Friday, May 14, 2010

Grand Parkway and its anticipated effect to The Woodlands

After reviewing the recent final decision on the parkway's F-2 segment preferred alternative layout plan, there are some thoughts to be shared with the residents of The Woodlands. Two direct interconnects with existing roads will be important to resolving some of the mobility issues of The Woodlands, Texas. Both connections should redirect some (hopefully much) of the Creekside Park traffic.

(1) Gosling Road - there will be an access road and a ramp to enter and exit the parkway south of Creekside Park on Gosling. That will provide excellent access for Creekside residents to I-45 and western-bound destinations. It should divert much of the commute traffic to Houston which currently uses The Woodlands Parkway via the Gosling bridge to the north of Creekside Park.  Gosling will need to be widened by Harris County to the parkway. 

(2) Kuykendahl Road - also to the north of Creekside Park will be an access road and ramps for the same purpose. This will be very useful to the residents in Montgomery County to the west of Kuykendahl. Access via 2978 is not very appealing unless 2978 is expanded and better traffic movement controls are provided to access the parkway.

Here in Montgomery County, we need the parkway as a relief valve for Gosling and Kuykendahl traffic. The parkway is still scheduled to be completed within the next four years. Apparently, some recent decisions in financing and management is shifting the responsibility of the parkway to the counties, in particular, Harris County. It will be a toll road.

Harris County is currently lengthening Gosling towards the south. The parkway will provide additional relief for that part of the county also.

Overall, I expect Gosling to remain heavily used by Creekside residents. Kuykendahl traffic will continue to rise as Creekside Park development progresses. With the added segment of Kuykendahl to 1488, Kuykendahl will develop into a road for through traffic between Montgomery and Harris counties.

This video is very revealing. It shows the plan for the F-2 segment as a flyover vision. Scroll down to the video. This total $3.8B project is massive and is an impressive example of how to communicate a large project to the public and include the public in determining the outcome. Amazingly, there were no comments by any Woodlands people or development company in its final deliberations (see record of decision). 

Do you know that at one point, there was a push to use highway 242 and FM1488 here in The Woodlands as the northern segment of the parkway? Yep, the reason it was not chosen was that it would not serve the targeted stakeholders in Harris County. Doing that would have violated the vision of the Parkway. Great planning and vision! This reveals the threat we have to The Woodlands Parkway and Highway 242 in the future. To play on an old saying, we are out of the woods for now, but believe me, we probably will not be in the future!

Pertinent Links
+ Schedule
+ Record of Decision - segment F-2
+ Video of segment F-2

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