In Collaboration with Louis Weiss
Northwest Houston exhibits a mix of industrial, commercial, and residential use. The research conducted in this study concerns both the Northwest of Houston on the boundaries of the 610 loop, but extends beyond the 610 as well. Houston’s population is projected to grow 64% by the year 2035, and the Northwest corridor is also projected to grow by that same rate. As of 2006, the workforce in the area was numbered at 250,000 and by 2035, that number is expected to increase to over 400,000.
The challenge posed by the increasing amounts of traffic that that the Northwest corridor is experiencing calls for an investigation into alternative modes of transportation for the region. With plans for the extenion of METRO light rail lines underway, including a western line that would extent to Post-Oak and beyond, the opportunity for north-bound extension toward the Northwest is in question as well. The northward extension of the rail would which lie beyond it. Areas that lie just east of the Heights and suburbs which extend Northwest within the Hempstead corridor are expected to grow at rates fast than those areas within the 610 limits, making transportation to and from the city a critical question. Beyond the question of suburban influx and exodus to and from Houston, the area in question receives the majority of traffic which comes to Houston daily from both Dallas and Austin. Accordingly, the area’s highway infrastructural network is at once robust and wildy congested.
Given the existence of the Northwest Transit Center, the eventual likelihood of a North-bound light rail line, and the geographic logic of high speed hub at a site that already receives a large bulk of traffic from both suburban locals and other metropolitan areas, the Northwest holds the promise as a nexus of transportational transfer. Considering the low amount of bus ridership compared with other parts of Houston, it is clear that the populations immediate to the study area are not the only subjects of interest relative to the issue of transportation. The Northwest of Houston is a doormat, managing and aggragating flows of people coming to and through the 610 loop. To study the northwest of Houston then is to study not only the changes that occur within it, but to understand the forces that occur beyond it as well. To accomodate high speed rail within the Northwest corridor, it is necessary to understand the flows of freight, cars, buses, and people located not only within and around the 610, but all those flows that lie beyond it as well.