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Old December 11th, 2012, 09:36 PM   #1941
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Old December 11th, 2012, 09:47 PM   #1942
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US 17 Mount Pleasant, SC

A new interchange opened along US 17 in Mount Pleasant, a suburb of Charleston, South Carolina. It gives a nice view of the Ravenel Bridge.

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Old December 11th, 2012, 09:47 PM   #1943
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A new toll road is considered near Dallas, connecting Greenville with the President George Bush Turnpike, along the right of way of a defunct railway and parallel to I-30.

This isn't all that surprising. This isn't about Greenville right now, but rather the area in between filling in despite having horrible access to the highway sstem. The area from North Garland to Wylie has seen pretty rapid growth, as have Rockwall/Heath/Fate Royce City area just east of the lake. There were already daily jams on that section of I-30 before they widened it and its happening again as industrial complexes are rising rapidly in Rockwall. There will need to be relief of some kind. Right now, those communities make for really busy passthrough traffic in Garland and Plano. Especially Hwys 78, 66 and Plano Parkway. The Bush Turnpike extension has helped some, but the one area with gap in development is right around the Turnpike Extension. Lots of farms and ranches still remain in Rowlett. But as soon as you get to Sachse or Wyle, the subdivisions start up again. On the public transit front, the DART blue line just reached Rowlett last week. So we shall see how it affects traffic in this area.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 02:43 AM   #1944
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Did some looking around out of curiosity for my beloved Madison. This chart is four years old, but I think it gives a fairly accurate depiction of the future of the Beltline. Madison isn't all that big, but the Beltline highway is the only major east-west route through the city and immediate metro area. It's also a through route for traffic between east and northeast Wisconsin heading to either the Mississippi River area, or linking up to Interstate 80 in Iowa via U.S. 151.

Again, just a fun little chart.

http://www.madisonareampo.org/planni...tlineStudy.pdf


The highlighted portion is the location of the pedestrian bridge where I took these photos:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=747
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:11 AM   #1945
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rantanamo View Post
This isn't all that surprising. This isn't about Greenville right now, but rather the area in between filling in despite having horrible access to the highway sstem. The area from North Garland to Wylie has seen pretty rapid growth, as have Rockwall/Heath/Fate Royce City area just east of the lake. There were already daily jams on that section of I-30 before they widened it and its happening again as industrial complexes are rising rapidly in Rockwall. There will need to be relief of some kind. Right now, those communities make for really busy passthrough traffic in Garland and Plano. Especially Hwys 78, 66 and Plano Parkway. The Bush Turnpike extension has helped some, but the one area with gap in development is right around the Turnpike Extension. Lots of farms and ranches still remain in Rowlett. But as soon as you get to Sachse or Wyle, the subdivisions start up again. On the public transit front, the DART blue line just reached Rowlett last week. So we shall see how it affects traffic in this area.
Dallas and Houston have massive, almost unfathomably large freeway networks but it's never enough. More and more roads are built and existing roads are widened but the congestion continues. Proper land use and higher density zoning are needed to create a physical living environment that doesn't require the state of Texas to be paved over to move people around.

If that violates some notion of "freedom" that is not mentioned anywhere in the Bill of Rights or Constitution so be it.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:53 AM   #1946
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I used to be in favor of ever bigger expressways (and more of them), but Texas builds them on a scale that's just stupid.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:13 AM   #1947
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I used to be in favor of ever bigger expressways (and more of them), but Texas builds them on a scale that's just stupid.
While I will agree with you in that there are a few examples in which they have overbuilt (ex Katy Freeway in Houston) it would be foolish to not add any capacity especially considering the increase in both population growth and truck traffic thanks to NAFTA and trade with Mexico.

Otherwise you end up in a situation similar to say LA, DC, or Atlanta in which no new roadway capacity has been added to handle the increase in traffic which causes those cities to become heavily congested as a result.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 09:12 AM   #1948
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Proper land use and higher density zoning are needed to create a physical living environment that doesn't require the state of Texas to be paved over to move people around.
A little off topic but Houston is one of the largest cities by area in the United States at 600+ sq/miles. If suddenly a large segment of the population isn't satisfied living in the boundaries of the city (hike in property taxes, poor city services, inept and corrupt administration takes over, etc.) the citizens have a long way to go to get out of city proper.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 11:58 AM   #1949
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Most of these anti-freeway comments completely fail to notice that both Houston and DFW metropolitan areas are growing at 100,000 people every year!
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:02 PM   #1950
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A little off topic but Houston is one of the largest cities by area in the United States at 600+ sq/miles. If suddenly a large segment of the population isn't satisfied living in the boundaries of the city (hike in property taxes, poor city services, inept and corrupt administration takes over, etc.) the citizens have a long way to go to get out of city proper.
Of course, Texas' annexation laws are such that moving out of the city proper doesn't mean you won't find yourself back in it next year....


