Submit a Comment
Please provide contact information for the person who will complete the online application for this project. The email address and password entered here will be used to complete and submit both Pre-Applications and Applications.
Consultant to HCMUD 500, President of KnudsonLP
Please provide contact information for the agency official who is representing the project sponsor. This individual will be considered the official applicant and must be authorized by their agency to submit this request for funding and make necessary assertations and representations on the agency’s behalf.
Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 500 (HCMUD 500) as the applicant with TxDOT managing letting
3200 Southwest Freeway, Suite 2600
Greenhouse/Skinner Rd. Underpass @ UPRR and US 290
Greenhouse Rd./Skinner Rd. crossing UPRR and US 290
Greenhouse Rd. from Mound Rd. to Skinner Rd. at US 290
Current Level of Service ratings for the existing north/south major thoroughfares near Greenhouse/Skinner Road and US 290 are Level of Service D, E and F. Within 8 miles along US 290, there are only 3 grade separated crossings: Grand Parkway, Barker Cypress and SH 6. The block lengths of existing major thoroughfares in this area of Harris County are typically 1-mile each. Each 2-mile long UPRR train can block two at-grade thoroughfare crossings at once. Per the UPRR, the US 290 rail corridor will continue to be a major link to the new $500M UPRR yard in Bryan Texas.
The Harris County/UPRR lawsuit settlement has changed the UPRR approval of at-grade crossings in the area, so no additional at-grade crossings of major thoroughfares will be approved in the US 290 corridor. Freight traffic is critical to our Houston Gateway and service to the Ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston, and Freeport. The proposed Greenhouse Rd/Skinner Rd underpass will allow the UPRR to create 2nd siding from a shoofly, that must be installed for the construction of the underpass, for 3 miles.
The grade separation will improve life-safety response time for EMS/VFD providers, CY-Fair VFD and enhance operational savings for Emergency Services District # 9 saving wear and tear on equipment.
The grade separation will provide an opportunity to develop a Transit-Oriented Mixed Land Use Business Center that will generate jobs and provide possible intermodal transit as the region matures. The Towne Lake master plan is projected to have a population in excess of 43,000. The CDSMR study projects a new population of over 500,000, within 3-miles of the intersection Greenhouse Rd./US 290 by 2045, roughly the size of the City of Denver.
METRO in a previous TIP call was awarded $38M to construct an L-ramp providing direct access from US 290 to serve the METRO Cypress Park & Ride. It is sound public policy to maximize connectivity to the METRO Cypress Park & Ride from the south of US 290. The existing Towne Lake Master Planned community encompasses 2,000+ acres to the south of US 290, and cannot access the current METRO Cypress Park & Ride facility without 2-4 mile circuitous route. According to HGAC, the Towne Lake market area population in Northwest Harris County is projected to grow from 447,844 in 2015 to 715,253 by 2045 and absorb an estimated 10,000-19,000 acres of vacant land within the service area.
The underpass will enhance the land use pattern of the 146-acre vacant track of land located south of US 290 along Greenhouse Rd. This location is ideally suited for TOD and high-density development given its adjacency to the previously studied commuter rail corridor. It is also an opportunity to create a new walkable Livable Center with TOD designed from inception with all the attributes of an employment center, with office, hotel, retail, hospital, and higher density residential linking to an existing METRO Park & Ride.
The proposed improvement is a 6-lane roadway with pedestrian and bikeways within the ROW extending under US 290 and the UPRR connecting to Skinner Rd on the north. This thoroughfare has been on the MTFP since the late 1970’s. The design includes a stormwater pump station with redundancy to mitigate heavy rains. The design also includes a camera system connected to TranStar to provide real-time observations of the underpass. The eastbound frontage road of US 290 will be lowered to meet the elevation of the underpass. The 10' x 10' box culvert draining this portion of US 290 will be relocated. The u-turns will remain at existing grade, but the roadway will transition from below grade at the underpass to existing grade at Skinner Rd. at the north side of US 290. The design will include 10' wide hike and bike trails along both sides of Greenhouse Rd.
The underpass also provides connectivity between the existing 2,000-acre Towne Lake community and the METRO Cypress Park & Ride. When this project is approved, it will provide a 16-mile continuously constructed north-south thoroughfare connecting Huffmeister Road north of US 290 to 2 miles south of the Katy Freeway (I-10).
