Sunday, July 3, 2016

Is a Palm Boulevard Style Roadway AND a Hike and Bike Trail Feasible for the West Rail Easement?

CCRMA Artist's Conception of West Rail Toll Road
While the Kingsford briquets were readying themselves, my son took me and the two grandsons on a quick mission.  We wanted to measure the width of the old Union Pacific Railroad easement currently the subject of some controversy as to its future use. 

Old Union Pacific Easement after Track Removal
We measured from the property line north of the easement to the property line on the south, finding the width of the easement to be exactly 100 feet. Measurements at two more locations along the nine mile route got the same result.

The Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority have long proposed a road along this easement, initially a toll road running from the B&M Bridge connecting to I-69 near the old Hwy 77 Flea Market, but now are considering a 4 lane "Palm Boulevard style" promenade with a protected hike & bike trail.

The toll road idea was a feeble-minded concept on at least two levels.  No one in West Brownsville will "pay" to travel to the flea market when they can get there for free.  They will do what 99% of the sober drivers do when they travel down FM 550, simply go around the toll road.  Of course, truckers, wanting to make time, do utilize the up and down Eddie Lucio, Jr. Toll Road, as their boss pays the toll.  

Another consideration that made the West Rail Toll Road a dumb idea is that the B&M Bridge is not rated for truck traffic, only pedestrian vehicles, thus it would have done nothing to divert or redirect truck traffic around the city.

CCRMA West Rail Road AND Trail Concept
What about the concept of a four lane road coupled with a protected(fenced off) bike & hike trail?  Well, we took the liberty of measuring Palm Boulevard at the intersection of E. St. Francis Street.  From curb to curb, including the four traffic lanes and a narrow median, the width of the road is 58 feet. That means a similar road COULD be built on the old Union Pacific Railroad easement with an additional 42 feet remaining for a hike & bike trail, fence, landscaping, etc.

West Brownsville Resident Gene Novogrodsky,
Opponent of West Rail Road
A large contingent of West Brownsville residents fought the original West Rail Toll Road concept and have since regrouped to fight ANY road utilizing the Union Pacific Railroad easement.  In town meetings actually attended by our mayor and several city commissioners, the majority of public commenters have spoken out against a road, recommending instead ONLY a hike & bike trail.

Nothing coming out of the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority indicates they are abandoning the West Rail Road project.  Recently $800,000 was approved for a feasibility study.


  1. Mr. Barton,
    There were 5,000 Brownsville taxpayers who signed a petition to block the West Rail Road. We were promised by Eddie Trevino that, if elected, he would see to it that only a trail would be built. I trust Mr. Trevino.

    1. You're an idiot to trust Eddie Trevino. He doesn't give a shit about you or your stupid problems. If you don't like it here, move, you crying sap!

    2. hey, you posted my comment! ja ja ja

    3. "hey, you posted my comment! ja ja ja"

      I sometimes have a soft spot for the needy, the homeless, the ne'er-do-wells.

  2. John Villarreal is in charge of West side district 4 what does he have to say about this west rail movement?

    1. What does John ever say about anything going on in his district ? Nothing ! He's always been nothing but another member of Tony Martinez ' s harem.

  3. This is one of the reasons the commissioners don't want Trevino in there til later. They want to manipulate this road decision while Sepulveda (coincidentally head of the CCRMA) is still judge. Duh. There's lots of special interests involved.

  4. .."5,000 Brownsville taxpayers who signed a petition to block.." We have a population of over 183,000, why would 5,000 decide for the rest? Has anybody asked them? Referendum time I say.



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