March 11, 2020
County Judge Lina Hidalgo delivered the news:
“Today we're taking action to help elevate voices in our community that have been set aside for too long. For too long, transportation policy in our region has been stuck in the '50s. For a generation, we've gone on just building more lanes, putting down more concrete, thinking that somehow magically that's going to reduce traffic and that's going to make us more competitive. All the while what we've done is created more flooding problems, exacerbated instead of solving traffic, and built bigger and wider highways while turning into one of the last urban areas worldwide without a comprehensive public transportation system. We cannot continue to support transportation policy that prioritizes cars over people.
“We can build a highway that respects communities, that respects the need to prepare for the future, that respects children, that includes within it significant investment for transit options. We can prepare for the challenges of the future rather than being stuck in a transportation model that the rest of the country, and frankly the rest of the world, outgrew decades ago.”
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For legal documents, please visit our Documents page.
This project will displace:
• 168 single family homes
• 1,067 multi-family homes, which include
◦ 368 low-income units
◦ 60 homeless veterans’ units
The TxDOT project will displace 331 businesses, which employ 24,873 people.
Air quality has an impact on public health. Children living or attending school near freeways like I-45 are at risk of damage to their developing brain, lungs, heart, and circulatory systems. Furthermore, a number of traffic-related air pollutants – such as diesel particulate matter, benzene, 1,3 butadiene, and formaldehyde – are known to cause cancer.
TxDOT has designed the highway only for 100-year flood events (storms that theoretically have a 1 percent chance of occurring in a given year), not the tougher 500-year standard required of all other projects in Harris County and the City of Houston. More concrete and more lanes mean less water being absorbed. TxDOT should mitigate its flooding impact and design for the storms we know are coming.
Although not fully funded to-date, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project is estimated to cost $7-10 billion (exclusive of right-of-way purchases) to expand 25 miles of highway over a 10-year period. This road will increase the cost of road maintenance. Because TxDOT relies on debt to build these projects, our children and grandchildren will be paying for it.
According to TxDOT’s May 2017 Schematics, Bayou Greenway and parks impacts will mean we lose 27 acres of current open space.
Change column placement to mitigate specific impacts to parks and open space.
Creating a greenway trail along Little White Oak Bayou will improve connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists. The greenway should connect Acres Homes to Freed Art & Nature Park and the existing White Oak Bayou Greenway.
Recognize that the City of Houston (COH) code was updated after Harvey to remove the clause that grandfathers existing pavement from mitigation requirement. It requires mitigation for the entire project, not just the net pavement being added. TxDOT should build to these new COH code requirements.
This will improve access for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders using bridges which cross the reconstructed I-45. TxDOT must provide safe pedestrian-bicycle connections where traffic coming off the freeway meets city streets. In other areas, TxDOT must make sure surface street connectivity is not impaired.
If highway funding is used to build mass transit instead of expanding urban freeways, Houstonians will be able to travel more miles with greater safety.