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Discussion in 'Politics' started by Salty, Feb 10, 2008.
I had a bit of an experience with this in Houston some years ago, where my late brother was being treated for cancer at the MD Anderson Cancer Clinic there, which BTW, I have nothing but good things to say about, even though he did not survive the cancer. He did receive great treatment and care, there.
My wife and I were riding with my sister-in-law, when she ran out of gas on the freeway, near the off ramp where we were going to get gas. I walked to the station, bought a can and had filled it up, when they drove up, much to my surprise.
The 'safety patrol' of the Sherriff's Department of Harris County, came upon their vehicle, and carried spare gas for just such an event. The officer gave them the gas he carried (at not cost to them or any other motorist, it being paid for by the county), in such an emergency. They got started, and made it to the gas station. The officer followed them there. He was refilling his emergency can, as we filled up her vehicle, and then, he went back on the roads to help other motorists, and did not take the money we offered to pay for it, saying it was part of his job.
Also, in regards to the background checks on wrecker drivers, at least in Lexington, KY, where I sometimes drive a taxi, there is a thorough and detailed criminal and background check of of taxi drivers, as to their history.
I recall an instance where a good policeman, who was legitimately and thoroughly qualified to be one, was not allowed to get his 'hack license', because of some past traffic infraction. Yet he was and had been a policeman for some time, but was not allowed to 'push a hack' part time, at least in Lexington, as he wished, for some extra money.
I have mixed feelings about the Safe Clear program in Houston. I know that it helps to keep the freeways moving, but I also think it may be a bit heavy handed.
That said, I still think Houston has one of the best freeway systems of any city in the world. The radial freeways combined with the 610 loop, and the Sam Houston Tollway make for a very efficient system. Of course, like most Texas freeways, the frontage roads (feeders in Houston) add to the efficiency. Add to it the HOV lanes and you have a really nice highway infrastructure.
A bit of trivia on Houston freeways . . . Since Texas law prohibits state highways from being toll roads, the designation of Beltway 8 is officially only the feeders, since the main lanes are the Sam Houston Tollway. Also, the route for the Southwest Freeway (US 59) ended up like it is, because developer Frank Sharp donated land because he wanted it to be an expressway to his community of the future...Sharpstown.
Learn a lot more by downloading the free e-book by Erik Slotboom at www.houstonfreeways.com.
MP have you ever "lived" in Houston? And how long ago was it? Because the highway system is anything BUT efficient. It's horrible. The HOV lanes are only one way depending on what part of the day it is unlike in the Metroplex where the HOV lanes are on both sides of the road.
Not to mention the ABSOLUTE MESS that is I-10.
We were told that Houston's highway system was 10 years behind the times and that was five years ago and it hasn't done much to catch up.
I guess with anywhere it could be worse, but its far from the best anwhere at least IMO. And I travel all over the greater Houston area at various times throughout the day and several times a week for my job.
I lived there for almost 30 years, but I know it is probably more congested than when I left there in '92. Katy Fwy should be better soon though, once they finish the reconstruction.
For a city based on the auto, I still like Houston's freeways, although I agree Dallas has good ones also. What Houston needs is to run MetroRail along the rights of way also.
Here in Denver, there are not enough freeways to handle demand, and they are laid out in a way that makes no sense. The T-Rex reconstruction of I-25 south of downtown is great, but overall, I'll take Houston's grid over these any day.
The freeways aren't the problem. The traffic is. When designing these structures 40 or 50 years ago, there was no way of knowing just how much Houston and Harris County would grow. The problem with our system is that it is dated and not able to handle the capacity we throw at it everyday. I drive downtown from Cypress everyday, so I know a good bit about traffic. 290 is a mess for most of the day, and now even on the weekends. I-10 is not nearly as unbearable as it used to be before construction. 290 expansion is supposed to begin in '09 or '10. Long overdue, imo, of course, the freeway hasn't even been completed but for maybe 15 years, so it's still a baby compared to others.
Our system, for the most part, makes sense, which is more than can be said for other cities. "All roads lead to 610" is the saying I've always heard...and it's true.
There is one thing I would change though, and that is to add a direct connector from 290 to I-10. I think that would do a lot to ease congestion.
Also, the plans on the 290 expansion, just as the begun doing on I-10 and 59 south, is to add Diamond lanes on either side, rather than the HOVs that we have now.
I think these are great changes they are making to the system.
As for Safe Clear, well, if you've ever had your car hauled off in this program, then I doubt you have a good opinion of it. Didn't they put a stop to it while the litigation is going on? If not, then the program ain't workin, cause I see stalled cars all the time.
I'm even more wary about the program now. What if you're not there with your car when it's towed? Who knows what all the drivers might steal from the car once they get it. I've seen it happen where contents of the vehicle magically disappear after it's been towed.