Homeowners in Uptown are demanding the City of Houston reject a traffic study used to justify a massive 40 story apartment skyscraper planned for the corner of one of the most congested intersections in the crowded Galleria.
The traffic study commissioned for the Dinerstein Family Companies from Walter P. Moore Inc. is factually flawed and exposes the growing conflicts of interest in Uptown development.
“Based on our ongoing investigation, this entire process by the City of Houston to evaluate how this project impacts traffic congestion is little more than a sham,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Investigative Communications Firm Dolcefino Consulting. “This entire process is a joke, and Houstonians need to know why.”
The City of Houston has already announced the elimination of at least one traffic light on Post Oak, and the requirement that some traffic in Uptown would have to make U turns because of plans to eliminate a key traffic median. The plans for that expensive bus rapid transit system will eliminate a right turn lane at the very corner the project is planned. That was all known prior to the traffic study, yet it is was not mentioned. Without those key traffic changes, the report is no longer worth the paper it is written on.
What is most intriguing must be the study claim that traffic volume in this key intersection in Uptown is increasing less than 1 percent a year. Wait a minute, isn’t this the same place that is so congested taxpayers have to spend up to $300 million dollars on dedicated bus lanes.
The report ignores any traffic impact from massive construction that will tear up Post Oak for this project. Instead it relies on a highly disputed claim that the bus project will actually reduce congestion by 4 percent. Who is Walter P. Moore’s company relying on for that wishful thinking? Walter P. Moore.
That’s right, the very same company paid to help justify that project for the Uptown Management District is now using their own math to justify this skyscraper.
Maybe the traffic engineers there don’t keep up with the news. Metro has significantly reduced projected ridership and planned parking at transit centers has been dramatically reduced.
Moore’s company has to know that, but doesn’t mention the impact on the traffic on San Felipe at Post Oak. Here is the bottom line. The entire process is suspect.
Traffic Impact Studies are done by the Developer of a planned major project, hardly an independent review. When is the last time a study recommended the developers not go forward, or recommend expensive traffic mitigation because of the nuisance the project will create?
According to the Mayor’s Office, this vital traffic study for the Vantage project was submitted in November 2015 and was supposed to be reviewed by the City Engineer and the Traffic Operations Division of the Public Works Department. Comments were supposed to be made and the report changed until it was acceptable.
Turns out no one at Houston City Hall ever asked Walter P. Moore to defend any of the findings, or change a single word.
Hundreds of cars will be added to the congestion at San Felipe and Post Oak from a single project. Several other skyscrapers are planned. It is time for the City of Houston to evaluate how this explosion of high rise development will impact the tens of thousands of Houstonians who use this intersection every day to travel to work and their homes around the Galleria area.
“It is time for Houstonians to demand the City of Houston start protecting the people who already face gridlock in the Galleria area, and not just give a wink to the developers who want to put a skyscraper in Uptown every ten feet,” says Dolcefino.