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Public meeting for proposed IH-10 frontage roads on January 6

The following is from the most recent Citizens’ Transportation Coalition (CTC) email newsletter.

Recognition that segment E of the proposed Grand Parkway is not “shovel ready” freed up more than $180 million of federal stimulus funding for other mobility projects. Some of that money was reallocated to pedestrian access projects in Houston. But the Texas Transportation Commission voted on Dec 17th to allocate $88 million of stimulus funds to extend new frontage roads along IH-10, inside the loop.

State Representative Jessica Farrar will host a public meeting on January 6, 2010 regarding the proposed frontage lanes. TxDOT has agreed to present all of the current design documents and answer questions about the project.

What: Informational meeting regarding proposed IH-10 frontage roads
When: Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Where: Stevenson Elementary School, 5410 Cornish, Houston, TX 77007 (map)

We encourage anyone who lives or works near IH-10 and White Oak Bayou, between Washington and Taylor, to consider attending this meeting.

Interestingly, this section of IH-10 is one of the least-congested highways in Houston, and it has functioned well without frontage roads for more than 50 years. We have heard no public demand to add them now. CTC’s board believes TxDOT could better invest stimulus funds elsewhere, on a project that maintains the existing roadway system or addresses a critical bottleneck.

However, if TxDOT is going to pursue this project, CTC calls on TxDOT to address several critical issues identified by the White Oak Bayou Association and other neighborhood leaders before moving forward. You can download CTC’s letter to TxDOT (1.5 mb PDF) for a detailed explanation:

  • TxDOT is proposing to advance the project to build new frontage roads along IH-10 but NOT the corresponding flood mitigation project. Given the potential adverse flooding impacts to adjacent neighborhoods in the White Oak Bayou watershed, it is imperative that TxDOT construct all necessary detention ponds for new frontage roads before or contemporaneous with their construction.
  • TxDOT has not hosted a public meeting regarding this project since 2003, and the area has attracted thousands of new residents and businesses in the interim. We urge TxDOT to hold a public hearing for both the frontage road project and the corresponding detention pond project, in January 2010, before moving forward to let contracts.
  • Volunteer engineering resources have identified several critical design issues with TxDOT’s current frontage road plans.

Public participation makes better projects. It’s essential for TxDOT to understand, and address public concerns before committing this project to concrete. If you’re unable to attend the Jan 6 meeting, you may send comments to:

Director of Project Development
Texas Department of Transportation
PO Box 1386  Houston  TX  77251-1386

You can also read more about the IH-10 reconstruction and frontage roads project and the IH-10 detention near White Oak Bayou project in CTC’s online forum.

You’ll definitely want to check out that letter to TxDOT about why the frontage roads are a bad idea, and why the detention ponds should come first regardless of what else TxDOT decides to do. And make plans to attend that meeting if you live in or around the affected area.

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