Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bagby reconstruction gets muddled

As reported by InnerLooped (and confirmed through my own contacts), the City Public Works Dept has frozen reconstruction work on Bagby in Midtown three months into the already-permitted work in order to change it from two lanes to three. Anybody who reads my blogs knows I am a great supporter of transportation projects (something I believe Houston does better than most other cities), but the sudden change-of-plan to make Bagby three lanes instead of two is a case of unnecessary overcapacity, especially considering the substantial losses of pedestrian friendly features/landscaping and much-needed street parking.

I understand the value of Bagby as a feeder from 45S to the 59S Spur, but consider that:

1) 45S only feeds a single exit lane into Bagby.

2) Even if Bagby is three lanes wide, it still must reconstrict to two lanes below Westheimer/Elgin before entering the spur, thus the third lane really adds nothing.

3) Smith provides plenty of additional parallel southbound capacity for people connecting from 45 to the spur.

4) Traffic studies indicate only two lanes are needed on Bagby.

5) The spur is only two lanes wide, and in addition to being fed by Bagby is also fed by 3 lanes of Smith, 3 lanes of Milam, and an entrance ramp from Richmond.  Is there really any value to feeding 10 lanes of traffic into a two lane facility instead of the existing plan of 9?  The outbound spur already backs up regularly at rush hour - why would we want to feed even more cars onto it to back it up further?

PWE needs to strongly reconsider sticking with the existing 2-lane Bagby plan, including pedestrian amenities and desperately needed street parking (which will also bring revenue to the city). If you agree, you can sign the petition here.

UPDATE: looks like they're going to mostly stick with the original 2-lane plan - check out these stories from Houston Tomorrow and CultureMap.

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5 Comments:

At 3:27 AM, June 25, 2012, Anonymous Mike said...

It's amazing that, after everything, after fifteen years of slowly increased awareness that there can be an urban environment where roads do not simply exist to provide access to freeways, we're still making decisions like this.

 
At 2:32 AM, June 26, 2012, Blogger Rail Claimore said...

Cities don't randomly do this. Someone with a lot of money must have bought a lot of land nearby.

 
At 9:30 AM, June 26, 2012, Blogger Jardinero1 said...

I used to live in Avondale just off of Bagby. I used to walk on and cross Bagby regularly on foot and by car. There is more to this than feeding Spur 59.

During peak hours Bagby fills to capacity on its meager two lanes. Entering or crossing Bagby at anything other than a controlled intersection is very dangerous at peak hours. The single lane will increase capacity by fifty percent. Having the extra lane will make the entering and crossing Bagby at other points between Pierce and 59 will be much easier for both cars and pedestrians.

 
At 11:22 AM, June 26, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jardinero1 -- I have lived in Midtown for over seven years and have witnessed the growth firsthand all this time. I live on Bagby and I drive it, run it, bike it and walk it with and without my dog every single day. Adding another lane of motorized traffic does not make pedestrians or patrons at cafe sidewalks safer. More lanes of traffic simply means more speeding in and out of lanes and therefore more auto accidents at higher rates of speed. Meager lanes you say? A traffic study was done and plans approved for this to be a green road and pedestrian friendly. Now, an about-face in plans and a third lane is going to be suddenly added? I think you're missing the point. Midtown is our backyard and if we can help influence a better decision for us all then that's what we are determined to do. Rise Rising...

 
At 4:00 PM, July 03, 2012, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Bagby St. Reconstruction back on track, mostly the original two-lane plan: http://www.houstontomorrow.org/livability/story/bagby-street-design-modification-approved/

 

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