Category Archives: Commute

Should Texas require hands-free cell phone use while driving? Time to tell your lawmakers

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texting 1

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. At 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field.

Have you noticed how many drivers around you are buried in cell phone use? Now imagine if they were all intoxicated. How safe would you feel?

It’s not a stretch. Motorists on cell phones can mimic drunks with their weaving, unusual and varying speeds, and slow reaction times. The distracted can even be worse than the inebriated: Editors at Car and Driver magazine once tested reaction times and found that they actually braked more quickly while having consumed the legal limit of alcohol than while they were texting.

Worse yet, in a test of over-the-road truckers, a 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found the risk of collisions went up 23 times when the drivers were texting as opposed to not.

That’s one of many reasons Texas followed many other states in outlawing texting and driving in 2017. And while we will never know the extent of any correlation, road fatalities dropped 4 percent in Texas to 3,567 last year.

Read more from the Star-Telegram…

Heavy Fog & Driver Inattention Contribute to Multiple Accidents

54db92c801f75.imageTwo accidents within a span of minutes led to the temporary closure of Broadway (FM 518) at Austin St. in Pearland Wednesday morning (Feb. 11).

There were a total of seven vehicles involved in the early morning crashes. Only minor injuries were reported.

According to Pearland Police Dept., heavy fog, along with driver inattention, were contributing factors.

The Dept. would like to remind drivers to slow down, increase following distance, and avoid distractions during their daily commute, especially during fog and other inclement weather.

City Leveraging Outside Funding to Improve Transportation in Pearland

As part of the City’s ongoing commitment to improve transportation mobility, the City of Pearland has received federal and/or state funding for six road projects and two trail projects through the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Improvement Program. The projects that the City will receive 80 percent reimbursement funds for include:

1. Pearland Parkway (Oiler to Dixie Farm Road) –  The extension of Pearland Parkway from Oiler Drive to Dixie Farm Road continues the existing Pearland Parkway cross-section, which is a four-lane curb and gutter boulevard. In addition, upon project completion, the road will have a ten -feet-wide mixed use path along the north side of the road, a bridge over Cowarts Creek, and new traffic signals at Oiler Drive and Dixie Farm Road. The project is tentatively scheduled for completion in March 2015.

2. Max Road (FM518 to Hughes Ranch Road) – The project will widen Max Road from the future Hughes Ranch alignment and connect it with Reid Boulevard, just west of Food Town. The roadway will include four lanes, divided, with concrete curb and gutter, including storm sewers, outfalls ad detention, traffic signals and related items. Construction will begin in mid to late 2015.

3. Fite Road (McLean to Veterans) – The Fite Road project is an extension of Fite Road approximately 2,500 feet east of McLean, running adjacent to Centennial Park, tying into Veterans Drive. The project includes four lanes, undivided, of concrete curb and gutter including storm sewers, outfalls and detention, traffic signals and related items. Construction will begin in August/September 2015.

4. Bailey Road (FM1128 to Veterans) – Bailey Road will be improved to a four-lane concrete curb and gutter boulevard from approximately 1,000 feet west of FM 1128 to Veterans Drive, a distance of 2.76 miles. The drainage improvements will accommodate the roadway after the Cowart Creek Diversion project and the roadside ditch regrades to the south have been completed. A public meeting regarding sound walls along Park Village Estates and Lawrence Place is being scheduled for Oct.14. The project is ahead of its original schedule and is expected to be bid out in January 2015.

5. McHard Road (Cullen to Mykawa) – McHard Road is set to be constructed to approximately 3 miles of 4-lane concrete curb and gutter divided boulevard section roadway, including storm sewers, outfalls and detention, traffic signals and related items. The design contract was recently approved by City Council.

6. Smith Ranch Road (North of FM518 to Hughes Ranch Road) – The Smith Ranch Road project will expand Smith Ranch Road from 2-lanes of asphalt into 4-lanes, divided, with raised medians, concrete curb and gutter, landscaping, and storm sewer. The City is in the consultant selection process for this project. The construction funding is available in 2017.

7. Shadow Creek Ranch Trail – Shadow Creek Ranch Trail will be extended to a 10-foot hike and bike trail from the future Shadow Creek Park site along Clear Creek to the existing trail 1,300 feet east of Kirby Drive. The City is working to acquire the last parcel of land necessary for this project.