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Most of these anti-freeway comments completely fail to notice that both Houston and DFW metropolitan areas are growing at 100,000 people every year!
Yes, but - without taking sides in the freeway dispute for Houston and DFW - there are ways of accommodating population growth without new freeways. Isn't that sort of the point?
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:36 PM   #1951
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Yes, but - without taking sides in the freeway dispute for Houston and DFW - there are ways of accommodating population growth without new freeways. Isn't that sort of the point?
Like how? 100,000 per year is 1 million per decade. The current DART system serves 228,300 passengers per day, which similar to 1 year of DFW area population growth.

Even if you were to rapidly expand the system by pouring billions into it, you still need considerable expansion of the freeway network. And money can only be spent once.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:13 PM   #1952
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New York City (not counting the suburbs) has added more than a million people since 1980. Has an inch of freeway been built during that time?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populat...ity#Population

But it's not putting them in oversized single-family houses 50 miles from their jobs.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:19 PM   #1953
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People move to Texas for its economy and affordable housing, not to be put in New York style apartment buildings or overpriced California style suburban housing.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:15 PM   #1954
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I would assume there are people who move to Dallas or Houston for a particular job and who would in fact like a denser lifestyle than what's available there, but that's not really my point. I'm disagreeing with the notion that population growth automatically means more freeways.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:32 PM   #1955
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I'm disagreeing with the notion that population growth automatically means more freeways.
Well it depends how big the population increase is. Growth as big as in DFW or Houston will always justify some freeway building. Maybe it could be on a bit smaller scale but at least they have system which anticipate future population growth.

NYC is a bit of anomaly in North America, the only place with big share of public transport. And growth in the New York area was much smaller and slower in comparison to its base population.
In the last decade Houston or DFW grew by about 20%
That would correspond to 4-5 mln extra people in the New York area. Such growth (if ever possible) would require some road building.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:49 PM   #1956
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Also, Texas has a nifty way of building new major suburban highway corridors - they build the relatively inexpensive paired one-way frontage roads first, essentially creating a very wide-median four lane highway which establishes the corridor before major development arrives and then adds the freeway or tollway in the median when traffic on the frontage roads becomes heavy and congested enough. By the time that happens, the area is already built up, the locals are demanding the upgrades and there is virtually zero NIMBY resistance to the work.

Mike
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:53 PM   #1957
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State Highway 170 north of Fort Worth is a good example:


Another one is State Highway 360 south of Arlington:
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Old December 12th, 2012, 07:33 PM   #1958
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Also, Texas has a nifty way of building new major suburban highway corridors - they build the relatively inexpensive paired one-way frontage roads first, essentially creating a very wide-median four lane highway which establishes the corridor before major development arrives and then adds the freeway or tollway in the median when traffic on the frontage roads becomes heavy and congested enough. By the time that happens, the area is already built up, the locals are demanding the upgrades and there is virtually zero NIMBY resistance to the work.

Mike
I really hate frontage roads. Detroit had those extensively similar to Texas. It ruins the urban landscape.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 09:15 PM   #1959
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About a decade ago Texas adapted a policy that would curtail the construction of frontage roads mainly due to the cost. Not sure where they currently stand on the issue:

Quote:
Fronting for our highways (June 2002)
Whether you call them frontage, service, access or feeder roads--and some say you can tell what part of the state Texans hail from by what they call them--these roads are a unique phenomenon. Texans who travel often are astonished to find how rare they are in other states, where highways generally connect directly to local street networks via short ramps or roadways. Texas, by contrast, has nearly 6,500 miles of frontage roads.

This network was the brainchild of Dewitt Greer, chief engineer of the State Highway Department, TxDOT's precursor, from 1940 to 1968. Given the expense of a road system as large as Texas', it's a little surprising to learn that Greer championed frontage roads as an economy measure. But state law requires that landowners be compensated for their access rights if their property is "cut off" by a highway project, and Greer reasoned that it would be cheaper to provide roads preserving owners' access.

As frontage roads became popular arteries for commercial development, the state saved even more when landowners began donating rights of way for highway projects in the expectation that the accompanying frontage roads would make their holdings more valuable.

Over time, however, TxDOT's attitude toward Greer's innovation began to change. Today, the agency criticizes frontage roads for their expense, their contribution to traffic congestion and environmental and safety risks. On June 28, 2001, the Texas Transportation Commission, TxDOT's ruling body, quietly approved a new policy limiting new construction of frontage roads. This policy may not be the final word, though.

Under the new policy, road planners would no longer automatically assume these roads should be built. Instead, they would examine each proposed project and plan for frontage roads only where they are needed to keep streets or towns from being cut off or if a frontage road can be built for less than a purchase of access rights. Existing frontage roads would not be affected by the policy change, although as highways are rebuilt, their frontage roads might lose some exits and entrances. Cities and counties still could build their own frontage roads, but TxDOT would decide what access to freeways they would receive.

