Why TxDOT's Managed Lanes Project is Bad for Cottage Grove...and What You Can Do About It
Impact of the Proposed TxDOT Managed Lanes Project on Cottage Grove
Cottage Grove is one of the only neighborhoods in Houston that straddles I-10 both to the north and south - in fact, back in the day when I-10 was being built, it literally cut our neighborhood in half! Now, our neighborhood is under threat again from freeway expansion. TxDOT wants to build a new set of managed lanes that will impact our neighborhood no matter what with a combination of the following, depending on which plan they go with:
A large flyover visible from almost anywhere in our neighborhood
Increased air and noise pollution
Ripping out established trees that serve as a sound barrier, the only boundary between Cottage Grove and I-10
Taking away precious park space - depending on the chosen plan, park land could be part of what is taken away to build the project
It is unclear if there will be any issues with eminent domain, but I-10 will encroach ever closer to our neighborhood regardless
What This Project Is
TxDOT has studied the I-10 corridor between I-45 and 610-W, plus 610 up through 290 interchange, to determine how they will propose to solve challenges including mobility, transit, flooding, and accessibility. They have a project website explaining their plan, which they are trying to link to to some other projects, like the METRORapid Inner Katy Project. The METRO project is great and we support it - but we do not support building more concrete for more cars and tearing up our neighborhood in the process.
The reason the project is called "Managed Lanes" is because the lanes TxDOT proposes to build are not for regular cars. They are specifically for transit, freight, and other similar vehicles. They have proposed to do this in a number of different ways as they try and seek funding to make the project happen.
This is what I-10 looks like right now, for reference:
Here are three concepts that were presented by TxDOT at last year's Super Neighborhood 22 meeting - you can see why we're scared and upset and do not support ANY of these options!
Concept A cuts into the frontage and into our neighborhood:
Concept B makes it loud and polluted, right at the level of our park and homes:
Concept C puts vehicles, noise, and air pollution right above our heads and our park:
How We Can Stop This Project and What We're Doing Right Now
Since we first found out about TxDOT's Managed Lanes Project, we have opposed it as a neighborhood via the Cottage Grove Civic Association. Many people have spoken out at public meetings, submitted comments and letters of concern, and continue to be engaged in opposition. We have joined forces with Stop TxDOT I-45 to oppose freeway expansion together too.
We submitted this letter on behalf of our neighborhood to TxDOT in 2021, and we initiated a vote within Super Neighborhood 22 (which we are a part of and straddles I-10 between White Oak and Buffalo Bayou) to formally oppose the project as well.
The trick is, TxDOT is going to try and get this project approved as quickly and as under the radar as possible, so we need to stay vigilant. Our letter was part of what kept this project out of Houston Galveston Area Council's Regional Transportation Plan, but TxDOT will try each year to sneak it in. We have to oppose it each and every time for it to stay away!
What can you do? Here are some important steps you can take:
Join Cottage Grove Civic Association - we'll keep you up to speed on project development and what action you can take, because there are MANY steps to get a project like this approved, and we need to be vocal at every.single.step.
Attend any public meetings on this project to oppose it, and submit public comments when public comment periods are available. We will keep you posted!
Other Related Projects
It is confusing to figure out what is actually included in this project, as it was actually split up into 2 projects - we are concerned that the intention was to avoid a lengthy environmental review process. So we need to pay attention to the project that extends from I-45 to Heights Blvd that's currently being proposed. The details are muddy at the moment, and there is some project overlap with the Managed Lanes project, so we will watch this space.
METRORapid Inner Katy Corridor Project
You probably noticed in the images above that there is something called METRORapid Inner Katy Project that is depicted, but we didn't say much about it. That's because it's a different project that is already funded, and it's being done by METRO. This is a great project that will bring bus rapid transit and a couple of key METRO stops to our area! It will be the critical missing link between 610 and downtown where no current bus rapid transit exists on I-10.
The really great thing about our neighborhood's participation is that we were able to shape the project through public comment and get a stop added for Memorial Park! Here is a recent update we posted on this project.
We hope this information was helpful, and we'll keep the neighborhood informed as we learn more and proceed through the years-long process of stopping a giant like TxDOT from messing up our neighborhood!