Also, the project proposes an innovative financing approach to accelerate the design and construction of critical transportation improvements for the region through an innovative 4-way public to public partnership. The partnership includes HCMUD 500, HC, ESD 9 and METRO.
HCMUD 500 will sell debt to build the underpass upon notice of the TIP project approval. The ability for HCMUD 500 to accelerate construction of the underpass and wait to be reimbursed until the date of the funding cycle is reached is very unique.
HCMUD 500 will coordinate with TxDOT, Harris County and the UPRR on the underpass design. The design drawings will take approximately 12 months to complete. The underpass project will be ready to proceed with letting and construction by first quarter of 2021. While this application is for the 2018 Call for Projects, there are unallocated funds available from the 2015 Call for Projects. The goal of this TIP application is to accelerate the construction of Greenhouse/Skinner Road underpass and be eligible for any earlier funding that is available, regardless of the program term. Upon notice of funding approval, the applicant will be able to deliver the complete underpass construction within 18 months of approval.
All public entities will benefit from the values created by the Towne Lake Business Center/TOD. This template is also a way to create TOD developments that help generate new jobs and ridership, thereby improving overall air quality compliance providing shorter more convenient commute solutions as well as potential employment centers.
The Towne Lake Business Center/TOD will increase real property values, real property revenues and increase sales tax and Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenues to Harris County, ESD #9, HCMUD 500 and other taxing entities.
The project will Increase vehicular road capacity, reduce air quality emissions, reduce dwell time, relieve congestion (on adjacent thoroughfares), provide hike and bike connectivity, forego an at-grade road crossing of the UPRR. create a TOD/Livable Center from inception, and create $480M in value. Specific outcomes are as follows:
• Improve transit mobility options and ridership for the immediate area by linking the 2,000-acre master planned development, Towne Lake, and surrounding area south of US 290 to the METRO Cypress Park & Ride. This Underpass investment further benefits the approved TIP funded $38M L-Ramp direct connector from US 290 to the Cypress Park & Ride .
• Increase transit ridership for METRO through the creation of a 146-acre Towne Lake Business Center/TOD on the south side of US 290 that includes hotel, corporate office, high density residential, retail and other related land uses and associated employment to compliment METRO's Cypress Park & Ride. The proposed Towne Lake Business Center will create a new livable center from inception that meets the vision and goals of HGAC for new employment centers connected to transit facilities.
• Mitigate current congestion of existing adjacent north-south at-grade thoroughfare crossings along 8 miles of US 290 by offering an alternative access using the Greenhouse/Skinner Road Underpass.
• Improve EMS/VFD life safety access between the north and south sides of US 290, dramatically improving response times. The Underpass will also improve the ISO fire insurance rating for ESD 9, thereby lowering insurance costs for all customers.
• Allow for the creation of a 3-mile, second rail siding for UPRR which will help meet future freight traffic demands for Class One railroads. The proposed rail shoofly being created during the Underpass construction can be extended by UPRR to create this 2nd rail siding.
• Improve Cy-Fair ISD bus transportation mobility for local area schools, both north and south of US 290, improving the reliability of school bus services and improving maintenance costs.
• Provide an innovative funding strategy of a 4-way public to public partnership with HCMUD 500 that accelerates construction. The HCMUD 500 advanced funding financing strategy is replicable across the HGAC region with MUD’s and other political subdivisions of the State of Texas.
• Improve connectivity, mobility and complete the linkage for the major thoroughfare network creating 16 miles of continuous thoroughfare from north of US 290 to south of IH-10.
• Provide hike and bike trail connections to the Towne Lake Master Trail system linking the north and south sides of US 290 including providing access to the Towne Lake Business Center and the METRO Cypress Park & Ride.
The annual tax revenues for the $480M TOD/Livable Center will be:
Harris County - $3M; HCMUD 500 - $5.8M; Cy-Fair ISD - $6.9M; ESD 9 - $506K; and sales tax for METRO of $525K.
