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The Pierce Elevated/I-59 Redesign Thread

Pierce Skypark or Demolish Pierce Elevated?   98 members have voted

  1. 1. Pierce Skypark or Demolish Pierce Elevated?

    • Pierce Skypark
      28
    • Demolish Pierce Elevated
      70

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1125 posts in this topic

17 minutes ago, cspwal said:

would it be big enough for a top golf

Before Top Golf came about, I thought it would be cool to put a "resort" on the south eastern part of downtown with a driving range on the roof. It would have to span 3-4 blocks. The skyline views would be amazing!

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20 hours ago, JJxvi said:

I don't know how it would be paid for or how much it would cost (Im guessing that tax increment from TIRZ 15 and TIRZ 24 would be funneled into it)  but that park would not be anything to sneeze at.  By my rough estimate that park is over 40 acres or roughly 4 times the size of discovery green and roughly the same size as Eleanor Tinsley Park.

 

with 8 streets crossing through it at regular intervals :unsure:

 

Don't get me wrong, if this is going to happen, the cover park is going to be the only good that comes of this for local residents that aren't displaced as a result of this taking, but at the same time, it's still going to have drawbacks.

Edited by samagon

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13 hours ago, samagon said:

 

with 8 streets crossing through it at regular intervals :unsure:

 

Don't get me wrong, if this is going to happen, the cover park is going to be the only good that comes of this for local residents that aren't displaced as a result of this taking, but at the same time, it's still going to have drawbacks.

Streets that will likely be closed to thru traffic quite often when Houston plays host to a Super Bowl or a parade or 5k or street festival etc. Barricades will be present quite often I would think. Several cross streets, while dividing the one large park into several, would make parking more accessible (and preclude any large parking lot from taking up any park land like it does by the zoo).  

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But on any normal weekend when local residents would use it, it's a park with 8 roads going through it, or more rightly, as you say, several parks with streets dividing them.

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It wouldn't allow for big fields but, if properly programmed, having the several distinct park areas would be an asset not a hindrance.  You could have the playground section separated from the adults eating lunch section, so all the watchful parents wouldn't have to worry about that stranger eating a sandwich.  And @Sparrow has a good point - for special events, you'd close down those streets and then boom - more park space.  Would be good for food trucks, setting up stages - things that kill the grass at discovery green

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So i'm apparently part of the 29% of respondents on this board who would like to see the PE kept and repurposed, serving as a destination, a connection, a park, a public space separate from the grid.  Examples of similar projects in other cities have driven $ to the repurposing of elevated train tracks, viaducts and freeways in a manner that tearing down the PE cannot accomplish (not to mention the demolition cost).  For those who see too many parks in Houston I suggest you view the concept as a conduit and connector instead, a means to collapse the distance between the area east of downtown and BB, a means for Midtown to access BB and points east without the use of a car.  This span runs the entire border marking Midtown and Downtown.  As a freeway it divides, but as a destination for Houstonians it brings Downtown and Midtown together.  

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3 minutes ago, Diaspora said:

So i'm apparently part of the 29% of respondents on this board who would like to see the PE kept and repurposed, serving as a destination, a connection, a park, a public space separate from the grid.  Examples of similar projects in other cities have driven $ to the repurposing of elevated train tracks, viaducts and freeways in a manner that tearing down the PE cannot accomplish (not to mention the demolition cost).

 

Can you provide us some examples of repurposed viaducts and elevated freeways?

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On 4/5/2017 at 11:39 AM, cspwal said:

I think re-signing just I-45 could work.  Going along 610 is only 3.2 miles longer than going along the current alignment of I-45; if you're maintaining 60 mph that whole time instead of dropping down to 45 mph for downtown, travel time would most likely be similar.  A caution though is that Google maps doesn't suggest that as an alternate route even during bad traffic downtown; a higher speed limit on the east loop might be necessary to lure people onto the new bypass

 

Google maps routinely suggests 610 as an alternate route to I-45 through downtown.  It just usually takes longer.  But the discussion of Google maps raises a thought.  I suspect freeway signage is less important than it used to be and therefore, changing the signage would accomplish less that it would have previously.  Because a large number of people now navigate by Google/Waze, etc.  So they take the fastest route, regardless of whether it is named I-45, TX 288, I-610, or whatever. (And at most times, I-45 through downtown is still faster than taking the East and North Loop around.)

