June 27, 2002
That other freeway

A nice little article in the Chron about community participation in the debate over widening I-45 north of downtown. Neighborhood groups, including my own, were there to oppose plans to widen I-45 beyond its existing right-of-way, as this would require the demolition of many houses. The story covers one of three meetings that Metro is holding to discuss transit options, including rail.

The meeting that address concerns inside the Loop was one of three organized by the Metro team to gather comments on the highway study's progress. Their work is focused on an area that runs about 30 miles from downtown to The Woodlands along I-45, and between I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road. About four miles of I-45 and U.S. 59 segments south of downtown are included.

As part of the study, Metro is analyzing a variety of advanced high-capacity options such as light rail or high-speed bus, as well as highway improvements.


Located near Houston's largest and busiest airport and a north Houston business district, and surrounded by several growing suburbs, the Greenspoint area should serve as a mass transit crossroads, said many participants at Metro's Greenspoint/IAH planning session.

While the majority agreed that a light-rail system running through the area is a must, many ideas surfaced on what route that train should take and where and how many stops it should make.

"Is there any reason we can't ask for all at the same time?" said Houston Police Department Sgt. Corby Weber.

Some common themes that emerged from the meeting, Smith said, included the need for light-rail access from Greenspoint along Greens Road and the Hardy Toll Road, a stop at Greenspoint Mall, a light-rail line that serves local residents, and a line continuing north with stops at FM 1960, FM 2920, The Woodlands and Texas 242.

Eager for a high-speed alternative to lengthy and congested road trips to downtown Houston and points beyond, Woodlands-area residents and business owners voiced strong support for a light-rail line down I-45.

That last bit is especially encouraging, since it's so often the folks in the far-flung suburbs who push for road widening because they can't get to work fast enough to suit them. Compare to the recent announcements about widening I-10 west of Loop 610, which was pushed through without any real consideration of other options, led by westside Congressman John Culberson. There is organized opposition to this plan, but unlike the I-45 corridor folks, these people are starting out behind the eight ball.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 27, 2002 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles