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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:04 PM   #3461
Majestic
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Katy Fwy: isn't that the freeway that reaches enormous 18 or 20 lanes at some point making it the widest in US?

Houston looks very rural here, just downtown rising from jungle of trees all around it.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #3462
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Houston's freeways are fun to drive on.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:09 PM   #3463
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post


Houston's freeways are fun to drive on.
Unless you're stuck in rush-hour traffic I guess
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:19 PM   #3464
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Actually Houston is the only US city that saw a decrease of peak travel time between 1986 and 2001, while Houston alone grew by hundreds of thousands of inhabitants at that period.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:26 PM   #3465
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What I never understood is Houston's inefficient land usage. Look at the Google Earth picture below, nearly 1/3rd of the land area seems undeveloped. Neighborhoods are not integrated with eachother, commercial zones seems to have no decent zoning. All in all rather messy, and it creates longer than necessary commuting distances.
[IMG]http://i41.************/35aj8xt.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i42.************/o6beow.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i40.************/34xj094.jpg[/IMG]

It also creates huge distances. Check it out:

[IMG]http://i43.************/5l8o55.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i42.************/2yzlzx0.jpg[/IMG]
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:41 PM   #3466
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Probably lack of zoning laws and different land pricing made its job. Usually the further from he city core the land, the cheaper it is. This is not a stimulant towards hiher density. Add to this city politics of building freeways and cheap fuel which extremely lowers car-commute costs and here you have it - Houston at its best.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:50 PM   #3467
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I agree. There are several disadvantages of this land usage. First of all, the endless increase in suburbs means the freeways need to be widened constantly due to increased commuter traffic. Where is it gonna end? Second, longer commuting distances means less time for family time. This may sound a bit tacky, but if you're only see your dad during weekends (with young children), that's not a good way to raise kids.

However, the lack of zoning means housing stays affordable. A major problem with European zoning are the high prices of housing. For the price of a small rowhouse in the Netherlands, you can buy a huge detached home in Texas. When there are physical boundaries (zoning laws, or geographical boundaries), you'll see a (huge) increase in housing prices. Look at Los Angeles for instance. Prices went sky high.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:59 PM   #3468
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Houston has no zoning.

The way the DOT builds roads in Texas makes all their cities damned ugly. Everything revolves around the expressways and their service roads, which leads to huge canyons of concrete. This is the dominant urban landscape in Texas. It's extremely unpleasant.

In most states, it's not like this. In Ohio, the DOT and civil engineers pay a lot more attention to aesthetics.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 02:01 PM   #3469
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The road quality is good though, compared to say Los Angeles. But I agree, concrete is ugly. Especially if the roadways, barriers and soundbarriers are all concrete. But then again, why bother making a freeway look aesthetic if the surrounding area (commercial strips) are ugly as hell too?
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Old December 18th, 2008, 02:19 PM   #3470
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It's not just that. You have the expressways, which especially in Houston are typically 8+ lanes. Then there's a huge median, left so that in 2020 they can expand it another 8 lanes. Then there's 3-4 more lanes of service roads on the outside. Then there's gigantic tacky signs on either side soaring high in the air advertising fast food (which fat Texans love), various plastic crud, strip clubs, or whatever that are made to be seen by folks across those 16 lanes of traffic up to a quarter mile away. Beyond that, you have giant parking lots with Walmarts on one side, Walmarts on the other side, and endless McDonald's, Dollar stores, and other trashy establishments as far as the eye can see. You can see it in those pictures above.

And because so many of the commercial offices, industries, and even many housing developments are right off these expressway service roads, this essentially ends up being where you spent a lot of your time in Texas, looking across these vast canyons of concrete with lots of big tacky signs and endless parking lots.

It's not that there isn't sprawl elsewhere in America. But because elsewhere they don't develop stuff parallel to the expressway, the overall aesthetics are improved. The main roads are perpendicular to the expressways. The tacky developments can be better concealed from view. Also, even if you have signs for McDonald's or Cracker Barrel, they tend not to be as huge, as tall, or as egregious because you're not trying to advertise to 16 lanes of traffic everywhere.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 06:19 PM   #3471
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Dallas - Land 'O Stacks

There are probably more stack interchanges within the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area than in all of Europe. Let's check them out. I think they're far more aesthetic than the Houston freeways we've discussed before.

