Third Time's The Charm For Closing Down The Gulf Freeway
The first time TxDot tried to shut down the Gulf Freeway to Galveston for repairs, island officials howled about how it would affect business. TxDOT backed down and rescheduled.
The second proposal, though, was just as bad: It was the weekend that Galvestonians are holding a bunch of events to commemorate the first anniversary of Ike. Again, officials weren't happy.
In a bold, breathtakingly original move, TxDOT officials then decided to meet with Galveston representatives before deciding just when they would cut off the business lifeline to the island. Shocking, we know.
The sides have now agreed on a new time: August 28-30. While that sounds pretty bad -- a summer weekend -- RoShelle Gaskins of the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau tells Hair Balls it's a pretty good compromise.
"The tourism industry came together on the date change in August," she says. "This is the first weekend after school starts and the weekend before Labor Day so we are typically a little slower in business. In addition there is only one cruise ship sailing on Sunday and no major conventions taking place that weekend."
The Chronicle tied the closing to the state's tax holiday, but that holiday is August 21-23. (An excerpt that no doubt will be corrected: "Convention and Visitors Bureau spokeswoman RoShelle Gaskins said Aug. 28-30 was selected for the closure because it's typically a slow weekend due to the state tax holiday. 'Everybody stays in Houston and goes shopping,' she said." Gaskins told Hair Balls "Too many closings cause confusion.")
As for future closures, Gaskins says they hope they have a plan to make things smoother.
"We have a meeting today with TxDot to plan for future projects. We hope to create an open line of communication so construction date selections can take Galveston into consideration," she says.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.