end of its building? And what will become of this monstrous two-legged wedge-shaped structure when the feeder road will eventually be extended from Studewood to Taylor — will it be taken down, moved 100 feet and set up again?
Update: As noted in the comments, Off the Kuff has a slightly earlier photo of the naked billboard.
Photo: Swamplot inbox
I’ve wondered the exact same things since I saw it going up!
As was noted on the Off the Kuff blog this weekend, they’ve simply moved one that was already there in order to make way for feeder road expansion. You can see the old billboard there in Google Maps.
What I want to know is what are they going to do with the bike path when they put a freeway access road across it? Give us a light for bikes? I’m doubtful. So we’ll have basically an uncrossable barrier between the Heights and downtown on the great new bike trail. Great planning!
Mega? Looks like a normal sized billboard to me.
The sign will not go anywhere since there is room for the feeder road next to it.
Also, the feeder road will go over the bike path (not because it is a bike path though).
What many people don’t know is that the bike path at anytime can be taken out with a rail road. Even though the City of Houston owns it for the path, the railroad company still has land use rights if they ultimately want to use it again (not likely though). TxDOT is going to build the feeder road over the bike path to meet grade separated rail road crossing standards.
What TXDOT should really be doing is taking that money and spending it on something worthwhile. The only reason they are pushing ahead with the feeder road expansion is because someone dropped the ball on the Grand Parkway expansion. Continuous feeders will do absolutely nothing for through traffic or neighborhood traffic through that section of I-10.
I LOVE blanket statements. Do people forget that the feeder road project is not just adjacent to the people to the north of I-10 but also the south? Washington Avenue traffic won’t be getting any better and with more commercial projects realizing the untapped and unrestricted area there, the feeder roads will provide better local movement.
@KJB – I was under the impression that previous rail-to-trail projects in Houston involved the COH acquiring the ROW from the railroad. This sounds more like a ground lease. Very interesting, especially considering that the rail line had previously been discussed as a downtown extension of the 290 HOV.
More importantly, did you take this photo while driving?
Safety First! ;)
Worthwhile? Just think how much value they’re adding to the land that will front the service roads. Stores! Restaurants! Strip centers! It’s a developer’s dream.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?
The city does own the land, but ownership has strings attached that go way back to when the rail road companies had lots of power in the 1800s.
The rails road land this trail is on extends from downtown all the way out to Katy along the Katy Freeway. TxDOT had to purchase all of it and not just the section they needed from Just inside Loop to Katy. TxDOT didn’t really want to purchase this section inside the loop because of the language tied to it’s deed. It’s unusual to say the least. TxDOT happily unloaded it eventually going to the City of Houston. If you carefully look at the trail (especially in the plan and profile drawings for the TxDOT feeder road project), you’ll notice the trail is position to the far side of the rail alignment at the overpass at I-10. Other areas it’s right in the middle. As part of community groups following the feeder road project closely with local representatives, we were told they requested the city pushed the trail to the side of the right of way at their bridge because of the restrictions on the old rail road land.
I also learned of the wackiness of this restriction several years ago with TxDOT’s drainage project that is to go through the rail yard just north of Cottage Grove. TxDOT’s linear detention channel had to leave allowances for a rail line to fit within the strip they owned (which was part of the same strip they purchased for the Katy Freeway).
Again, it’s not likely the rail line will ever occur.
I just have address Mies. Sorry Enginerd.
Houston = billboards
But the freeway already provides mobility for that traffic. I-10 through that area is only ever clogged for short periods during the peak of rush hour. Thru feeders will just encourage the use of them as back routes to speed around traffic during rush hour. They can’t even really be used as frontage for commercial development through much of that whole section given that a big chunk of it is either one of several parks or is bayou. Also, didn’t TXDOT already commit to not extending any further out into Stude Park during the last go around for this project? If so, where would the North Side feeder go?
So, the plans call for the extension of thru feeders from Washington to Taylor Eastbound and from Studemont to Washington Westbound. The feeders will not extend any further than that in either direction. To the best of my knowldege TXDOT has at no point presented any study showing the need for more traffic lanes between those points.
The feeder roads were part of the original Katy Freeway Reconstruction program. The feeder roads are not be modified because of projected traffic increase. They are being modified to increase connectivity.
Also, the section from Tc Jester west to Washington will not be built because of opposition from Cottage Grove. TxDOT would have had to built an overpass over the active rail which is adjacent to a park that is quite busy in the community.
Man, what to say? On the one hand, connecting Yale and Paterson will divert a lot of the Med Center to IH-10 commute off Montrose and onto Waugh. Waugh right now is a good bike axis between the ‘trose and the Heights, if you can manage the cloverleaf @ Memorial, because there’s so little traffic. Adding a connection to IH-10 West means Waugh will likely be overrun with the same assholes from Katy/Cy-Fair who presently make Studewood unbearable by following 15 feet behind you and laying on the horn.
On the other hand, Montrose is overcrowded as it is and this is a simple way to get the most out of existing capacity we have.
What position do I take on this? NIMBY or civic-minded engineer? I really don’t know.
This is also going to fuck up the area around the Disco Kroger when the aformentioned Katy/Cy-Fair assholes realize it’s faster to cut over to Waugh via Hawthorne/Lovett/Yoakum than it is to sit at the light to make a left turn on Westheimer. I walk through that area regularly. THAT’LL be fun.