Less than $100 million
(Manage) Access Management/Safety/Grade Separations
View Uploaded File: 10312018_Various Letters of support.pdf
Categorical Exclusion (CE)
View Uploaded File: 10262018 Interagency Agreements.pdf
View Uploaded File: 10292018 Project Development Timeline .pdf
In 2016, a “wetland assessment determination and delineation report” was completed for the project. A “threatened and Endangered Species Survey report” was also completed in the same year. A Cultural Resources Survey was also prepared in March, 2017. While all of these information would need to be updated, it provides a good understanding of the project and any potential environmental issues. The reports did not indicate any barriers to construction. Much of the area is undeveloped today.
View Uploaded File: 10302018 Project studies_Market_Environmental_Land Use_Schematic.pdf
View Uploaded File: 10302018 Project Overview.pdf
View Uploaded File: project-budget-Greenhouse Rd.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Roadway-Safety-Benefits-Greenhouse_Grade Separation.xlsx
View Uploaded File: delay-benefits-Greenhouse.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Roadway-Emissions-Benefits-Greenhouse.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Roadway-Safety-Benefits-Greenhouse_Adding Lanes.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Economic and Salvage Benefits_Greenhouse Rd.docx
Detailed methodology is added to each Excel template under a new tab titled "Narrative" located next to the "Inputs & Outputs" tab.
In summary, H-GAC provided travel demand models for the Base year (Year 2017), No-Build condition (Year 2025 and Year 2045), & Build condition (Year 2025 & Year 2045) scenarios. Build condition models assumed the extension of Greenhouse Road from Mound Road to US 290 is constructed.
Since the proposed project is entirely a new facility (roadway w/ underpass), it was necessary to include the other parallel and competitive routes in that area for the overall benefit-cost analysis. Two existing parallel major thoroughfare roads, Fry Road and Barker Cypress Road, were included in the analysis. Combined data (traffic volumes, capacity, etc.) for Fry Road, Barker-Cypress Road, and proposed Greenhouse Road (from Mound Road to US 290) were utilized in order to estimate the safety ("add through lanes"), delay, and emission benefits for this project. The limits for these three corridors are assumed uniform with equal distances. Opening year for the proposed project, out of the 2018 Call, is assumed as Year 2022.
This project will be "shovel ready" by January, 2021, if funding becomes available.
The combined benefit for the Greenhouse/Skinner Rd. Underpass is the addition of the following:
Safety Benefits (Underpass),
Safety Benefits (Add Through Lane),
Economic Benefits, and
Salvage Value Benefit
801 - 900
More than 0.30
View Uploaded File: lottr-estimation-Greenhouse.xlsx
The Greenhouse/Skinner connection completes a 16-mile principal arterial from south of I-10 to north of US 290. The connection creates better access and mobility to US 290, a Tier 1 Freight Corridor and State Evacuation Route. The interchange will have full directional access to US 290, both inbound and outbound. The Underpass also completes the 1-mile grid between Fry Road and Barker Cypress Road in accordance with the MTFP.
The Freight LOS will be improved due to fact that the Underpass will create the opportunity for the creation of a 3-mile second railroad siding. Typically, sidings are only beneficial to railroads when they are contiguous and in excess of 2 miles. The Underpass is a critical operational benefit to UPRR.
Currently, the METRO Cypress Park & Ride is not connected to the 2,000 acre Towne Lake Master planned community south of US 290 with a projected population in excess of 43,000 people. The proposed Greenhouse underpass will save 2-4 miles of current circuitous access to the Park & Ride. This investment supports the already approved $38M L-ramp connector from US 290 to the METRO Cypress Park & Ride.
The Underpass will be designed with two 10 ft. hike and bike paths connecting the Towne Lake Master Trail System to the METRO Park & Ride.
The Underpass will reduce congestion on both Fry Rd. and Barker Cypress Rd. According to the H-GAC models, the Underpass will reduce 34% of total peak period traffic volume (AMVOL_T and PMVOL_T) from Fry Road and 14% from Barker Cypress Road due to the proposed Greenhouse Road. These reductions in traffic volumes on Fry Road and Barker Cypress Road will improve traffic operations (LOS, delays, Queues, VMT, etc.) and safety. It will also improve the travel time reliability by 23%.
Houston Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan
Houston-Galveston Area Council