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004n063

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  1. That (well, Richmond/Wheeler from Dunvale to La Branch) is my current bike commute, so I'd sure be happy with something a little less terrifying (that doesn't involve going six miles out of my way through Memorial Park and Rice Military) along or parallel to that route. As far as I can tell, though, the closest we are going to get to that is the pedestrian realm improvements along the University Line BRT route. If done right, the BRT will make a bigger difference than any bike path, but for the area we're talking about, a path parallel to the train tracks would be a big help for multimodal connectivity.
  2. Looks like a great "before" photo of the West Dallas Streetcar line!
  3. I ageee - it could thrive as a true restaurant. I also think a more sandwich-oriented version of Common Bond could have done well. I went a couple of times for baguettes, but was always disappointed by the menu. But considering how well Madamoiselle Louise is doing in a fairly similar part of Downtown (some new development, some vacancy, some vagrancy), there aren't a lot of good excuses for Common Bond's failure there.
  4. I'm not advocating for the elimination of cars; I'm advocating for the humane treatment of non-drivers, and a safety-oriented approach for everyone. Yes, those cities have ring roads, but you'll notice that those ring roads tend not to be lined with driveways and parking lots (especially in Amsterdam; the Dutch have gone further than anybody else in terms of purposefully differentiating the design of streets from that of roads). Moreover, my point throughout this thread has not been the elimination of arterials, but rather a breaking away from the (sometimes legally enforced through deed restrictions and the like) Houstonian conventional wisdom that businesses should or need to be on arterials, or that arterials need to prioritize private cars over all other modes in all cases. An arterial can have rails. The best generally do. Now, for everyone's sake, I think it's time for me to retire from this thread. It's a storage facility on a stroad next to a highway. Shrug.
  5. It would still exist as congestion on the street (though it would funnel towards Milam). I can't speak for everyone else who lives in the area, but I would take that option any day over having a big highway blockade between Montrose and Midtown. (Yes, the Holman/Hawthorne connection works, but since there's no bike infrastructure at the Richmond, Alabama, or Westheimer crossings, you're often having to go well out of your way just to get around the spur, and having to go further out of your way on a bike than you would in a car is sort of perverse.) I see that your knowledge of what is going on in other cities around the world matches your knowledge of what is going on in this one. But if you're ever stirred by the curiosity bug, I'd strongly recommend typing any of the following words into Google: -London -Mexico City -Paris -Tokyo -Amsterdam -Seoul -Chicago -New York City -Copenhagen -Stockholm -Berlin -Montreal -Lyon -Bordeaux -Vienna -Madrid -Barcelona -Lisbon -Rome -Milan -Florence -Boston -Philadelphia -Washington, DC -Vamcouver -Melbourne -Sydney -Zurich -Istanbul -Tel Aviv -Shenzhen -Beijing -Hanoi -Buenos Aires -Santiago -Bogotá -or any other of about a thousand cities around the world that don't try to force car-ownership on all of their citizens, yet still manage to be lively and pleasant places to live.
  6. To be clear, you can't just narrow important arterials without doing anything else. But I do think that just about any urban arterial that gets jammed with traffic would benefit from rail lines I do think optimizing alignments would vary depending on how much of a thoroughfare the street is (e.g., center-running for Washington, West Dallas, side-running for Montrose/Studemont, Shepherd/Durham, Navigation), and how wide the ROW is (e.g. can fit two center-running thru-lanes, rail lines, one-lane siderunning streets, and sidewalks?). Another option would be to run rail along parralel alignments that aren't major car routes, but then you run into issues with intersections. Or you could elevate it, but that adds a whole lot of extra cost. All of that, though, is a very politically optimistic, expensive, multidecade undertaking. A great deal of the intended effect (i.e. fostering diverse, lively, and comfortable "third place" options that aren't on noisy stroads) could be achieved by simply doing away with minimum parking requirements, anti-business deed restrictions, etc. I imagine there'd be some hesitancy in the local lending industry, based on conventional Houstonian thinking that equates going places with driving. But the truth is, there are a lot of businesses (virtually every coffee shop, taqueria, refresqueria, etc.) that thrive on an almost entirely neighborhood clientele. If businesses weren't forced to own enormous properties to accommodate an enormous number of cars, they wouldn't need to think about ease of access for suburnanites in the first place.
