February 04, 2005
The I-45 Coalition

Those of you who want to give a piece of your mind to TxDOT regarding the proposed I-45 expansion into downtown should attend this public meeting on Tuesday next week.

The I-45 Coalition will play host to a public meeting Tuesday to address concerns regarding the Texas Department of Transportation's proposed "managed lanes" project for Interstate 45.

The meeting, at 7:30 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, 3606 Beauchamp in Woodland Heights, will feature a presentation by TxDOT engineer Mike Tello, followed by a question-and-answer session.


Members of the I-45 Coalition, formed in 1998 after TxDOT initially announced it was looking at an expansion plan for the interstate, say it's imperative for community members to get all the facts from the transportation department regarding the expansion and how they will be affected.

Coalition representatives say communication among the community and TxDOT has in the past been minimal, something they hope to change regarding the I-45 project.

"What we're hearing from (TxDOT) right now is that there are no plans in place, just concepts," said Laura Armstrong, a member of the I-45 Coalition. "But when there are plans, it will be too late for us.

"We want to get TxDOT working with us now, rather than us scrambling to have our say once plans are already in place. In the past, there's been fairly little communication. We don't feel they listen to community concerns."

Added Coalition member Jim Weston, "We're concerned we're going to blink two or three times and the plans will have been finalized.

"TxDOT public meetings are designed to fulfill their requirements, not get a productive dialogue going with the community. They lay their study results and analysis out on a table, say that they're still in the design phase and tell anyone who has questions to mail them to the department. We've got to show them that that won't get it done in this case."

I will try to be there. Maybe I can finally ask my question about why we aren't trying to use the already-existing excess capacity of the Hardy Toll Road instead of expanding I-45.

The I-45 Coalition has a domain name registered, i-45coalition.org, but there's nothing there yet. I'll mention it again when it's up and running. And I want to give props to State Rep. Jessica Farrar and City Council member Adrian Garcia for all the work they've done so far with the neighborhood groups on this one.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 04, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack