April 07, 2005
Chron writeup on I-45 town hall

Here's the Chron story on Saturday's I-45 town hall meeting. It's got a lot more detail about the presentations, so be sure to check it out. One thing I want to highlight from the article that I didn't mention in my writeup:

Jim Blackburn, an environmental attorney who previously worked with the Katy Corridor Coalition, said the state does an inadequate job of protecting the rights of those who live near freeways, and could thus potentially suffer the negative health effects of freeways.

"Texas is supposed to be a property rights state, but we never seem to get around to protecting the property rights (of) people who live next to freeways," Blackburn said, telling those who planned to fight the transportation department on the freeway expansion, "if you frame this as a property rights issue, you'll get people to listen."

I think that's exactly right, and I think it's an underappreciated point. It's easy to get the clean-air and mass-transit crowd fired up about the prospect of widening I-45, but houses and neighborhoods are imperiled by this regardless of one's green credentials. This is about condemning some people's houses to make it easier for other people to drive to work. That should be done with extreme reluctance as an absolute last resort, and if it does come to that, no one should be surprised or upset if those affected are very aggressive about getting fair compensation for their loss.

Gonzalo Camacho, an engineer and member of the I-45 Coalition, proposed that TxDoT turn portions of I-45 that run close to downtown into an underground tunnel, an idea that met with positive reaction among those in attendance.

That's the presentation I missed last time, but after an email to Gonzalo Camacho, I found his presentation here. That's an 8.2 MB PowerPoint file, so don't click it unless you can handle it, but if you can, it's pretty slick. I'm not surprised that people liked it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 07, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

That's a pretty good presentation, even if it was in Comic Sans...

Posted by: Michael on April 7, 2005 5:25 PM

I don't understand the big fuss. I drove northbound along the I-45 frontage road from North Main to Loop 610 and paid careful attention to the structures that would be displaced. They are mostly lower-tier commercial establishments with very few homes. Density is low. Taking a 100 foot strip would displace some businesses but have a neglible effect on the neighborhood. The projected vehicle increase is not that large and also would have a very small impact, especially since vehicles 10 to 20 years in the future will be much cleaner than today.

I think this is a case of inner loop vs. outer loop. This project needs to move forward.

Posted by: MaxConcrete on April 7, 2005 11:47 PM