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Sure, the Promenade Plantee in Paris is a repurposed viaduct.  Most of the other repurposed transportation lines are elevated train platforms in Philadelphia and Chicago for instance, in Singapore and Toronto  they are both elevated and ground level.  Seoul and Helsinki have sunken pedestrian connectors that were formerly rail lines or freeways.  Underway in D.C., at the funding stage is an effort to repurpose the 11th Street bridge over the Anacostia river.  Each of these have had, (and have) different challenges depending on the urban spaces through which the former transportation lines have run.   

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I-45 PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULE

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
St. Pius X High School
811 West Donovan, Houston, Texas 77091

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Houston Community College Central Campus, San Jacinto Building
1300 Holman Street, Houston, Texas 77004

Schedule at all locations:
5:30 p.m. Open House
6:30 p.m. Public Hearing
 

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My biggest concern of this entire project is one ramp. Yes, one ramp, that's going to make or break this project.

 

I'm actually ok with them moving both I-45 and I-69 to the same side. But, when you currently have these two interstates going on both sides of downtown, you have alternatives. If one has a wreck, you take the other. If the ramp that goes onto 45 comes to a crawl because everyone is merging into one lane, you check Google Maps and see if 69 is any better. With this new project, a wreck on one interstate can cause both to become a complete mess with alternatives gone out the window. 

 

It's the ramp that I've circled that goes from 45 to 69. One wreck or slow down on 69, and it's absolutely going to affect 45 because traffic will begin slowing down on the ramp which will inevitably slow down the main lanes of 45. Next, the weaving. You can be rest assured, Houstonians will use this ramp as an excuse to cut all the main lanes of 69 to get to the exit (the terrible looking arrow) past the GRB. I see this mess taking place everyday on I-10. People enter I-10, weave across all the main lanes just to get to the toll lanes in the center. That's, in my opinion, the true reason why one of the world's largest highways is such a mess. People cutting across so many lanes, slowing down and speeding up, just to get across. That ramp is going to be a serious problem in the future and I really think there's no doubt about it.

 

 

4569mess.JPG

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4 hours ago, Diaspora said:

Sure, the Promenade Plantee in Paris is a repurposed viaduct.  Most of the other repurposed transportation lines are elevated train platforms in Philadelphia and Chicago for instance, in Singapore and Toronto  they are both elevated and ground level.  Seoul and Helsinki have sunken pedestrian connectors that were formerly rail lines or freeways.  Underway in D.C., at the funding stage is an effort to repurpose the 11th Street bridge over the Anacostia river.  Each of these have had, (and have) different challenges depending on the urban spaces through which the former transportation lines have run.   

 

I was looking for repurposed elevated highway viaduct or freeway that would be somewhat comparable to the Pierce Elevated.  That 11th street bridge proposal in DC is getting kinda close.

Edited by Houston19514

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54 minutes ago, Triton said:

My biggest concern of this entire project is one ramp. Yes, one ramp, that's going to make or break this project.

 

I'm actually ok with them moving both I-45 and I-69 to the same side. But, when you currently have these two interstates going on both sides of downtown, you have alternatives. If one has a wreck, you take the other. If the ramp that goes onto 45 comes to a crawl because everyone is merging into one lane, you check Google Maps and see if 69 is any better. With this new project, a wreck on one interstate can cause both to become a complete mess with alternatives gone out the window. 

 

It's the ramp that I've circled that goes from 45 to 69. One wreck or slow down on 69, and it's absolutely going to affect 45 because traffic will begin slowing down on the ramp which will inevitably slow down the main lanes of 45. Next, the weaving. You can be rest assured, Houstonians will use this ramp as an excuse to cut all the main lanes of 69 to get to the exit (the terrible looking arrow) past the GRB. I see this mess taking place everyday on I-10. People enter I-10, weave across all the main lanes just to get to the toll lanes in the center. That's, in my opinion, the true reason why one of the world's largest highways is such a mess. People cutting across so many lanes, slowing down and speeding up, just to get across. That ramp is going to be a serious problem in the future and I really think there's no doubt about it.

