Planning for Sprawl
That's a map of the proposed Grand Parkway section between 290 and I-10. The shaded areas show the population/employment density within three miles of the Parkway. The lightest grey is 0-230 persons and jobs per square mile, the middle greay is 251-750, and the dark grey is 751-1750. There are only 80,000 people currently in this area that would be served by this 20-odd mile long grandiose debacle.
So why would we build a highway that serves so few people? It’s not to deal with congestion, since there is no congestion there. It’s not to provide an alternate to 290 — the way to do that is to build the Hempstead toll road, running along 290 rather than taking a 20 mile detour.
There’s only one reason to build Segment E: to encourage development. If the commissioners approve it, it’s because they want new subdivisions built in the open space of the Katy Prairie. We’re building a highway for people who don’t live here yet in hopes that developers will build houses for them and that they will want to live on a toll road 30 miles from Downtown in a world of $4 gas. This is, simply put, land use planning, Houston style. And the question for the commissioners is this: is this good planning?
So asks Christof Spieler of Intermodality. This is, in fact, the kind of planning that "anti-planners" actually believe in. It's amazing to think that this is still even on the drawing board--but I have little doubt that it will indeed be built. And transit spending will continue to struggle.