Movin’ right along

Two interesting transportation stories in today’s Chron. The Katy Freeway will roughly double in width now that the feds have approved a a $1 billion plan which is slated to begin in May, 2003. Also on the west side but further south, Metro has taken the first tentative step towards expanding the light rail line outwards by funding a study of the feasibility of running a line out US 90. This route would go through Sugar Land and Missouri City into Richmond and Rosenberg. One possibility would be to share tracks that run along US 90 and are currently in use by Union Pacific.

I can’t argue that the Katy Freeway (that’s I-10 from the west side of Loop 610 out about 20-25 miles into Katy for you non-locals) doesn’t need expanding. Traffic is congested on that stretch of road pretty much whenever you drive on it. What saddens me about this project is this blip from the article:

Most of the widening will occur along the former railroad right of way north of the freeway, but some will be on the south side, [Texas Department of Transportation spokewoman Janelle] Gbur said.

If we were ever gonna build rail out this way, that was the place for it. Since there was no mention of rail as being part of this project, I guess we can kiss it goodbye. The track is already there. You don’t have to tear up streets, though you would have to figure out how and where to put the stations and platforms. Still, with so much infrastructure already in place, it seems a shame to me to never at least look at using it instead of ripping it out for more highway lanes.

I sure hope this is the panacea that westside residents want it to be, because the next time our options won’t be so nice and easy. I salute the people of Fort Bend County who are considering ideas other than more asphalt.

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