TxDOT Faces Lawsuit from Harris County Over I-45 Plan

The lawsuit over the controversial I-45 project, which has been plagued by local opposition, calls for a new environmental review.

March 15, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Dug Begley, writing in the Houston Chronicle, continues to provide reporting on the controversial plans for Houston's Interstate 45. Despite the Texas Department of Transportation's recent steps to move forward on the project, local opposition has led to a lawsuit filed by Harris County calling for a halt to the project until a new environmental review can be conducted.

"County officials said TxDOT, even when it did recognize the hundreds of families they will displace and thousands more affected by the wider freeway, did nothing to respond to the county’s aim of staying within the current freeway footprint and developing a solution more in line with improving transit and reconnecting local streets," writes Begley. The county wants state transportation officials to "go back to the drawing board and make sure they are considering these issues."

The project also ran into trouble in March, when "the Federal Highway Administration told TxDOT to 'pause before initiating further contract solicitation,' essentially putting the project’s engineering design on hold as it investigates whether the project properly followed civil rights-era rules for displacing residents."

After a decade and a half of planning, the project still fails to meet the expectations of many residents and community groups. Oni Blair, executive director of LINKHouston, an organization that opposes the proposed design, says advocates want to see a revised plan that "prioritizes the people who live along the highway" and "avoids assumptions that wider or faster is better" when it comes to freeway redevelopment.

Additional coverage on the lawsuit is available from Paul Debenedetoo for Houston Public Media and Juan A. Lozano for the Associated Press.

Thursday, March 11, 2021 in Houston Chronicle

View south along Interstate 45 (North Freeway) from the ramp between westbound Interstate 10 and southbound Interstate 45 in Houston, Harris County, Texas

Houston Apartments To Be Demolished for Freeway Widening

Despite a federal hold on the controversial freeway widening project, the Texas Department of Transportation is pushing ahead with the demolition of an apartment complex in downtown Houston.

July 5, 2022 - Houston Chronicle

Indian Trail, North Carolina

Four ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ Zoning Reforms

An excerpt from the latest book on zoning argues for four approaches to reform that can immediately improve land use regulation in the United States.

June 26, 2022 - M. Nolan Gray

Car Traffic

San Francisco Just Ended Single-Family Zoning

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to Tuesday to eliminate single-family zoning, but pro-development advocates say additional changes are needed to unleash a wave of construction.

June 29, 2022 - San Francisco Chronicle

Street in downtown Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish ADU Ordinance Could Ease Housing Crunch

Recently approved revisions to the city’s accessory dwelling unit regulations prioritize long-term rentals to increase housing affordability for local renters.

July 6 - Whitefish Pilot

20 miles per hour speed limit sign in school zone

San Jose Begins Lowering Speed Limits

Thanks to a state bill, California cities can reduce speed limits on city streets by 5 miles per hour to improve traffic safety.

July 6 - San José Spotlight

University of Arizona

Tucson Development Boom Threatens Displacement of Longtime Residents

Median rent in Tucson rose by 30 percent since a year ago, prompting fears of displacement among many residents struggling to afford housing.

July 6 - Phoenix Business Journal

New Case Study Posted on HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

International Real Estate Strategies and Deal Negotiation

Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.