Rad Sallee explores the uproar over TxDOT's I-45 expansion plan:
At Friday's meeting of the regional Transportation Policy Council — an event normally as dry as the Katy Freeway on a hot day — Woodland Heights resident Peggy Lindow woke up the audience.
Her ire was fueled by Texas Department of Transportation plans to increase the capacity of the North Freeway through her pleasant turn-of-the-century neighborhood northwest of downtown.
"Those houses that were originally destroyed for I-45 are gone forever, but we want to keep the ones that are left," Lindow told about two dozen elected officials, planners and road builders at the long table.
"We are not sophisticated in the ways of politics or highway planning," she said. "We are ordinary people whose homes and quality of life are threatened by the laziness and arrogance of a bunch of lifelong civil servants."
As described in a draft report by TxDOT consultant Carter & Burgess Inc., the preferred plan would have eight main lanes — the same as now — but would replace the single reversible HOV lane with four managed lanes that could be free for car pools and tolled for others, a net gain of three lanes.
But that sounds a lot like widening, and the freeway is already squeezed into a trenched segment near North Main and Houston Avenue. Just to the west is Woodland Heights, expensive and historic, and to the east is a cemetery.
Carter-Burgess project manager Janet Kennison said TxDOT "will make every effort to remain within the existing right of way," but added that some acquisition may be needed at North Main and at the Shepherd curve to the north.
Trietsch said Lindow's diagram assumes the added capacity would be added laterally, but he said it could be double-decked, as has been done in Dallas and Austin.
I've wondered why the double-decking option hasn't been talked about, but I also don't live in that area so I have no idea what the residents who would be affected think of it. Maybe Charles Kuffner will have an opinion.
And I was very glad Sallee added this:
Several speakers also touched on the subject of openness and candor, a theme heard at meetings on the Metropolitan Transit Authority's revised transit plan. A common complaint was that TxDOT lets the public speak but then does what it planned to all along.
UPDATE: Charles Kuffner addresses the double-decking idea.