Annex 362.

This is a short post, but it occurs to me that with the coming opening of Segment E, the existing strip annexation along Katy-Hockley isn’t far enough west. Right now the ETJ ends at 2855 and beyond that there’s no MTFP. But if you annex 362, which is the line that runs north out of Brookshire towards Waller, then the ETJ is basically contiguous as far as the Brazos.

Without the MTFP you get site plans like Cross Creek Ranch (PDF) which is nice enough on its own merits but is a veritable Berlin Wall for through traffic, killing all east-west connectivity for nearly three miles between Westpark and what will eventually be Roesner.

Beyond the integrity of the thoroughfare network there is also the question of whether there will be a need for more limited access facilities. There is some talk among developers of a fourth ring (you can see it on the Cross Creek site plan), and if there are two rings through the Katy Prairie then you’ll need some more east-west capacity to avoid loading all the radial traffic onto IH-10 and potentially overwhelming what is already the widest freeway in Houston and the second-widest in North America after 401.

With an expanded MTFP and HCTRA buy-in you can get these lines down on paper and not have to deal with some of the acquisition headaches that Segment F is going through. I’d also like to ponder whether we can add transit ROW to the MTFP. There is no available rail between the Union Pacific along Hempstead and METRO along Westpark, a distance of 20-25 miles. But if you can get out ahead of development, it becomes a fairly simple matter to extend Metro’s ROW north from Westpark to Prairie View which gives you a ton of transit development opportunities as well as an outer transfer between the Westpark rail and any intercity service that goes in along Hempstead.