Having lived the past three years in Jersey Village, I have been mostly at the mercy of 290 when it comes to getting into town. It's either that or coming around on the tollway and booking it inbound on I-10. Both are often equally annoying, although the Beltway less so since they started the construction to expand 290 over the past year.
So for months I have been stuck in a car with no air conditioning moving at the slow torture of random freeway closures, narrowed lanes, and the constant accidents and endless rubbernecking that seem to plague the Northwest Freeway. That last one hasn't gotten any better now that acceleration lanes are often nonexistent, and the same drivers who simply must creep to 20 mph in order to gawk at a truck with a flat tire seem to find it against their honor to move over and let those trying to join the derby on the road.
Until recently, that is.
There is now a direct ramp that leads from 290 inbound straight to I-10, and I am not lying when I say that it fills me with wonder and awe that such a thing now exists. I have honestly had pets I love less than this pristine white road of new concrete.
You know how when you're stuck in traffic you daydream about Jetson-style jetpacks or flying cars to just rise above all the mess? Well, that is honestly how you feel when you're suddenly out of the crush of cars trying to dance the deadly, counterintuitive dance that happens where 290 merges with 610 and then almost immediately doubles down if you want to get on the Katy Freeway.
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In a city like Houston where anyone who wants to use public transportation outside the Loop is treated like some kind of cultist, it's amazing how badly it tries to keep us from getting to the heart of the city. We have three separate areas where three major freeways all come together within a few miles of each other. It's like square-dancing with tons of metal and human lives at stake.
It's rare that the freeway system ever feels as if someone said, "Hey, where are the people who live here actually going?" That's what the brand-new access ramp feels like. Someone realized that the folks in Cypress and points northwest might be heading downtown to ride the shark train at the Aquarium or something, and maybe they didn't exactly need to be squished in with those on their way to the Galleria to ice-skate.
So thanks, Houston. You've built a lot of great things, but none of your constructions have ever moved me like the mile or so of road in the video below. (Don't worry, I propped my phone on the dash and kept both hands on the wheel.)