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Report from the Grand Parkway meeting in Spring

The Chron covered Tuesday’s public meeting on the proposal to expand the Grand Parkway as a toll road through Spring, and Anne adds a lot of detail to it. One thing I want to highlight:

A question and answer session followed. I won’t go into all of them, but I will highlight a couple. One question asked if this is considered a regional mobility solution or if it’s geared toward local traffic. [Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) Executive Director Art] Storey admitted it’s basic purpose is for regional mobility, although he’s sure locals will use it once it’s built. He said that currently it takes Tomball residents one hour to get to I-45 and that needs to be remedied.

Which makes me wonder why Spring residents have to be bulldozed in order to give Tomball residents a faster route to I-45. That’s just bizarre. If a Tomball resident needs to get to I-45 more quickly on a regular basis, then maybe that person should move closer to I-45. Duh.

This “regional mobility” crap is the same stuff that’s been fed to residents and businesses currently displaced by the Katy Freeway boondoggle, and to residents and businesses threatened by the proposed I-45 widening. The subtext is that the need of some people to get from where they live to where they work faster than they are currently able to do is more important than the inconvenience that accomodating them would cause to the people in between. I’m sorry, but my neighborhood is not an impediment to your mobility. I refuse to have my quality of life suffer so you can shave ten minutes off your commute. You made your choice about where to live, you can live with the consequences of that choice. Maybe it’s time we looked at alternatives, such as figuring out ways to reduce traffic on overburdened roads, instead of automatically drawing lines on maps and thus rewarding one kind of lifestyle over another.

Bottom line: If it were properly calculated, the cost of destroying an established neighborhood so that people from someplace else can drive a little faster would be much higher than the dollar-and-cent total for condemning the property. If we took the real costs into effect, we’d see the need to find alternatives. It’s going to require that the people who are demanding the faster routes to realize that their subdivision could be next before this will ever happen, unfortunately.

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5 Comments

  1. Renee says:

    AMEN to the following statement: “…my neighborhood is not an impediment to your mobility. I refuse to have my quality of life suffer so you can shave ten minutes off your commute. You made your choice about where to live, you can live with the consequences of that choice. Maybe it’s time we looked at alternatives, such as figuring out ways to reduce traffic on overburdened roads, instead of automatically drawing lines on maps and thus rewarding one kind of lifestyle over another.”

    Unfortunately it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease so Inner Loopers have to make their voices louder than the Suburbanites.

  2. I had this discussion with a cow orker at former job. She lived in Katy and as a Heights resident, I pointed out that if she wanted to get downtown fast, she could live where I did and commute out (as I did–we worked at Wilcrest and Richmond). She looked at me like I was nuts and told me that I didn’t understand real estate prices and schools. I understood perfectly well–I just thought she’d made her bed with her house purchase and wasn’t inclined to get bulldozed so she didn’t have to lie in it.

    Call me a “bad choices” libertarian, but I’m not willing to see Inner Loopers get screwed so people who bought out in the suburbs can get downtown faster. Especially since I think the road improvements won’t improve general mobility in the way suburbanites want. No matter how you slice it, if you live in Katy it’s going to take a long time to get downtown, or even to the Galleria.

  3. Charles Hixon says:

    Storey’s Tomball excuse is Harris County Engineering’s “divide and conquer” strategy. I believe Tomball’s economic growth has been postponed by infrastructure delays and this is a sore spot with Tomball vs. the State. Storey is pitting neighbor (Tomball) against neighbor (Spring) so that the project will move forward as well as improve Eversole’s damaged reputation n Tomball. The Spring folks will need to either neutralize or diffuse this, or better yet, leverage it. Right now it appears that the “divide and conquer” strategy is taking root and could ultimately be Spring’s poison pill.

  4. Anne says:

    “and could ultimately be Spring’s poison pill.”

    Spring’s poison pill has a name — Jon Lindsay.

  5. Charles Hixon says:

    I have to disagree with you Anne. Lindsay,
    bless his heart, is nothing without his political financial support. You’re wasting your time if you stop there.