 

 

4569mess.JPG

What would you propose as a solution?  I would think some sort of ramp closer to where I-45 and I-69 become co-located - closer to the new turn for 45.  It would need to be somewhere that it could be a right entrance to 59/69 from 45, so that there's no weaving required if they immediately want to exit.

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40 minutes ago, cspwal said:

What would you propose as a solution?  I would think some sort of ramp closer to where I-45 and I-69 become co-located - closer to the new turn for 45.  It would need to be somewhere that it could be a right entrance to 59/69 from 45, so that there's no weaving required if they immediately want to exit.

I would create the ramp further down the way, perhaps just past the GRB so no one can cut across. Based on the current schematics, when the ramp connections to 69, 69 gets a new lane on the left side. I would simply hold that lane on for I-45 which is already down to 3 lanes at this point.

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3 hours ago, Triton said:

 

 

4569mess.JPG

 

That's an obsolete schematic.

See the most recent (which was posted a year ago) at http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs5/20160428_NHHIP_Seg3_Project_Updates.pdf

 

The latest version still has the entrance/exit ramp configuration that you are concerned about. However, it is impossible to eliminate all weave and merge situations from a highway project of this scope. The designers had to accept some non-ideal situations.

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2 hours ago, MaxConcrete said:

 

That's an obsolete schematic.

See the most recent (which was posted a year ago) at http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs5/20160428_NHHIP_Seg3_Project_Updates.pdf

 

The latest version still has the entrance/exit ramp configuration that you are concerned about. However, it is impossible to eliminate all weave and merge situations from a highway project of this scope. The designers had to accept some non-ideal situations.

Hmm... I pulled that from their latest update which was last month:

 

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/20170327_NHHIP_Presentation_Project Overview Briefing for Website.pdf

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I'm not sure how much of a problem this will really be...  It seems likely that very few drivers will exit I-45 South so that the can weave through multiple lanes of I-69 traffic In order to get back on I-45 South a few blocks down the road.

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43 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

I'm not sure how much of a problem this will really be...  It seems likely that very few drivers will exit I-45 South so that the can weave through multiple lanes of I-69 traffic In order to get back on I-45 South a few blocks down the road.

 

hahahaha. how long have you lived in Houston?

 

the simplest solution to this problem would be to keep the exit from 45 > 59 where it is, but keep that lane separated from the main lanes until farther down 59.

 

13 hours ago, MaxConcrete said:

 

That's an obsolete schematic.

See the most recent (which was posted a year ago) at http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs5/20160428_NHHIP_Seg3_Project_Updates.pdf

 

The latest version still has the entrance/exit ramp configuration that you are concerned about. However, it is impossible to eliminate all weave and merge situations from a highway project of this scope. The designers had to accept some non-ideal situations.

 

although, from this schematic, it looks like the entrance from 45 > 59 is farther upstream, near the i10 corridor, and the 59 > 45 entrance is moved from right exit to left exit?

 

So while the cars won't be going from one side of the freeway to the other, now they'll just exit 45 > 59, stay in that lane, not let any traffic into that lane, and get back onto 45

Edited by samagon
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12 hours ago, Triton said:

Hmm... I pulled that from their latest update which was last month:

 

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/20170327_NHHIP_Presentation_Project Overview Briefing for Website.pdf

Interesting. I guess it actually wasn't from that handout. Not quite sure where I got that screenshot from now. But MaxConcrete is correct... it's been updated... but it still has the issue I am talking about.

 

The problem is not about people going back onto I-45 South. The issue is people going across all the lanes to get to the Bell St exit. I promise you now, that's where the slow down on I-69 will occur, further causing a backup on I-45. If they move the ramp further down I-45 to I-69, I think it will eliminate this issue.