8. Green Tee Terrace Trail – Green Tee Terrace Trail will be extended to a10-foot hike and bike trail from the Pearland Library/City Hall toBarry Rose Road along the Clear Creek Corridor. Staff has recently secured access to all properties necessary for the project.

Source: City of Pearland

LANE CLOSURE ALERT

TRAFFIC ADVISORY: LANE CLOSURES – FM 518 and Garden Road Friday, September 12, 2014 between 9:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m.

In order for the contractor to install signal heads at the intersection of FM 518 and Garden Road, there will be one lane closure in the westbound direction on FM 518 Friday, September 12th. Only one of the two westbound lanes will close at a time while these signal heads are hung on the mast arm between the hours of 9:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this lane closure will cause. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.

No, You Didn’t Miss the Bus!

ZFA_chasing-bus-1-convertedThe PISD Transportation Department confirmed that there was a 30 – 40 minute delay for some buses destined for Pearland high schools and middle schools this morning. They also said that parents can probably expect the same tomorrow and possibly Wednesday.

Parents of elementary school children often park and walk their kids to class during the first few days of school and teachers are more careful with bus lists on these days as well. This may cause slower exits from the buses. The influx of traffic around the elementary schools slow down bus progress.

Parents of young children can help remedy this issue by either allowing their children to ride the bus, dropping them off in designated parent drop-off zones or by just walking their children to the entrance of the school and not all the way to class. This will decrease the amount of traffic in these areas, allowing high school and middle school student to get to school on time.

Thank you for working together to make sure all of Pearland’s children are safe and on time!

TxDOT Considers Direct Connectors for 288 Project

By Mark Quick

State officials have taken to heart the pleas of Pearland leaders requesting that direct connectors linking the proposed Texas 288 toll lanes to Beltway 8 be added back to construction plans.

“Our concern was when you have a toll road running down the middle of (Texas 288), how is a driver going to get onto Beltway 8 if they want to run over to Pearland or head toward (Interstate 45)?” Pearland Mayor Tom Reid said.

Without the connectors, northbound drivers on Texas 288 toll lanes would need to exit at Texas 6 and use the feeder road, he said.

The Pearland City Council adopted a resolution June 23 urging the Texas Department of Transportation to reverse a decision to not include the connectors. The Pearland Economic Development Corp. adopted an identical resolution.

“As the community and our region continue to grow, the intersection in question will only become more congested. It is imperative that we have direct connectors there,” PEDC President Matt Buchanan said of the Texas 288-Beltway 8 intersection.

Plans are underway to construct toll lanes in the grassy middle median of Texas 288. TxDOT officials expect construction to begin in the summer 2015.

According to TxDOT documents, the Brazoria County Toll Road Authority will design, construct, finance, operate and maintain the portion of the toll lanes in Brazoria County, which are anticipated to extend south to County Road 58.

Later this year, state officials expect to select a firm to design and build the Harris County portion up to its end at U.S. 59.

Costs for the Harris County portion are expected to run $585 million and costs for the Brazoria County portion at $160 million.

State officials also have to work out the dynamics of engineering the connectors and the allocation of toll fees once a driver transitions from the SH 288 toll lanes onto the Beltway 8 toll lanes.

TxDOT’s commission expressed support for the connectors on June 26 after hearing local residents and entities advocate for that.

Issues now in focus include designing the connectors, determining their connection points and identifying how tolls will be collected, TxDOT spokeswoman Raquelle Lewis said.

“We have to make sure the connectors can be accommodated successfully and safely,” she said.

Harris County Toll Road Authority spokeswoman Patti Evans said that safe traffic flow between future toll lanes and Beltway 8 is a primary concern that must be addressed in plans.

Reid said that without direct connectors, motorists will simply drive the feeder roads, defeating the purpose of toll lanes and resulting in lost revenue.

“We have to accommodate and prepare for the tremendous growth taking place in the Pearland, Manvel and Alvin areas,” he said. “If we don’t get on top of this now, we will have even greater congestion problems in the future. I think it will end up costing more in the long run if we don’t do this now.”

Source: The Houston Chronicle

Traffic Advisory: 518 Lane Closure Thursday and Friday

TRAFFIC ADVISORY: We just received notice from the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) that Broadway St. (FM-518) will have a 1 lane alternating closure between SH-288 and Main St. (SH-35). Alternate lanes will be closed as roadway striping activities are performed on both the eastbound and westbound lanes.

