Traffic Congestion Solutions - The New York Sun

Spend some time in Houston traffic, and you'll soon realize two of the biggest freeway headaches are the downtown tangle and the 610 West Loop by the Galleria. Look at a , and you'll see these are major north-south chokepoints. Hopefully the West Loop construction will relieve some of that problem, but what to do about downtown?

If Spur 527 off 59 could be connected through Midtown all the way up to 45, it would take a huge load off the Pierce and 59 elevateds and the bottlenecks between them (). How to do this without destroying the recently revived Midtown neighborhood? Simple: build one-way, two-lane, cut-and-cover tunnels underneath Bagby and Brazos connected into the nice, broad, already-in-existence entrance and exit ramps to/from 45. Sure, tunnels aren't cheap, but we're only talking about 3/4 of a mile here, and cutting and covering a trench is certainly cheaper than boring a tunnel. It would probably actually improve the neighborhood by taking short-cutters like me off Bagby and Brazos.

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(BTW, if you were wondering, this is not the traffic congestion solution referred to in the kickoff post.)


Update 12/9/10
An email from Peter one one reasonably affordable approach:

I talked to a guy named Curtis from OldCastle in North Carolina who said that he could lay 200 feet of tunnel a day using a combination of both precast split box culverts and a precast bridge--40 feet wide by 16 feet tall. That is two full 12 foot lanes with 8 foot shoulders on each side.
Basically he would lay a 40 foot wide precast split culvert bottom half and put a 40 foot wide precast bridge on top of it. That would accommodate full truck heights.
The cost is roughly 40 million a mile. Two 3/4 mile sections under Bagby and Brazos streets would cost 60-80 million.

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Traffic congestion and solutions

Traffic congestion solutions: the big picture - NY Daily News

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As Sam Roberts notes in today's , the ghost of Jane Jacobs seems to be thwarting grand development plans in Greenwich Village. At issue are grand expansion plans by New York University, which a judge has put a hold on because of three strips of land that are technically still considered public streets, but for decades have been used as parkland and playground space, along La Guardia Place just south of Washington Square Park. Master builder Robert Moses schemed to make that north-south thoroughfare, previously known as 5th Avenue South and before that Lorenzo Street, a feeder arterial for the Lower Manhattan Expressway, a 10-lane elevated highway that would have roared down Broome Street in SoHo, connecting the Holland Tunnel and the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges vaulting the East River. Jacobs helped put a stop to that proposal -- one of four cross-town expressways Moses envisioned, with the Cross Bronx being the one he successfully executed -- and was famously arrested after one raucous public hearing in April of 1968, after the stenotype record was ripped to shreds and thrown in the air like confetti. So the feeder route was never built, the parks and playgrounds emerged on the strips of land eyed for roadways, and thus a judge decreed they were de facto parks that couldn't be messed with, as part of NYU's plans. History is getting a bit blurred here. Robert Moses first proposed in the mid-50s a roadway through Washington Square Park -- one lane would have gone right under the iconic Washington Square arch -- as an extension of 5th Avenue, as a local traffic congestion solution, and to give his superblock project, Washington Square Park, a 5th Avenue address. Lomex, as it came to be known, came along a bit later, in earnest beginning around 1960. The proposed corridor, of course, ran east-west, and was nearly six blocks south of Washington Square Park. Thus the extension of 5th Avenue through the park and across Houston Street to an interchange at Broome Street would have been a road on the way to Lomex, but not technically Lomex. The park roadway and reconstruction of Lorenzo Street could have happened without Lomex, and indeed it was initially proposed as such. Jane's opposition to this initial proposal was the first of three major battles described in my book (by the way you won't find this in Robert Caro's The Power Broker, great as it is; Jane Jacobs is nowhere mentioned therein). But all this is mere details for true Jane Jacobs champions. The denizens of Greenwich Village are thrilled to have beaten back NYU, although as former parks commissioner Adrian Benepe points out, two of the strips of land would be formally made into enhanced parks at NYU's expense, as part of the expansion plans. Bloomberg's has an equally nuanced take on this latest Village kerfuffle (one of Jane's favorite terms). posted by Anthony Flint at

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