Cypress Creek Mirror 6/11/14 11:00 am By Roy N. Kent
Anyone from this region already knows this: the transportation system in Texas is barely able to keep up with growth.
Tens of thousands of people move to Texas each year, adding to the population growth of those who already live here. They are bringing cars and working at jobs many miles from where they live. This means more miles driven on Texas highways every day.
So, beginning this week, the Texas Department of Transportation has begun the process of planning for the future – the year 2040 to be exact. According to a news release, “The Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) 2040 will define TxDOT’s long-range goals for all transportation modes — roadways, transit, rail, ports, aviation, pedestrian, bicycle and freight. The plan also will address the state’s aging infrastructure and offer solutions for managing and prioritizing transportation funding and assets.”
Public meetings started Monday and are scheduled to continue throughout July and into August to get some input from Texas residents. The meeting in Houston is scheduled for this Wednesday, June 11, at TxDOT Houston District Office in the Conference Auditorium at 7600 Washington Ave. The meeting is slated to run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
As a non-native who comes from the wide open highway state of New Mexico, it is easy to see many of the things that need to be fixed on area highways around here. These things need to be fixed well before we get to 2040, by the way.
Some years ago, the city of Houston was striving to work with employers – most notably those in the Medical Center – to stagger work schedules. That would mean that the tens of thousands of people who work in the Medical Center would not be clogging the roads all at the same time. It was a pretty big push for a little while. And it made sense. That is probably why it didn’t seem to catch on.
There are park and ride areas here and there but not really where you want them to be. And the idea of having to depend on a “ride” to get you to your car so you can then drive home is somewhat unappetizing for a newbie. Buses are crowded and you end up getting into the same traffic that you would have gotten into had you driven yourself.
Light rail would be awesome but it would be expensive to get it on the ground now. It is pretty much centralized in Houston and outlying communities are pretty much left in the “having to drive to use it” realm.
Construction – or reconstruction – of highways can be seen across the region. That is one of the problems with the highways. It seems that so many are being worked on at any given moment, there are no alternate roads to take.
Take 249, for example. You have pending construction of an flyover at 249 and Beltway 8; there is construction of the 249 tollway from Spring Cypress Road all the way to Tomball; there is pending construction of the tollway from Tomball to Pinehurst and beyond; AND there is construction of the Grand Parkway crisscrossing the whole deal.
Really? Can’t they pick one project at time, get it done in a hurry and move on?
We won’t even talk about the ongoing mess that is 290, a highway that is already exceeding its designed capacity. Then there is I-45, both heading north to Dallas and south to Galveston. If you’ve ever driven this highway, you know it is a total mess.
While it is nice that the Texas Department of Transportation is working on a plan for transportation in 2040, we need to get to 2015 well before we ever get there.