June 14, 2007
Meeting on H-GAC transportation plan tonight

Previously, I noted that the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) will be hosting some public meetings in June regarding the $92 billion in sponsored transportation and related clean air planning and projects identified in its draft 2035 Regional Transportation Plan. The first of those meetings is tonight. Here's some information, courtesy of the CTC:

What: Public open house and hearing for 2035 RTP
When: Thursday, June 14, 2007 from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Where: Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) offices at 3555 Timmons Ln., Houston, TX 77098 (map)

Some kudos for the 2035 plan:

  • This new plan finally addresses in a meaningful way the fact that land use decisions can have a significant impact on mobility and quality of life

  • This new plan acknowledges the vision and goals for future growth from the thousands of participants in the Envision Houston Region process

  • More than 1/3 of expenditures will go to much needed transit projects

  • This new plan talks intelligently about preserving open green space and limiting development in flood plains

  • This new plan includes $25 million towards "livable centers" that will allow some Houstonians to drive less by living closer to where they work

Some concerns about the 2035 plan:

  • This plan still includes many controversial highway projects proposed in years past that will not help our region meet ambitious quality of life goals

  • Less than 5% of expenditures will go to freight rail to make our region's antiquated rail network safer for neighborhoods or more efficient

  • Less than 1% of expenditures will go to projects to make our region more walkable or bikeable

  • The plan does not address how different modes affect each other: how do freeways affect pedestrians? can freight rail improvements take trucks off highways? should transit improvements be targeted to walkable centers?

  • This plan does not benefit from the efficiencies of coordinating our infrastructure to build "complete" streets where individuals can choose between many different safe and efficient modes of access

Finally, the public has just two more weeks to digest the RTP, and it will be a challenge to meaningfully react to such a big plan in such a short time. Unless H-GAC grants community requests for more time to respond, the public comment period ends July 2nd.

So there you have it. If this sort of thing interests you, be sure to attend and make your voice heard.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 14, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles