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Old April 27th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #4121
ttownfeen
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There's only so much you can dress up a concrete monstrosity.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 10:01 PM   #4122
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Ahh, gotta love the Texas-size freeway! If it's huge, it's not big enough there. (hence highways that are 8 contiguous lanes just on one side and would do better with a pair of parallel 4-lane sections)
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Old April 27th, 2009, 10:12 PM   #4123
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As you can see, there are also a left HOT lane, plus 3 frontage road lanes, for a grand total of 24 lanes. Now that's Texas style. But I don't consider Frontage Roads to be part of the freeway, and the Katy freeway is usually only 2x5 lanes + 2 HOT lanes. Only this part before the I-610 is really massive.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #4124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
I don't think I've ever seen good-looking concrete on any U.S. highway. I don't know why that is. Is it the way they're textured? I know in some areas they use a technique called carpet-dragging to create a rough surface in the concrete. That almost never turns out aesthetically right...
Thats what I was thinking "COMMIE TEXANS?!" Those motorways must flow well when theres not to much traffic, but navagating in a traffic jam in that!
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Old April 28th, 2009, 12:22 AM   #4125
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That wide stretch is only near I-610, which is a major interchange. You can see that the right four lanes are exit lanes by looking at the pavement markings.

There are stretches of freeway in Atlanta that are also 5+1 HOV or 6+1 HOV with up to 8 lanes approaching major interchanges as well, but they don't look nearly as imposing because most of those stretches are below grade and surrounded by trees.

The main upgrade to the Katy was widening from 3 lanes each way to 5+2 HOT lanes. That does not seem unreasonable since the Katy Freeway was horribly under capacity for decades. 5 general purpose lanes is typical for an urban freeway in several sunbelt cities: Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and pretty much all of California.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 04:31 AM   #4126
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They considered that when widening the Katy Freeway, but there wasn't demand for it...
More like politicians got in the way, as usual.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 06:08 AM   #4127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
They considered that when widening the Katy Freeway, but there wasn't demand for it...
Why I am not surprised....
one word - TEXAS
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Old April 28th, 2009, 08:27 AM   #4128
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5 months ahead of schedule
Of course at this point they only opened the third lane on the eastbound side. The westbound side is the same mess it's always been while Caltrans takes credit for an imcomplete project.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 10:16 AM   #4129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADCS View Post
More like politicians got in the way, as usual.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFlint1985 View Post
Why I am not surprised....
one word - TEXAS
I wouldn't shoot it down too fast, I've seen billions of tax dollars/euros been wasted on rail projects with horribly overestimated traveler estimates.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 02:06 PM   #4130
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It is really easy to take cheap shots on Texas freeways.

* Frontage roads with unsightly commercial blight

* Reliance on surface treatments (texturing, coloring, star/running horse/pioneer/Spanish colonial designs on retaining walls and bridge piers, etc.) rather than good coordination of horizontal and vertical curves to tick the "aesthetic design" checkboxes

* Too-tight vertical curves (a result of using side street crossings as location controls)

However, in the specific case of this picture, I would point out the following:

* Construction is not yet complete

* The road was photographed through an extreme telephoto lens, which exaggerates the vertical curvature and makes the road look more like a roller-coaster than it really is

* As has already been pointed out, the picture shows the multiple lanes which will be dropped at the upcoming I-610 interchange (in fact, three lanes are dropped on some approaches)

A picture taken with the equivalent of a 40-mm lens on a 35-mm camera would give a more accurate idea of how this road looks to the driver. Moreover, this picture has been hotlinked to this forum thread, without the caption or other explanatory text the author has supplied, and so is being viewed out of context.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 12:17 AM   #4131
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Atlanta stop-and-go traffic. Doesn't seem too bad though for such a large metropolitan area with a relatively limited freeway network. (the existing freeways are huge though)
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Old April 29th, 2009, 02:38 AM   #4132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I wouldn't shoot it down too fast, I've seen billions of tax dollars/euros been wasted on rail projects with horribly overestimated traveler estimates.
Chris - I certainly know what you are saying and acknowledge that caution and sense should prevail over some rush decisions to all of a sudden move into public transportation en masse. but I have one lousy feeling that Texas will not do this even if there is need for it. It is way too conservative and individualistic state which is very very different from the rest of the country. Tell them something with the word "public" in front of it and almost anything will be considered as some sort of socialistic Utopian idea. So to cut the long story short - politics, not common sense, play a very large role in this state once you deal with these kind of projects.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 11:32 AM   #4133
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Well, one thing is certain for me, the Katy freeway widening was necessary anyway. With a population growth Houston has (+115,000 in 2007/2008), you cannot be dicking around with marginal solutions such as adding a HOV lane, build a lightrail line or introduce shoulder running.

With the freeway layout Houston has, the hub-and-spoke setup, much like Atlanta, it generates huge traffic volumes on those inbound axis, because of the lack of alternatives. If you live in west Houston, you almost certain will use the Katy Freeway.

Compare it to the expressways through the Bronx in New York. There are four north-south expressways there (Saw Mill, I-87, Sprain Brook and Hutchinson River Parkways), each with about 100,000 AADT. Now think of combining those 4 into one freeway, so you can imagine what a monster freeway that should be to handle four times 100,000 vehicles per day. That's basically what happens in cities like Houston and Atlanta.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 03:53 PM   #4134
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I prefer the layout in cities like Detroit or Chicago, that have lots of parallel East-West and North-South expressways.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 12:27 AM   #4135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J N Winkler View Post
It is really easy to take cheap shots on Texas freeways.

* Frontage roads with unsightly commercial blight

* Reliance on surface treatments (texturing, coloring, star/running horse/pioneer/Spanish colonial designs on retaining walls and bridge piers, etc.) rather than good coordination of horizontal and vertical curves to tick the "aesthetic design" checkboxes

* Too-tight vertical curves (a result of using side street crossings as location controls)

However, in the specific case of this picture, I would point out the following:

* Construction is not yet complete

* The road was photographed through an extreme telephoto lens, which exaggerates the vertical curvature and makes the road look more like a roller-coaster than it really is

* As has already been pointed out, the picture shows the multiple lanes which will be dropped at the upcoming I-610 interchange (in fact, three lanes are dropped on some approaches)

A picture taken with the equivalent of a 40-mm lens on a 35-mm camera would give a more accurate idea of how this road looks to the driver. Moreover, this picture has been hotlinked to this forum thread, without the caption or other explanatory text the author has supplied, and so is being viewed out of context.
Being from Texas it's hard for me to imagine freeways without frontage roads. I always feel surprised when I go to another state and see no frontage roads and exits are always several miles apart. I drove from Austin to San Antonio over the weekend and noticed that there is at least one exit every mile. Other states seem have their rural exits 5 and 10 miles apart.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 04:47 AM   #4136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFlint1985 View Post
Chris - I certainly know what you are saying and acknowledge that caution and sense should prevail over some rush decisions to all of a sudden move into public transportation en masse. but I have one lousy feeling that Texas will not do this even if there is need for it. It is way too conservative and individualistic state which is very very different from the rest of the country. Tell them something with the word "public" in front of it and almost anything will be considered as some sort of socialistic Utopian idea. So to cut the long story short - politics, not common sense, play a very large role in this state once you deal with these kind of projects.
Not to mention every politician in the state is in the pocket of the oil industry.

The public generally likes transit projects. Business interests (including all those companies lining the feeder roads) do not. Guess who has more say in the legislature? For example, Texas would have true HSR if it weren't for Southwest Airlines (who thankfully is on board for current proposals).
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Old May 1st, 2009, 02:12 AM   #4137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
Being from Texas it's hard for me to imagine freeways without frontage roads. I always feel surprised when I go to another state and see no frontage roads and exits are always several miles apart. I drove from Austin to San Antonio over the weekend and noticed that there is at least one exit every mile. Other states seem have their rural exits 5 and 10 miles apart.
I live 2 hours from Texas, so I use to travel very often to Laredo, San Antonio and San Marcos, and of course sometimes I travel to Houston, and only once I've been in Dallas. In my opinion, I really prefer freeways "Texas Style", I think that frontage roads give Texas Freeways more life, all the activities on the sides give you something else than just driving. There is also positive for tourists because if you get lost, there is always an exit not so far, and the chance to turn around.

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Last edited by ManRegio; May 1st, 2009 at 08:28 PM.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 02:30 AM   #4138
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Well count this Texan as a person that does not like them. While they mean well, they make the city look very ugly. Just travel down I-45 in the Northside of Houston and you will see this. It's very common throughout "urban" Texas. You have to fight the traffic on those access roads that come out of those businesses. You will at times have close accidents on those things and people treat them like they are freeways itself.

The one thing I do like in Texas is the U-Turn. Those are greatness. But the access roads can go.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 02:35 AM   #4139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFlint1985 View Post
Chris - I certainly know what you are saying and acknowledge that caution and sense should prevail over some rush decisions to all of a sudden move into public transportation en masse. but I have one lousy feeling that Texas will not do this even if there is need for it. It is way too conservative and individualistic state which is very very different from the rest of the country. Tell them something with the word "public" in front of it and almost anything will be considered as some sort of socialistic Utopian idea. So to cut the long story short - politics, not common sense, play a very large role in this state once you deal with these kind of projects.
Actually, Texas and Texans really want the HSR and more rail throughout the state. Especially North Texas as Dallas, Fort Worth, and even it's suburbs are building rail. It however does come to politics and that's really sad. The urban areas (basically the cities) compared to the suburban and rural areas are now becoming night and day and the suburban and rural areas for NOW has a larger voice than the urban areas but that is starting to change.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 08:18 PM   #4140
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The 100 busiest freeways in California. (2007)
image hosted on flickr
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