Thursday, June 17, 2010

West Parkway Needed

Well, It's been a while since I've written but here I go again. This time I will talk about a hot issue concerning the proposed West Loop a.k.a West Parkway. I feel that I am in the monority but that's OK cuz I see things differently than most and think about long term when it comes to economic development.

West Parkway, as envisioned by the CCRMA, will connect the B&M Int'l Bridge via the soon-to-be abandoned RR line to the Expressway 77/83 (maybe someday I-69) just north of the 77 Flea Market. See the CCRMA Neighborhood Meeting 2009 for more on the West Parkway proposed project.

Why do I support it when most are against it, you ask? Well, economics and mobility. The west side of Brownsville is stagnant, economically. I live on this side of town and simply don't see much growth happening here. Commissioner Troiani once told me that he did not support the West Parkway because many residents were against it and mentioned that it would be better to develop HW 281 into a limited access highway. But the reality is that the cost of expanding HW 281 and developing it into an expressway will be far more costly on just purchasing the ROWs and far more residents would be against such a plan. Many years and public meetings will have passed before any such project could get underway while the price tag increases.

That is why Brownsville and Cameron County has the next best option and that is to use the existing railroad and turn it into a highway. Very little ROW is reqiured, thus bringing down the cost and the rail already connect directly to Matamoros, which is also working on building a new highway that connects to Monterrey. This new connection between Matamoros and north Expressway 77/83 will create new economic opportunities to the west side of Brownsville.

Not only will the west side have a positive gain but also downtown Brownsville. One of the major flaws of the downtown is simply having access to a highway such as the expressway. Just to travel from the expressway to the core business district of downtown requires at about 10 blocks. People who want to gain acces to the downtown area have no choice but to go either from the expressway or Palm Blvd. Both of which require extensive driving. Having a more direct acces to downtown will help bring people closer and invest in the area once a connection to the northern section of the city is achieved.

If there is ever to be a binational river walk on the Rio Grande river as envisioned by Imaginge Brownsville masterplan, then this vital vehiculare arterial link is necessary to help locals and tourists reach this new entertainment district. Imagine,no pun intended, the traffic jam piling up on six/seventh street and University Blvd to get to the river walk. This reminds me of when traffic would back up to the expressway in the '80s and '90s to get the the Gateway and B&M Int'l bridges. Not a good scenario. West Parkway would cut down on this nightmare of a situation.

UTB/TSC would definatley benefit with a direct access to the ITEC center. As more students and companies call ITEC home and campus, then the traffic will build up on Palm Blvd and cause major headaches for all.

There is simply too many benefits to the West Parkway than there are negative to list here. Those who oppose the project do not see far enough into the future. West Parkway is needed and its benefits will soon outweigh the negative. Just as the current expressway changed the image and demographics of Brownsville in a way that it could not have been envisioned fifty years ago, the same will be with the West Parkway project.

If the project fades into obscurity, so will half of our city. Therefore, I support the West Parkway project.


Anonymous Craig Grove said...

Glad to see you are posting again. I agree with you completely on this Tony.

8:32 PM  
Blogger TonyL said...

Wow, this is the first time someone publically agrees with me on this issue. Thanks Craig.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, but $220 million bucks worth of concrete and asphalt for a road that parallels an existing freeway is money wasted. CACARAMA and Texdot seem to be in business to keep us in our cars burning fossil fuels. They also seem good at helping certain individuals to line their pockets with silver. Would you pay two bucks to shave five minutes of driving time? You can't be THAT dumb, can you?

1:40 PM  
Blogger TonyL said...

Well, you don't have to use the toll road. There will be an access road.

Also, It's not TxDot that is keeping us on the road, it's us who keep driving more every year putting pressure on TxDot to build more roads and highways. If you own a car, you are part of the problem.

If you think that hike and bike trails are the answer to our transporation problem, try biking to work for several miles in slacks, shirt and tie. Not a very comfy feeling once you get to work.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Glad your posting again! I live on this side of town and I agree 100 % woth you. Come on people think big for a growing city not small for a growing city. I also think the design is very nice.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no toll road. why not a light rail project? That would be economically intelligent--in fifty years, THAT will be what we need. Keep the rails!

5:35 AM  
Blogger TonyL said...

In the last few years since this post, I have researched and read a lot about creating more roads and highways and have to the current conclusion that maybe it is high time to invest in research on a monorail that loops around the city. I, for one, would like to use public transportation but do not like to bus. Brownsville should also partner with the valley to build a high speed rail service not just for the RGV but also to San Antonio.

I'm not saying that no more roads or highways should be built but that other forms of transportation should be considered as well.

8:34 AM  

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