1. Dallas North Tollway / George Bush Turnpike, Plano
[IMG]http://i42.************/2ak0ahf.jpg[/IMG]

2. I-20 / I-35E, Dallas
[IMG]http://i41.************/2r7pjk7.jpg[/IMG]

3. I-20 / I-35W, Fort Worth
[IMG]http://i39.************/2livbm1.jpg[/IMG]

4. I-20 / SR-360, Arlington
[IMG]http://i44.************/25ph2rl.jpg[/IMG]

5. I-20 / US67, Duncanville
[IMG]http://i43.************/55qid0.jpg[/IMG]

6. I-20 / US175, Balch Springs
[IMG]http://i43.************/33nyis8.jpg[/IMG]

7. I-30 / I-35W, Fort Worth
[IMG]http://i43.************/nx8k28.jpg[/IMG]

8. I-30 / I-45, Dallas
[IMG]http://i40.************/292qrut.jpg[/IMG]

9. I-30 / I-635, Mesquite
[IMG]http://i42.************/25s0a6s.jpg[/IMG]

10. I-30 / I-820, Fort Worth
[IMG]http://i43.************/33l334i.jpg[/IMG]

11. I-30 / I-820, Fort Worth
[IMG]http://i42.************/2eupzqr.jpg[/IMG]

12. I-35E / George Bush Turnpike, Carrollton
[IMG]http://i44.************/zu02ky.jpg[/IMG]

13. I-35E / I-635, Farmers Branch
[IMG]http://i40.************/15xa6g6.jpg[/IMG]

14. I-45 / I-20, Dallas
[IMG]http://i41.************/w89h76.jpg[/IMG]

15. I-635 / US 75, Dallas
[IMG]http://i44.************/jzd4le.jpg[/IMG]

16. I-635 / US 80, Mesquite
[IMG]http://i41.************/1zejx5l.jpg[/IMG]

17. SR-161 / SR-183, Irving
[IMG]http://i42.************/2qwjvur.jpg[/IMG]

18. US 75 / George Bush Turnpike
[IMG]http://i40.************/28b6yrb.jpg[/IMG]
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Old December 18th, 2008, 06:23 PM   #3472
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Great pics!

Verso! Where is Verso?
__________________
Respect .
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Old December 18th, 2008, 08:17 PM   #3473
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Quote:
I noticed that too. Except for most downtown/commercial area's, you usually only see trees. I think living in that kind of suburbia is much better than say the European new urban areas of flats, rowhouses and nearly no trees.
You like American suburbia better?

Last edited by LtBk; December 18th, 2008 at 08:57 PM.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 08:19 PM   #3474
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtBk View Post

You like American suburbia better?
As for affordability and living atmosphere; yes.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 08:58 PM   #3475
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Affordable is the good thing about suburbia IMO.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 09:12 PM   #3476
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Check it out, I copied Houston's freeway network over the Netherlands

[img]http://i41.************/f0rte0.jpg[/img]

It becomes a bit more messy if we show the Dutch freeway network.
[IMG]http://i42.************/2ibzxi0.jpg[/IMG]
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Old December 18th, 2008, 09:45 PM   #3477
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That second beltway seems incomplete.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 10:30 PM   #3478
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Good job! You should obligatory show that chart to anyone claiming that your country is paved over with motorways

And Houston is huuugeeee
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Old December 18th, 2008, 11:27 PM   #3479
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Another one with the long Miami metropolitan area
[IMG]http://i43.************/2utgbbd.jpg[/IMG]
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Old December 18th, 2008, 11:38 PM   #3480
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Well then check out this map I made for a paper I'm preparing, guess which metropolitan areas are covered

Big lines are cancelled freeways, striped lines are planned freeways and small dotted lines are current freeways (per Caltrans, Houston Freeways and Autosnelwegen.nl):

[IMG]http://i40.************/33dj9r4.gif[/IMG]
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