Man, 34, Charged in Beltway 8 Accident That Killed Five, Including Child

Categories: Traffic

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Near the intersection of fatal accident.
An accident in the early morning hours Monday claimed the lives of four adults and one child traveling near Wilson Road and Beltway 8. The Harris County Sheriff's Office has charged Efraim Carmona, 34, with five counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault in the incident.

Authorities say Carmona was allegedly traveling intoxicated while driving in the wrong direction when he struck the vehicle. Carmona, who was injured, was taken to Ben Taub Hospital.

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Trees Along Highway 290 Widening Project Set to Be Chopped

Categories: Traffic

Photos by Monica Fuentes
Half of the tree population in decline along this section of 290 widening plan, called Project I.
Update 4:50 p.m.: This post was updated to include the cost for the road project and street names.

Call it arborcide or call it progress. The 290 widening project has claimed several large trees along the Highway 290 feeder road near Pinemont Drive. Pinemont to West 34th is known as Project I, which is expected to cost around $116 million once complete.

A contractor working for the Texas Department of Transportation has been removing killing the trees by chopping off the top halves and then removing the bottom halves later.

"We have so much right-of-way that we have to acquire for that project," Karen Othon, spokesperson for TxDOT's U.S. 290 program, said.

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Behind Culberson, Federal Funding for METRO Blocked (Updated)

Photo by Dan Thibodeaux
Congressman Culberson has something to smile about. He got what he wanted.

Updated: This story was updated to include quotes and information provided by METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia.

A debate on Houston transit was settled Tuesday, mostly by people who don't live here.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a transportation spending bill for fiscal 2015 Tuesday, 229-192, cutting off funding for METRO's proposed University Line in the process.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, included in the bill a section that "bars the use of funds to advance in any way a new light or heavy rail project ... if the proposed capital project is constructed (or planned to be constructed on) Richmond Avenue west of South Shepherd Drive or on Post Oak Boulevard north of Richmond Avenue."

Strange coincidence: the University Line is supposed to run along Richmond and go through Shepherd.

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Five Things You May Not Know About 45-Year-Old IAH

Photo by Alan Cordova

Time flies, doesn't it? This weekend, George Bush Intercontinental Airport celebrated its 45th birthday. It's an international hub for the Bayou City, bringing people from around the world to Houston (sometimes for things other than tourism, we imagine).

In honor of the airport named after the 41st president, here are five things you may not know about the place with the airport code IAH:

5. Charlotte and Phoenix see more domestic travelers than IAH.
You'd think having the fourth-largest metro population in the United States would mean Houston's largest airport would see lots of domestic travelers pass through. Yes and no. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, approximately 29 million domestic flyers passed through IAH -- good enough for 13th among major U.S. airports.

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More MetroRail Work, Less Red Line This Weekend

Categories: Traffic

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Photo by Jackson Myers
Red Line service will be suspended this weekend.
It won't be a good weekend for hopping on the MetroRail. The Red Line will shut down tonight starting at 8 p.m., with no service between the Downtown Transit Center and the Northline Transit Center, according to Metro.

Options for getting around include the 700 rail shuttle bus, which will make trips every 10 minutes during the Red Line's regular hours. Metro says folks should expect longer travel times.

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Houston Traffic Sucks But Isn't the Worst, Study Finds

Categories: Traffic

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Photo by TexasDarkHorse

We reported earlier this week on the Greater Houston Partnership's desire to make Houston seem cool. Marketing campaigns might be able to do a lot, but they can't change the reality of Houston traffic: There's tons of it.

Navigation systems manufacturer Tomtom released its Americas Traffic Index June 4. According to the report, Houston was No. 23 in the Americas in terms of congestion, and No. 16 in the United States, per data from 2013.

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Thanks to CenterPoint, We'll Get Biking Trails and LED Streetlights

Photo by Thomas Hawk
The LED lights will have a bluish tint. Prettier, no?

We told you last week that a bike plan was on the way for Houston. Thanks to CenterPoint Energy, Houston cyclists have another win to celebrate.

Hiking and biking trails will be allowed along CenterPoint's utility ROWs (that's right-of-ways). According to a press release from the mayor's office, the ROWs will provide north-south connections to Houston's growing network of trails, most of which either run east and west or are planned to do so.

CenterPoint is giving Houston $1.5 million for trail construction.

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For Houston Cyclists, Bike Plan Is on the Way

Photo by Abrahan Garza
A master plan for bikes in the city? Finally.
Not much good could've come from Chelsea Norman dying in December 2013, killed while biking her way home from Whole Foods.

It was past 10 p.m. when she was hit by a car that did not stop. It wasn't until February that the woman driving the car that hit Norman was arrested.

A tip to Crime Stoppers helped solve the case

On Thursday, Crime Stoppers was rewarded with a $2,500 donation by BikeHouston, an organization that tries to provide a voice for local cyclists.

The donation is part of a larger campaign between BikeHouston and city government called Goal Zero Fatalities. With it, the Houston biking community may be on its way to more traffic protections.

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"Visual Blight" or a Cheaper Bridge for METRO?

Photo by Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank
City Councilman Robert Gallegos, right, is not down with METRO.

Updated May 29: This story was updated to include information from an interview with METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia.

Members of METRO's Board of Directors who were in attendance at a meeting last week voted unanimously to build an overpass at Hughes Street. The problem: Some East Side residents don't agree with that move.

The overpass will connect METRO's new Green Line, which will open in the fall, from Hughes Street to the Magnolia Transit Center. Until the overpass is finished, the line will only run from the Theater District to Hughes Street -- a total of seven stops.

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While You're Out There Driving, Don't Forget the "Click It or Ticket" Campaign

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Photo by TexasDarkHorse
Whether traffic is bumper-to-bumper or nonexistent, the Texas Department of Transportation wants drivers to buckle up.
Police officers will be on the lookout for drivers and passengers (drunk and sober) who aren't buckled up this Memorial Day weekend. The Texas Department of Transportation will be conducting its 13th annual "Click It or Ticket" enforcement campaign in the Houston area until June 1.

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