The policy change went almost unnoticed by the public and the press--at first.

Why build 'em?
After approving the policy, the commission solicited public input. Since then, the debate over the purpose and future of frontage roads has become considerably hotter, popping up in hearings and newspaper editorials across the state.

One of the main arguments in favor of curtailing the construction of frontage roads--and one of TxDOT's major reasons for proposing the change'is their cost. TxDOT estimates that frontage roads cost about $1.5 million a mile on average in addition to maintenance costs, producing a continuing drain on a limited construction budget. At present, the agency estimates its funding sources will support less than 40 percent of the state's highway construction and maintenance needs.

Tight funding was a major reason for the endorsement of the new policy by the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston's leading business and economic development organization. According to Jacqueline Baly Chaumette, the partnership's vice president for transportation/ infrastructure and environmental programs, "There's a shortfall for funding in TxDOT's budget, so we encourage the fact that they will look at each case and decide [whether to build a frontage road]. The key is that projects will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. This will allow scarce funding sources to be used on necessary projects rather than unnecessary ones."

But cost is not the only indictment of frontage roads. TxDOT maintains that they have decreased both the mobility and safety of highway traffic, not so much by themselves as in combination with frequent entrances and exits in metropolitan areas, which disrupt traffic flows and contribute to rush-hour congestion. Central Texans can view a fine example of this phenomenon by crawling along I-35 from Austin to Georgetown after work. Leave a couple of hours free for the exercise. As magnets for commercial activity, they also pose safety risks, particularly when cars pull out of parking lots into traffic moving at or near highway speed.

Some have broader philosophical objections to the whole notion of access roads. No fans of concrete, some environmentalists have endorsed TxDOT's proposal; the Bexar County chapter of the Audubon Society, for instance, has stated that "frontage roads increase the amount of impermeable cover, offer more opportunities for accidents and hydrocarbon spills, and attract additional development that will contribute to watershed degradation and non-point source pollution."

Why not build 'em?
City officials, on the other hand, tend to like features that attract additional development, and opposition mounted as word spread about the TxDOT policy change. Several cities, including Fort Worth, Plano and El Paso, have gone on record as opposing the move, while former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk called frontage roads "critical in opening up the southern part of the city to commercial development."

TEX-21, a statewide coalition of local officials and business organizations, strongly opposed the TxDOT policy change, partly due to the perception that the agency did not consider all the policy's ramifications. TEX-21 chairwoman Linda Harper-Brown, states that "TEX-21 formally opposed the frontage road proposal because of its lack of clarity. We thought the proposal was not well thought through before it became public."

TxDOT conducted a series of hearings in January 2002 to gauge public attitudes about the policy change, and according to Harper-Brown, "there was quite a bit of testimony throughout the state from retailers concerning the loss of the economic activity that frontage roads generate."

Road proponents have other concerns as well. Will local property owners still donate rights of way, for instance, without the incentive of a frontage road in return? And, as Harper-Brown points out, the safety issue cuts both ways: "If there's a major wreck on a highway, emergency vehicles use frontage roads to reach the accident. There's also a concern regarding hazardous material spills. Without frontage roads, emergency workers couldn't clear the roads fast enough."

Another issue is the havoc the policy change might cause with existing city planning--and city streets. A lack of frontage roads, says Harper-Brown, "would definitely promote [more] building within neighborhoods, putting a lot of traffic into those streets. This would totally disrupt local planning priorities, putting traffic into streets and roadways that were not designed to handle it."

So are frontage roads headed the way of the passenger pigeon? Not just yet. At present, TxDOT is weighing the testimony and comments it has received, and some sort of compromise appears likely. A TxDOT spokeswoman, Gabriela Garcia, confirms that "we've received a lot of public comment, a great deal of it not in favor of the rules as written. We're reviewing those comments now and determining how we can address them, either in the rules as written or through a new set of rules."

For the time being, at least, weekend trips to the GigantoMart--along a smooth ribbon of frontage road--will remain a part of the Texas experience.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 02:36 AM   #1960
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New York City (not counting the suburbs) has added more than a million people since 1980. Has an inch of freeway been built during that time?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populat...ity#Population

But it's not putting them in oversized single-family houses 50 miles from their jobs.
Yes and traffic is terrible at nearly all periods of the day, for example on Long Island until the Cross Island parkway during all hours of sunlight its always congested. People have miserable and long commutes and yes even 50 miles into Long Island to go to the city. Why? Well housing is expensive, school districts, etc. For all the people on the island there are few highway routes so these roads will be forever congested. Meanwhile in Dallas I've driven through downtown during rush hour at 70mph with relatively little congestion. Even in the much smaller city in Florida I live in that is impossible here. I remember in Dallas I lived 20 miles from the city center and it took me about 20 minutes or so to get downtown, try that in New York. Dallas has the best highway network I have ever seen, its excellent freeway planning although its not a great urban setup.
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