July 15, 2007
Bunker Hill widening revisited

I heard this story on KUHF on Friday evening, and it piqued my curiosity.

Donna Freeman knows this area. She's lived here for most of her life and is proud of a small creek and patch of woods just off of busy Bunker Hill Road, near the intersection of the Katy Freeway and the West Belt. It's the site of an old German homestead.

"The birds are still there, but they're farther back now just where it's a little quieter. You'll see the herons. There's just tons of birds because there's water."

Freeman and other residents in the Long Point Woods neighborhood say those trees and birds might not be there for very long. The planned expansion of Bunker Hill Road between I-10 and Long Point from two lanes to three and four lanes is expected to begin early next year. Now neighbors are in a battle with the local Tax Increment Redevelopment Zone board and the city to re-think the project.

"They promise that there's only going to be a certain amount of trees that are going to be lost. We think there's going to be a great many trees lost and some of the big, oldest trees. I think it's going to devastate parts of this area and we all feel that way."

Freeman and others also say students at nearby Wood View Elementary could be at risk from the increased traffic on a busier road. Robert Fiederlein helps oversee the city's 22 Tax Increment Redevelopment Zones and has been a part of the Bunker Hill Road expansion process. He says the city has done what it can to balance the needs for mobility and those of the neighborhood.

"It's essentially a two-lane country road that connects the Katy Freeway with Long Point, which is a city major thoroughfare and there's an awful lot of traffic right now and with the development that's occurring along the Katy Freeway, there's a tremendous need for the expansion of this road over the vast majority of the project and through the residential area. We're not acquiring any right-of-way. The city set this right-of-way aside just for this purpose."

I blogged about this last September, here and here. I'm a little confused by KUHF's story, because as you can see from that second link, the widening between I-10 and Long Point was the one uncontroversial part of this project, since it's basically a commercial area - the main exit from the Costco parking lot is onto Bunker Hill, and it's a mess. It's north of Long Point where the residential area is, and where the pushback from homeowners has come. I'm not sure if that distinction got lost in the editing process, or if things have changed since last September. Can anyone from that area clear this up? Leave a comment if you can. Thanks.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 15, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The uncontroversial part is between I-10 and the back of the Costco property. The residential neighborhood is behind Costco, stretching to Longpoint. Bunker Hill ends at Longpoint.

Posted by: Christof Spieler on July 16, 2007 10:27 AM