  7. This is just flat-out untrue, as evidenced by all of the development on (and right off) Main, Harrisburg, and Scott. I would call Main the best-designed street in Houston without a second thought. Even North Main and Fulton have begun to poke their heads out. Even if I had a car, I can't imagine driving to Downtown, the Museums, the Med Center, Hermann Park, NRG, MinuteMaid, PNC, EaDo, 2nd Ward, East End. And believe it or not, there are a lot of people in Houston who don't have cars, so places with better transit access are, well, more accessible. Of course, all of this is almost irrelevant when compared to safety, which is the most important problem with stroads. A pedestrian-friendly street is one you can cross anywhere, easily, at any time. That means narrow streets and car traffic (if there is any) between 15-20mph. Since we don't have any of those, the next best thing is one that you can cross at any intersection, and quickly. Montrose, Kirby, et al fail miserably at this (despite the fact their frequent car speeds of 35-40mph only yield average overall speeds of 15-20mph, depending on traffic). Your only safe option is to walk up to the next light, wait for a signal, cross the wide stroad, then walk all the way back. Naturally, this leads a lot of people to say "screw it" and cross anyway, and sadly, that actually is dangerous, because we've designed our commercial streets using the same "safety" features as highways (wide lanes, clear zones/setbacks, etc.), which makes speeds that would be appropriate for complex mixed-use areas (less than 20mph) feel awkwardly slow. Now, I realize that Houston has been on a car-centric spiral for about seventy years, so we have internalized a lot of ideas as natural ("you want me to go less than twenty miles an hour??!!"), despite their being anything but. But I am an optimist. I believe the city can change. So my criteria for what makes a good street (or urban area) put all-around safety first, pedestrian comfort second, transit access third, bike access fourth, per-acre economic sustainability (including infrastructure maintenance costs) fifth, and car access at the very bottom. I understand that many people on here don't have the same priorities, and that's fine.
  8. So, you guys are essentially arguing that Montrose and Kirby should be rebuilt to be one lane each way with a turn lane in the middle? Not necessarily. In my ideal world, both would be redesigned to be more like Main St., with a rail line down the center, and no left turns. That said, it would be simpler to just improve the pedestrian realm on side streets and remove any regulations that prevent or inhibit pedestrian-oriented businesses from opening there. The central issue with Montrose and Kirby and Post Oak (and Washington, and Shepherd, and virtually every other urban arterial in North America) is that they try to perform the antithetical functions of streets (places that serve as platforms for building wealth in the community) amd roads (high-speed connections between places). And as is universally the case, they perform neither function very well. Tax revenue is low on a per-acre basis (relative to what can be achieved in places with less space dedicated to driving and parking), but overall velocities are also low because of congestion and traffic lights. Moreover, these street-road hybrids (again, you are correct that they're ubiquitous in North American cities) are expensive to maintain and exceedingly dangerous for pedestrians, drivers, and especially cyclists. If it's not obvious from everything I've written, I strongly recommend the book Confessions of a Recovering Engineer, by Chuck Marohn.
  9. Unpopular opinion: this is nowhere near the worst thing about Montrose Boulevard. Not saying I like the building, and of course Montrose overall is a good example of light, moderately walkable urbanism. But Montrose Boulevard itself is a stroady, car-centric mess, and there are a lot of issues with it that should probably take priority over aesthetic preciousness.
  10. Wow! That might be the most appalling thing I've ever seen on here, and that's saying something...
  11. Beautiful! But...2025?? And why stop at Waugh? Why not connect to the existing Gray bike lanes?
  12. Good to hear! This is something the city generally lacks. Side street businesses are the best.
  13. Kind of horrifying to think that after this is redeveloped, it's still going to be like 70% surface parking.
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