Expect alternating lane closures on Thursday, August 7 and Friday, August 8 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please consider using Magnolia St. or Bailey Rd. as an alternative route. For questions or comments on the closure, please contact the TXDOT Public Information Office at 713.802.5076.

Pearland Parkway Extension Project Begins

PPProjectAs part of H-GAC’s Regional Transportation Plan, Pearland Parkway is being extended. The route serves residents from Houston, Pearland, Friendswood, Alvin, League City and beyond. It connects to Monroe Road north of Beltway 8, which provides a connection to the City of Houston, Hobby Airport, and IH-45. To the south, an extension between Oiler Drive and Dixie Farm Road is currently under construction.

The construction project will extend of approximately 4,500 feet from 500 feet east of Oiler Drive to Dixie Farm Road, constructing four-lanes of concrete curb and gutter roadway with underground storm sewer, landscaped medians, street lighting, 10 ft. shared use trail on the north side, bridges over Cowart’s Creek, and traffic signals at Oiler Drive and Dixie Farm Road. A barrier fence is planned to be built along the Shadycrest Subdivision as the roadway construction nears completion. The extension is scheduled to be complete in April 2015.

A future extension within the City of Pearland’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction will connect FM 2351. Another extension through Friendswood will eventually connect to League City Parkway which intersects IH-45 and SH146.

Previous Phases within Pearland

Pearland Parkway was built in a sequence of phases beginning with the first segment from FM 518 to John Lizer Rd in the late 1990’s. The next phases in the late 1990’s extended the Parkway south to Pearland High school at Oiler Drive and north of FM 518 to provide access for commercial developments (Lowes and International House of Pancakes) and residential developments (Clear Creek Park). In the early 2000’s, the lanes were then extended to Barry Rose, continued further to the McHard/Pearland Parkway roundabout, and then to BWB through partnership with residential developers and City funding.

Click here to view a map detailing the extension plan.

Source: City of Pearland

Bailey Road Project Could Start in Spring

By Mark A. Quick
Photo By Pin Lim/Freelance:  Robert Doty of CDM Smith takes notes and answers questions about the proposed improvements to Bailey Road from FM 1128 to Veterans Drive in Pearland.

Photo By Pin Lim/Freelance: Robert Doty of CDM Smith takes notes and answers questions about the proposed improvements to Bailey Road from FM 1128 to Veterans Drive in Pearland.

State officials say the planned widening of Bailey Road from two to four lanes from FM 1128 to Veterans Drive will help keep Pearland ahead of the curve in combating near-term and future traffic congestion.

“For 2011 the average daily traffic count was approximately 5,700 vehicles per day. Traffic on the road is projected to increase to 20,140 vehicles per day by 2035,” said Texas Department of Transportation public information officer Danny Perez.

Perez said Pearland officials approached TxDOT to seek help with funding.

The proposed project includes widening the 2.8-mile section of Bailey Road to four, 12-foot travel lanes with curb and gutter and open ditches.

The roadway now has two 10-foot travel lanes and open ditches.

After the improvements, it will be a divided boulevard, two lanes to each side. The project also includes constructing a raised median with left-turn bays at select intersections, drainage improvements and a 10-foot wide shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclist.

Total cost for the project is estimated at $27.2 million. Of that, Pearland will contribute $9.6 million, said Pearland communications manager Sparkle Anderson.

“This project is very important to the city. It was identified as a priority in the 2007 bond election,” Anderson said.

She said the project is important because it will provide another east-to-west alternative to FM 518 for motorists to cross Pearland.

“Also, the existing traffic on Bailey Road is pushing the capacity of the two-lane roadway,” she said.

“A third benefit is that it will provide a major safety improvement because the large roadside ditch will be converted to an underground storm sewer system,” Anderson added.

The city designed the project, purchased the right-of-way, will manage construction and funded 100 percent of the design costs, she said.

Perez said Pearland officials are spearheading engineering and environmental studies. He said the state will provide oversight and assistance throughout construction.

He said TxDOT does not anticipate any unusual disruptions to traffic flow during the project beyond what one would expect for such a project. The state has planned no detours and access to adjacent properties should not be an issue. There will be alternating lane closures, he said.

Construction is scheduled to begin early next spring.

Source: The Houston Chronicle

 

Participate in the Newest SH 288 Travel Survey

travelsurvey

The purpose of this survey is to gather input from you and other drivers about travel in the Houston region, specifically along SH 288.

Your answers will be kept confidential and will only be used for this study.

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