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I-45 Town Hall meeting on Saturday

Attention, everyone who may be affected by TxDOT’s plan to widen I-45 inside Loop 610: State Rep. Jessica Farrar is hosting a town hall meeting this Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM to discuss this.

The meeting is at the University of Houston-Downtown, One Main St.

Representatives from TxDOT are expected to provide updates on the agency’s proposal to expand the interstate between downtown Houston and The Woodlands and to increase the number of lanes between Loop 610 and I-10.

In October, TxDOT unveiled plans of its expansion to community members at a meeting at Jefferson Davis High School. The plans called for the creation of four “managed lanes” in the center of the interstate that would serve as high-occupancy vehicle lanes or toll lanes for individual drivers.

In some cases, the addition of those lanes would increase I-45 from eight lanes to 12.

Community members who attended the October TxDOT meeting, as well as a meeting hosted by the I-45 Coalition in February, have voiced their concerns over noise and aesthetic issues associated with the expansion — particularly the idea of TxDOT having to purchase homes and other buildings in order to create more right of way.

TxDOT representatives have said that initial plans call for little, if any, land purchase, but residents have been worried that they would not be able to work closely with the department before design plans are finalized.

Free parking will be available at 900 Girard. Additional parking will be in lots along North Main. I’ve got the agenda posted in the extended entry. I’ll be there.

9:00 a.m. Welcome by Representative Jessica Farrar

9:30 a.m. Preserving our history, Dr. Stephen Fox

Stephen Fox is an architectural historian and a fellow of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas. He is an adjunct lecturer in architecture at Rice University and The University of Houston.

10:15 a.m. Air pollution/ environmental impact, Dr. Winifred Hamilton

Dr. Hamilton is a professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Hamilton directs the Environmental Health Section (EHS) in Baylor’s Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Research Center in the Department of Medicine

11 a.m. Neighborhood advocacy: Question and Answer Session with community leaders Drexel Turner and Jim Blackburn, Rep. Farrar will moderate

Drexel Turner is a professor at the University of Houston School of Architecture. He worked with his neighborhood on the Spur 527 Jim Blackburn is an environmental attorney who worked with the Katy Corridor Coalition. Both men have experience in working with neighborhoods on transportation issues.

12 p.m. I-45 Coalition

The I-45 Coalition is a group of community leaders and neighborhood groups who have worked joined together to create a unified voice for our area in regards to the expansion.

12:30 pm Closing

** Questions from the audience will be taken after each speaker

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