Houston mayor says widening highways not the answer | Arkansas Blog

Houston mayor says widening highways not the answer

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who has called for a "paradigm shift" in thinking about highways. - HOUSTONTOMORROW.ORG
  • houstontomorrow.org
  • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who has called for a "paradigm shift" in thinking about highways.
In January, Max posted a link to research showing that the $2.8 billion widening of the Interstate 10 Katy Freeway in Houston increased congestion: Travel time outbound from downtown took 51 percent more time in 2014 than it did in 2011.

According to Houston Transtar data, from downtown to Pin Oak rush hour drive time was 46 minutes and 53 seconds in 2011. In 2014, rush hour drive time was 70 minutes, 27 seconds.

Now comes Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who Jan. 28 called for the state to stop wasting money widening highways. StreetsblogUSA quotes from Turner's speech: 

We’re seeing clear evidence that the transportation strategies that the Houston region has looked to in the past are increasingly inadequate to sustain regional growth.

The region’s primary transportation strategy in the past has been to add roadway capacity. While the region has increasingly offered greater options for multiple occupant vehicles and other transportation modes, much of the added capacity has been for single occupant vehicles as well.

It’s easy to understand why. TxDOT has noted that 97% of the Texans currently drive a single occupancy vehicle for their daily trips. One could conclude that our agencies should therefore focus their resources to support these kinds of trips. However, this approach is actually exacerbating our congestion problems. We need a paradigm shift in order to achieve the kind of mobility outcomes we desire.
 
Is Mayor Stodola paying attention to what is becoming a national concensus that widening freeways only contributes to more car traffic? Can we expect a similar statement from him regarding the $600 million, 7-mile widening of Interstate 30? There certainly seems to be consensus in Little Rock, judging from attendance at City Board meetings, letters to the city directors and word on the street. 



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