4569mess2.JPG

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2 hours ago, Triton said:

Interesting. I guess it actually wasn't from that handout. Not quite sure where I got that screenshot from now. But MaxConcrete is correct... it's been updated... but it still has the issue I am talking about.

 

The problem is not about people going back onto I-45 South. The issue is people going across all the lanes to get to the Bell St exit. I promise you now, that's where the slow down on I-69 will occur, further causing a backup on I-45. If they move the ramp further down I-45 to I-69, I think it will eliminate this issue.

4569mess2.JPG

 

I see what you are saying, but still wonder how much of an issue it really is.  How many cars will be going from I-45 south to the Bell Street exit, especially when you consider that this will not be the only way to get there (the "downtown" exits from I-45 will be well upstream from this point).  Your proposed fix is perhaps not as easy as you first suggested.  The I-45S to I-69S ramp comes in along with the traffic from I-10.  Not sure how easily the I-45 ramp can be moved without causing other problems.  Having said all that, this is certainly the time to raise the question and look for a fix.

 

As I look over these new designs, I don't see a ramp to go from I-69S to I-45S.  Surely there is one in there somewhere? (If it's hidden under the surface streets in the new design, there's the answer for why the I-45S to I-69S ramp cannot be moved further downstream.)

Edited by Houston19514

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I see what you are saying, but still wonder how much of an issue it really is.  How many cars will be going from I-45 south to the Bell Street exit, especially when you consider that this will not be the only way to get there (the "downtown" exits from I-45 will be well upstream from this point).  Your proposed fix is perhaps not as easy as you first suggested.  The I-45S to I-69S ramp comes in along with the traffic from I-10.  Not sure how easily the I-45 ramp can be moved without causing other problems.  Having said all that, this is certainly the time to raise the question and look for a fix.

 

As I look over these new designs, I don't see a ramp to go from I-69S to I-45S.  Surely there is one in there somewhere? (If it's hidden under the surface streets in the new design, there's the answer for why the I-45S to I-69S ramp cannot be moved further downstream.)

 

I think it's hidden under things.

 

look at McKinney street. There are some extra lines and red arrows under the light blue surface street.

 

it's at the exact same point as the bell street exit, just on the other side of 59.

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13 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

I think it's hidden under things.

 

look at McKinney street. There are some extra lines and red arrows under the light blue surface street.

 

it's at the exact same point as the bell street exit, just on the other side of 59.

 

You may be right. If so, we obviously cannot move the I-45S to I-69S ramp to that location (or anywhere near there)

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6 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

You may be right. If so, we obviously cannot move the I-45S to I-69S ramp to that location (or anywhere near there)

True if that's the case.

 

Guess we'll find out a lot more next month when the next round of schematics come out.

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As a new EaDo homeowner I think they're missing the obvious by ending the park at Commerce Street instead of Canal Street. Commerce is barely 2 lanes for most of its length and terminates at Milby Street only 1 mile south the highway, while Canal Street is a major collector for the entire East End, running some 5 miles. If a bridge were to connect Canal Street and Ruiz Street in downtown, that would connect the East End with every major on/off ramp to all of the highways, instead of forcing folks to drive to Jensen/Navigation, then turn left and bootleg it across to Congress Street, then turn right just to get on I-10. 

 

3OxJXYp.jpg

 

B0HtsN2.jpg

 

 

The other thing I would do is stitch the grid between EaDo and Buffalo Bayou (and the parks / new developments happening there) by connecting Dowling Street with Jensen Drive. The current connectivity between BBVA Stadium, 8th Wonder Brewery and everything good happening on Navigation Blvd is absolutely deplorable.

 

One tunnel or bridge across the railroad tracts, and maybe a dozen lots to purchase for road right of way would connect a 4 lane road all the way from Southmore to Halls Bayou (about 10.5 miles). It would also create a logical spur for light rail from Downtown into the Near Northside & Fifth Ward from the BBVA station. 

 

If the City leaders care at all about not completely killing everything good happening in EaDo/East End they need to take the opportunity in this highway project to improve the grid that's historically been left to be decay southeast of Downtown. That's where the growth potential inside the loop is. 

 

Edited by Fitch
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